General Conference for our church took place this last weekend.  

I was sooo excited about it, as I always am.  We have some friends who are interested in the church at the moment and when I was explaining what conference is to her I had to laugh at myself.  As I explained that it is in reality 12 HOURS (8 for conference, around 2 for the women’s meeting the week before and around 2 for the men) it seemed weird that I was so excited to listen for so dang long…and help my kids listen too.  (And don’t get me wrong, we are not so hot at listening on Saturday running from thing to thing, need to get listening to those sessions this week.)  As I heard what I was saying to my friend I had to smile to myself that I love it all so much.  
I love relaxing and being with my family.  
I love taking notes.  
I love pondering what needs to be pruned and changed in my life to make it better.  To make it more pleasing to the Lord.  
I love to contemplate where we are as a family and get uplifted and inspired by all the words of wisdom that fill up our home.  
And I love the food for thought it gives to Dave and me as we discuss how to upgrade the deliberateness and “connection to Heaven” in our home.
Yes, I was so excited.  But with all the hoopla going on around here (prom, dave out of town, cousins in town, “senior ditch day”…more on that soon),  I didn’t post about conference beforehand like I usually like to and I wasn’t as prepared as I imagined it would be.  We had no pictures of church leaders hanging up, we did little prep talk with our kids, as I scrambled to find our traditional “Bingo” boards to print out from Pinterest I got a little depressed.  I came across everything from camping while listening, to “Prophet matching games” and family banners to make and dinners leading up to conference serving different leader’s favorite dishes.  
Phew!  I was overwhelmed.  So much to learn!  So much to teach!  How could I scramble to put some of that awesomeness together in time??
We waited up until the wee hours of the morning for Elle (and still fell asleep before she got home) and after a long week of very short nights on Sunday morning we slept longer than we thought and we scrambled to get kids up and listening (it starts at 9:00 here…should be plenty of time to sleep, right??), still with no prep.  
I was so mad.  
Mad at Dave for not miraculously reading my mind and helping with prep, mad at myself for not being more prepared, mad at the kids that I had to ask them so many times to get up and get going, mad at life because there are not more hours in the day, and mostly mad at myself for being mad at all.  I mean, it was the Sabbath after all.  Stomping around being mad wasn’t going to fix any of the things I was mad at.  
But guess what?  As I huffed and puffed somehow this peace came over me and made me realize it didn’t matter.  
None of all the “stuff” I wanted to do mattered.  
What mattered was that I was there with my family, watching conference, being “there” and letting those words offered from the conference center wash right on over me.  As they washed they erased my anger and reminded me of what really matters: those people sitting around me and God. 
We did still get our “conference cinnamon rolls” done…(I whipped them up while I was huffing and puffing while listening right at the beginning…I’m sure I got a LOT out of those first talks, Ha!…some day I’ll go back and listen in a more calmed state).  Yes, I could have let those things go but man oh man we love them (recipe HERE).

And by the end of the first session it was so nice to have some great families over for the brunch we had planned earlier.  Everyone brought delicious things to share (which simplified meal prep),

 …and then watch again.

My much-calmer heart loved pulling out the calligraphy stuff Grace got for Easter and taking beautiful notes together as we listened.

I don’t know that you could get better conference notes than Grace’s notes up there…HA!!  But sometimes doodling sure helps the ears listen better.  It sure did for Grace and me.

I loved Lucy’s notes:

 (Looks like we need to teach her how to spell “Jesus,” but sure love that she put Him on her “wants” AND her “needs”)

 Loved Claire’s thoughts too…

As we wrapped things up and had so many weights lifted from our hearts, I was reminded once again (something I need to be re-taught over and over and over again) that simplicity brings on so much joy.  All those things on Pinterest are so wonderful and help teach and are so inspired.  Maybe I’ll be more prepared and on-the-ball next time around.  But that day, right there, I realized all I really needed was my family (and some pens and paper:) and we were good to go as we soaked in such beautiful things spoken and felt.  
Oh I sure do love conference.  To watch or listen yourself, click HERE.
Love, Shawni

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  1. Thanks for sharing. We had a similar conference weekend with great aspirations and that not really turning out the way I had pictured due to a myriad of things. Helps me to feel better hearing this. 🙂 Thanks for being real.

  2. I absolutely love General Conference too! I get so excited to sit for all those hours, listening…being taught by the Lord's servants. Such a blessing in my life. I love it so much, I wish it was quarterly! 🙂

  3. Thank you for this!! I often arrive at conference weekend feeling exhausted and wondering if I'm doing enough to prepare my kids (ages 11, 8, 5, and 2) – it is hard to be a mother in Zion! Good thing we get credit for trying, as Elder Holland says!

  4. I could have written your exact post same huffing and puffing for the exact same reason. I felt like because I wasn't prepared, and didn't have all those things that maybe conference wouldn't be the same. But like u said I found that maybe Elder Uchdorff had it right, simple is better. The spirit was still felt, they still learned, we still had things to talk about and as they have said over and over lately, maybe I need to have a big conversation with Heavenly Father about how to handle this new time in our lives with older kids. So thanks for helping me see that maybe I'm not the only mom who is trying to figure out this new time we are in, or how to let go when my expectations are too big. Thanks for sharing.

  5. This year my kids are a little older 12, 10, 8… I put away all the games abd colour sheets abd I gasp..went to our meeting house for all sessions lol
    My kids came to 3 of them. It amazed me how much more they listened. I bought them each a new note book and told them to write just one thing from each speaker. My 12 yr old took more notes than me!..I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in making everything fun, traditions, etc. .. thst we forget to just simplify and breathe !

  6. I agree! Simple feels better to me and my family. Each family is different and has different feelings or expectations of General Conference weekend. When we left BYU and landed in the midwest, we did not have the privileged of viewing Conference on tv. So, with our toddler and baby, we went to the church for Saturday and Sunday's session. This became our tradition even though technology crept in and made it possible to stay home for Conference. As people dwindled from attending Conference at our church building, our family, the missionaries and three other families kept coming to the church for Saturday and Sunday's session. We have become great friends—or, really, more like family to each other. We potluck, visit, catch up with what everyone is doing—it is like a reunion of sorts, since we don't all live in the area. Our children who are grown and live near, continue to attend with us. Between sessions on Saturday, we have gone swimming at the local school indoor pool, played tennis, walked, rode bikes, played games, etc. We just reached our 27 year mark of this tradition. It has been amazing, and has kept us focused on General Conference, without it being too hectic or stressful. Effort and trying is huge in any family. And, actually, I feel like it really comes down to what we do after we hear the messages of Conference. So, you are still good to GO! Ha. Good luck.
    p.s. I am not sure how this would work in your area, but, when my children were teenagers, worked part time jobs, played sports—they asked their employers and coaches way ahead of time if they could have Conference Saturday off, or switch shifts at work, etc. Most of the time this worked:)

    1. Just curious, do you ever invite single people to the General Conference activities, or as usual with most things that LDS families do, is it only families that are included?

  7. I love conference too! It's always nice to relax and be uplifted.

    I've been wanting to purchase a beginners calligraphy set. Would you recommend the set you got for Grace? What is it called? Thanks!

  8. Thanks for keepin it real. Somehow I think my Huffing and Puffing is wayyy more dramatic than yours, but all the same it brings me comfort to know I'm not the only one with stars in my eyes over conference and disappointment in myself when it's not as magical. Your kids notes are amazing! You're doing it right!

  9. I love this! This is how I felt this year, but I actually did it on purpose. My youngest is now four and my oldest is 11. In years past, I had made packets, games, special Conference bucks, etc. and it always stressed me out and made it so much harder for me to personally get into conference when I was worrying about how quickly they were going through the activities or what they were going to do next. This year, I got out some paper, some crayons, and a bucket of legos and they all listened while they quietly took notes, colored, and built. I enjoyed it so much more and was so much more relaxed, which I felt brought the Spirit much stronger. I even went to the store yesterday and bought a really adorable sign that says, "keep life simple" and hung it in the house so I could remember the feeling that simplicity brings joy and helps us get rid of unneeded disctractions sometimes.

  10. Yes, it seems like you are more concerned about the cinnamon rolls than the content of the talks. Your kids (except for maybe Lucy) are way too old to be doodling their names in calligraphy during a church program. That is not taking notes.

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