On Saturday afternoon, I drove to Salt Lake with the Young Women from the Jackson Ward to attend the General Young Women Meeting at the Conference Center:
But I need to back it up. . . because our first stop was at Caputo's Deli:
For one of my current food obsessions, the Mozzarella and Tomato sandwich:
Then we went to Carlucci's Bakery for dessert. Strange that I didn't take a picture of any of the treats we ate, but here's a good shot of Amber and Lora:
Melissa was a good sport and came with us, even though she'd been sick all day:
Here is a picture of our group, taken after the meeting. Such a shame because the light inside the Conference Center was absolutely beautiful before the meeting, but I didn't have my camera with me. . .
. . . All because of my backpack.
If you have seen me in the last six years, then you have most likely seen me with my "baby bag". It drives Steve crazy that I call it a baby bag, since it's not a baby bag. And we clearly don't have any babies. But since we got it when Adam was a baby, I've always just called it the baby bag. It goes everywhere with me and nothing compares to it. Mostly because of all of the great zippered pockets that allow me to organize all sorts of useful things (fingernail clippers, snacks, pens, power cords, coupons, you name it). I've tried to transfer to something a little more lady-like, but nothing has worked out.
But I think Saturday was the last straw. The Conference Center security guard wouldn't let me take in my backpack. "It's not a backpack, I told him."
"Sorry", he told me, "no backpacks."
"It's really not a backpack." (There were ladies carrying purses twice as large and my bag, walking right in without any problems.)
"I'm sorry, you'll have to go check it at Portal 14."
Grrrr. That meant I had to ditch my treats. . . any my camera.
So I am ready for a new bag. With lots of zippered pockets. Any suggestions? Please!?! I found this bag, but it certainly isn't going to have enough compartments. And I don't really like the color. And I'm afraid it could, possibly, be classified as a backpack someday.
Anyhow, I finally made it to my seat in the Conference Center. Sitting in the auditorium with 20,000 other women and girls was pretty incredible. And it made today's Sunday School lesson about "The Gathering of My People" even more meaningful.
Sister Ann Dibb talked about standing in holy places. I loved how she said that something can become a holy place because of you. And that anytime you have the courage to stand for what is right, you are creating a holy place.
Sister Mary Cook spoke about adding oil to our lamp, one drop at a time, by consistently making righteous decisions. She shared some stories that explained how trials can be a springboard for growth or a roadblock. "Our most significant opportunities will come in times of greatest difficulty." And she also encouraged us to keep our testimonies vibrant by writing them down.
Next, they showed this five-minute video called Standing in Holy Places. It is very well made. . . and touching. So you should make time to watch it.
Sister Elaine Dalton talked about how one righteous young woman, led by the spirit, can change the world. She encouraged the young women to be a standard to the world. And to be not moved in choosing right. "In these latter days, there are no small decisions. . . your choices matter. . . they are of eternal significance." She shared so many wonderful things, I was typing on my phone as fast as I could to keep up with her. "Live your lives in such a way that you can listen to and follow the Holy Ghost. . . Holy men need holy women to stand by their sides."
And finally, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke. He told the story of when his family fled East Germany and how he and his mother hiked across the border into West Germany. He counseled us not to fear. We are not alone on our journey. The Lord sees us as we are really are. He told us to love one another and to learn the universal language of Christ's love. (Or German, since that's what he thinks we will speak in heaven.) And his final admonition was to be of good cheer. There will always be things to complain about, things that don't seem to go quite right. But that is not the journey we want and that is not the journey Heavenly Father sent you to take. Walk joyfully, look for the happiness your Father in Heaven prepared for you.
It was a great gathering of young women, and it really was a great meeting. As soon as the closing prayer concluded, I hustled out of there as fast as I could to go get my camera. But guess what? No re-entry. I explained that I was trying to take a picture of our group and wasn't able to take my bag in with me. So he kindly offered to escort me. Which got kind of awkward because by then some of the girls had gone to the bathroom, so there was a lot of standing around and waiting.
Anyhow, by the time we got everyone together the light was no longer ideal, so we took that one quick shot and then went outside to take a few more pictures.
Jessie and Bayleigh:
Chay and Breanna:
The whole group:
Mariah & Sammy:
Melissa forced me to be in a picture. Sometimes I need that.
And then she announced to the girls who hadn't already found out that it was my last activity. So then I needed pictures with some of the young women:
One last picture with Melissa to end my calling as Young Women Secretary:
That was certainly one of my shortest church callings. . . just four months. But we sure packed a lot of great activities in over the last four months, and I really do love those girls.
P.S. We watched this video today in church as part of our combined Relief Society/Priesthood meeting on family history. It's a lot longer, but quite an inspiring story.