So you know how I said I would post about the "other" events that took place between the end of May and now? I'm finally doing it! It's going to take me a long while to catch up though, so be patient with me. But here's the first one:
Every year our Stake Relief Society (All the women of our church in this area) go up Hobblecreek Canyon to Jolley's Ranch and spend two days jam packed full of inspirational speakers, crafts, humanitarian aid projects, and food. Last year my mom came with me and this year my mom and sister-in-law, Holly, came with me. It's a blast to be up in Heavenly Father's creations surrounded by women you know and love. It's great to know that everyone is there for the same purpose. It's so much fun to discuss the talks given and to hear all the serious talks and the funny talks and the inspirational talks; Just to absorb all the light from all the people around you is refreshing. We didn't camp out over night like last year. (Yes, I was pregnant last year and camped out anyway, because I knew I wouldn't be able to this year. Call me crazy...) We did go up early the next morning though, so we were there both days. The talks that stand out most to me are these:
1) There was a talk with a man that really knew the scriptures. I think his topic was something along the lines of "Inner Beauty found in the Scriptures" and we did talk about that for most of it, but some of it was just questions from all of us which weren't all on topic because this guy just knows so much. You can bring up a random topic and ask him any question and he can quote you a scriptural reference (in any of the four scriptures, Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, or Pearl of Great Price) that has to do with that topic. It was so great to be able to drink from such a deep well of knowledge. One great thing about this guy is that he got to be so knowledgeable of the scriptures because he used to drink and do other not-so-good things until his life fell apart. Then he put it back together by studying the scriptures so much that he was just immersed in them. It's just such a triumphant story and now he is blessing so many lives with his knowledge.
2) There was an old man that had some wacky ideas about how I should raise my kids. He refused to answer any questions and blew off anyone that tried to get him to clarify what he was saying. He even made the one lady feel like her question wasn't relevant and that she was dumb for asking it. He spoke several times during the two days we were there but I only saw him once. One of my friends and I were talking in line for lunch though and she told me that she completely disagreed with almost everything he said, so I knew it would be an interesting talk when I went to it. I left his talk early, figuring that a good walk through nature would do me more good than his speech. It was so weird to have the spirit interrupted like that. Last year there wasn't one talk or speaker that I felt was just way off base like that, let alone one that insulted people. It's a long two days up there and you get so tired, so my mom and Holly just slept through it! :) That made me laugh.
3) Ranelle Wallace (author of The Burning Within) came and told a condensed version of her story and filled it with wonderful spiritual insight. It was funny and moving and she was easy to listen to.
She was living in California and her and her husband took a trip to Utah (Park City) to try and put their marriage back together. She had several warnings not to go on the trip and especially not to fly home, but she ignored them all and was in a TERRIBLE plane crash. I have the book if anyone wants to borrow it. It is such a great story about how she gets off the mountain she crashed in to, about her death and coming back to this world, and about her recovery afterward. What I found out about the story by listening to her speak was that, after everything that happened, her husband ended up leaving her anyway (this statement is so much more powerful and meaningful when you read the book)for a much younger woman and that she was diagnosed with cancer and found out the day that she was coming to speak to us that the cancer was finally gone. This woman has really been through it in this life, and yet she still has a huge smile on her face. That alone can teach us all something.
I love the way the Retreat is set up. There are several classes offered at the same time so that you can pick which speaker you want to see. It's only $10 and you get almost all your meals for Friday and Saturday, besides the wonderful speakers. I know that everybody that went with me received some sort of answer to prayer while up there. Really, if you can come next year, I would HIGHLY recommend it. Just let me know and I will invite you when it comes closer to having it again.