Laurie Snow Turner
RICHMOND, Va. — The Time Out for Women event drew a capacity crowd of 2,000 women and girls, all eager to learn how to become the women they are meant to be by listening to Deseret Book authors and musicians who focused their presentations on discovering “your possibilities.”
Ruby Brooks and Joan Williams traveled more than 100 miles from the Capitol Ward in the Suitland Maryland Stake to attend the Richmond, Va., event the weekend of Oct. 22.
“I’ve attended quite a few of these events and I absolutely love them,” Brooks said. “They help me face another day and learn how to improve my life. They give me focus and perspective every time I come.”
This was Williams' first Time Out for Women event, and she said she was especially inspired by Merilee Boyack’s remarks on “Blazing Your Own Trail.” Boyack is the author of “In Trying Times, Just Keep Trying,” and “Toss the Guilt and Catch the Joy, A Woman’s Guide to a Better Life.” Using the letters of the acronym “BECOME U,” Boyack asked the audience to repeat the phrases each letter of her acronym represented. For example, she said, B is for “Be Bold.” She asked the audience to say, “I am bold.” She followed up with “I am Eternally minded,” “I am Creative,” “I am Outwardly focused,” “I am Meek,” “I am Enlightened,” and “I am Unique.”
Williams said as she repeated each phrase she felt emboldened by them.
“I also became more humble,” she said.
Attendees also participated in a service project for the Safe Harbor House in Richmond, which is a shelter for victims of sexual and domestic violence. During the lunch break women assembled 225 hygiene kits called “Possibility Packs” for the women’s shelter.
The Time Out for Women fall tour includes stops in several U.S. cities. Richmond was the sixth stop. The "Choose to Become" tour will stop in Kansas City, Kan., Phoenix, St. George and Salt Lake City in November. A Time Out for Girls event was happening at the same time as their mothers were listening to the Time Out for Women presenters including Brad Wilcox, Linda J. Eyre and Shawni Eyre Pothier, Jericho Road, Boyack and Laurel Christensen.
“You can decide today to choose to become a little closer to the woman you are meant to be,” said Christensen, Time Out for Women general manager and Deseret Book's vice president of product development. “Whether you want to strengthen your testimony or improve your relationships or step up your personal improvement, you can choose to go back home a little different than you are right now.”
In Christensen’s presentation on “The Faith Experiment,” she talked about her many efforts to create the perfect plan for her life and the disappointment of her plan not working out.
“I went from Plan A to Plan K and then on to Plan Z and into the Greek alphabet,” she said. “Like in the parable in Luke, I felt like I was asking God for bread and he kept giving me stones. Then I decided it was easier not to ask than to keep being disappointed,” she said.
Christensen asked a friend’s husband to give her a blessing without telling him how she felt, and he specifically mentioned Heavenly Father wanted to give her bread and she needed to ask for it. She realized that she needed to do three things — pray, think, and live with greater faith.
In the end, she realized “the Lord had been giving me bread all along, I just couldn’t see it. I realized I’m not on Plan Z or into the Greek alphabet. I’m on Plan A. It was always Plan A. Where you are is no surprise to Heavenly Father. My problem was that I placed my faith in an outcome instead of placing my faith and my hope in him.”
Mariama Kallon shared her story of being raised in war-torn Sierra Leone and witnessing the violent murders of her parents and siblings before she was introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She found hope in God and peace in the knowledge of eternal families.
She told about being given a small humanitarian kit by the LDS Church that became a treasured symbol of hope, and she shared it with other women who also were fleeing to avoid being killed. She later was called to the Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission.
“I wept with gratitude to the Lord for sending me to the place where my precious humanitarian kit was made,” Kallon said. “If someone had told me that I would be here now, I would have never believed it.”
For information about Time Out for Women, see TOFW.com.
Laurie Snow Turner is a writer in the Washington, D.C., area. She blogs at lauriesnowturner.com.
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