Sunday, October 5, 2014

General Conference Weekend

[Small disclaimer: this post talks about religion. If that's not your thing, feel free to skip. But I encourage all to read]

I love conference weekend. 

This wasn't always the case. When I was little, we didn't have the KBYU channel in our cable package and the internet was still new to streaming, so the only way we could watch General Conference was at our church building, where some kind soul hooked up a projector and projected all the sessions of conference on a screen in the chapel. My mom and dad would get all of the Lambson kiddos still living at home dressed up in Sunday clothes and march us off to the church building to spend a perfectly good Saturday watching some old dudes talk about reading scriptures and praying, things I heard every week during Sunday School and Primary. We had to sit politely in the slightly cushioned but mostly stiff pews and draw quietly if not sit and stare at the projection of the conference center. It was MURDER for a young kid like me, and other young kids who were subjected to such torture. At some point during this ritual, my mom said my sister and I could go to one of the classrooms where they have speakers hooked to the chapel and we could sit and do our thing in the room while listening to conference that way. That definitely made the whole "going to church on a Saturday" thing much more bearable.

Over the years, the internet got better so instead of having to sit in the church building for two days, two hours at a time for a total of 8 hours, we were able to stream conference and sit at home, still in Sunday dress and still quietly drawing, but we could sit on our comfy couches and lay out on the floor instead of properly sitting on the pews. Sure, the stream would cut out every once in a while (translation: ALL THE TIME) and we'd pick up the stream mid-talk or mid-song and not know what's going on, but it was a step forward from the church building to my young-self. For this period of time, conferences as a little more tolerated but certainly not something I looked forward to. I was still missing out on playing with friends, but my mom took the time to teach my sister and I cross-stitching, knitting, and sometimes I'd do a puzzle, and so it was nice to have that uninterrupted time with my mom learning certain crafts. I look back on those internet stream days with a certain level of fondness, even if I still wasn't getting much out of conference.

Nowadays, conference is certainly less of an inconvenience, less of an obstacle keeping me from playing with my friends or wearing street clothes and more of a weekend where I obtain incredible spiritual insight. I would always dread conference, and even my mom made a deal with us kids that we could skip one of the four sessions of our choosing (I always chose Saturday afternoon). But now I wouldn't voluntarily skip any session of conference. Heck, I even voluntarily listen to the Priesthood session, the one meant for men alone. 

Since I've been married to Ryan, we have always gone to his parents' house up in north Provo to watch conference. His mom makes cinnamon rolls for the Sunday morning session (or at the very least prepares them from the can they came in), and they always have treats like Bugles, Swedish Fish, Hot Tamales, Peanut Butter M&Ms, and other such goodies to keep us awake during the longer talks. And in general, I'm able to feel an amazing spirit while I watch conference in their home. 

Don't worry, this was between sessions.

Conference weekend allows me to take a break from life that normal Sundays can't always offer me. It's a Saturday AND Sunday devoted to spirituality, so the things I try to get done on Saturdays are put aside for a weekend and I can sit back and let the words prepared by the Lord's anointed wash over me as I try and take it all in while trying to receive my own personal revelation. It's seriously the best feeling knowing that these men and women prayed specifically about what the people need to hear this conference, to know that they prayed about what I myself need. Because there is always that ONE talk that stands out to me and speaks to my spirit in ways that I never seem to expect, despite it happening every time.

I imagine once kids are in the picture, conference will be back to being an inconvenience not because I don't want to hear it but because wrangling kids will be difficult (like I was when I was a kid being wrangled to listen to conference. Sorry, mom!). So for now, I will sit and enjoy it, this time on the TV (Thanks, Utah, for having KBYU included in all cable packages!).

Have I described enough how much I love conference weekend? I'm actually sad when it's over because it means I have to get back to my normal life (which this week is going to be a DOOZY). But it's nice that the talks given are immediately available on to watch, read, and listen to whenever you want. There's even a podcast with all the talks! And next month, we'll be getting our conference edition of the Ensign. Technology is truly amazing in that way. I can have conference whenever I want. Maybe not all at once like on the designated weekends, but a little at a time. I can spend time digesting more and focusing on certain things, which is nice.

This particular conference was incredible, as usual. I'm sad that there won't be another for 6 months as is always the case, but for now I will cherish the peace I have felt these past two days and hope that it can linger in my heart as I dive headfirst into this behemoth of a week ahead. 

I will use this chance to bear a quick testimony that I have for my Lord and Savior and His incredible apostles on this earth today, and even those who have departed. I truly believe that God isn't silent, that he speaks to His prophets and His children each and every day. His Spirit dwells within and around us, guiding us to make righteous decisions and protecting us from the evils of this world. I am so incredibly thankful for everything He has done for me and Ryan and what he has done for my family and what this gospel does for us. The words given to us from across the pulpit at each Conference are inspired words, words that were chosen for God's children to keep us on the path that will lead back to Him, and I am thankful for all the efforts put into making Conference amazing for everyone around the world. I have a testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet, I have a testimony of all of his efforts in restoring the church to the Earth and of each and every subsequent leader after him.

I love my faith. I truly do. Without it, I wouldn't have as much happiness as I have today, I know that for a fact. I don't always publicly profess my love for my Savior and for the gospel, mostly because I don't want to seem like I'm laying it on thick or coming on too strongly. But I felt that after this amazing weekend, I needed to spill my guts somewhere and my blog seemed the best place. Thanks for hanging in there while I talked about my Conference experiences. 

And now some random nature pictures to show just how beautiful Utah has been this weekend. Fall is easing its way into the state and it's absolutely gorgeous.

 All pictures were taken around Ryan's family home.

Let's hope I survive the week!


Mariah Gibbs said...

Hope this week isn't as much of a doozy as you anticipate! :) I enjoy reading your posts and thought this one was particularly lovely. Thanks for sharing. Love all the way from Tennessee!!

Jeanne, the mom and grandmom said...

I loved this post. Thank you for your testimony.