Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Pioneer in You

Bet you can guess what my topic is today. Actually, there is something inherently wrong in my mind to write about anything else on Pioneer Day. I’m a life-long member of the church and come from what is fondly referred to as “pioneer stock.” All eight of my great-grandparents walked across the plains to get to the Salt Lake Valley. Most of them did so in their youth so my great-great grandparents also crossed the plains with them. Even my grandfather walked across as a child. (He was an older gentleman when he married my grandmother, both of them widowed and then they had 3 more children, including my mother, in case you were wondering how I could possibly have a grandfather that was a pioneer). In fact, I remember being told the story of when he was sick and his mother told him to get into the wagon and he refused. He said he wanted to be able to tell his children and grandchildren that he walked every step of the way. Three of my great-grandparents (and the grandfather mentioned above) were born in Europe so you can add that long sea-voyage into the mix as well. It is thrilling and amazing how the love of the gospel and a desire to conquer new territory can sustain someone through the most difficult of experiences.

I’m actually half Danish and half English. My maternal grandfather was English and my maternal grandmother was Danish, while my fraternal grandfather was Danish and my fraternal grandmother was English; making each of my parents “half and half” and when you add up all the fourths (one from each grandparent), my sister and I still come out “half and half.” Sounds kind of like cream. Well, that’s a good analogy because cream rises to the top!

The human spirit fascinates me and I marvel at what drives people to accomplish such remarkable tasks. Today marks the anniversary of the arrival of a weary group of Mormon pioneers led by Brigham Young into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. President Young told the saints that it was enough, saying, “This is the place.” For 20 more years another 70,000 Mormons traveled by wagons and handcarts to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. After the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, overland wagon travel declined and emigrants began arriving by rail. In the end, it didn’t matter how they came, only that they arrived.

Thus it is with each of us. It doesn’t matter what struggles we have to face to get where we are going; it only matters that we get there. The obstacles along the way shape us; they reveal our true character and prepare us for eternal life with our Heavenly Father and our loved ones. By its very definition every one of us is a pioneer: to be the first to prepare the way, to take part in the beginning of something, to initiate, to lead the way… so, to this I say, “Go forth and be bold!” Happy Pioneer Day, all you wonderful pioneers!!

Being the research queen that I am, I’ll leave you a couple of great links to help you celebrate:

Special treat ~ Pioneer Coloring Book: The Prayer Quilt ~ here is a pdf file of a coloring book about the pioneers that you can download and print off for any little ones in your family:

Excellent site for tracing your Mormon Pioneer ancestry from Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, and South Africa to Salt Lake City, Utah:

Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “Come, Come Ye Saints”

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tiny Tots at the Computer

Payton and Taylor love to play on Grandma's computer all the time!!

So I just now got this picture off my camera but it was taken a couple of months ago, Payton (then 15 months) and Taylor (who was 3 in April) were playing on the computer. Payton picked up the mouse, held it to her ear and said, "Hello? Hello?"

Pretty cute!!

But Taylor wins the prize for computer ingenuity when she was busily playing an ABC game at the Fisher Price site. The child hits "any" key and letter by letter, they pop up on the screen, nice and big and you hear the name of the letter spoken. Taylor was happily going through the alphabet when she hit several keys at once and "froze" my screen. It seemed that no matter which key she tried nothing would work. I was amused as I watched her try to figure this out. Finally, she looked up at me and said, "Grandma, do you have any batteries?"


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Marriage is a gift to make us holy

The Lord is always ready and willing to teach us something... are we just as ready and willing to learn? Sometimes the lessons come in the most unexpected places. For example:

Jim and I went to a wedding on Saturday ~ Troy and Lynda ~ They are not of our faith.
It was held in a Lutheran Church. As a life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, I always find non-temple, non-LDS wedding ceremonies interesting; many I have observed are very sweet - not the same as the eternal blessings pronounced in the temple, but sweet, nonetheless. This was such a wedding. I sat there enjoying the ceremony and the priest said a couple of rather profound things. One thing he said was that marriage was not given to us to make us happy. Rather, marriage is a gift from God to make us holy… and that would make us happy.

A typical definition of holy is “dedicated or devoted to the service of God.” I really like that. In marriage, if we strive to become holy, then happiness is a natural progression. It makes sense. We are told in scripture that “Men [and women] are, that they might have joy.” It also says in Mosiah 2:41 (one of my favorite scriptures): “… consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”

I can’t think of a better “gift” than one that would make us holy and prepare us for an eternity of happiness with our eternal companions. And marriage is a pretty good place to get the prickles and rough spots rubbed right off of ya’. Just something to ponder on. Take care.