Saturday, April 4, 2015

Two (Actually Three) Ideas to Make General Conference More Powerful, and Some Family Pics

I love General Conference!  Here are two ideas I'm using this year to make conference more meaningful and personal. 

I know I'm posting after the Saturday sessions, but you could still try one or both ideas for Sunday sessions. 

1. Bring a question to conference. 

Ask the Lord (in writing so it's really concrete) a question you have, and ask Him to please answer it during conference. This week as I was pondering which question to ask, the thought popped into my mind to ask God what question HE wanted me to ask. Wow, that was a good idea -- I wish I though of it myself! So I did. The question came into my mind pretty quickly and clearly. So I wrote the question down and started asking that question in prayer, asking for it to be answered from conference.

Here's the cool thing. This morning I woke up to an email from an old friend with whom I hadn't talked in a couple years. This friend felt prompted to tell me some things that were 100% related to my conference question! And conference hadn't even started yet! And I know I'll keep getting more answers through conference too. God is sooooo good. 

The Lord has invited us over and over to ask and we shall receive. On the flip side, if we don't ask, we may not receive. So ask! 

2. Use a printable updated chart to summarize your favorite notes and make a plan of action. 

I get more out of conference when I take notes. Even if I never read them again, the act of writing them down makes them stick in my mind longer. But I've found one more tool that makes my notes more powerful. Go through your notes and summarize your favorite parts, and set some goals from the principles you learned. You could also use something simple like this as your only note-taking tool if you like. 

Here is my one-page note summary of three sessions so far: two today (Saturday) and the women's session last week. The printable link is updated from this one to include a few more perks. 

Filling out the boxes of each speaker's topic will get you thinking, summarizing the messages into a phrase. It's always enlightening to watch for common themes, as it gives us direction of what God wants us to give extra focus to for the next six months. The fun thing is, I may see a different topic for each talk, and different common themes than you do, and that's fine! 

The next three columns are where the spiritual power kicks in. 

  1. As you review your notes, say a little prayer to see if there is an action God wants you to take from what you learned in that particular talk. If the Lord puts an idea in your mind during or after a talk, write it down. Now you have an action list that's power packed right from heaven. When the Spirit gives us direction, you can use If you have many actions, choose which one(s) to start with. 
  2. Favorite quotables are awesome. Thanks to tech-savvy souls you'll see memes pop up all over social media. Those people wrote down a favorite quotable and then made it into a beautiful meme. If a quote really touched your heart, you may choose to print and frame it, or send certain ones to a missionary or a friend. 
  3. The last column is a place to capture any promptings that give hints of answers to your conference question, or ANY promptings!  It's likely the Spirit will give you answers during talks that aren't necessarily about your topic. The Spirit is awesome like that. He can speak any time, anywhere. Elder Scott says that when we write down personal revelation we're showing the Lord we appreciate it, and we're more likely to get more revelation!  Think dinner with your kids: When you slave over the stove and the kids complain or chow and run off, do you feel appreciated and filled with desire to cook a fancy meal the next day? How about if your family raves over your meal and thanks you profusely -- then do you feel a desire to cook more for those cuties?  I bet you do. So it makes sense that the Lord gives more light when we appreciate, cherish, write down, and act on the light He gives us. Another suggestion is to pull out your journal once conference is over and do some journaling specifically to gather and organize your thoughts and impressions about answers to your question. 

Here is an updated printable chart. I adapted it from a seminary handout I used six months ago. Feel free to adapt it too. 

A benefit of having a one-page summary of your notes and goals is that you can fold it and use it as a scripture bookmark, looking it over periodically to remind you of what the Lord wants you to be doing, recommit to take those steps, and thank the Lord for improvements you've already made. 

Here are my regular notes that I used to make a summary page. You can also just use the summary page as a stand-alone way to take notes. 

3. Click here for a third idea: being deliberate after conference to apply what you've learned.

Here is a great little video about the blessings of General Conference. It's from this site. 


In celebration of the FAMILY theme I've noticed in this conference, I'll post some of our family pics from this conference weekend. 

My 13-year-old boys and I spent yesterday with these two little cuties, and cleaning house for their mama who is finishing up her bachelor's degree in a few weeks! I still don't feel old enough to be a grandma, but I LOVE being a grandma to these two girlies. 

One of my 13-year-olds putting on his niece's shoes. She was in heaven with two fun uncles to play with for hours. 

My other 13-year-old holding his other niece. It is soooo heartwarming to watch your kids love little ones! 

Fun with daddy's motorcycle helmet. 

Dad giving a massage to the twinners during Saturday conference.  My pink and white fuzzy socks were a gift from our missionary, Adam, in Belgium. I wore them today to honor Adam, and we thought of him watching conference in the church library at night with the stash of junk food the missionaries bought for the occasion. 

Conference wouldn't be conference without some spontaneous brotherly rough housing. The brothers did not disappoint. 

I love snuggling with this guy while we take conference notes. 

Dinner-with-Dad tradition after the priesthood session. 

This year we tried a make-shift Passover dinner on the Thursday before Easter. We had chicken, flat bread with hummus, an orange, and grape juice instead of wine. Our 15-year-old daughter had recently had a Passover dinner with her homeschool group history teacher (who is AMAZING and makes learning anything fascinating). So we had her teach us the symbolism of different parts of the meal. I want to uplevel our new tradition next year by doing more research to get more realistic Passover food  and trying my hand at cooking lamb.  We'll see how that goes! 

Here is a great site about Christ's events leading up to Easter, including his last supper, atonement, and resurrection.

I forgot to take a picture of our family walk we took after conference on Easter Sunday, but I took pictures of our tulips! 

I'm in love with our tulips every spring. They are so beautiful on this Easter Sunday. Jesus Christ is such a brilliant creator. Wow, they are pretty. 


Charity said...

Thanks for the chart, I look forward to trying it out tomorrow. I did a make-shift Passover meal Thursday and we did a leg of Lamb in the crockpot all day, it was so tender we just did a french dip with it,,,but the bread did have leavening. Still, I'm liking the idea of teaching my kids more about the Holy Week. It's made Easter much more meaningful.

Becky Edwards said...

Thank you for sharing about your Passover meal. We noticed yesterday that the Church put out a cool chart that helps us see what happened each day of Easter week. In fact, I'll add the link to the post above. I'd like to use it next year and do something to commemorate Christ each day.

Melissa said...

Such great ideas!! I will be using these for the October session! I sure love your blog.

Becky Edwards said...

Thank you for your nice comment Melissa! I wish I would have written this post last week so more people could use the ideas ahead. At least I can post it a week ahead for October conference!

Tam said...

thanks for the chart, I'm really liking it!

Linda Robbins said...

Becky this is fantastic! I didn't read this until today, but I will be using your chart as we re-watch each conference talk day by day...lots of noise with little kiddies makes it important for us to review! I also love the way you choose and follow up goals as a family! You are such a wonderful example! Love you!

Becky Edwards said...

Melissa, Linda brought up a great idea to use the summary chart as you study the conference talks after conference. Also, please see my next post for a way to get more from conference after conference by setting small goals to act on what you've learned.

Anonymous said...

NiCole said:

Here's another idea: This year I used post-it notes to write on. Each speaker got their own post-it, and I wrote main topics and memorable phrases on them. I included their calling and the session they spoke in. Now I can sort the post-its according to common topics, order of personal priority, seniority, or anything else that seems to matter to me at the time. I did this simply because that was all I had to write on at the time, but I like it and think I will use it again.

Yellie said...

We have a summary worksheet for each talk that we fill out when we revisit the talks. Included is a box for biographical info about the speaker. We use the bios on Sometimes it's the bios that really touch the kids as they fill out the worksheet and share with us later!

Yellie said...

We have a summary worksheet for each talk that we fill out when we revisit the talks. Included is a box for biographical info about the speaker. We use the bios on Sometimes it's the bios that really touch the kids as they fill out the worksheet and share with us later!