I'm a horrible blogger! It's been over 2 years since my last post. I have a lot to say about my weekend that it might be too much for a FB post. Since it is Pioneer Days coming up I wanted to share some thoughts I learned.
This weekend we had the opportunity to get together with my Moore Family for the 2014 reunion. My Aunt and her family planned the whole thing. We met down in Mosida Friday night in our pioneer get up for dinner and some good old Pioneer dancing. We ended the night watching Ephraim's Rescue and trying to get kids and adults to settle down for bed. Knowing we most likely wouldn't get much sleep though. I opted to go sleep in my car, but even though it was so quiet, it was not at all comfortable. I think to get the whole pioneer experience though it was fitting for no one to sleep good. I'm pretty sure the pioneers didn't.
Saturday we all dragged ourselves out of whatever position we were sleeping in to pack, eat a little breakfast, pack the handcarts, and head out for a 4 mile trek (So we thought anyway). My family discussed before hand that we would not pack lunch or a heavy cooler since we were to get done sometime around noon-1pm. Us, my parents and siblings were sharing a cart so we all just brought a few snacks and water to keep it lite. We knew we had to do the women's Pull and even though I personally have never experienced this before I knew what it was and me my sisters did not want to be pulling a heavy cart. I have to say this was a smart decision to some degrees.
Before we left the missionaries discussed some rules, showed a short video and helped us pack the carts. We took pics before and were all in good spirits. I think this is how the Pioneers felt before they left for their long journey across the plains to Zion. So happy and excited to be going somewhere that they could be free from the persecutions they were facing. Not knowing the many hardships they would face along the way. They went anyway and oh my gosh how blessed are we because of it. So we gathered up our families and started walking and pulling handcarts. 4 handcarts and the age range of late 60's early 70's to baby. 56 people total. We didn't get to far before I looked back and saw my Aunt struggling to keep up and a few others walking with her. So we stopped and waited. Knowing she would not be able to keep up, but really wanted to experience the trek, her family put her in their cart and pulled and pushed her the whole way. When you do stuff like this, with such a range of age you figure you might need to make a few stops. We did way more then a few.
We were asked to research someone or a family that crossed the plains to represent on our little trek and then share their story. I will be honest, I did not get as much time to research like I wanted. I wanted to be able to get on family search and find someone that we could walk for, but the only day we thought about it and started doing it we ended up in the Emergency room with ETh and his fall off the tramp. So we walked for someone we knew a little bit about on Jason's family. John Tanner. Most of you know his story because if you have ever seen "Treasures in Heaven" that movie is about him. I did find a little bit more on him, but to sum up why he is special to us. He was a bible reading guy that didn't want much to do with the Mormons. One night he heard that the missionaries were going to be preaching somewhere. He thought he would go and listen to what they had to say. At the time he had a really bad infection in his leg and could barely walk. He believed what the missionaries had to say and started inviting them to his home. A Dr. Told him he would have to amputate his leg, but he told them No. He wanted to get baptized, but figured he couldn't because of his leg. So the missionaries gave him a blessing that healed his leg. He was baptized that night. John Tanner was a wealthy man at the time the church was in financial need. He gave Joseph Smith $2,000 to save the Kirkland Temple. He then Kept giving the church money until he had nothing. He ended up begging for food to feed his family. The cool thing about this story is. He got called to go on a Mission. He took the note for the $2,000 to the prophet and proceeded to rip up the note. He didn't want the church to pay him back. SO John Tanner was given a blessing from the prophet that him, his family and his prosterity down the line would never go hungry. Why this is neat is because as my husband was telling everyone this story he teared up. In his and his Moms Patriartical blessings this promise is told to them. John Tanner gave up everything to help the church. As did so many others. These people sacrificed everything and what do I sacrifice? I work out of the home, I rarely buy things for myself, I'm raising 3 kids, but these things are nothing. I have a roof over my head, cars that get me places, stores that I can go buy food, clothes and other essentials. I don't have to try and scrimp to feed my family on 4oz of flour, or watch my family starve and suffer from lack of shelter, food and just plain exhaustion. I don't have to walk pulling handcarts with all my possessions. We have so much, but take those things for granted. At least I do. We watch movies like 17 miracles, Ephraim's Rescue, and other church videos about the pioneers. We cry for them, but do we really know what they sacrificed for us.
I was so excited to be able to do this trek. I've heard other people's experiences and really wanted my own. I especially wanted my kids to have it as well. Like I said "before we were all happy and willing to do this together." It didn't take long for the heat and exhaustion and the constant stopping for the attitude to change. It got to the point that I would feel frustrated that we didn't just keep moving to get done quicker. I would like to think that if Heavenly Father did send me down during the pioneer times that I would of been one to encourage others along. To help those struggling. To be strong enough to push and pull my cart and have the endurance to not give up. I hope that I would, but I don't know. Could I endure? That is a question I'm asking myself. the 5.4 miles we walked was tough. They went miles and miles day in and day out for months in the heat and then bitter cold. Losing loved ones along the way. But they did it because of loved ones and Faith. They wanted a better life and it didn't matter what they had to do. Amazing Courage and strength!!!
If you don't know my extended family you really should one day. We have been there for each other as long as I can remember. We support each other. We have FHE together. We play and have fun together. This trek just proved that we also can do hard things together. I have always known I have the best family. I can honestly say "I love every single one of them." Watching them all during this experience has made my respect for them grow even more. Most of my cousins were there walking without their spouses. One carried his little boy on his back the hole way while his other 3 young children walked. Could not have done that. Another had a baby that they carried while their 4 children walked. The family that pulled their mother without complaining once. One little boy got Heat Stroke and was dehydrated, but everyone rallied to keep him cool and keep him drinking. The saying "No man left behind" Well that was how we felt. If one was struggling, we all were. You saw a need and you just helped. It didn't matter if it was your family or someone elses. It was okay to leave your family and help. You cannot experience something like that alone. You cannot keep going sometimes without the help of others to push you, encourage you and just be there with you. I know I would of probably given up after the Women's Pull if it had not been for all of them.
Okay so I honestly can say I have experienced the "Women's Pull" and I am fine to never experience it again. Alright I probably would because this was the part of the trek that I grew the most and has made me contemplate a lot of things. So this is the part of the trek where the men leave to go off to war or serve missions, etc. While the women are left to carry the load and burden themselves. As the men were walking away I could tell the Carts that would struggle without their men helpers. So we split families up to help some of the carts that only had 2 women pulling. I'm really not sure what I was thinking. Before we went I was thinking I could probably do this trek pretty easy. I can run 3 miles, so walking shouldn't be that hard, plus we were keeping our cart pretty light. Oh I have never been so wrong in my life. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I felt the Load and I felt the burden. I know other women's pulls are up a hill and not very far. This was about a 1/2 a mile with no hill, but sandy. It was like pulling a cart through the sand dunes. The cart pulling their mom was really struggling. They couldn't get very far without wanting to die. So my oldest sister decided to run back and help them. Leaving one less on our cart. Me, my other sister and her 12 year old daughter decided to be the ones pulling while my mom and my little 8 year old pushed. Each step was so hard. You pushed yourself to exhaustion because you knew you had to. You couldn't go very far without stopping. We would wait for the other carts to catch up, but then they needed to rest. You tried to act like it was alright to let them rest a minute, but it was just so you could rest longer. My sister started getting an Asma attack and was having a hard time breathing. I was to, but it was just because I guess I'm not in that great of shape. I pulled because I didn't want to give up. I cried for myself and for the other carts that were pulling more weight then us. I cried because I needed my husband to come take this burden from me. When we got to a point were we could see the men, it was like looking into heaven. Knowing that they were there and would open their arms to us and take the burden from us was such a wonderful feeling. We knew they couldn't come help until we got to certain point, but the fact that I could see them waiting was enough. In the words of my sister. "It's all fun and games until the Women's pull." Truer words have never been said.
After that it seemed like it was never going to end. You were so exhausted and hot. You wanted to keep moving just to get back to civilization. Sad, but true...When we started this little adventure we thought we were going 4 miles and would be back no later then 1. Just like the pioneers, you have to expect the unexpected. Things probably didn't always go according to plan. I'm sure they had to stop for several reasons too. They didn't all get to Zion on time. We didn't get back until 3 and we ended up walking 5.4 miles. The lessons I learned though will never be forgotten. Their Faith kept them going and ours keeps us going. We are so blessed to have people in our lives that gave up everything for Faith and for the love they had for God. We take that for granted when we complain about this little thing or that. Sacrifice Endurance and Faith is why we live like we do. Granted we don't live without struggles and trials. We have different ones. But we also have so many more people to help us get through them.
I also learned that I need my husband. I take him for granted more then I should. I realized how much he does for me. He is always there to lift my burdens and help me. When he wasn't there, I noticed. My kids also did so amazing. I have never been more proud of them in my entire life. I have plenty of proud moments as a Mom, but to see my kids pulling the cart, pushing the cart and never once complaining. I was so worried about my little girl, but she pushed that cart during that Women's pull with sand in her eyes and never asked to get in the cart. She helped other carts push and pull. They all walked and walked and walked. It was such a humbling experience. Now when they complain about cleaning their rooms or helping around the house I can remind them of what they just did. Pioneer days will never be the same for me. Parades, food, family get togethers. it's fun, but the meaning of it will be lots different.
I'm so blessed to have an Incredible Family... I know this church is true. I know Heavenly Father loves me and wants me to be happy. I know I have 3 little miracles that keep me going. I know my husband is my best friend and will be forever. I know that this life isn't the end. I know I will someday get to meet my 5 angels. I hope and pray that I will get to meet and thank my pioneer ancestors for all they did. These things keep me going. They make me want to be a better person. I'm far from being that better person, but I have to keep trying for them, my family and myself. Their Sacrifice should not be in vain.
Thank You Benson family for putting this together. It was the hardest, most rewarding experience. I loved it and I will never forget it. Best family reunion so far!!!
Enjoy a few pics. I didn't get as many as I'd liked, but other family did. I've been working on this for over 5 hours so I really hope it makes sense.
Mindi's thoughts for the Month
1. "Be believing, Be happy, don't get discouraged. Things will workout."---Gordan B. Hinckley 2.Our kindness may be the nost persuasive argument for that which we believe. ---Gordan B. Hinckley 3. You can be smart and happy or stupid and miserable... It's your choice."---Hinckley
Good things To Come (Jefferey R. Holland)
A friend shared this on FB and so I thought I would share it with you. It's nice to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ can help us get through hard and troubled times.