Friday, May 25, 2012

Women's Conference - May 10, 2012

Sister Cindy Hilton served as our Advertising Chairman this year.
The posters and invitations were beautiful, and her committee made
certain each sister was well informed & personally invited.

Our Women's Conference this year focused on realizing that the secret to our happiness and joy lies in learning to love the Book of Mormon, and applying the eternal principles there.  Over 500 sisters joined us this year - a record!

Our speakers were our own Sister Barbara Sweat, our dear President Sohm, and Sister Sheri Winkelkotter.  Their messages centered around "being enough" and basking in gratitude for all the blessings the restored gospel provides.  Many personal stories of life experiences in good times (and not so good times) were shared, along with their testimonies of the things that matter most.  Sometimes it's when we feel like we're "dwelling in a tent" that we have some of our most significant spiritual experiences.

Barbara Sweat & Sheri Winkelkotter
We are excited to have copies of both Barbara's & Sheri's talks at the very end of the next four posts for Women's Conference...  (keep scrolling - clicking on "older posts" if necessary)  Enjoy!

Thanks to these beautiful young women who shared their talents
as part of the violin ensemble.

In case you were not able to attend, here is a copy of the program for Women's Conference 2012:


Nature's Colors Soften the Cultural Hall...

Sister Bonnie McDermott was our decorating chair this year... and she used her talents to show how everyday things we normally take no notice of can be arranged in beautiful new ways.  She used grasses, branches, burlap, and little spots of floral color to transform the cultural hall.  We never anticipated how such simple, inexpensive items could add such elegance to such a large room.

Bonnie McDermott - our Decorating Chairman (far left)

Food Committee... a Labor of Love

Sister Sharon Dunn headed our Food Committee this year - this calling is getting busier as the stake grows larger all the time.  Barbara Sweat described it as a "Joyful Kitchen" - busy and full of happy women serving the entire sisterhood of the stake.  The dinner was a work of art, and it was served so quickly and efficiently by the Bishoprics & High Council that we didn't even have time to take a photograph of a finished plate as it left the kitchen!

We've included the recipes at the bottom of this post...

Sister Sharon Dunn - our Food Committee Chairman (in the red checked apron)

Thank you to those who provided the beautiful Gluten-Free desserts
(we were all envious!)

Lemon Cake Mix 4 eggs
3 oz pkg. lemon Jell-O Juice and Zest of 2 lemons
¾ c oil 2 c powdered sugar
¾ c water
Mix lemon cake mix, Jell-O, oil, water, and eggs. Pour into a jelly-roll style cookie sheet sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Upon removing from oven, prick many, many, many holes into the cake with a toothpick. Mix lemon juice, zest, and powdered sugar. Pour over hot cake. Cool.

2 lbs. small red potatoes
1/2 c butter
1/4 c fresh parsley chopped
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
Boil potatoes till tender; cool slightly and cut in half; or thirds if you use larger red. In large skillet melt butter add parsley, marjoram. Add potatoes and stir gently to coat and heat through.

3 lbs baby carrots
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ginger
3/4 cup orange juice
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
Boil carrots in salted water until tender; drain. Combine the sugar, corn starch, salt, and ginger in a small sauce pan. Add the orange juice and cook until thickened. Boil one minute then add the butter. Pour over hot carrots to coat evenly.

3/4 c white vinegar
3/4 c white sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 T poppy seeds
1/2 t. salt
4 t. dijon mustard.
Mix all together in a blender (poppy seeds added last)

Served By the Lord's Army

At President Sohm's suggestion, the High Council and the Bishoprics of each ward in the stake served us dinner at this year's Women's Conference - a first for us.  Instead of standing in (very long) buffet lines - as we have in previous years - we enjoyed sitting together and visiting as we were served by our worthy Priesthood leaders.

Dressed in white shirts & red ties, they were so amazing and efficient - serving all 500 of us in less than 15 minutes.  It was touching to be served (very literally) by those who are so involved in the spiritual welfare of ourselves and our families.

That was such an example of service to us, but even better was having them take part in singing with us the medley - "As Sisters In Zion" and "The Army of Helaman".  It brought tears to our eyes.  Thank you so much!

And an even sweeter finish was yet to come...  These dear brethren were the model of efficiency - moving us into the chapel quickly so they could begin clearing the cultural hall, and then take care of the kitchen (in complete silence)  We enjoyed the entire chapel meeting - then walked into a sparkling clean kitchen to find everything clean, organized, and in it's place.

Service is Sweet.

After months of planning, praying, and preparing - it has been a sweet experience to come to personally know so many of you after working side-by-side with you.  Thank you for your willingness to accept opportunities to serve the sisters of our stake in so many ways - both seen, and unseen!

We love each of you so much, and hope you felt this year's Women's Conference added to your reservoir of spiritual strength.  Each year builds upon past years, and we look forward to next year's conference.  We welcome your comments, suggestions, and ideas - please share them with us.

Barbara's trusty truck (aka - "The Beast") helped us combine
the kitchen resources from each of the buildings in the stake. 

Dennis Sweat (Barbara's husband & our dedicated parking expert)
represents each of our husbands & families
who continue to support us as we serve in our callings.
Thank you!