I've been missing my blogging. The past two weeks have been typical summer craziness - first the Simster and PJ were sick sick and more sick. Then I cleaned like mad to get the house presentable for a fun visit from my in-laws. I knew I had to get the entire house looking good, since they hadn't been here before and would want the complete tour. Then I spent a week entertaining, enjoying, playing, and chatting with my in-laws, including my 15-year-old sister-in-law and 14-year-old niece. I didn't go to bed until after 1am the whole time they were here (and I neglected to photo document their fun stay...slacker me!). In the midst of that, I had three kids to keep tabs on, had normal YW activities, I was working on helping my replacement at work, and DH was working his tail off. (Yep, he used to have a tail. But now he's worked it off...) That weekend I spent three days enjoying/chaperoning youth conference and then last week, I had a commitment every evening (fireside, FHE, YW activity, baby shower, RS Activity, made dinner for a family, Stake Water Park). Whew! I'm getting tired just thinking about it. Now I have a week to calm down a bit before heading to Utah on my business trip :)
Quick update on youth conference... It was really enjoyable! I wasn't used to having youth conference so chopped up (Friday 7-11pm, Saturday 9am-2pm, 7pm-11pm, Sunday 7-8:30pm) and no overnight stays, but we had a great time. The theme was "To Shine For Him Each Day" and they focused on letting our light shine. Only four MiaMaids and Laurels were even in town to go, so we had a small group, but they had a good experience.
Friday we started with a fun road rally. I haven't been in the area long and didn't know where I was going, but the kids were supposed to do it anyway, and my group just had fun and didn't worry too much about winning. Then they got to play black light volleyball. The youth conference shirts were glow in the dark, so everyone was glowing. Again, my team didn't win every game, but we had fun. I remembered why they keep putting me in Young Women - I'm not sure I'm going to ever really grow up! :)
Saturday Morning we showed up at the Nelson Center to perform service. This is a group home for children who have been severely abused physically and emotionally and are so scarred and emotionally and/or behaviorally challenged that they can't be put in a foster home right away. These kids spend time at the Nelson center among caring volunteers learning correct behaviors and learning to trust adults so they can be placed in foster care and then hopefully adopted. Our youth spent the morning weeding, pruning bushes, caring for trees and flowers, staining fences, painting signs, even taking out dead trees. It was 97 degrees plus 20% humidity so we were all sweating bullets, but it was such a good cause. I had to gently remind the youth at times what the purpose of the service was and to remember what they have that these kids don't have, but overall, they were troopers. Then we had lunch and played water games with the kids.
Saturday Night we had a banquet, speaker, and a dance. Thanks to my MIL and FIL who volunteered to stay with the kids, DH went with me to this. We had some yummy food, then a great talk on Living in the Limelight and being an example. I loved how the speaker talked about how he loves his wife now more than ever, and he knows that his love continues to grow because of the covenants they made in the temple. The music for the dance was a live band, and I guess they played mostly "old stuff" so the youth weren't totally thrilled. Even though the music was "old" they still played stuff that was too recent for DH and I. Some of the songs DH and I jammed out to, my YW were laughing at us. *Sigh* I always told myself I was going to be one of those cool parents who stayed up-to-date on the music, but the Bubbs is only three, and I'm already out-of-touch! Poop. It was also entertaining to watch DH, since he never went to dances as a youth, and he thought the music was supposed to be hymns and church stuff :) Cute, huh. It was a fun night, and the guy I have a crush on even asked me to dance! Like four times! :)
Sunday Evening was the conclusion with a fireside from a recently returned mission president on Letting the Light of Christ shine through us. He shared some stories of the people he served in Australia and the missionaries who sacrificed to be there. It was so motivating to hear about youth and adults who are so strong in their testimonies even when everything around them is attacking their beliefs. The spirit was strong and I was renewed in energy to "go about doing good." The culmination was a picture collage given to each YM/YW that contained pictures from all the youth in our stake "Shining For Him Each Day". I've scanned it so you can see how talented and creative someone in the stake was to put this together. I had two of my girls with me on the ride home and we had an amazing conversation and I was able to testify to them of how important they are and how Heavenly Father has given them each unique gifts to help them in this life. It was such a great way to end the weekend and it definitely recharged my spiritual battery! What amazing YM & YW who are growing up and standing strong in these latter days!