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The new Children and Youth initiative

Sunday I didn’t teach the Primary children. I got to sit next to Lane and be with Peter and Anna all together in the chapel as we watched the worldwide broadcast of the new Children and Youth initiative.

My happy anticipation was rewarded with feeling the Spirit as I watched and listened to our leaders share their vision of this simplified, home-centered program.

I thought how I wished every family knew about this!

So I’m sharing about it!

We talked about what we saw in church for a minute on Sunday, but it was Anna’s birthday dinner, and so we waited until Monday night during family night (which we do partially during dinner) to hear what they thought. We asked Peter and Anna what they thought and felt during the presentation. Pete said he thought it was “pretty cool” and really liked it. Anna also liked it. Then they shared their goals with us that they set during the presentation in each of the four areas of personal growth (spiritual, intellectual, physical, social).

When we read the vision statement, I commented that we should put it somewhere in our house to remind us of our purpose for these goals. Anna suggested we put it under out painting of Christ in the kitchen. We thought that sounded great! So I typed it up and taped it to the wall:

We have our monthly goals as a family and inidividuals (one each) posted in our kitchen on our calendar, but I thought it would be helpful to write what our family goal for the week is. So I wrote this and stuck it in the kitchen, along with a quote that inspired me (found here). When we get an opportunity to set our goal for this week, I’ll write it on there. We normally set goals at family council on Sunday, but this week we didn’t get to because of our late birthday celebration the night before! We all slept in!

I’m excited to set family goals that can incorporate supporting Peter and Anna in their goals.

We had a really good feeling as we read together parts of the Inroductory Guide for Parents and Leaders last night and this morning during family scripture study. We’ll keep reading it, short parts at a time as we are able. I like doing it in bite-size moments so we can think about it a little more and hopefully allow the Spirit to make suggestions as to how we can adapt this to our family and circumstances.

Isn’t it amazing to have a living prophet and other inspired leaders guide us along our path back to Heavenly Father? I know that this new vision is going to help our children who are still at home, and our grandchildren to come, to achieve more of their mission on earth as they grow closer to the Lord through personal revelation, become more self-motivated to accomplish good in the world, and work together with family and others to establish more loving and happy relationships.

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Sunflowers and answering life’s questions

When I was a young missionary, Ruth Dickson (my mission president’s wife) told us a story in zone conference. As I recall, she was preparing to decorate tables for a Relief Society dinner that day and wanted to put cheery sunflowers (the kind that grow wild) in jars for the centerpieces. So she popped in her car and drove away.

After searching for some time in vain, she returned home disappointed.

To her astonishment, as she was pulling up to her house, she noticed in the vacant lot next door that sunflowers were growing in abundance.

Sister Dickson told us how surprised to see that the answer to her need and desire was right at home. Then she explained how this is just like general conference: we have questions and problems that we need to answers for. All we need to do is to make a list of our questions and concerns, pray to hear the answers, and then listen attentively to general conference. The answers are right there if we have ears to hear!

She handed out papers to assist us in this process. They looked something like this:

This was the first time I had really ever done this in my life. I wrote down my questions, and to my delight, I got my questions answered during general conference!

I have always remembered this lesson, and I have shared it with our children–often in the Family Home Evening before general conference.

This year, when a large sunflower plant grew in our little orchard, I was delighted! I remembered Sister Dickson and her story, and I knew I wanted to share it again with you!

To learn more about general conference–what it is and when it will be broadcast–go here!

To download the question page for printing, click here.

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Liberty and Fruits of the Spirit

Someday I’d love to take a graphic design class. Until then, I’ll just keep trying my hand at making signs, charts for my family to help us all learn scriptures and good habits.

I like to make a sign when we memorize scriptures to help us. I put the signs up in the bathroom and on the bookshelf. Here’s my sign for this week that goes along with our Come, Follow Me assignment of the book of Galatians. Click here to download it.

I also did a vertical format of Galatians 5:1. Click here to download it.

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Teaching them what to eat

Image from clipartwiki.com (Click on link to go to image.)

Last night at Family Night, I invited a running coach to share some thoughts on nutrition with our family. She was so awesome: she came on very short notice and did a great job helping us evaluate what we put into our bodies and to set a goal to improve, all in 30 minutes!

As I was reflecting on the children’s comments about what they learned, I was interested that, overall, they understand correct principles. Now I just need to see how to inspire them bring their choices in alignment with their knowledge.

I considered how I am working on this these days:

I’m taking pictures of each meal I eat, as a way to account to myself for my choices. I could invite them to do that. (Below are the photos of what I ate this morning.)

I started with pumpkin seeds, walnuts, raisins, and sliced banana…
…and added steel cut oats…
…to enjoy this. They were long gone when I finished cooking my oatmeal. Mornings are a rush! If I don’t get started on making breakfast right after family scripture study, it’s a piece of toast in the hand for them right now…or a piece of fruit…or a cup of hot chocolate to go, like one child made.

I am trying to set a good example by what I eat. Sometimes I do better than other times!

Last night I saw again why I need to plan our meals: because it is probably the best way that I invite good nutrition choices. If we have wholesome food around, they can choose from it!

I can prepare more wholesome meals more often. Now that’s an obvious choice, but I’m not alone in carrying the load here. I love how Mary Ann, the running coach, told the children that they can help achieve the goals they set. They can help me plan, shop and prepare. Pete and Anna are absolutely old enough to participate even more in the planning and execution of healthy meals. Lane, too! Especially because often they prepare their own breakfast. And, for the most part, they are supposed to make their own lunches.

So in considering how to inspire them, I decided one thing I could do to help was to create these two pages of visuals as reminders of the kinds of choices we want to make in body substance input. You are welcome to print these out at home if you find them helpful! (Click on the links to download: Page 1 Page 2. Note: These are screen shots of the actual pages. To make them 8.5×11″, you can click once on the image–at least on my Mac you can!–to enlarge it once and then print it out. I was having size limitations because of the photos but don’t have any more time to work on reducing them.😉 )

I’ll try to get back to you on what progress we make!

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Dear Daisy (no.3)

Photo credit: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media-library/images/category/spring?lang=eng

Dear Daisy,

Try as I might, I have not gotten back to writing to you lately. School started, along with company that came, a new (additional) church calling, the rearranging of the family schedule that always happens at the start of school, and marathon training, which takes more time than I imagined. Lots of good stuff going on, just not lots of writing time.

It’s all good.

I have had some days when I felt overwhelmed, for sure. These are often tied to hormone changes (joy!), and so mostly if I just ride out the wave, I resurface unscathed. But during the time when I feel like I’m underwater–like I’m raising my hand and crying out, “I’m drowning!” –it’s pretty discouraging. I just want to climb into bed and stay there until I feel better.

Life is like that sometimes, right?

Well, I was talking to my missionary daughter about this very thing: what to do when you don’t have ANY energy or ANY motivation and your emotions are right at the surface, so that if someone asks you the wrong question (or any question, depending!), you answer as fast as possible and leave so that you don’t burst into tears.

I thought almost immediately of the story of Nephi and Lehi in prison, when the walls came “a-tumblin’ down,” and the people who witnessed it who were immobilized by the dark cloud and the fear that possessed them. The Nephite man, Aminadab, responded to their cries to know how to be freed from their immobilized state:

“You must arepent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have bfaith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and cAmulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.

“And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.” (Helaman 5:41-42)

This works for me, every time. When I get to that point of desperation–so hungry for help like those baby robins, I literally cry to the Lord and plead for help. Without fail, some kind of help comes.

It did today.

The cloud will lift. Christ is real.

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I continue to be impressed with how important it is that we share our stories with each other and am grateful for people who are willing to share their stories. I watched both of these videos today and felt like I should share them. I hope that Olivia’s story might be helpful to someone who is also battling perfectionism or simply just trying to figure out what they are feeling.

I know that when I was really sick, it was one of the hardest things I did to keep going to church–not because I didn’t know that God was real, because I did, but because I felt so much social anxiety, and because I felt like I could not feel the Spirit no matter how hard I tried. But I kept going, not because of compulsion, like Olivia felt, but because I love going to church, and because it has helped me so much before that point, and I believed the promises that had been made to me, that I would be healed. It was my act of faith in Christ. I am really grateful that I didn’t give up, I’m really grateful that God keeps His promises, and I am convinced that I rely day to day upon His beautiful grace.

I love this verse I just read after writing this post: “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day” (Acts 26:22, Paul speaking to King Agrippa).

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Dear Daisy (no.2)

The Memory of Light

Dear Daisy,

I just finished a book I was reading for some graduate credit I hope to earn this month. The timing is ironic: just after wondering how I could help a person to find words to describe what they are experiencing when they are feeling or thinking, I read this book!

Isn’t that just how life works sometimes?

Because I need to write a review of this book for my assignment, I decided to place sticky notes each time I read something I would have underlined if I owned the book (it was a library copy). You can see that I felt there were a LOT of parts that I understood, appreciated, or liked. There were many places in which the characters–young adults in a psychiatric ward of a hospital–both learn to express their feelings and help each other learn to express their feelings.

I remember not being able to put my words into feelings. Growing up with a dad who had anger management issues, I don’t recall expressing many contrary feelings. I was not only a private person, I also wanted to be a peacemaker. If there was anger happening, I wanted to help it stop and to have peace as soon as possible. I wasn’t confrontational.

I’ve heard that depression is anger turned inward. I think that could be true. I think it can also be holding on to fear or feeling powerless to change what you feel like you have no control over what is happening in your life. I have noticed over the years that when something is happening in my life that I don’t want to happen or can’t seem to make happen, I sometimes have crawled into the shell of depression and stayed there until I feel like I can (or have to) come out.

In my last letter, I talked about the first time I really felt depressed. While I had a very happy childhood, I also felt a great deal of sadness, such as when my dad left our family and my foundation felt pulled out from under my feet. But I’m not sure you have to have traumatic life events to be depressed. I think not having tools to communicate your feelings (or not know what to do with them) can equate to a big mess of feelings that are all jam-packed into a mental drawer. You just keep closed because you don’t want anyone to see the mess. It’s too embarrassing, it seems, to not be able to figure out your own problems, right? (I say “You” but I mean “me” and “I,” you know? 😉)

And if you open the drawer, who would you feel safe sharing your feelings with who wouldn’t judge you or correct you or tell you that’s not the way you are actually feeling?

The second time I recall being depressed was the summer after my junior year at college. I was home. I had just finished another challenging semester and done well, by the grace of God! (I did still have to finish reading the unabridged Les Misérables that my wonderfully kind French history professor allowed me an extension on. I was a very slow reader–especially in French.) I was home, 20 years old, preparing to serve a mission at the end of the summer.

It just got harder and harder to get up everyday. I don’t know what triggered it: lack of sleep from my semester? Health problems? Family problems? That familiar weight, that heaviness, like life is just too exhausting, started to catch up with me. The overwhelmingness of everyday interactions, the closeness of tears to the surface–all of this was so hard to deal with. Again, my mom and step-dad arranged for me to meet with a counselor. Again, I don’t recall going more than once, but this time, I do remember what she said. In fact, I kept the paper the counselor wrote her notes on for years. I just looked for it and still have it! (Now I can throw it away, since I’m sharing it.)

I messages You messages

What did my counselor say? What I remember about the “I” and “You” messages is that communicating with people is important when trying to sort out all the feelings that we have inside my our mind and heart.

I had a lot of feelings in my mind and heart that I hadn’t expressed and didn’t know how to express, all mixed up like a big bowl of spaghetti. She told me to see if I could “pull” one strand of spaghetti out at a time and put some words to the feelings I had. It seems that the “I and You messages” meant that when describing how I feel, I need to remember that how I feel is how I feel. It doesn’t mean that someone else feels that way. They may see a situation differently than I do. That is OK. My goal is simply to try to describe how I am feeling.

I feel...

She also tried to help me learn to communicate using this pattern: “I feel ______ (feeling word, such as “mad” or “happy,” but not “that…” or “like…”) because ______________ and what I need or want is ________________.”

I think communicating was hard in my families (with my mother remarrying once and my father remarrying twice, I had several)–especially with the personalities that were each a part of our equation. Reading “The Memory of Light,” I could relate to the main character Vicky, when she came home and was struggling to convey her real feelings to her dad and step-mom. That’s a real circumstance in probably most families, I imagine! It takes a lot of courage to say what you really feel or think! We all are trying to learn to communicate with each other in a way that doesn’t hurt and yet is honest and allows each person to say how they really feel. I’m still working on helping create that kind of environment in my own home!

I had priesthood blessings from my step-dad during that depressive episode that summer that brought me even more comfort and reassurance than that counseling session did. Both were gifts, though. It was enough to help me move forward and feel ready to go on my mission.

Heaven provided me with just enough help for that time. Just what I needed.

I hope you are getting any help you need.

Love, Liz

P.S. In terms of a book review of The Memory of Light, I loved it! That being said, here are my red flags:

  1. There are at least 10 instances of using the Lord’s name in vain or what some people define as “mild profanities” (damn, hell). (I don’t like any profanity, “mild” or otherwise.)
  2. There is violence, drug use, anger, sexual behavior (kissing between teenagers that wasn’t consensual), and other references that are definitely for an older audience. Because of the content about emotionally-charged topics, I would be considerate of who I gave this book to.
  3. In discussing the voice that the character Gabriel was hearing, I think it would important to mention that when any thought or voice tells you to do something hurtful, that is not from God. In the book, that is exactly what Vicky tries to do.

I would recommend this to book to my children and would want to discuss this book with them if they read it.

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Dear Daisy (no.1)

Dear Daisy,

I have a confession to make: once upon a time I got married and had children. At one shower (Bridal? Baby?), I got a gift from a loved one: a book that I took one look at and threw away (after the shower!).

I still remember the title: I’m a Day Late and a Dollar Short…and It’s Okay!

What an irony, right? Since I give books for wedding and baby shower gifts? Haha! The joke’s on me!

My sincerest apologies to both the giver and to the author! (If either of you ever read this, please forgive me.) I just took one look at the drawing of the lady on the front and did not want to be like her. I had other plans. I was NOT going to be the lady in the bathrobe with curlers in her hair looking utterly frazzled. Nope. Not me.

What is that saying again? Life happens while you’re busy making other plans?

Well, when I started experiencing clinical depression shortly after starting our family, I did feel like my life was not going the direction I wanted. Sometimes over the years, I have indeed felt–at least inside–like the lady on the cover of that book.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I just wanted to start out, Daisy, saying that I hope you’ll give these letters more than a second’s glance. I hope you will read them. I know if you do, we will be closer because you will know me better. That’s what sharing does–builds a bridge between two people that we can cross and be better friends on. And someday, if you want, you can share your story with me.

I would love that.

OK, so on to my story. (Well, the beginning part.)

The first time I really remember dealing with mental illness was when I had an episode of depression my first year at college. That semester was overwhelming: I had enrolled in an Honors Colloquium (multi-disciplinary seminar) and was in over my head with a shelf full of reading that I couldn’t keep up with. That constant feeling of being overwhelmed may have had something to do with the depression I felt.

One morning, I woke up and felt like I couldn’t get out of bed. Literally. And I just felt like crying. I felt completely out of sorts, not myself. It kind of felt like an “out of body experience” because it was so foreign and hard. I am sure I prayed for help, because I always have, but I don’t specifically remember doing that. I do remember calling my mom and crying over the phone something like, “I don’t know what’s going on.” After talking with my mom and step-dad, I went to the counseling center at BYU and met with a counselor. I don’t recall going more than once. Maybe I did. And I don’t remember what the counselor said. But that was the beginning–an awakening that I was dealing with a new and foreign challenge: depression.

I don’t remember feeling the effects of depression again to the same degree until 3 years later when I was getting ready to go on my mission. And that’s a story for my next letter.

Me and my beautiful mom in my freshman dorm room.

It’s interesting to me, as I look back more than 31 years, that when I started on this journey, I was blessed to get some help–enough to keep going. Overall, my life was happy: I worked hard, did well in school, made friends, and grew in my other endeavors. I’m grateful for the support Heaven provided me and for the love my parents showed.

And that book I threw away? I ordered it today from Amazon.com. 😅

Love, Liz

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Dear Daisy: My story in letters

Did you know that suicide is “a leading cause of death” in the United States, and that suicide rates are rising? (See https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/suicide/) Mental health is a topic of our day, and for good reason. We need to reduce negative stigmas through the sharing of our own experiences and helpful education efforts.

Last week, I taught a lesson to a group of adults and youth at church (not my own church congregation) on this topic. In preparation for my lesson, I spent several weeks studying about, listening to, discussing, and thinking about mental health. I also reviewed the past thirty+ years of my personal experience with mental health. I felt a growing desire to share my story with a dear friend of mine, and I thought perhaps the best way I could do that would be in letters.

And so this is the beginning of “Dear Daisy” posts, which will be my thoughts, musings, impressions and experiences with mental health and related topics. I am NOT a mental health professional. These letters aren’t meant to replace any medical professional advice given to the reader. They are simply an expression of my love. I hope that these letters will be a blessing to someone, somewhere, so that they might know they are not alone.

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Go far together

AF Canyon Run for Cancer starting area

2:30 am came fast yesterday morning. I was hoping I’d make it until 3 am, since I needed to wake up at 3:15, but I didn’t. So I listened to Alma as I lay in bed trying to go back to sleep…which didn’t work but spoke peace to my mind.

I think an early rise was inevitable. Once I committed (again) Friday to running the half marathon, the possibility of actually being able to run it made me so excited. I could feel that nervous energy begin to grow within me, the adrenaline kicking in. I was excited and terrified!

Maybe I should rewind a little. Last year, Sarah, Rebecca, Eliza and I all ran in the American Fork Canyon Run Against Cancer together. We loved it! We loved the cause. We loved the feeling of it. We loved running next to survivors, current cancer warriors, and loved ones of those who had passed away from it. We loved knowing we could help the fight just by being a part. We decided we would run again.

Little did I know that my dad would pass away from brain cancer before the next AFCRAC.

In the fall, I started with my focus on swimming. I have really come to enjoy lap swimming even though I still struggle to get my breathing to a place where it feels easy. Someday! I had a hard time with sleep and our swim schedule, so I didn’t get in as much swimming as I had hoped. I only ran periodically–hardly ever!

Then January came and my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer. We also had Julia returning from her mission and Rebecca leaving. I had the flu that lasted for a couple weeks and really wiped me out for what felt like a month after that. I also got sick with a virus that left me feeling nearly unable to exercise for almost a month right when my dad passed and had his funeral. Lane’s dad also not doing well! Between trips to visit my dad, illness, our missionary prep, and what felt like an inability to catch back up to my normal energy and stamina levels, I got very discouraged about exercise. Add to that some extra waves of depression and anxiety, I really struggled to keep up a consistent schedule of rigorous workouts, let alone stick to a training schedule.

I was really excited when we decided in January (before this all began) to do the half marathon at the AFRAC, considering I would get my groove back from the fall once I got over the flu.

But life happens!

I was encouraged when I was able to get into some training for the race (after getting back from Europe from picking up Julia from her mission), but as the weeks passed, my energy levels started to drop. And depression and anxiety levels rose.

Considering that I had only run about 18 miles first 2 1/2 weeks of June, I felt utterly unprepared. I’d been off my training schedule for over a month! I started having little panic attacks when I be in my first mile of a run. One run broke the camel’s back for me. I only ran 1.22 miles at a 12:35/mi pace, and I just turned around, went home. I was crying on my run and cried when I got home. I decided that I was just going to forget my goal and focus on doing what would make for peace and calm in my heart and not generate so much anxiety. I told Lane and our daughters about my decision, and they were completely loving, understanding, and supportive.

As the race approached, I simply decided that I would run the 5K or the 10K. I went to the temple yesterday morning and then was going to head to the race site to pick up our race packets. I left the temple remembering something I had been told in a blessing that Lane had given me in the recent weeks. It made me wonder about which race to run.

When I was picking up the packets, I asked if I could change races. I had emailed the race headquarters back around June 8 to ask about it but hadn’t seen a reply. The woman who checked on it said I could, but they were sold out of both races and wouldn’t be able to give me a medal for the one I chose.

I had a few minutes to consider which race I wanted to run. I wanted to run the half marathon. I wanted to run with my daughers. Would I be able to finish based on the little training I had done? I left the packet pickup with the thought that I had from the temple and a desire to go for it, even if it wasn’t pretty.

I went to eat lunch with a friend and told her my plans. She thought for sure I could do it, and since this friend is a runner and has been such a great cheerleader from the start of my last few years of exercise goals/race endeavors, I took that for something.

Then I told Lane, and he said he was sure I could do it.

I told Sarah, Julia, and Eliza, who all said to go for it.

Lane and I went out to eat, and I ordered pasta. I mean, classic carbo load, right? Twisted breadstick (YUM), whole wheat linguini, marinara sauce.

And three small chocolate chip cookies when we got home from our date (Jenny’s recipe, of course, made by Sarah, of course!)

Right before we were going to sleep, I started to feel fearful about my decision. Was I crazy? Was this even wise? Was I going to come out with an injury? I asked Lane for a priesthood blessing after I knelt down to pray about it.

The blessing was very reassuring. Afterwards, I felt certain that God would support me in my efforts and that things would turn out in such a way that I would feel very happy. I just needed to listen for His help as I ran.

So that four hours of sleep from 10:30 pm-2:30 am went fast! I got up around 3:20 am, and we all climbed into the car. We listened to three great songs to get ourselves pumped up: “Extraordinary Magic” (Ben Rector); “Don’t Miss the Bus” (Tom Chapin)–we were trying to get on the 4:15 am bus so we could get entered into the raffle; and “Life is a Highway” (Rascal Flatts). We got parked by 4:08 am, and then discovered we had to walk to the bus, which took longer than 4:15 am. Oh well!

Our dark drive up the canyon included the smell of freshly sprayed skunk, and I hoped no runner would get a replay on that!

Climbing out into the parking lot at the top of canyon, even in the dark we could see how beautiful our mountain vista beginning spot was. It was so cold, and we followed suit with the rest of the runners, putting the foil emergency blankets on. I had brought a down coat and was swearing sweats over my running leggings, had a hat and gloves, so I was pretty warm. We listened to the MC and joined in the pre-race yoga stretching. I liked that! And then it was time to put our stuff into our bags: jackets, water bottles, sweats, and put our bags into the trailer before the starting gun fired off. Eliza and Julia took off in a wave ahead of me and Sarah, who started back with the 2:30 (as in 2 hours and 30 minutes goal time) wave.

It was a gorgeous run down the canyon, with the sun just beginning to rise a few minutes before our race began. It was the perfect temperature for a run, and I didn’t take my gloves off for a couple of miles. I didn’t toss them (they were the $1 kind) until mile 6, I think. I had worn a lightweight running shirt on top of my running jersey, and soon it was too warm for that. Sarah stuck it into the back of my running vest. We ran in tandem, side by side, for the first 6 miles. Then I felt like I should push ahead a little, taking advantage of the downhill momentum, so that I could use the bathroom and not lose too much time. We both got ahead of the next pacer (2:20) before stopping after mile 9 (I think) to use the porta potties. Then we headed into the flatter portion of the run, and things started feeling a little harder for me: not bad, just more effort than a downhill run!

AF Canyon Run for Cancer race path

I felt super blessed that I didn’t start really feeling like it was really getting harder until mile 11. I knew I just needed to go one more mile and then pick up the pace a little until the last half mile sprint.

I had to walk here and there when we had little uphill rises in our race path, because I didn’t want my heart rate to get ahead of me. I knew from my triathlon last summer, that if I could keep my heart rate steady enough, I would be able to sprint at the end.

And I did!

AF Canyon Run for Cancer finishers

I can’t even describe how triumphant I felt sprinting through the finish line!

The last maybe 50 yards were the hardest, but Lane, Peter, Eliza, Julia, and Anna were all there on the sidelines cheering me on! Sarah had crossed in the minute before me–I told her after mile 11 to just go at whatever pace she wanted. I really wanted to cross with her since we did in our first half marathon two years ago, but she had also trained better than I, and I wanted her to be able to finish however she wanted. So I felt blessed just to be able to run so close to her at the end!

And she was right there to embrace me again, just like last year’s triathlon. It was AWESOME!

Words don’t really describe the elation I felt–not only having had such heavenly support and being able to run so comfortably and smoothly, but to have Eliza and Julia run so well, and to have been able to run right there the whole time so joyfully with Sarah! I can’t describe it!

I learned from that race that God really cares about our goals. It meant something to Him to help me. He filled in all the gaps when I had truly given my best and my best just wasn’t even close to enough. Talk about grace!

When we got home, I read the rest of an article I had started the night before in the June 2019 Ensign magazine, called “Go Together.” Neill F. Marriott, the author, finishes her article with a quote from an African mural in Johannesburg: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This race day experience really helped me feel the joy of doing something hand in hand with family and the Lord’s help. I couldn’t have done it otherwise, literally. If my family and friends had discouraged me or not believed in me, I wouldn’t have run it. If I hadn’t known that God would help me in my race, I wouldn’t have run it. I wouldn’t have believe I could do it. But they were all supportive and helped me.

What a gift!

Go far together.

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