When Anne, my 13 months-older-than-me-sister and I were young teenagers, we were always in the same Sunday School class for a year before she moved to the next class up and I stayed behind until we joined up again the next year. We were a great little team of sassy but reverent, blonde know-it-alls. We had our own clever answers to the teachers questions. One of these (and, fine, the only one I can remember and possibly the only one we had) was really the answer to pretty much every question. We would just answer by saying, "The List."
The List goes something like this (mine and Anne's; not Melanie's):
Read the scriptures
Say personal prayers
Keep the commandments
Go to church
Last weekend we had a District Conference. The mission president's wife asked me if I'd like to give a five minute testimony during the sister's meeting. I said yes. I was thinking, "Five minutes is pretty long, I'd better come up with a theme or something for my testimony." I thought about it and tried to figure out how to be in tune with the Spirit, but didn't have any big revelation or anything. While drying my hair that morning I thought that maybe I would just talk about "The List" (mine and Anne's; not Melanie's) How boring and generic, I thought. But also how exceedingly important. I asked Greg how you would say "smart-alecks" in the plural feminine (I know the word, of course, (I'm a mother), but am not in the habit of putting it in the plural feminine) Evie helped me with this too.
During the women's meeting first the visiting authority's awesome wife spoke. I was busy with kids for her talk and much of the rest of the meeting and so I missed quite a lot of it, but things calmed down toward the end and I was able to listen to the end of the mission president's wife's talk. She was talking about the basic things that bring us closer to our Father, reading our scriptures, daily prayer etc. I was thinking, "Hey! Will you listen to that!" Then at the end she added her testimony to the visiting authority's wife about how important it is for us, among other things, to be doing those basic things. She ended and it was my turn.
We were all seated in a huge circle and it was so nice to look around at everyone while I spoke. (and to have Aaron run to me across the length of the circle , or its diameter or whatever, exactly at the moment I mentioned how much I love my kids/being a mom) I talked about the list and how, even though my sister and I were being slightly sassy when we answered with it, it did give us an idea of just how important those things really are. I said that over the years I have really learned by experience how much happier my life is and how much better things work out when I am keeping up with the things on that list, and that I know that they really are of the utmost importance. And I said that I know for sure that this is the message that Heavenly Father had for this room full of his daughters, and that it meant that it is the time to reevaluate how we're doing on those things.
Evie's face was lit up the whole time. She was smiling at me and nodding every now and again. I've never seen her so attentive. As I walked back to my seat by her she jumped up and gave me a hug (just like in the movies, except that we're not really like that. This was actually very spontaneous). I think when she heard me mention about Anne and me being smart alecks she realized that I really had been planning to speak about the same thing the other women had spoken about and it was a sort of spiritual experience for her.
So why am I telling you this? Because I wanted to tell you about the list and then I kept typing and typing. So there you have it.
P.S. Melanie's The List isn't actually a book yet. It's still in it's manuscriptory stage. But it will be a book. Oh yes, it will be. :)