1) I loved that Sister Beck’s talk was an overview of so much that is in the new Relief Society book “Daughters of My Kingdom.” Having already begun reading it, her words reminded me of what I had read and I felt she brought some perspective to the whole. It was like a grand sweeping vision of Relief Society’s role over the ages.
2) I loved Sister Beck’s words about how visiting teaching is an expression of discipleship and should resemble the ministry of Christ. I love how she speaks of it as “watch-care.” I’ve seen in my life recently how a short visit or a phone call can really be a lift. Giving and receiving watch-care will help us feel more secure and connected as times get harder.
3) I loved Sister Allred’s words about how part of charity is being willing to help without being asked, without receiving reward, without recognition, and without reciprocation. If we’re able to do that, we are really free to show charity to anyone. Serving for the sake of receiving reward, recognition, or reciprocation can cause hurt if it doesn’t come.
4) No matter how many times I hear it, I never get tired of that quote that if we live up to our privileges the angels can not be restrained from being our associates. Do you ever find yourself asking for angels to go with you when you need a little extra comfort or courage? I have. Then I like to imagine a crowd of them coming down and walking with me. At times when I am alone in a peaceful environment, I like to imagine angels hanging about here and there just because they want to be with me. (I don’t mean that to sound arrogant; I just want to be someone angels would like to hang out with and follow around.)
5) I loved how much emphasis there was on rejoicing. The songs had lots of “rejoice” in them. Did you notice? I think I really needed it. In fact, I think I'm going to have to do a topical study on rejoicing and cheer.
6) I loved Barbara Thompson’s words about how if we keep our covenants and seek the Lord in prayer, then Satan will have no power over us. When it feels like Satan’s power is increasing, it is wonderful to know that keeping covenants and praying will protect us. I’ve been seeking to overcome discouragement while looking for a job and to endure well a period of being alone while my husband is out of town for his work.
7) I loved the scripture that Sister Thompson quoted. “Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house.” (D&C 110:9) It made me think of a different way of perceiving the temple ordinances. I hadn’t thought of examining them to find reasons to rejoice. I mean, there’s the obvious meaning behind them that we are used to appreciating, but I had never thought to look at each little part to find reasons to rejoice.
8) I love-love-loved President Uchtdorf’s talk. Each petal of the “forget-me-not” that he described was exactly what I needed.
9) I loved that President Uchtdorf said we need to be patient with ourselves as well as with others. What? Someone is refusing to give themselves time to improve or make progress and gets angry at themselves a lot? You mean me? Okay, I confess. Guilty as charged. Just like other people have limits, so do we. Why do we feel guilty about our limits? Because we think they shouldn't exist. Yes, we're children of God, but we're not gods yet. It takes time to stretch and grow. Progress doesn't happen all at once.
10) I loved that President Uchtdorf told us to celebrate the small successes. That means we can celebrate more often; I don’t know about you, but my small successes are a lot more numerous than my big successes. And thank heaven God notices even the small ones! I think too that we have to find ways of rewarding ourselves in little ways, especially if we feel like we’re not getting external reinforcement.
11) I loved that President Uchtdorf said we shouldn't forget the difference between good sacrifices and foolish sacrifices. This is a constant evaluation process that never seems to go away..
12) I loved that President Uchtdorf told us we shouldn't forget to be happy now and we shouldn't put happiness on hold while waiting for a future “golden ticket” to appear. Oh man, did I need this. It gets really tricky when happiness now seems to preclude chance of the golden ticket. How messed up is that?
13) I loved that President Uchtdorf advised us to cultivate daily gratitude and wonder. This was a great reminder to me of how many things I can enjoy if I remember to. I need to get back in the habit of appreciating the little miracles, the little tender mercies, the little pleasures, the little “common” blessings that make life beautiful. Time for me to review President Monson’s talk “The Divine Gift of Gratitude.”
14) I loved that President Uchtdorf said we shouldn't forget the “why” of the gospel in the midst of the “what” and the “how.” I love that he says that the “why” transforms the “what” and “how” into something majestic. I’ve noticed too that there are shallow “whys” and deeper “whys.” I think the deeper you can get your “whys,” the stronger you’ll become in trials and afflictions.
All in all, great messages. I can’t wait until the Ensign’s conference issue comes out!