Friday, April 6, 2012

General Conference

So ALL week I have been meaning to get on here and talk about how AMAZING general conference was last weekend. I was able to watch all 4 sessions (at least most of it) and there were SOOOO many talks that were SO good I don't even want to name them because I know I would leave out some of my favorites still.

The funny thing about conference is I never really understood how freakin cool and amazing it is until I was like a junior in college. Growing up it's not that my parents never really taught us the value...I'm sure I just didn't listen or pay attention. Also, at least 1 out of the 2 conferences held a year I'm pretty sure we were at one of our rodeos which were an all day Saturday and Sunday affair so we missed it. And when you are a kid you don't really go back and read or listen to the talks like you do as an adult. So my junior year in college I was going to school at South Dakota State. In South Dakota they don't air it over the television like they do here so you had to put your dress on and go down to the church 4 times if you want to see all 4 sessions. So I did it that fall my first year there and that was probably one of my most favorite conferences ever. When you have to sit in a dress in the chapel it is a lot easier to pay attention and be alert then sitting on the couch in your jammies. ;) I realized how blessed and lucky we are as a church to have a LIVING prophet here on the earth and amazing apostles to lead us, guide us, support us, council us, and help us along this hard journey we call life. All of us are trying to get to the same spot in the end and we need all the help we can get (at least I do). Ever since then, I look at general conference in a whole other light and I look forward to it every 6 months and I try my hardest to make it a priority, even on Saturdays.

Of course I'm sure those of you who watched it could guess that my MOST favorite talk of all was Elder Ronald A. Rasbunds of the Seventy entitled Special Lessons. (click link to read full thing) After that session of conference I went to grab my phone out of my room and had so many sweet texts from others who had thought of us during that talk. It was the best! His main message that summarized his talk was: "It is my hope and prayer that we will continue to bear nobly our burdens and to reach out to those among us who are suffering." It was a great message and he talked a lot about his sweet grandson that was born with a disability. It was so sweet to see the cute pictures they displayed of that little angel Paxton and to see his cute trach like Dakota.

I could go on and on about the different parts of the talk that I loved but I think I would quote the whole things so you must read it for yourself!!
But I have to name a few. ;)

Dear Elder Russell M. Nelson, who just spoke to us, taught:
“For reasons usually unknown, some people are born with physical limitations. Specific parts of the body may be abnormal. Regulatory systems may be out of balance. And all of our bodies are subject to disease and death. Nevertheless, the gift of a physical body is priceless. …

“A perfect body is not required to achieve a divine destiny. In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail frames. …

“Eventually the time will come when each ‘spirit and … body shall be reunited again in … perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame’ (Alma 11:43). Then, thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become perfected in Him.”1

(Dakota is definitely one of those most sweetest spirits housed in a frail frame. But I can't wait for that day spoken of when his body will take on that perfect form that he once had thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ!!!)


Some might ask when faced with such suffering, how could Almighty God let this happen? And then that seemingly inevitable question, why did this happen to me? Why must we experience disease and events that disable or call precious family members home early or extend their years in pain? Why the heartaches?

At these moments we can turn to the great plan of happiness authored by our Heavenly Father. That plan, when presented in the pre-earth life, prompted us all to shout for joy.2 Put simply, this life is training for eternal exaltation, and that process means tests and trials. It has always been so, and no one is spared.

Trusting in God’s will is central to our mortality. With faith in Him, we draw upon the power of Christ’s Atonement at those times when questions abound and answers are few.

(I have OFTEN asked those questions and feel like the answers are few at this point but I have a testimony that if I trust in my Heavenly Father, one day all will be made right and I will have an "aha" moment and have a complete understanding of all the pain that I have experienced and once again I will shout for JOY!)

President James E. Faust, my boyhood stake president, said: “I have a great appreciation for those loving parents who stoically bear and overcome their anguish and heartbreak for a child who was born with or who has developed a serious mental or physical infirmity. This anguish often continues every day, without relief, during the lifetime of the parent or the child. Not infrequently, parents are required to give superhuman nurturing care that never ceases, day or night. Many a mother’s arms and heart have ached years on end, giving comfort and relieving the suffering of her special child.”5

As described in Mosiah, we have witnessed the Savior’s pure love given to Paxton’s family, which love is available to all: “And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.”6

(I loved that first paragraph because he put into words exactly what I feel...anguish, heartbreak, day after day, day and night. I didn't love that he said hearts have achedaching will subside at some point but it is not very promising I guess...I still pray for miracles but maybe my heart will continue to ache day after day until that miracle comes. But I know the second paragraph is true because at times my burdens feel lighter then others and I know that is because the Lord has strengthened me and is helping me carry this heavy load. How grateful I am for that...although at times I think I forget and try to carry it all on my own. Until that miracle comes I will continue to pray for His hand to help lift, strengthen, and carry me, that I can one day say, I too submitted cheerfully and patiently to ALL the will of the Lord...I definitely can't say that yet!)

Paxton’s family has learned they are surrounded by countless heavenly and earthly ministering angels. Some have quietly slipped in when needed and silently slipped out. Others have been at the door with food, doing the laundry, picking up the siblings, calling with encouragement, and especially praying for Paxton. Thus another special lesson learned: If you come upon a person who is drowning, would you ask if they need help—or would it be better to just jump in and save them from the deepening waters? The offer, while well meaning and often given, “Let me know if I can help” is really no help at all.

We continue to learn the important value of being aware of and interested in the lives of those around us, learning not only the importance of giving help but also the overwhelming joy that comes from helping others.

Dear President Thomas S. Monson, who is such a magnificent example of lifting the downtrodden, said: “God bless all who endeavor to be their brother’s keeper, who give to ameliorate suffering, who strive with all that is good within them to make a better world. Have you noticed that such individuals have a brighter smile? Their footsteps are more certain. They have an aura about them of contentment and satisfaction … for one cannot participate in helping others without experiencing a rich blessing himself.”8

(We too have been surrounded by heavenly and earthly ministering angels throughout our hardships and have learned this lesson oh so well. Zach and I have often talked about those angels that have just jumped in and done things without asking and he put it so perfectly when he said that the offer to help sometimes is really no help at all. During our situation there were many willing and asking like this and it was greatly appreciated. But when you are in the thick of it all sometimes it is hard to know what to tell someone to do to help...they can't take away my pain or make Dakota all better so really that was all that mattered at that point. So often we either didn't know what to ask for help or felt bad asking for help. It was when a sweet family just offered and came to pull our weeds I that was really helpful, or just dropped by a dinner not knowing if we needed it or not, or Zach's parents and sister who would just come to give us relief to take a turn to bathe Dakota and get him to bed or watch him so we could sleep, etc. There were soooo many situations like those and I learned then to just jump in and help instead of saying...let me know!!)

There are SOOOO many opportunities to help others because unfortunately there are SOOOO many trials big and small that everyone around us is facing. In the last 2 weeks we went to 5 different benefit events or dinners. I'm not saying that to brag or anything but just to show that just in this small area there are SO many people needing help...and those are just some that we knew of. You don't have to donate large amounts of money to help...cuz we definitely don't have tons...but just showing up and buying dinner and showing your support means more then you can imagine. There were SO many complete strangers that reached out to us in many ways...even simple as prayers, comments on our blog, cards in the mail, even if you don't know the person who is struggling or needs help...don't be afraid to just do something!!


  1. Thanks for posting about that beautiful talk. Just catching up on your wonderful family and saw that you also attended an even for "A good grief". Strange enough, my husband was roommates with the dad of that little girl and I remember her passing so vividly. In addition, he was roommates with Paxton's dad and they are our dear friends. I am humbled to know (even just through your blog) you and Angel parents like you. Your stories and testimonies, not to mention service and care for your children are such an inspiration and reminder that I can and should do better. Thinking of you and praying for you with love always!

  2. I loved that talk and couldn't help but think of you guys when I heard it. My favorite part was the quote from President Faust about the parents who have seemingly superhuman strength. I don't know if you see it, but when I look at all you and Zach do I can't help but think you really are superheros!