ST. GEORGE, Utah — Sweet weather, sweet presenters and messages, sweet attendees, sweet food, sweet spirit, "sweet assurance," the latter Time Out for Women's 2009 theme, was a recipe that worked in a packed — 3,000 attendees and the largest crowd this year — Dixie Center Nov. 6-7.Hope and inspiration came not only through presentations and music, but through stories, videos, pictures, scripture, quotes, laughter, tears and, of course, camaraderie."I noticed last night right away the good energy in this group," Mary Ellen Edmunds, author and former director of training at the Mormon missionary training center in Provo, Utah, told the crowd Saturday morning. "Each of you has a story. You touch my soul."Edmunds, along with Emily Watts, author and senior editor for Deseret Book Co., kept the crowd in stitches laughing mostly at themselves. In her talk "Rest Assured!" Edmonds joked, "Like a good neighbor, Jesus is there," when talking about a life "assurance" policy. "Our advocate is Jesus Christ, who has paid all our premiums."And Watts got the crowd roaring when talking about "shopping in the air" and finding in a Sky Mall magazine a foot tanner for those who wear socks and whose feet don't see the sun. "A little sunlight for your feet?" she snickered. All kidding aside, Watts spoke about believing, helping and enduring as a mom. "Children are the slowest ripening fruit there is. They ripen at different rates. This truth is Heavenly Father loves my children as much as I do. He loves us individually just as he loves your children individually."__IMAGE2__In between his musical numbers, music artist Kenneth Cope told attendees about how we live in a world of throwaways. He gave an example of an iPod breaking and how one might thus send it back to Apple which may, instead of fixing it, throw it away and simply issue a new one. "Heavenly Father isn't like that," he said. "He doesn't throw us away. Not only does God love broken things, but he loves to use them.""Heavenly Father can always undo the damage we have done," Watts said. "Sometimes we just don't listen, but he always wants to help."Edmonds read from a letter she received from her nephew who is serving a Mormon mission in Sweden, "I'm working for the perfect boss; the perfect boss hires the best possible employees he can.""God loves us so much and Jesus is the proof," Cope said. "We're broken, but God is going to fix us; He's determined to fix us, and I will shout this to the rooftops," he exclaimed with passion.Author and speaker Emily Freeman gave powerful and moving spirited stories with a message of the "Be There" principle from her talk, "Living an Abundant Life." She spoke about how casseroles can do a lot, but presence often times, even without words, can do so much more. "Each of us has something to offer right now. Heavenly Father has placed us here for a reason." But, says Freeman, "Without the spirit in our life, the abundance will not come."__IMAGE1__Jill C. Manning was swarmed with attendees before and after her presentation, "The Uncensored Truth about Pornography," and thanked attendees for sharing their stories with her. "No matter how you cut it, pornography is just an ugly dark topic. Tackle it in a way to be helpful and uplifting." The goal of her talk was to leave attendees armed and more determined to protect their families and homes. She suggested three ways to accomplish this: (1) Ask Heavenly Father how your homes and family may be safe-guarded. (2) Install filters and controls on all internet-enabled devices. (3) As a family, creature and implement an internet/media safety plan in the home.Kimberly Von Cannon, of St. George who attended the conference with her mother, Chris Jacobson, also of St. George, loved being at Time Out for Women. "It was such an amazing experience! What a great chance to strengthen each of us as women and feel the "Sweet Assurance" the gospel brings to our lives!"Lorna Barnhurst of Hatch, Utah, enjoyed hearing musician Hilary Weeks make up fun humorous stories. "She's so funny; I love her!"Barnhurst's daughter, Leslie Barnhurst Taylor, said she learned from speakers that she can achieve patience every day.""It's just so enjoyable," said Betty Caplin, of St. George. "I love the music and talks; they make you happy and spiritually uplift."Barbara Allred of Kanarraville, Utah, enjoyed former general Relief Society presidency member and author Chieko Okazaki's talk, "A Matter of Principles," which taught "being right is less important than doing right." Allred also enjoyed how former BYU professor and Deseret Book board of directors member Carolyn J. Rasmus, who wore a robe to signify how Christ watches over, protects and takes care of us, and who was converted to the LDS Church at age 33, had everyone sing hymns with her and told the crowd, "even our unseen wounds are healed.""It's a good break to hear other people's stories and to realize we all have the same situations and we are all going to make it," Allred said. "It's just a good time out.""There are stories that come into Time Out for Women and leave Time Out for Women that we will never hear," says Laurel Christensen, Time Out's director. "For me, the attendees are the crucial part of this event. This is their event. Their experience." She mentioned how great it would be to hear all of the attendees' stories at these events.Now that would be even sweeter assurance.Time Out for Women 2010 will stop in 19 cities. Registration begins Nov. 23 on www.DeseretBooks.com. Discount group prices are available through Dec. 23.


E-mail: [email protected]