This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend something my grandma used to go to quite often. Time Out For Women is an opportunity for sisters in the church to get together and learn and grow. A friend of mine had extra tickets and I was able to use them. Let me tell you, the speakers were wonderful!
TOFW is a 2 day event and there are several people who speak to us. Each speaker has something to share to help us grow in faith and support. A room full of women listening to touching stories, you could only assume we cried. Let me tell you a bit about my experience and the speakers for each day.
Friday night, there were only a few speakers and each one was pretty heavy. First was Cade and Carrian Cheney. They run a blog called Oh Sweet Basil and they discussed how the blog came to be and how it changed their lives. Carrian had a lot of health complications when she was pregnant and when Cade lost his job their blog provided what they needed. But it became not only a place to share recipes but a place to share their faith. I don’t want to give away their whole story but it was a beautiful and touching one. I love that they talked about how the love of cooking and doing it together brought their family closer than ever. Cooking with your significant other can change your day.
Next we heard from Jenny Oaks Baker, a violinist who is the daughter of Dallin H. Oaks (one of the apostles). She shared a little about her life and hardships she’s faced; from losing her mom to getting her van loaded with 9 weeks of belongings and expensive instruments broken into. I love that she also included her 14-year-old daughter, who was playing the piano with her. Listening to them was such a delight! And I loved their dresses.
The last speaker of the night was Tim Ballard. His story was the most emotional of the night. He has a nonprofit organization called Operation Underground Railroad. He and his team rescue children all over the world from sex trafficking. The story he told us was of a bishop in Haiti whose baby boy was taken from him and no one was able to help him. So Tim Ballard looked into it and found where he would have been taken and, to make a long story short, he rescued 28 children from being sold. Sadly, the bishop’s son had already been sold and still, a couple of years later, has not been found. The bishop did end up adopting 8 of the children who were rescued, though. And Tim ended up adopting 2 more, and it’s been a long process because of international adoption policies but they are coming home this week finally.
Saturday was another great day with amazing speakers. We started with a woman named Jenny Reeder, who is a church historian. She shared several stories of women in the bible as well as in church history that we didn’t know the full details about. She also shared her story of how she battled cancer 3 times in her life and how she had to come to terms with being infertile because of all the radiation. Her story was touching and, of course, brought tears to my eyes because I, too, may not be able to have children. I know that I still do have a possibility of conceiving but I still feel her pain.
The next speaker was Alissa Parker. Alissa’s daughter Emily was a victim in the Sandy Hook shooting and has since co-founded Safe and Sound Schools. I may not be a mother but hearing her speak made me cry more than any other speaker the whole weekend. I’m not a mother but I love children and I have nieces and nephews. I can only imagine how I would feel if something like this happened to one of them. When I hear stories involving children, my heart breaks. The world is can be a dark place and when I hear these stories it reminds me just how dark. There was something she said that stuck with me. It was about when she gave her anger and sadness of the shooter to God she felt a weight lift from her. It made me realize that I never truly forgave the driver who killed my grandpa. I have internally held onto it, still a little upset with this stranger who I will never meet. But if Alissa can give her anger to God and let it go, so can I. And of course, that made me cry more.
We had the opportunity to hear from City of Enoch, a LDS musical group. Their stories and voices really touched me. They actually sang one of my favorite songs, which I recorded and will add the video at the end. Each of them became new parents in 2017 (I think that’s what they said) and 2 of them are expecting their second children this year. Listening to their songs really touched my soul and I hope that more people are able to experience their music because it is so enlightening! I could listen to them all day every day because it’s just that amazing and I hope you find as much joy in their music as I have.
The next speakers were Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes. They are Sistas in Zion and boy are they funny. I loved listening to them and learning about how sisters can come from anywhere at any time. And that we are each like mitch match socks and together we are a pair. I love that! They were actually wearing mitch match socks, too! You can tell, just from hearing them, that they love each other and the church. I loved Zandra’s spunkiness and Tamu’s testimony. Tamu is actually from Fresno and hasn’t been back in a long while so it was nice to hear from a local. I do wish they had talked more but I loved hearing from them for the time they had. I know I’ll be checking out their website now, that’s for sure!
Our last speaker was Elaine S. Dalton, who was the Young Women’s president for a few years. I remember listening to her quite often. I had never heard her in person, though, so it was nice. I loved how shiny her dress was, and I think it perfectly represents who she is. She is so lively and fun and funny. I loved when she talked about being grumpy now. She used a story from her granddaughter and how she was grumpy because she wanted more pita. And she related that to how we are sometimes grumpy and it’s ok. It’s normal to have those bad days but don’t let those grumpy days become who you are or define you. You are not a grumpy person, you just had a rough day and aren’t happy today. You will have a better day tomorrow, though!
This experience was a great one and I feel like I really needed it. I am grateful I got to go and if you ever have the opportunity to attend, do it. It will change you. I know the price can be kinda steep but it’s so worth it!
As always, thank you for coming to my blog. If you have ever attended or plan to attend TOFW, post your thoughts below. We want to hear from you. Stay tuned for more posts each week! Now enjoy a couple songs by City of Enoch! The first one is the song I recorded so I apologize for the poor quality.