Monday, August 29, 2011

Belated Pioneer Day

Rob and I had the unique and often coveted experience of going on Trek to Martin's Cove with our Ward youth as Ma and Pa. Our youth are quite remarkable. We learned many important and applicable lessons while walking and walking, but I learned lesson that was life-changing for me.

In the past, whenever the topic of the handcart pioneers came up, I would shudder as I momentarily live getting caught in the storms with inadequate provisions. I hate the cold. I hate being cold. I get cold in 87 degree weather. I have simply resigned myself to the fact that if I was a pioneer in those late handcart companies, I would have sat down and froze. My loved ones would've had to bury me.

And then, on the Trek, I finally understood what these pioneers were doing.

These pioneers were converts with burning testimonies from distand lands who wanted to gather with the other Saints. Many of them did not have the means to do so. When the handcart was suggested, these pioneers saw it as 'their way'. They got on a ship and came to America. They set out with faith in God and 17 lbs of possessions stacked in their handcarts. Things got rough. They starved. Their fingers and toes froze. They buried their babies and their husbands. They kept walking.

I walked through Martin's Cove where they sought refuge. I could feel their sacrifice and their faith. And it hit me. I would have walked with them. I would've faught to reach Salt Lake. I have a burning testimony of Jesus Christ and I, too, hope for a better day. I have had to watch 3 of my children suffer death. I have buried my three precious baby boys. In that better day, my sons will be resurrected and whole, and because of the covenants I have made in the Temple, I will still be their mother. I would gladly give my fingers and toes for the blessings of Eternity.

On this Pioneer Day, my "heart is turned to my fathers". I am grateful for my Pioneer Heritage and my ancestor Cyrus H. Wheelock who was one of the first rescuers to set out for the handcart companies stranded in the storms. I honor him. I am also humbled as I remember my own personal rescuers who have come to my and my family's aid when we have been stranded in the storms of life. My greatest desire is to live my life in such a way that I can in some way give back-help the Lord reach those in my path who are stranded and in need.

"You don't have to push a handcart,

Or leave your family dear.

Or walk a thousand miles or more

To be a Pioneer!"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Because Life Goes Marching On...

Sydney lost her first tooth! The Tooth Fairy brought her 101 pennies and a love note. What's not to love about the most beautiful and talented 6 year old ever sporting her 'window' to the world??

Sydney and I had a great talk a few weeks ago. There is a beautiful picture that hangs in her room that reminds her of Jonah. For several nights when I tucked her in she would look at the picture and miss Jonah and cry. One night, we talked about how Jesus knows that it hurts when someone we love dies. But He doesn't want us to hurt and He already paid the price to make us feel better. If we pray and ask Heavenly Father to heal our hearts through Jesus' Atonement, she would feel better. She decided it was worth a shot and so we prayed together. Afterward, I told her that remembering Jonah didn't have to hurt, and it could make us happy instead. We still talk about Jonah, but she hasn't cried about missing him since. The Atonement even covers a 6 year old missing her brother.

To me, that is the beauty of the Atonement: That remembering doesnt' have to hurt. No matter the cause of the suffering, when we use the Atonement in our lives, remembering doesn't have to hurt.

In other news, Jaya and cousin Hyrum got the whole watermelon to themselves. After slurping juice and watermelon all over the place, Jaya stripped down because she hates being sticky.

The simple joys of the end of summer. Its good to be two.