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Monday, July 28, 2008

Blessed, Honored Pioneer!

This past week we have celebrated and remembered the pioneers that trekked across the nation to escape persecution and enjoy religious freedom. I have grown up hearing pioneer stories and have heard repeatedly about their hardships and dedication.

During the Sesqucentennial I heard story after story after story about their lives. In fact, I was honestly very annoyed at all the pioneer stories. Isn't that horrible? These people make sacrifices and allow me to practice religious freedom and I'm sick of hearing about them?

I've realized a new appreciation for these pioneer ancestors. Their dedication and example are beyond anything I ever expect to be. I have thought more and more about them as I have entered motherhood. I think of having to pick up and move and go across the plains with my young children. I don't know how moms did it. I don't know how they dealt with so much death and discomfort. I don't know how they weren't worried out of their minds for their elderly. I don't know how any pregnant woman gave birth in those times, let alone as they were traveling across the country. I don't know how I can ever show enough gratitude for what they endured to benefit my life.

I have also thought about what a blessing it is to live in a time of such convenience. I think of those poor women who had to cook and clean almost non-stop. By the time the breakfast was done it was time to start lunch, and once lunch was finished it was time to start dinner. I remember a Little House on the Prairie when the son tried cooking while the mother was away, and he ruined dinner. Did they order out for pizza? No, they ate some figs and bread or whatever else they had on hand -- which was not much. I can't imagine not feeling well or having a headache or having a newborn and still having to take care of all the cooking and cleaning.

Actually, sometimes I wonder if that's why we have such disrespectful and sacreligious behavior in our society -- it's too easy to live! I am very grateful for it, but I do worry about how to give my kids a great work ethic, especially since I don't feel like I'm the best example in that category!

In any case, I thought I'd share a story written by Paul's grandmother. She wrote snippets from her life rather than a biography. This has been one of my favorites ever since I read it, and I know ANY mother out there will appreciate this and think of your own friends and family who would do the same for you. (All while being very grateful that we live in a time of convenience and pain medication. :)

"THE BREAKFAST: A tribute to Mrs. Minnie Jackson. Blackfoot, Idaho"
Written by Evah Pearl Grover Brown

For thirty years the memory of that breakfast has stayed with me and that's a long time to remember a certain meal. It had been a terribly long night, one of excitement, anxiety and the hardest kind of work. I had been the leading performer, but the others had worked with me in the supporting cast. There was the doctor, and my young husband, and his mother and my neighbor, Minnie.

With all our combined efforts, at 6 a.m. a new life was ushered into this world and I gazed lovingly, upon our beautiful dark haired baby girl. Yes, after a lifetime of preparation and months of waiting and hours of suffering I was at last a mother.

As only a mother can understand, I felt that heaven had opened its door wide enough to allow its most precious treasure to step out, and into our modest home.

Minnie, I'm sure, was as exhausted as the others. In the excitement of caring for the new baby no one noticed when she went home, but I shall always remember when she returned. It was after I had relaxed for a while between smooth white sheets, it was after the doctor had gone and just at the time that I began to feel famished. Then with a covered tray, Minnie walked into my bedroom.

Quietly she pulled a chair near my bed and sat down. "Honey" she said, gently laying her hand upon my tired arm, "I brought you some breakfast".

Uncovering the tray, I inhaled the wonderful aroma of hot food. There were two tender light biscuits with butter and raspberry jam. There was hot chocolate topped with a 'dab' of whipped cream, and an egg scrambled just right. And there was more—There was understanding, neighborliness, and compassion. It was the most delicious breakfast I have ever eaten…it was prepared for one mother by another mother, with love.


Lizzylou said...

Great post! I saw your blog link on Heidi Rowburry's. You are a great writer! Love your blog.

Melissa said...

Dear Denise,

Could I copy this story and add it to our book of stories for our kids?