Monday, March 16, 2015

Time Out for Women 2015

This past weekend I was able to attend Time Out for Women with an amazing group of women from my ward, or church congregation. Because I had such an amazing, life-changing experience last year, I knew that going to this event would become a yearly tradition. Last year's experience must have been a unique one, because this year, I was a little disappointed. There were many great points made by each speaker, but none of them really touched me or made me get emotional, or have one of those moments that really made me think about what I need to change in my life, or so I thought. But overall, I came away with a new sense of what it means to develop talents.

Jenny Oaks Baker, a celebrated violinist with 4 children, performed many beautiful pieces, some with her 11-year-old daughter on piano. When she performs, she has a very serious look on her face, so serious that you wonder if she ever smiles. But when she's done, she does smile, and takes a bow, and when she spoke to us, she had a smile from ear to ear. I was impressed by her motivation and drive to succeed. She travels all over the world performing her violin, sharing the talent she has been given. Even though she has a family to take care of, somehow they make it work, and she is able to pursue the talent that God has blessed her with. I really admire that about her, and I am positive that she knows that this is the path God wants her to take in her life. She is touching people through her music.

Then, Wendy Ulrich, a psychologist, spoke about the four stages of relationships: 1) honeymoon; 2)power struggle; 3) withdrawal; 4) acceptance/renewal. In any relationship with a person, these are the typical stages that we all go through. In my relationship as a mother to Julianna, I am definitely going back and forth between stage 2 and 3, hoping to reach stage 4. Actually I would think most people bounce back and forth between those stages. Acceptance takes a long time to reach. She then asked us to relate these stages to our relationship with God. She also said, "Sometimes we need to sit still and let God and our goals find us."

On Saturday, a singer named Sandra Turley performed and spoke to us. She sang a song about seasons, and asked if we were happy in the season that we're in, or are we always looking to the next season? She also sang an arrangement of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, and talked about how the two songs were related. One line stood out to me: "Some things I cannot change but if I don't try I'll never know." Sandra told us to clear out the clutter and focus on the things that matter. Instantly I thought, to me, this means to develop my talents. Stop cluttering my life with things that are unimportant and do something that will make a difference.

A piano player named Josh Wright sat down to amaze us, and I began to write in my journal as I listened. I wrote about my own talents, and how I have been wasting years not developing them. Sure, I have been the best mom and wife I could be, and I play the flute here and there for church events, but I know I have even more talents that I can give to the world. What does God want me to do? What goals will I set to accomplish this? I began to think about all the speakers and performers at Time Out for Women, and realized that the only reason they are up there, inspiring all of us, is because THEY PURSUED THEIR TALENTS. They discovered what made them unique and special and made sure they developed those things. And while most people give up, or let other things get in the way, they didn't. They kept going, even when it was hard, and got to a place where they are now inspiring other people to do the same. That's what sets them apart. They set goals, and they reach them. And then they set some more.

Another speaker, Emily Watts, talked about how it's okay to be an imperfect mother. She said maybe the finished product is not the whole point--it's the process, the learning. She said "The broken heart is the fertile field for the seeds of his love." Later on, Emily Freeman pointed out that sometimes you can't see God's hand in your life, but you can see the fingerprints. She asked us what one thing we would write on a small stone as our "faith step." Right away, I thought, "Stop wasting time!" She ended by saying, "Be someone who can make a difference."

When I reflect now on all the speakers and performers, I can see how they tie together, and even though I thought I didn't feel anything while I was there, I really did. I just didn't realize it until now, after reviewing my notes and writing this post, I finally felt the tears come to my eyes. I was inspired at this event, inspired to make goals and reach new heights in my life. I can't make excuses anymore for wasting time. I know that I can achieve things of great importance, and that anyone can. I know that I can make a difference, that every single person can make a difference. I know that I have talents that need to be developed, that every person does, too.

Our group went to lunch during the break, and my table had a very interesting conversation. I brought up the point that all these women inspire us because they don't waste their time--they go for their goals and don't give up. Someone said that she thought I could be like those women too, but that maybe my story isn't written yet. I was flattered! But then she said maybe my kids need me more right now. She was right. So, I am doing what God wants me to do right now in my life. Maybe He does have bigger plans, I don't know. But for now, I will continue to write my story, and maybe my little goals will add up to bigger ones in the years to come.

1 comment:

  1. You are so talented Kera, and I don't think you realize how much we all look up to you. I agree that I can see you being a presenter and being up there. Your a natural at it. It was different this year, but I found lots of thoughts to ponder and reflect on from this years presenters. I agree the musical talent was amazing and inspiring. I'm looking forward to next years TOFW.