Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Pioneer Trek

June 19, 2009 was a day not to be forgotten. I have always wanted to go on a Pioneer Trek. A few years ago I was able to go to Martin's Cove as part of a planning committee. It was an amazing experience to walk where so many had sacrificed their very lives in pursuit of a place where they could worship freely.

This year our stake did a one day trek at This Is The Place Park. It was well organized, and even though it was only a day...there were parts of it that were very difficult. We have had a lot of rain here in Utah. The trail had deep trenches from the rainwater running down the mountain which made pulling the handcarts quite hard at times. It was also beautiful and green and the air smelled so good.

The one thing that I was excited about this year is that I was able to go on this trek with Justin and Brooklyn. I had always wanted to share an experience like this with my children.

Most know that one of the most powerful parts of a pioneer trek is the Women's Pull. This is a time when the men are called away because of death, a mission, or to serve in the Mormon Battalion. The women are left behind to continue the journey with their handcarts. We, as women leaders and Young Women, were called together at the bottom of a very huge mountain. We were told that it was typical for women to be on their own at different times during the journey. It was explained that although men have physical strength, women have emotional strength...the power to persevere. We were told, "You can do this." The men leaders and Young Men were taken up the mountain and told to line the trail. They were not to speak to us or help us in any way. They were to stand in reverence as we passed.

I had been looking forward to the Women's Pull just so I could know the intensity of it...but I found out quickly that I was not prepared for the emotions I would feel. Families were combined and I was blessed to be on the same handcart as Brooklyn. Brooklyn was in the front pulling and I was in the back pushing. We began our trek up the trail and the bottom of the hill seemed fairly easy. But as we continued, and I looked up to the top, to our destination, I was not sure I could make it. It consistently became harder and harder. I continued to look at the the goal. I began to breathe heavily with each step, my mind began to say, "You will never make it." I wanted to cry. Next to me was a very strong young woman who was pushing with all her might...but she was not looking up to the top of the mountain...she was looking down at the ground. I thought I would try that. As I looked at my feet, putting one foot in front of the other, I became not so overwhelmed. Before, looking at my destination, I wanted to give up. But as I just took one step at a time, looking at only my feet, progress came faster and soon we were there. What an analogy this was for me. Life has been so consuming for me in so many hard ways...and that is actually how I handle my real life. Sometimes I am too overwhelmed to look very far down the road, but as I put one foot in front of the other, facing one day at a time...I find I make good progress and am not so overwhelmed. I find myself believing, "I can do this."

As I arrived at the top of the hill, I was panting. My throat was sore from breathing so heavily. I collapsed on the dirt with the other women and girls. I recognized that some of the girls had fallen away from their handcarts...they had become injured or could just not do one more step. This was also a lesson for me. As I have struggled through my divorce and being a single mom, I have felt the responsibility that comes from being the leader of my children. I recognize, that if I fall away, there is a chance my handcart could become loose and domino down everyone behind me. I have to be strong and present in every way to lead and guide my children. I cannot turn loose; I cannot give up. It is a lot of responsibility and pressure to guide a family on one's own.

This Pioneer Trek taught me many great life lessons, which I hope I never forget. It is amazing that so many pioneers experienced so many hardships and spent so much time to arrive in the valley that I now call my home. I am so blessed to live in the land of the prophets and to have reminders all around me of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The pioneers were amazing, and I am grateful and humbled that I had a very small glimpse into their lives.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Wedding Dress

For Young Women's we had a Wedding Dress Fashion Show. I thought it would be great if my daughter wore my wedding dress. The day before the fashion show, I got the dress out of the big gold sealed box and had her try it on. Imagine my surprise when it fit her perfectly. I thought she looked amazing!

When I was married I weighed the same as her, but I was about 3 inches taller. I doubt she will want to wear my dress when she gets married - #1 it's not in style anymore and #2 it is probably cursed ;) But for one night, I couldn't take my eyes off of Brooklyn...she looked beautiful.

On a side note...when you get divorced, you don't know what to do with your wedding dress...or the gigantic bridal portrait framed in ornate gold. The portrait has been hiding under my bed. On April Fool's Day, I told my sister that some mice had taken up residence under my bed and used my bridal portrait for nesting material. She thought that was great, because now I didn't have to try and figure out what to do with it anymore. Of course, it was just a joke. I will admit, however, that having both my dress and the bridal portrait, made for a very enjoyable day for me and Brooklyn. I still wish I had the fairy tale life I dreamed of on that day long ago...but seeing Brooklyn in my wedding dress, was a blessing I will not soon forget.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'M BACK!!!! The Living Planet Aquarium

Now that my digital camera is semi-working I have so much to share. Granted it may all be in a random order, but least I am documenting my crazy life...NOT!

Today's post is about the Living Planet Aquarium right here in Sandy, Utah. The annual pass is only $16.00 and I think it is so worth it. Right now they are trying to get penguins there. Anyway, I never get tired of looking at the jellyfish...or the octupus. Sometimes he is asleep - boring, but when he is awake he is so entertaining.

Also, my best friend for 20 years, Cindy, who lives in Wyoming has a son, Brian, who works there. It was great to see him. He put on a great show and we got to touch a snake and a humongous cockroach (yuck!).

There are stingrays you can touch, sharks to look at, and so many other interesting animals. You never know what you will find in the aquariums!

So I guess you can call this a plug for a cool afternoon indoors, enjoying some very fun creatures.