Sunday, July 31, 2011

Backtracking to March: New Beginnings

In January and February I was on top of my blog, and planned (or rather, hoped) to maintain that habit for the rest of the year, but quickly fell behind around mid-March.  So here I am, attempting to get back on track and make this blog current once again. My plan (or rather, hope) is, in the coming days, to compile a post for each month, summarizing the events I've failed to share along the way from March on.  Let's see if I can do it.

On March 20th, we had our New Beginnings, which is an annual program for the young women of our church.  Because I work with the young women, I had the pleasure of taking part in the planning and execution of this year's program.  We used Jenny Phillips' Happily Ever After script, which worked beautifully.  The theme was based around President Dieter F. Uchtdorf 's April 2010 Conference address, Your Happily Ever After, and much of his talk was quoted throughout the program.  Here were my favorite bits and pieces:

"'Once upon a time' promises something: a story of adventure and romance, a story of princesses and princes.  it may include tales of courage, hope and everlasting love.  In many of these stories, nice overcomes mean and good overcomes evil.  But perhaps most of all, I love it when we turn to the last page and our eyes reach the final lines and we see the enchanting words "And they lived happily ever after."  Isn't that what we all desire: to be the heroes and heroines of our own stories; to triumph over adversity; to experience life in all its beauty; and, in the end, to live happily ever after?

"Beloved young sisters, stay true to what you know is right  Everywhere you look today, you will find promises of happiness.  Ads in magazines promise total bliss if you will only buy a certain outfit, shampoo, or makeup.  Certain media productions glamorize those who embrace evil or who give in to base instincts.  Often these same people are portrayed as models of success and accomplishment.  In a world where evil is portrayed as good and good as evil, sometimes it is difficult to know the truth . . . We all search for happiness, and we all try to find our own 'happily ever after.' The truth is, God knows how to get there!  And He has created a map for you; He knows the way . . . All you have to do is trust your Heavenly Father.  Trust Him enough to follow His plan."  - Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Your Happily Ever After, April Conference 2010)


"You girls go and find the modest clothes and wear them, make them as beautiful as you can and be attractive and make up to your boyfriends in bright intellect and sweet spirit and attractive demeanor that which some girls can only do with their bodies.  It is a pretty weak girl if she has only her body to attract somebody . . . Any young woman who conducts herself so as to be attractive spiritually, mentally, and physically, but will not by word, nor dress, nor act stir or stimulate to physical reactions, she is a jewel." - Spencer W. Kimball (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pg. 285)

The need for adversity:

"We sometimes wonder: if the plan really is the great plan of happiness, why must we struggle to find the fullness of it in mortal life?

If you expect to find only ease and peace and bliss during Act II [mortality], you surely will be frustrated.  You will understand little of what is going on and why things are permitted to be as they are. 

Remember this!  The line "And they lived happily ever after" is never written in the second act.  That line belongs in the third act when the mysteries are solved and everything is put right."
- Boyd K. Packer (Mine Errand from the Lord, pg. 3)

"For a moment, think back about your favorite fairy tale.  In that story the main character may be a princess or a peasant; she might be a mermaid or a milkmaid, a ruler or a servant.  You will find one thing all have in common: they must overcome adversity. . .  In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn ourselves.  Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way.  Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy.

In our pursuit to reach 'happily ever after' we will inevitably face trials and adversity.  We will also face our own weaknesses.  We need strength beyond ourselves to make the journey.  That is why our Heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior.  When the forests fill with darkness, and the wolves seek our souls, when we have lost our way, or when we feel we just can't go on, we can rely on the strength of the Lord.

'Happily ever after' is not something found only in fairy tales.  You can have it!  It is available for you!  But you must follow your Heavenly Father's map. 

Sisters, please embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ!  Learn to love your Heavenly Father with all your heart, might, and mind.  Fill your souls with virtue, and love goodness.  Always strive to bring our the best in yourself and others . . . You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God.  You are princesses, destined to become queens.  Your own wondrous story has already begun.  Your "once upon a time" is now." 
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Your Happily Ever After, April Conference 2010)

I absolutely loved this whole concept about how we write our own story.  Uchtdorf is brilliant.  I just adore the man, and was so happy that the entire program was based on his wonderful talk.

Here are a few pictures...

That's my wedding dress on the far left.

I was in charge of the food.

Here are (most of) our wonderful young women!

I have never been in as much love with a group of young girls as I am with this group of young girls. They are a strong bunch, and I am continuously impressed by the things they say and the choices they make.

All in all it was a perfect evening.  The program was uplifting and inspiring, and I think the leaders benefited from it as much as the girls did.  It's always nice to be reminded of the simple truths we teach about week after week.  After all, we are still writing our stories of "happily ever after." 

1 comment:

Rebekah said...

looks like it was a huge success!