SALT LAKE CITY — They had hoped to gather enough supplies for 150 hygiene kits to donate to the Road Home shelter.
Laurel Christensen asked the 3,900 women on Friday night at Time Out for Women to bring any extra body wash and other toiletries back Saturday morning as they were short a few supplies.
In the end, about 720 kits were assembled.
It was a record for the Deseret Book-sponsored event, which has been to 18 cities on the 2010 Infinite Hope tour.
Friends Laura Holk, Danielle Bigelow and Karina Taylor, all mothers from South Jordan, Utah, helped put together the kits, which admittedly wasn't too difficult.
The line of women filled clear plastic bags with washcloths, small bottles of shampoo, toothbrushes, razors and other items.
"It helps to give back," said Taylor, especially since they all had enjoyed the two-day event that included different presenters and musicians.
"For me, it helps me as a mom to start fresh" with new ideas, Holt said of the event.
During the event they heard a testimony of the power of a single hygiene kit, parenting tips, presentations on the power of the Atonement, and suggestions for seeing good days.
The value of one hygiene kit
When Mariama Kallon was fleeing the rebels in Sierra Leon, she grabbed her scriptures and the plastic bag with her hygiene kit in it.
She still has parts of the kit.
"It blessed the lives of over 25 women in over three weeks," Kallon said of their time in the refugee camp. The women would line up, and she would give them each a pinch of toothpaste. They used the bars of soap sparingly to make them last.
They didn't use the shampoo — it wasn't labeled and they didn't know what it was.
Kallon had lost family members during the war and ended up with friends who were members of the church. For some of the discussions, she walked three miles to the chapel.
She later served a mission at Temple Square. She brought her scriptures, both changes of clothes that she had and the hygiene kit when she entered the MTC.
Later she was reunited with her little sister and nephew when a Lehi, Utah, family brought them to the United States, she said during her at times emotional presentation of her conversion and the promises that were fulfilled to her.
"Heavenly Father loves each and everyone one of his children," Kallon said.
Parenting in the trenches
Author Linda Eyre and her daughter, Shawni Eyre Pothier, gave five tips for helping mothers.
First, be your own best kind of mom.
"We don't always get what we want," Pothier said. Children don't always give a reaction that parents expect or that other children do.
"Be careful about guilt," Eyre warned. "Everyone has different kids and different packages."
Second, have an infrastructure.
The Eyre family had a mission statement that they eventually boiled down to three words: "Broaden and Contribute." Pothier family's mission statement is "Learn, work, serve, respect."
Third, give ownership.
At family meetings, they would write down things they would do, like goals or deciding in advance what to do if confronted with a situation, Pothier said.
"Give them ownership of conflicts," Eyre said. They had a repentance bench. So when two of their children fought, they had to sit on the bench until they figured out what they did wrong, tell their parents, apologize and hug.
Fourth, formalize family traditions.
One of the Eyre's daughters had a summertime birthday and they were usually at Bear Lake, so they would float her birthday cake. And wherever it's been, whether in a monument pool in Washington, D.C., or just cupcakes in the sink, they've floated her cake.
Also, they would have family testimony meetings on Sundays after church, Eyre said.
Fifth, teach them to work.
Teach them specific tasks, Pothier said. Then when they have learned that one, she gives them a certificate saying they are certified and can train others.
It takes three P's: print, patience and persistence.
"It was exhilarating that someone changed the toilet paper roll or a light bulb," Eyre said. "Sometimes you just have to live in chaos."
But don't forget to step back and enjoy the moment.
"Your trenches are customized and expressly for you," Eyre added.
Grace and the Atonement
"What Mormon woman has mediocrity as a goal?" asked Brad Wilcox, an associate professor at BYU, as he explored grace and the Atonement during Time Out for Women.
"Grace isn't a booster engine," Wilcox said. "It's a constant energy source."
Think of it more as a mother paying for piano lessons for her children.
"Mom pays the piano teacher. Mom requires practice," Wilcox said.
The children aren't ever repaying for the lessons with money. Their part is to practice and to learn.
"Jesus doesn't make up the difference; he makes all the difference," Wilcox said. "It's not about filling a gap. It's about filling up."
Keeping your hopes up
Growing up, radio host and author Amanda Dickson's mother would tell her, "Don't get your hopes up; you might be disappointed."
Dickson, who presented despite being ill, has changed that to "get your hopes up and leave them up," and don't worry too much about the worst-case scenario.
Sometimes the worst thing that could happen is the best thing that could happen, she added.
"Roll with the flow," she said. "There is energy in change."
Which is why women like new clothes — it's not necessarily the clothes but the change.
'See good days'
Author Emily Freeman likes to "see good days" and happy endings. She offered a few reminders to help see those kinds of days and endings.
First, change your perspective. Look at Laman and Lemuel versus Nephi, Freeman said. It's about perspective.
Second, lists can be powerful. Her grandmother had a list framed on the wall of the little things that brought joy after Freeman's grandfather died. Ammon listed blessings of a mission during the reunion with his brother and Alma the younger.
Third, have an understanding heart. Don't just jump to conclusions. Sometimes there are other circumstances that may not be obvious.
Fourth, remember special days. When her son received his mission call, they invited family, friends, classmates and teammates over. Their home was packed with people. As Freeman went upstairs to get the camera, she felt impressed to take a picture of the group. He was called to Croatia, where there aren't many missionaries and baptism prospects are few. She wanted him to remember the love and support he felt that day he opened the call. And she had a photo.
Last, determine a reason for that hope.
"Where do we turn? To the high priest of good things to come," she added. "I hope the Lord has an ending that is happy for me."
'How hard can it be?'
For dinner one night, singer/songwriter Hilary Weeks was going to need some rotisserie chicken, which she still needed to buy. While finishing up some of the preparations, the thought came to her that she should leave soon to get it.
So, she got on her coat to leave and thought of a short e-mail she needed to send. She quickly sent it and left only to find someone else taking the last rotisserie chicken at the store.
"When Heavenly Father speaks, I need to obey with exactness," Weeks said of the lessons she learned that day. "Heavenly Father cares about the details of our lives."
Weeks shared several songs, from spiritual ones like "He Is" and "Believe in Who You Are" to her lighthearted laundry and whining songs.
There are so many good things women do in a day, and it's important to remember that, Weeks said.
And remember, too, "how we are appreciated by Heavenly Father," Weeks said.
Tickets for the 2011 Time Out for Women events in 21 cities went on sale on Monday, Nov. 22. Several of the presenters from the 2010 tour will be back. New presenters include Stephanie Nielson, a mother, blogger and plane crash survivor; and authors Jason Wright, Dean Hughes and Jon Hilton III. For information, go to www.deseretbook.com/tofw.