I am so excited about what The Mama Birds are going to share with you this week! We want to let you in on one of the best kept secrets we know—The BYU Women’s Conference Resources for Everyone. We want to introduce you to the after Conference resource that are available online to all of us! Today I am going to take you to the Sharing Stations.
Two weeks ago on a busy Wednesday afternoon I was running an errand in the neighborhood. As I crossed the street I happened to meet two of my neighbors who were walking into our little corner of the world. They were coming from the elementary school and were surrounded by lots of little children (theirs) wearing backpacks. Some of the little folks held papers in their hands waving them in their mother’s faces—homework, I suppose, or other evidence that proved they had been to school and worked hard, or that they were going to be working hard with mom all evening.
“Hi, ladies!” I called out. As I watched them my heart did a little time travel, and I remembered how important it had once been to be at the crossroads when my children were full of the day and brim with enthusiasm to share the details.
“Hi, Nannette. Are you going to BYU Women’s Conference?”
“I am,” I replied with a slight smile. I knew they weren’t going and I knew they wanted to be there. How did I know that? Well, I was once them. For years, maybe two decades, as BYU Women’s Conference approached at the end of a busy homeschool year, my heart yearned for a little break, something out of the ordinary, something to lift my spirits. Even though my need was great and what I wanted was just down the hill, the experience passed me by year after year, in deference to a nest that needed my care. I remember thinking with some frustration, “When you need this conference the most, you can’t get there!”
I was right about my young friends. With a weary smile one of them called back, “Someday, I’ll go. Have fun.” With that these two young moms became all ears, as words attempting to review the highlights of their day tumbled from the mouths of their babes.
BYU Women’s Conference has now come and gone for the year. The inspired speakers have filed away the outlines for their talks. The thousands and thousands of humanitarians gifts of food, fun and comfort have been distributed to hospitals, shelters, and service agencies. And the Garden Court that was full of Sharing Stations is now cleared and ready for the next collegiate event.
My family is grown now. My nest has emptied of all children for whom I am directly responsible. I am now able to put a little something in the crockpot in the morning and attend the conference. This year’s conference was truly all I ever knew it would be when and I was younger and dreaming of attending. I experienced two days of light and truth, sisterhood and service.
There are three primary aspects of the conference: Inspiring talks, great ideas, and opportunities to serve. Several of the Mama Birds were involved in these aspects of the conference this year. Mandy was invited, as a Mama Birds blogger, to attend and write about the talks for public media. Jen has been involved in the humanitarian service projects for years at the conference and served this year as a member of the Women’s Conference Service Sub-Committee. Diana and our cousin Jeanie served as hostesses, helping women find rooms where talks were being given, service was being done, or ideas were being shared, and I had the great opportunity to host a Sharing Station.
Now I want you to know that even as I was thoroughly enjoying this conference, my compassion for my sisters who spent the two days at home caring for their babies was alive and well. I kept wondering what I might bring home to them. Was there something of the experience that could be shared after I returned to real life? Was there something here that could bless all women everywhere? I soon discovered there was! So over the next several days I am teaming up with my daughters and fellow Mama Birds, Mandy and Jen, to share three “after the conference” resources with all of our sisters worldwide who, for whatever reason, were not able to attend. These resources can bless all of our lives! (There really is a fourth aspect which we cannot share, so if you are feeling cheated on that count, light a cinnamon candle and make yourself a big healthy salad and you will actually be better off.)
BYU Women’s Conference is a paper-free conference, so presenters, sharing station hosts, and humanitarian project leaders do not pass out handouts during the two day conference with talk outlines or “10 Great Ideas For This or That” or instructions for service project ideas. The good news is that the handouts are all online so that all the women in the Church can benefit.
Today I want to introduce you to a link that will take you to the plethora (Yes! I have been waiting for just the right moment to use that word!) of great ideas introduced at the BYU Women’s Conference Sharing Stations. The ideas presented in the sharing stations are practical and relevant and range through a great variety of subjects.
This year the Sharing Stations focused on ways to serve home and family and our communities, including ideas for provident living. Exhibitors spent many hours collecting ideas and information that can bless our lives. Included in the Sharing Stations were “ideas for increasing spirituality for ourselves and our families, teaching children, strengthening family bonds, improving communication, and serving those around us.”
Along with three other women, I hosted a Sharing Station dedicated to introducing people to the Pathway Program. Over two days and for 10 hours we shared a magnificent program that is helping thousands of individuals start or return to college, online through BYU-Idaho for a fraction of the cost of other schools. The good news is that, along with all of the other Sharing Station hosts, we posted all the information from our Sharing Station on the BYU Women’s Conference website. When you arrive at this site, from the menu across the top, click “Service,” then “Sharing Stations,” then “2016,” and finally “#23 Is Pathway for Me?” If you click on that title it will take you to all the information we shared. In fact, at this link you will find all the Sharing Station handouts for the past 12 years—hundreds of ideas! This is a wealth of great information.
So if you were in the same situation as my neighborhood sisters who could not join us this year in person, join us today. Come and glean from this wonderful resource, where women share great ideas with sisters worldwide.
Look for more “BYU Women’s Conference Resources for Everyone” throughout the week on The Mama Birds. Enjoy!