Note From Author:  Today’s article is all about Spring Cleaning!  For those of you who love our herbal detox drink that is so popular here at Meridian, you’ll want to check out Spring Cleaning month and the weekly specials for April:  CLICK HERE

It’s over.  The marvelous 184th Semi-Annual General Conference, with its messages, music, spirit and inspiration is over for another six months.  These two days are thrilling, and. along with a great desire to savor it and make the most of the next six months, there’s also a sad little part of me that wishes it could go on and on, or at least have it happen quarterly.  Both a vacation and an inspiring spiritual summit, it is a great marker for me to assess the past six months, and plan for the next.

I think it’s that way for most of us.  There’s rarely a General Conference where even the Prophet himself doesn’t humbly say “I have been inspired to make personal improvements in the next six months.”  That expression from a man of such magnificence inspires me in ways that are hard to express.  Truly, April General Conference can be “spring cleaning” for our spirits and, if we choose to, our entire lives. 

What about the last six months for you?  Did the messages from last October make a difference in your daily actions, your feelings or your life?  Was there anything measurable?  More importantly, will there be any changes in your life in the next six months?  In truth, so many of the messages center around principles of behavior or doctrine that are not really measurable or tangible.    However, with encouragement and prayer, the Spirit can increase our understanding and whisper to us what personal changes the Lord would have us make.  Some are measurable and visible to all, others changes are extremely personal and are for just us and the Lord.

When you think about it, six months is the perfect amount of time to make and establish powerful changes in our spirits, homes, health and lives.  It is 26 weeks, 182 days, 4,368 hours and 262,080 minutes.  What will we do with them?  What would the Lord have us do with them?  What would our families have us do with them?  

Most importantly, do we have a strategy?  We all know that without a plan, nothing happens.  How often do we leave Conference inspired, but nothing changes? Perhaps you’ll be interested in my plan for the next six months:

1) Study the Conference messages printed in The Ensign
2)  Completing my first Body For Life Challenge with other Meridian readers and doing a second 12-week challenge;
3)
  Systematically applying the directions from a little gem of a book called “Throw Out Fifty Things – Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life” by Gail Blanke.  She is a first-class motivator whose vision is to empower men and women to live truly exceptional lives.

Between the three of them, with the Ensign Conference Report being number one, there are checklists and inspiration to specifically and efficiently make some real improvements in the next six months that I’m so excited about, and think you will be too! 

I have already shared my excitement about Body For Life which 75 Meridian readers have joined with me on, so today I can’t help but share the good news of “Throw Out Fifty Things”  The author’s delightful premise for self-improvement  is summarized in what she calls “The Michelangelo Method:”  

Remember that wonderful story of Michelangelo, who, shortly after he’d finished sculpting the statue of David, was asked by a local patron of the arts who had been completely awestruck after first viewing the statue, “How did you know to sculpt David?  I just don’t understand …’ And Michelangelo, being a straightforward, honest sort of fellow, allegedly responded.  Oh, well, David was always there in the marble.  I just took away everything that was not David.”  (Throw Out Fifty Things, Introduction)

She then goes step by step in itemizing the extraneous marble we all have –  physical, emotional, and mental – that stands in the way of being and becoming our very best selves.

Part I addresses the physical clutter in every room and aspect of your home and environment:  Living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.  With a practical, but charming approach to helping you assess what’s THERE and what you really WANT, you systematically start getting rid of 50 things (i.e., all old magazines only count as ONE thing) until the real room, with its’ real spirit is now ready to be used and cherished.  Her hilarious stories about both herself and her clients had me laughing out loud like an old Erma Bombeck column.

After helping you to go through the house, Part II takes on the next part of your life: The emotional and mental clutter.  “When we throw out the physical clutter, we clear our minds.  When we throw out the mental clutter, we clear our souls.”  (p. 114) Oh, how that resonates with me!  

Her chapter headings for Part II are worthy of listing, and will be a joy to match up with Conference addresses for the spiritual perspective and the strength that only the Atonement of the Savior can make possible:

1:  Letting Go of Feeling Inadequate, Irrelevant and Just Plain Not Good Enough
2: Letting Go of the Type of Person You Think You Are – Or Aren’t
3: Letting Go of the Regrets and Mistakes of the Past
4: Letting Go of Being Right About How Wrong Everybody and Everything Is
5: Letting Go of the Need to Have Everyone Like You
6: Letting Go of Thinking the Worst
7: Letting Go of Waiting For the Right Moment
8: Letting Go of Thinking That You Have To Do Everything Yourself

Her website at www.throwoutfiftythings.com provides checklists and a free PDF copy of her workbook.  I have every intention of completing it before October Conference.  

In truth, much of my inspiration for taking action with my homes (both my residence and body) comes from our local meetinghouse and the Washington DC Temple and the changes that have been made there, just in time for Spring!

Our local building, though it has a lovely entrance from the front, has all the parking in the back.  So, of course, we all enter through the back doors.  For the entire 30 years of this meeting house, the Lost and Found is the first thing you see when entering through the one back door: the coat rack, stacks of books, scriptures, children’s clutter, etc.  

Imagine our recent surprise when we came to Sacrament meeting through those doors, and found that the Lost and Found had been replaced by a stunning, large picture of the Savior and a child.  What a different feeling there was as we entered!  In Sacrament meeting it was announced where the Lost and Found had been moved to.  Throughout the building, other artwork had been added, and things rearranged for a more spiritual, peaceful feeling.  It’s a lovely lift for us all on every level.


Our exquisite Washington DC temple is another example.  Through absolutely lovely from the very beginning, each year we continue to see changes and improvements in furniture arrangements, flooring,  and furnishing so that it feels fresh and lovely. The recent addition of many large pieces of artwork based on the Savior’s life has greatly enhanced its beauty and the feelings of spirituality there.

If this is the message from the Brethren for our church buildings and temples, why not do the same for my own life and home, both my physical home, and my personal home, which is my body? 

Corinthians 6:19 Know ye not that your body is the  temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Oh, Conference.  How sad I am that you are over for another six months, but how excited I am for the months ahead and the changes that you have made possible!

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success – One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available at her website.

She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups.

She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of eight. They live in the Washington D.C. area where they are delighted to teach Missionary Preparation for the Annandale Stake CES Institute program. 

Learn more about them and the herbal detox product they share at Meridian!