You could say I'm a Time Out for Women junky. In the 10 years Deseret Book has put on these uplifting events, I don't believe I've missed a year. And I have the adorable bags to prove it! I've attended events in Portland, Seattle, Reno and most recently, Salt Lake City. I’ve gone with my mother and sisters or with my girlfriends, and each time it’s a cherished getaway. This past weekend, in addition to meeting up with some dear friends, I attended with my 16-year-old daughter, since the "Seek the Good" event in Salt Lake City included a Time Out for Girls event.
I wasn’t sure what to expect for the girls, since my daughter had never joined me before, but I felt confident it would be 100 percent excellent. Imagine my delight, however, when she met up with me during our common breaks, eager to tell me what she had been learning. Of the Broadway music star, Sandra Turley, who sings like an angel and sets her priorities by what will bring her closer to her Heavenly Father. Of the former American Idol finalist, Carmen Rasmusen, who is more concerned about following a path that leads to a relationship with her Savior than one that takes her to the top of the music charts. Of the funny and spiritual Brad Wilcox, who shared a silly (but oh so effective) way to remember the names of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in order.
Nothing could make me happier than seeing my often-bored-with-churchy-things daughter inform me at each break that she wanted to make sure to get back on time so she wouldn’t miss a thing. Had I not received a single piece of enlightenment for myself, the weekend would have been worth every minute consumed, every dollar spent and every mile traveled to get there.
Fortunately, however, I have a notebook filled with inspirational thoughts and messages from the speakers and musical performers, so my proverbial cup was filled to overflowing. On Friday, Oct. 26, we delighted in the music of violinist Jenny Oaks Baker and the words of Sister Virginia Pearce, a former counselor in the Young Women general presidency, and Deseret Book CEO Sheri Dew. On Saturday, Oct. 27, we were moved by Chris Williams’ inspirational story of forgiveness. We laughed and cried with Brad Wilcox and John Bytheway. We giggled at the silliness of mom-life with blogger-moms Sara Wells and Kate Jones. And we received a beautiful message from author Emily Freeman on trusting the Lord. Mercy River's Whitney Permann, Brooke Stone and Soni Muller delighted and inspired us with their music and their sometimes tender, sometimes comical anecdotes on life. Any one of these speakers or musical performers would have been enough reason to make the drive — about 300 miles for me. However, having the ability to see them all in one event makes the experience priceless.
On Friday night, my two girlfriends and I gathered our chocolate and our stories and tackled a “sleepover” that would give any Beehive a run for her money. And we relearned that “sleep” has very little to do with a “sleepover.” Our eyes might have been a little redder the next day, and our step a little slower, but sometimes those conversations are where the best spiritual learning takes place. Plus I’m pretty sure chocolate consumed at a sleepover has fewer calories than chocolate consumed elsewhere.
As a Time Out for Women junky, I’m used to the sensation of returning home with my heart filled with hope and joy and a renewed desire to be the best me possible. I’m also used to the feeling of anticipation for my next Time Out getaway, as well as the most important question relating to my next getaway in 2013: what will the Time Out for Women handbag look like?
Jennifer Debenham studied English at BYU and is working on her MFA. She lives at the base of the Ruby Mountains, in Nevada, with her husband, three kids and dog Ruby. She blogs on writing, reading, and other loves at www.writebycandlelight.blog