Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ready for "Christmas"

Before you get all impressed and think I am the coolest person you know for already having my Christmas Shopping done and my tree picked out.. you should know that I don't mean the real Christmas... And you should also know that you are reading Katie Tyler's blog and the idea of getting ready for Christmas in March is the most laughable idea ever.  (in fact, I am laughing right now at the thought of it)

I am actually referring to a comment I heard in Church on Sunday.  One of the highlights of the Testimony meeting was a young man standing up saying how excited he is - like Christmas - for General Conference this week. (the semi- annual conference of the LDS Church where many of the leaders speak to the entire world-wide church).  He compared the anticipation of this conference to Christmas morning.  The excitement to unwrap gifts- and the excitement to hear the words of the Prophet.  I loved his Testimony because it echos my own feelings right now.

I have been feeling it for a few weeks.  This anticipation that something wonderful is about to happen.  (like the people who go outside Christmas morning onto their snowy driveway to find a Lexus with a big red ribbon wrapped around it- seriously? I saw so many of those commercials this year! I think it is lame.  Not just because it is crazy to buy a car for Christmas- but because it is more likely that I will wake up to that Lexus than I will to Snow on Christmas Day). It is funny that Conference comes every 6 months- and I am still this excited for it!

A few years ago I started a tradition of baking yumminess during conference weekend. I guess I figured if I am going to spend 8 hours at home watching it - I might as well smell Cinnamon Rolls in the oven and eat some evil gooeyness (also like Christmas!). But this time I think I want to change things a little.  I have noticed that with the ease of having Conference at home (not having to go to the Stake Center to watch it broadcast like we did as kids) it is much easier to get distracted.  Then I read this in March's Ensign:

Focusing on Conference

In addition to studying past conference addresses, consider these ideas to help you learn from the current conference:
  • Pray and fast to receive answers to your prayers through the words of the speakers.
  • Approach conference with specific questions in mind.
  • Complete all chores, shopping, and other errands before conference so you can focus on listening.
  • Get good rest the nights before conference so your mind will be ready to receive inspiration.
  • Take notes of the impressions, promptings, and insights you receive.

    It is as if Elder Barrionuevo looked inside the windows of my house last conference!  Did he actually see me sweeping the floor, baking cinnamon rolls, and putting away the dishes while the Apostles were speaking??  Or did he catch JT half asleep during the afternoon session nestled in with our kids on the couch?

    When I read these "obvious" tips- I was a little embarrassed. I have fallen into the apathetic trap of taking what I have for granted. How many General Conferences have I seen?  Take my age x 2 a year  = a lot of Conferences. (and the first Math Equation on my Blog)  Have I really gotten to the point that I forget how lucky I am to sit and watch and listen to the words of the Prophet speak directly from our Heavenly Father?  If I was cool- I am sure I could figure out the number of people who have inhabited the earth and then the tiny percentage of those people who have actually heard a Prophet of God speak.  But that would be more math, and maybe some research, and way more equations than one post can handle...

    What I am getting at is that despite the fact that this is not a Once in a Lifetime event (heck, it isn't even a Once a Year event!) it deserves my undivided attention.

    The Super Bowl isn't once in a lifetime.  Yet, each year the entire world (how do you like that exaggeration?? I know, the Super Bowl is pretty much an American thing, but it sounds better saying "the entire world") stops to watch. (oohhh- that just made me think of doing savory appetizers with conference this year instead of just gooey sweet ones! Thanks Super Bowl, great idea!)  

    Christmas isn't once in a lifetime.  Yet, each year we anticipate it like it is a brand new concept.  Buying bigger and better presents.  Hanging more extravagant lights and wreaths.  And delivering twice as many treats as the year before. (hey, I can't help if I have got exponentially more popular this year...)

    Is General Conference like Christmas?  Do I get more excited each time? Is it bigger and better?  Does my world stop for it?  Or am I too use to it?  Is it too common place to be anticipated?  Christmas hasn't become common place.

    It is like Christmas.  It does honor and celebrate our Savior.  It is worth getting excited for.  It is my chance to use one of the most precious gifts I have been given- the Holy Ghost.  My chance to make some changes, to get inspired, to teach my children, to feel hope and bring the apostles right into my own home. (and not the hard seats at the Stake Center- whoo hoo!) 

    So it looks like Christmas is coming in April this year.  That means Overnight Blueberry French Toast during the Choir's opening song and Savory Sweet Potato Cakes for the "half time show".  (ok, that was for thematic purposes only- the half time show is more like the Church News broadcast between sessions :) And now you've got links to some favorite recipes- which makes my Blog kinda like a cooking blog, right? And yes, Karen, those are links- not just me using fancy colors on my blog :)  But what this all really means: snuggling with my family, taking notes on the couch while my kids get skittles for correctly identifying apostles and prophets from their pictures, and spending a weekend "unwrapping" gifts from the Spirit.

    As a gift to all of my millions of readers: a few of my past faves from conference-- I could seriously have a hundred links right here!--- And maybe as a gift to me, you can tell me some of your favorites... you know my comment section is working again :)

    The Other Prodigal from Jeffrey R. Holland (April Conference 2002)
    None Were With Him another from Elder Holland (April Conference 2009)
    Forget Me Not from President Uchtdorf (October Conference 2011)
    Love Her Mother from Elaine Dalton (November Conference 2011)
    What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be? from Elder Lynn G. Robbins (April Conference 2011)
P.S. if anyone decides to follow those links for recipes- you should know that I heavily modify the first one- so if you follow the recipe and it is gross-- don't blame me :)


  1. I loved this post! I too can hardly wait for session after session of conference. This year I will be on my own though...which at first discouraged me because why bake cinnamon rolls when my lover of cinnamon rolls will not be home? Then I realised the what a neat personal experience I could have with this conference. All by myself (kids coloring and being like angels right?) and the chance to sit and be still for those 8 hours. Just me and my journal. I don't HAVE to make anything or feel like I need to be doing anything. I'm excited!Now I am off to get all of my chores done. If only I had just two days worth of stuff to get done :) Thanks for the inspiriation! You always know just what to say!

  2. I too have been thinking about getting ready - writing a list with the kids of what kinds of things we're hoping to hear (I think that was in this month's Ensign), cleaning the house and what-not. As for food, we have a family tradition of making German pancakes with buttermilk syrup, sausage/bacon and eggs. I might also do gingerbread with warm peaches and buttermilk syrup for dessert that night and something in the crockpot for dinner. In years past when I haven't quite made it through all the session coherently, I've also saved them on my DVR to watch a talk at a time on Sunday afternoons. Thanks for the reminder Katie! We really should be excited about getting to hear General Conference, just like the people in King Benjamin's time.

  3. I love those favorites, Katie- except the last one I don't recognize I will be reading it tonight. Here's one of my forever favorites: (Elder Wirthlin's Come What May and Love it). I absolutely love the section called "Learn to Laugh."

    1. thanks! I bet you recognize the last one when you read it :) And "come what may and love it" is also one of my faves- now I need to go back and read it again!

  4. You are always so uplifting. I need to make some family traditions for conference. Sounds like a fun idea to get family involved and excited. I usually just print activity pages off the net for the kids to make it fun for them to listen. Thanks for the ideas!

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