I am a Sweetheart to One and a Mommy to Four Loveable Babes, one of which is smiling down on us from Heaven. I am learning to dance in the rain. Come with me on my journey as I make the most out of Life's mud puddles.

Put on your rain boots. Great adventure lies ahead.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

To Be A Pioneer

July 24th marks a very important day in our faith and in the state in which we live. On July 24, 1847, the Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. While pulling handcarts and covered wagons over the barren Midwestern plains, many men, women and children lost their lives. Some suffered frostbite, starvation and sickness while others had to bury their loved ones in shallow graves along the rough, dirt trails. They sought a peaceful place where they could worship "according to the dictates of [their] own conscience" but were only met with persecution and hardship. And yet they moved forward, following a Prophet of God, believing that a Loving Heavenly Father had prepared a place for them.

My ancestors were some of those Mormon Pioneers. Each came to America from their perspective countries (England, Scotland, Denmark), following their faith and leaving everything they owned to come to a new country to join others of their faith. They were strong, moral, God-fearing people who loved their families and who longed for a better life for their children.

Now - over a century later - I benefit from the sacrifices made because they decided to do a "hard thing." I have grown up hearing stories of my forebearers. In fact, our oldest is named for a baby - referred to in family journals as "Angel Emma" - that passed away while her family was crossing the plains en route to their "Promised Land." After our recent loss, I can't imagine burying my child along a dirt road in a shallow grave in the bitter winter cold. Never would they visit that sweet grave site again. Never would they be able to physically memorialize that child's life. Never would they be able to take flowers on birthdays, holidays and anniversaries in celebration of what that babe meant to them. Just the thought breaks my heart. I don't know how they did it.

In our faith, the children are taught a song from a very young age:

You don't have to push a handcart
Leave your family dear,
Or walk a thousand miles or more
To be a Pioneer.

You do need to have great courage
Faith to conquer fear,
And work with might for a cause that's right
To be a Pioneer.

My ancestors were Pioneers. Their children were pioneers. And now I am a Pioneer. In my entire extended family, I am the first person to lose a living child. This is a path that is unfamiliar to me and those that I love. I am walking it for the first time. And - while doing so - I have been made aware that others are watching.

Unfortunately, in my large and extensive family (on one side I have more than 50 first cousins), I will probably not be the only one to have an Angel Child. There will come a time when others may experience the heartache we feel. The circumstances may be different, but the feelings of disbelief, shock and heartache will be the same.

And we will be there.

We will be there with a shoulder to cry on. We will be there to hear ALL feelings. We will be there when they may need someone to talk to and we will be there after they need some space. We will be there to listen to their memories after everyone else seems to move on and we will visit their loved one's grave just because we know how much it means to their family. And lastly, we will be there to testify of a Tender and Loving God that can heal ALL wounds, who offers a Peace that surpasses ALL understanding and a Gospel that gives Hope when it seems that there is none to be had.

Because WE are Pioneers.


  1. you guys continue to amaze. will you be home tomorrow, i have a treat id like to drop by.

  2. I love what you wrote I too am a pioneer in my family. The first to loose a living child. I read your blog and although I'm a few months ahead of you I'm thankful for the strength and insight you share with all who come to read.

  3. Mandy, I love you!

    On Sunday I watched the preview for the new movie that just came out called "17 Miracles". I totally cried my eyes out just watching the preview. Amazing what they endured. And it's amazing what we too are asked to endure. Thank you for your faith!

  4. You have indeed changed my life Mandy being that pioneer. I think of things in a new perspective now. I thought about you and the pioneers this weekend, thinking the same thing about how they could have been able to bury their loved ones and never be able to memorialize them again. I can't imagine how they did it. We are definitely pioneers in our own way. We are creating stories right now that someday will be retold. You are definitely a pioneer that many are watching. Your example of keeping the faith will continue to strengthen many. You have always been a tough cookie following the gospel and it is more evident now to other that hadn't paid attention before. Hugs and love to you.

  5. You are among the stalwarts, true to your great heritage! Thank you for your continued great examples!
    Love Jenny B.

  6. I love that little song!!! I'd never heard it until recently. I'm the primary chorister in our ward and 2 weeks before Pioneer Day was asked to help the kids learn something to sing in Sacrament meeting. I loved the simplicity and message of this song and the kids did a great job singing it on such short notice. Thank you for the beautiful post.

  7. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this, and all of your messages. You are an inspiration to all.
    Love you. Jackie

  8. So Beautiful Amanda! You are a pioneer and you are a living legacy of Our Dear Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ! Thank you for your faith and your courage and for ever, ever pressing forward! Good things are to come!
    Your testimony, living witness, and spirit fill me beyond measure with joy and gratitude! We love you! Bless you dear friend! Bless you.
    Angel Bennett truly is near you and you see His light combine with yours and it shines forth. It is as if I feel his added spirit and strength as a second witness in each of your posts.
    Beloved. You truly are beloved!


Thank you for being a part of my journey. I appreciate your supportive and healing comments. Here's to a Promise of Sunshine!