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Laughter and tears shared at Houston's Time Out for Women

By Ramona Siddoway

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 19 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Friends ham it up at Houston's Time Out for Women.

Ramona Siddoway

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Singer-songwriters Macy Robison and Hilary Weeks, war survivor Mariama Kallon, along with authors James Ferrell, Brad Wilcox, John Hilton III, Kris Belcher, Merrilee Boyack and Emily Freeman, were in the Houston area Sept. 14-15 as part of Deseret Book’s Time Out for Women "Seek the Good" tour.

“It was a spiritually uplifting experience with a lot of fun thrown in,” attendee and volunteer Rachel Hill said of the event in Houston.

Vera McKee, of Friendswood, Texas, has been a volunteer for more than five different Time Out for Women events and says she has seen the transformative power of the two-day program with its plethora of speakers and musical numbers.

James Ferrell spoke to Friday’s attendees about likening lives to boats in an ocean where every boat has holes. Some boats have more holes than others and some holes are bigger in size. A trap we can get into at times is to compare our holes to the holes of others.

“This is silly,” he said, “because any size hole means our boat is sinking and we need Christ to save us.”

On Saturday, Mariama Kallon delighted audience members when she shared her first impressions of the United States — called “The Last Junction” by Africans. To laughing women she spoke of being amazed at ice falling from the sky, stairs that take you up and down and money from a wall.

“In Africa, this was our spoon,” she said as she lifted up a fist. As she opened each finger, she spelled out s-p-o-o-n. She used her hands to eat everything.

“Don’t take anything for granted,” she urged, “not even the gospel. It gives us the strength to go through this life.”

Kris Belcher, who is blind and is a wife, mother and author, had attendees on a roller coaster of emotions, ranging from tears to laughter. With only limited eyesight from her early childhood, she spoke of the devastation she felt when at age 32 she was diagnosed with cancer in the eye in which she actually had some sight. When offered the option of either an eye patch to cover the post surgical hole or wearing glasses with a fake eye that she could take on or off, she said to her it was a choice between being “Long John Belcher” or “Mrs. Potato Head.” Luckily, a third option was later offered involving a more realistic silicone patch.

Belcher understands Mormon women and their idea of what the perfect righteous woman should be, including keeping a perfect house with always tidy kids and homemade bread made before dawn.

“Throw away that idea,” she said. “Only in our relationship with Heavenly Father is righteousness found. A righteous woman is someone who has the Lord with her.”

The event closed with Emily Freeman, who shared five ways to help build trust in the Lord. Trust that he knows how to get us through something, his word, his timing, his example and that sacrifices will lead to miracles.

Producer Chrislyn Woolston, KaRyn Lay and a multitude of volunteers spend months preparing for each Time Out for Women in their respective cities.

The next stops for the Time Out for Women tour will be in St. Louis and Las Vegas on Sept. 21-22. The 2012 “Seek the Good” tour will visit eight more cities, with the last stop in Portland, Ore., on Nov. 2. For more information, visit www.tofw.com. This site includes highlights from the event, a blog, inspirational stories and the tour schedule for Time Out for Girls.

Ramona Siddoway is a freelance writer who has published articles in Belgium, Angola and the United States. She lives with her husband in Houston. Her website is ramonasiddoway.com

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