General Young Women Meeting

On Saturday afternoon, I drove to Salt Lake with the Young Women from the Jackson Ward to attend the General Young Women Meeting at the Conference Center: 

But I need to back it up. . . because our first stop was at Caputo's Deli

For one of my current food obsessions, the Mozzarella and Tomato sandwich: 

Then we went to Carlucci's Bakery for dessert. Strange that I didn't take a picture of any of the treats we ate, but here's a good shot of Amber and Lora: 

Melissa was a good sport and came with us, even though she'd been sick all day: 

Here is a picture of our group, taken after the meeting. Such a shame because the light inside the Conference Center was absolutely beautiful before the meeting, but I didn't have my camera with me. . . 

. . . All because of my backpack

If you have seen me in the last six years, then you have most likely seen me with my "baby bag". It drives Steve crazy that I call it a baby bag, since it's not a baby bag. And we clearly don't have any babies. But since we got it when Adam was a baby, I've always just called it the baby bag. It goes everywhere with me and nothing compares to it. Mostly because of all of the great zippered pockets that allow me to organize all sorts of useful things (fingernail clippers, snacks, pens, power cords, coupons, you name it). I've tried to transfer to something a little more lady-like, but nothing has worked out. 

But I think Saturday was the last straw. The Conference Center security guard wouldn't let me take in my backpack. "It's not a backpack, I told him." 
"Sorry", he told me, "no backpacks." 
"It's really not a backpack." (There were ladies carrying purses twice as large and my bag, walking right in without any problems.)
"I'm sorry, you'll have to go check it at Portal 14."
Grrrr. That meant I had to ditch my treats. . . any my camera. 

So I am ready for a new bag. With lots of zippered pockets. Any suggestions? Please!?! I found this bag, but it certainly isn't going to have enough compartments. And I don't really like the color. And I'm afraid it could, possibly, be classified as a backpack someday. 

Anyhow, I finally made it to my seat in the Conference Center. Sitting in the auditorium with 20,000 other women and girls was pretty incredible. And it made today's Sunday School lesson about "The Gathering of My People" even more meaningful. 

Sister Ann Dibb talked about standing in holy places. I loved how she said that something can become a holy place because of you. And that anytime you have the courage to stand for what is right, you are creating a holy place. 

Sister Mary Cook spoke about adding oil to our lamp, one drop at a time, by consistently making righteous decisions. She shared some stories that explained how trials can be a springboard for growth or a roadblock. "Our most significant opportunities will come in times of greatest difficulty." And she also encouraged us to keep our testimonies vibrant by writing them down. 

Next, they showed this five-minute video called Standing in Holy Places. It is very well made. . . and touching. So you should make time to watch it.  

Sister Elaine Dalton talked about how one righteous young woman, led by the spirit, can change the world. She encouraged the young women to be a standard to the world. And to be not moved in choosing right. "In these latter days, there are no small decisions. . . your choices matter. . . they are of eternal significance." She shared so many wonderful things, I was typing on my phone as fast as I could to keep up with her. "Live your lives in such a way that you can listen to and follow the Holy Ghost. . . Holy men need holy women to stand by their sides." 

And finally, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke. He told the story of when his family fled East Germany and how he and his mother hiked across the border into West Germany. He counseled us not to fear. We are not alone on our journey. The Lord sees us as we are really are. He told us to love one another and to learn the universal language of Christ's love. (Or German, since that's what he thinks we will speak in heaven.) And his final admonition was to be of good cheer. There will always be things to complain about, things that don't seem to go quite right. But that is not the journey we want and that is not the journey Heavenly Father sent you to take. Walk joyfully, look for the happiness your Father in Heaven prepared for you. 

It was a great gathering of young women, and it really was a great meeting. As soon as the closing prayer concluded, I hustled out of there as fast as I could to go get my camera. But guess what? No re-entry. I explained that I was trying to take a picture of our group and wasn't able to take my bag in with me. So he kindly offered to escort me. Which got kind of awkward because by then some of the girls had gone to the bathroom, so there was a lot of standing around and waiting. 

Anyhow, by the time we got everyone together the light was no longer ideal, so we took that one quick shot and then went outside to take a few more pictures. 

The Suiters:  

Jessie and Bayleigh: 

The Hickens:

Chay and Breanna:

The whole group:

Mariah & Sammy:

Melissa forced me to be in a picture. Sometimes I need that.

And then she announced to the girls who hadn't already found out that it was my last activity. So then I needed pictures with some of the young women:

One last picture with Melissa to end my calling as Young Women Secretary:

That was certainly one of my shortest church callings. . . just four months. But we sure packed a lot of great activities in over the last four months, and I really do love those girls. 

P.S. We watched this video today in church as part of our combined Relief Society/Priesthood meeting on family history. It's a lot longer, but quite an inspiring story. 


Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt

Saren suggested that we have a neighborhood Easter egg hunt. My week was already packed, and I wasn't sure that I could fit in anything else. But the activity was quick, easy, and fun, so I'm glad she pushed it along and made it happen. 

The instructions were to meet in front of the Loosli's house at 5:00 pm with 10 filled Easter eggs and a basket or bag for each child. (I have to include the details here because next year we will be trying to remember exactly what we did this year.) Some of the older kids and the dads hid the eggs in backyard of the Loosli's/Choberka's while the kids played Duck, Duck, Goose. Or some Easter-ish variation of that game. 

I love my neighborhood. I love that we gather together for fun activities like this. And I love that so many neighbors without kids still come and participate. I should have taken some pictures of the adults. Tamara was teaching me and Mindy about how we need to be stretching better before we run. That's when I missed the start of the Easter egg hunt.

I ran to catch up with Kaleigh. She was so funny. She walked right by eggs on the ground towards eggs like this one that were hidden up high. She jumped a few times to see if she could reach it, and then moved on to something else.

Their backyard has an "urban" feel to it. Saren called it something different. . .  

But let's be honest, there were way more places to hide eggs than there would have been in a nicely manicured yard. 

And, of course the kids didn't mind one bit. 

Some of the older kids paired up to help the younger kids. 

But not Rachel. She was the official winner of the hunt with some 35 eggs.

The older kids were encouraged to share their extra eggs with the younger kids, so everyone would end up with about 10 eggs each. But it turned out that the parents of the younger kids didn't really want their kids to have any more candy, so there was just a little sharing and everyone ended up happy. The kids sat on the grass and sorted through their candy while the adults visited. It was quite pleasant. 




Taylor & Eliza: 

Mrs. Bieber: 

Courtney & Ethan:


More Oliver:

Eloise & Hazel:



And one final picture of Saren with the Easter Bunny: 


2011 Classic Race

Before I write about the Canyonlands Half Marathon that I ran last week, I really need to back up and talk about my experience at the Ogden Marathon in 2012. And before I can properly write about the Ogden Marathon, I have an embarrassing story to share. Because it explains the motivation behind why I ran 20 miles in the marathon.

I texted my friend yesterday.

Me: Did I not ever post pictures on my blog about that race we ran in Layton?
Sherry: Nope. Why would you have? Not to be remembered;)

. . . . .

After my three surgeries in 2011, I was anxious to regain my strength and become physically active. I won an entry from SelectHealth for The Classic, a 5K race in Layton. I talked Sherry into running the race with me, so we went to Ogden High School to train with our kids. That first time around the track was a struggle. But we kept at it, with Sherry as my trainer and the kids as my cheerleaders. I slowly progressed until I was ready to run three miles. Well, mostly run. (We figured the girls would slow us down a bit.)

In retrospect, it's crazy for me to think that I thought I was ready for a 5K because my stomach was still very tender. We had gone to Pineview with my family the week before, and I still remember how sore I was when Steve flipped our wave runner and I had to tread water for a few minutes. It was a full month after the race that we went to Bonneville Seabase for our anniversary, and I still wasn't up for swimming. I guess I was determined to run.

Race day came, and we were so excited to run with our eight-year old daughters:

But not far into the race, my excitement was quickly replaced by misery. . . intestinal misery. And as luck would have it,  there weren't any porta-potties on the course. I will spare you the details, but let's just say it was horribly embarrassing. 

And defeating. I had planned and prepared for the race, but my stomach just wasn't ready. Sherry continued running with the girls, and I finally had to surrender and call Steve to have him come pick me up. 

We made a pit stop at a gas station and then went back to the race to watch Sherry, Rachel, and Sophia cross the finish line. Steve was surprised that I was willing to go back, but I didn't want to ruin the day for the kids. I was absolutely horrified by what had happened, but I just put a smile on my face and acted like everything was okay. 

The worst part was that all of the race directors had heard about my stomach problems. They apologized profusely and promised that they would add porta-potties to the course next year. "Don't worry. . . I won't be back!" I thought in my head. (I did try and explain that there was no need to change the set-up of the race just for me; I clearly had some unusual intestinal issues.)

Derrick finished his 10K race and won third place in his age division:

 Rachel was beaming. I was so proud of her for running her first 5K: 

Stan Bird came to say hi: 

I think Rachel actually has the same exact expression on her face in this picture below as I did as a teenager when I had braces. My dad always referred to it as my "pained orthodontic smile". 

Lucy did some meditating: 

Because then it was time for her big race. Jeremy Holt led all of the KidsK runners in some stretches:

Gave them a pep talk: 

And then they were off. It looks like Lucy is yelling: 

These four cheerleaders stood on the side of the road: 

And Rachel ran right alongside of Lucy to keep her going: 

Madey was definitely my favorite little runner to watch:

What a fun family activity: 

But what a horrible first race for me.

I tried to sign up for a race in October and another one in November, but each time, Steve said no. He was afraid my stomach wasn't ready and that I'd just repeat my embarrassing experience. He told me I might want to look for an out of town race. . . or maybe even out of state. . . to try again. (He wasn't joking.)

It's probably no surprise that I kind of gave up on running. I was clearly not meant to be a runner. Sherry talked me into going to a class at Gold's Gym called CX-WORX. My torso muscles were extremely weak, and since the class targets core training, it was really hard for me. Even though it was months before I could keep up with the older ladies who sat in the back row of the class with me, the class was exactly what I needed.