Monday, September 28, 2009

A Weekend of Feasts




Over this last weekend I got to experience three feasts. First I went to a retreat for moms organized by my friend Katie Hansen of Bountiful, Utah. Around forty moms from Utah and Idaho spent the night in cabins up in the mountains close to Ogden Valley. For $30 moms got to have dinner and breakfast served to them, have a sleepover with other moms, and listen to fabulous speakers to nurture their souls. What more could you ask for? I have pictures of some of the speakers here. I took these pictures at my conference that I held last April. My camera is currently broken, thanks to some children of mine who will remain nameless, so I couldn't use my camera at the retreat. But here are some of my archived pictures of Aneladee Milne, Diann Jeppson, and Jodie Palmer, who spoke at the retreat.

Those of us with nursing babies slept (?) in one cabin and those without in another.
You can see pictures of these cabins at my friend Lara Gallagher's website http://www.lazyorganizer.com/blog/ under the heading "I Wouldn't Change a Thing" if you scroll down a bit to get the subheading "The Book."

I wondered if any of us sleeping with the babies would get any sleep. We did. My baby, at five weeks old, was the noisiest. He woke up only once to nurse (after I finally got him to sleep after midnight) and settled back to sleep. The sleepover featured a colloquium (a fancy word for a discussion of a book we all read) and simulation the night before and then three speakers on Saturday morning. What a feast for the mind.

When I got home from that I was suffering from carbohydrate overload (the chocolate chip muffins, poppy seed muffins, and cookies at the retreat were hard to resist). I wanted to crawl into bed but instead I got a foot massage from my husband while I nursed my baby and then I fixed dinner with some food my body was crying out for: greens and protein. We had fish and salad. That was my second feast. I ate the dinner while I watched the Relief Society general broadcast on byutv.org. That was my third feast. If I had gone to the church to watch it I would have slept through it and I wouldn't have been able to eat dinner while watching. The food offered at the "light dinner" at the church beforehand probably would have been jello salad, anemic iceberg lettuce and white rolls which are the last things I needed. So I am glad I stayed home to watch and eat.

Anyway, I learned so much at this retreat. The official name of what it was about is "The Hebrew Way." See http://www.gatheringplaceformoms.com. What is the Hebrew way? This is what I figured out from listening to the speakers. The Hebrew way is the covenant way. This is the way the ancient Hebrews lived. We can still live this way today. One of the speakers, my homeschooling mentor, Kelli Poll, said that if you are a member of the LDS church you are surrounded by the Hebrew way. She also mentioned that simultaneously we are surrounded by the Roman way. I pondered this a lot because Kelli didn't go into details. I think what she meant by the Roman way is the contract way. The covenant way is the way God calls us to live. He invites us to make covenants with Him. The contract way is the man-made way.

It is amazing to think about how we live in this dual world. If we really think about it, the covenant way can apply to everything we do and are. It affects what we do, what we say, where we go, where we marry, whether or not we have children and how many, our educational system, our political system, what we eat, and who we are. If we make covenants with God we acknowledge that we are His, that we are made by Him, and that we want to go back to Him, and that he has provided a Savior to bring us back.

If you really want to understand the contract way of life read the book by Richard Maybury Ancient Rome How it Affects You Today." He points out that the prevailing trend in today's culture is to think that the government can and should take care of everything for us. This results in too many laws that are man-made instead of being based on natural law. Maybury never mentions God, but I believe that natural law is God's law.

So the Hebrew way is the covenant way, or living by God's laws. It is acknowledging that there is a power higher than ourselves, God. God knows the best way for us to live and He reveals that to us. God calls us to live his way. He will strengthen us to do this if we turn to Him. By coincidence I had been reading about the covenant way in Elder Todd Christofferson's talk from last General Conference before I went to this retreat. I love the remark he made, that if we live the covenant way our faith is enlarged, and we feel the Spirit communicate to us God's pleasure in us. This pleasure helps us to want to live the covenant way even more. The contract way often involves only going so far and then giving up. The covenant way involves commitment and asking God for help. It's a choice we are faced with every day.

When I was much younger if you would have mentioned "The Hebrew Way" to me my eyes would have started glazing over. It sounds like living in the desert the way the old guys from the Bible lived. I am so excited to realize it means so much more than that. Latter-day Saints have so many connections to the Hebrews. Joseph Smith received the golden plates at a time of year held hold holy by the Jews. You can read more about in an Ensign article by Lenet Hadley Read entitled "The Golden Plates and the Feast of the Trumpets." Just do a search with her name at lds.org and it will come up.

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