TIME OUT FOR WOMEN WAS AMAZING! <3
Recently I got to go to Time Out For Women in Sydney with my mum, and it was the best experience ever. I took heaps of photos, some videos, and even got one of the creepiest photos (Compliments to my mother) with David Archuleta.
I can't wait to tell you all about it :)
Here's their mission:
'For over 10 years, Time Out for Women has been inviting faithful women to step away from the daily routine and make space for themselves and their spiritual lives. What started as an inspirational weekend event full of music, cheering, presenters, friends, and laughter has grown into a worldwide community of like-minded women seeking good. Whether they connect through TOFW.com or at a local event, TOFW women are choosing to be uplifted, reenergised, educated, entertained, and inspired with thousands of women all over the world.'
I had the privilege of going in 2013 with my mum (Link here for those interested in reading that - Time Out For Women 2013) and this time repeating that. It was a massive spiritual upliftment in a time when I needed it the most, and not surprisingly, it came at the right time when I really needed it the most.
This years presenters were:
David Archuleta, a singer who has been on American Idol and on tour with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. After choosing to serve a LDS mission, he became something of famous in the mormon culture.
Brad Wilcox, a professor of education at BYU and a speaker in the LDS Church. He also has a selection of books.
Sheri L. Dew, an American Author, publisher, and president and Chief executive officer of the Deseret Book Company. She is an inspirational speaker in the LDS Church.
Elaine S. Dalton, served as the Young Women's General President of the Church from 2008 to 2013.
Sandra Turley, performer on Broadway who played the role of Cosette in Les Miserables on Broadway in New York City. She was also invited to perform the role of Cosette in the Shanghai, China, premiere of Les Miserables.
Heidi S. Swinton, author and screenwriter whose works include PBS documentaries.
My mind gets FILLED with these thoughts, and it disrupts any form of sleep I could get. Last night was no different. I got home at 10pm, after hanging out and shopping with my Aunt, and started getting ready (Packing my bag, including everything I needed, discussing with mum what other things we might forget like the tickets or food for the bus ride), so I jumped into bed at about 12. We had to awake at 2:30am, get ready to leave by 3:30am, pick up two other women to drive them to the chapel where the bus would be, and leave by 4:30am. I didn't fall asleep until about 1:30, and it was a struggle even then. I tried to throw the idea in that perhaps I could just sleep on the bus? Worst. Idea. Ever.
I awoke at 2:30am with the awful taste in my mouth of having less sleep than I do normally with naps. We rushed around, got our clothes on, hauled my brother the driver into the car, and we safely arrived at the chapel exactly on time at 4:30am...
With no one else there.
Great. Mormon Standard Time is a go.
It was freezing and I was cold. Tiredness wasn't even a thing anymore, just who I was. I wanted to be on that bus, warmed by the heater, and fast asleep so I could magically time travel to the destination of TOFW.
People started to show up around 5am, and we departed by 5:15am. It was a long tedious journey with pitch darkness from the hours of 5-7am so I couldn't read my book, which I do for most trips, so I tried to sleep instead but sleeping in a car is one of the hardest things to do for me. I'm always at an angle, with a cramp rising somewhere in my hip or thigh or stomach, and if it's not that, the window rattles your head so there is no point of sleep ever. I was just very grumpy, hungry, and uncomfortable the entire bus ride, but faith that TOFW was nearing with each uncomfortable second was getting me through it. Once it got light enough for me to read Crossed by Ally Condie, I lost track of time and we suddenly arrived to the Sydney Olympic Park!
Seeing David Archuleta on stage, in the flesh, was the weirdest experience ever. Nearly every girl was quietly but also not quietly dying on the inside from excitement.
It was at that moment that my awe for him was lost, surprisingly. He was just like one of the YSA boys that I see at Institute; Uncomfortably awkward and joking about dating. He wasn't that big of a deal for me. Sure, I did video tape him singing so that Mike could see it, and I was admiring how he sang, but he became 'eh' for me. His talk was beautiful, and I felt that my standard of guy even raised higher, but Brother Archuleta is a human just like the rest of them that needs girls to stop being so thirsty for him.
During the 20 minute break, an entire line almost going out of the hall was filled with young girls/sister missionaries ready to get his autograph and to meet him. I recognised even a few of them and gave a little wave and smile as I passed them and headed towards the tables of books. My mum and I had been saving up money for 2 years so that we could get any amount of books, so that's where my priorities were. My mum and I gathered a decent amount of books in our arms, but this year there wasn't a wide selection that we already had. I did get a book by John Bytheway titled, 'How Do I Know That I Know?' about missions and your testimony, and then a book by Jeffrey R. Holland filled with encouragement and inspiring quotes about certain topics. After we made our selection, my mum offered we get in line to perhaps meet and get a photo or signature from David Archuleta. Seeing the line, I decided not to because I'm impatient and we took a creepy photo with me and him anyway.
Is it me you're looking for?
But, for me, my real fangirl moment came when I got to meet Elaine S. Dalton. She was the Young Women's General President during my youth years, so a lot of her messages were the things that inspired me when I was still strengthening my testimony and refining myself. There was a line waiting for her, so my mum and I stood by just waiting, commenting on things here and there, and eventually it came time for us to meet her. I was so paralyzed, I had no idea what to tell her and what to say and I just kept smiling and repeating, 'You're so amazing' - I don't do well with seeing someone that I find influential or someone that I respect highly and have been inspired by but have never met before. I don't do well at all. She commented on my YW's medallion and said, practically like she was my grandmother, that she was proud of me for wearing it proudly and that I was beautiful. Have you ever pictured what it would be like to meet the Saviour? You imagine him to be so loving, even though you have never really seen Him in the flesh or know his voice, but when He speaks to you it'd hit you to the core. That's the glimpse of the feeling I had meeting Sister Dalton. She had never met me before, and yet when she spoke to me and hugged me and told me I was beautiful on the inside, it really hit home and it felt true.
Later on, when we were sitting down and after we had met Sister Dalton. My mum commented on the fact that when we had been waiting to meet her, she had noticed that Sister Dalton kept looking over at me and noticing my medallion. I hadn't notice because I was too busy looking at my mum, or looking at the line of people around, or just generally observing my surroundings. I think it was a precious memory of mine, and one that I'll write down in the journal and treasure :) She is the type of women that just exudes Christ-like attributes and you feel better and happier being around her. That's the kind of woman I want to be.
My biggest fangirl moment though came when Brad Wilcox got on stage to give his talk, 'If you can laugh at it, you can live with it'
The other speakers I got some amazing notes from, and really felt the Spirit from. Sheri Dew was unfortunately unable to come to TOFW due to work responsibilities, but she skyped us at 11pm from Salt Lake City. Her talk was powerful, and had the presence that Sheri Dew possesses each time I listen to her talks.
Overall, the biggest message I got after TOFW and what I was left to think about was my mission, and the Spirit telling me that I am ready. It is time for me to start going, to get working on the papers, to get over any fear of insecurity that I have, and to put the Lord first and go and do. It is time.
Then I saw Sister Paula Denning, the mother of one of the missionaries who taught my parents and got a photo with her, she is such a sweetie :) And I saw some people from my stake who we caught up with. Though I didn't get photos with them because, well, I'll see them on Tuesdays or stake activities. It was an amazing weekend, and it's things like these that really give you that boost of spiritual upliftment. Who knows, by the time the next TOFW comes along, I may have already served my mission or still be out there! :)