Do you see this face? (I don’t usually post pictures of myself, but why not! You haven’t seen this face in over 12 weeks. So here you go. Take a good look and say, “HELLO!”) This face is the face of victory, not perfection, not the face of “no more trials”, but the face of, “I did it! I did it! I really, really did it!!” I actually made two loaves of bread that looked just like the bread I made in Utah.
Now, I don’t EXPECT to make beautiful loaves of bread like this each week. I know this because the next batch I made blew up because I left it out to raise TOO LONG! But that is life. We win some, we lose some but we should ALWAYS keep trying! Ironically, the very same day that I made these two incredible loaves of bread, Facebook reminded me of what had happened, exactly 3 years before, on April 21, 2012 . . .
I had just finished running the Salt Lake City Marathon!!
(Boy do I look exhausted but “well pleased!”)
Now, this marathon didn’t just happen in one day, not one week, not even one month! But months and months of preparation and weekly LONG RUNS to prepare my body, mind and spirit for what lay ahead. I had good days and I had bad days. I don’t have a picture of those but there were days that I fell FLAT on my face (right Haley – remember my foot getting tripped on that grate on Highland Drive? OUCH!!), days that my body shut down and I couldn’t walk another step (my brother Brad had to pick me up from the library up the street from my house, I couldn’t go one step more) and days that I went farther and faster than I EVER THOUGHT I COULD!
One magnificent memory that I use on challenging days is of the day I actually “ran” to Wasatch Blvd., from my house, and stopped to take in the view. I had already been out running 10 miles that morning with my friend Haley but I needed to still run an additional 6 miles to make my training goal for the week. Haley wished me the best of luck, gave me a huge “you can do it!” smile and I was off on my own. I left her home, which was just a few blocks from my home, and started my climb toward 4500 South. I knew it was going to be difficult but I didn’t think about the end goal. I just thought about one block at a time, one street at a time, and when things got tough, one step at a time. (Love that song!! One of G’s favorites!)
Each time I doubted, each time I wanted to just give up and turn back home (to try again “another” day), I would look up at my beautiful mountain and think of its strength, think of its ability to endure the sands of time, and then I would gain strength from that beautiful mountain to KEEP ON TRYING!
Until I saw something like THIS!
(This is not my photo, but it is the best I could find on the internet to give you an idea of what I saw that day. Thank you to www.everytrail.com for the use of the photo)
Honestly, this picture does not do justice for what I saw. My view was at the top of 4500 South and it allowed me to see “my life” from a bird’s view. I could see where my house was, where my in-law’s lived, where my Junior and High Schools were and a better view of the road I had just “run” up. I was amazed at the splendor and I CHOSE to take it all in for myself. It was a selfish decision but one that I NEEDED to choose. I wanted THIS! I wanted to celebrate! I wanted to be happy! So I WAS and I DID IT RIGHT THEN AND THERE!
No one was there to pat me on the back, to give me a handshake, to say “Well Done!” I had to do it for myself. I learned in that moment that I COULD DO HARD THINGS! And it has changed me forever!
As funny and silly and a “waste of time” as bread baking can be to others, it was a challenge that I wanted to also master in Costa Rica. I enjoy making bread. It brings me joy to see my family eating something that I made, with the BIGGEST smile of enjoyment and love on their faces. As I watch my family enjoy one of my fresh baked loaves of bread, I think to myself, “I did that! I helped them have this moment of enjoyment and satisfaction! They are eating the love I have for them!” Honestly, what could be better than that?
It is also a blessing to think that I can do this for them ANYWHERE we might live in this world. I can work hard, be persistent, never give up and I can have successful experiences! The nice side to all of this is, no matter how ugly the loaf of bread might look, it still tastes the same. It might not be as enjoyable to look at but the bread was made with the same amount of love and hard work, it just doesn’t always turn out beautiful – but my family is learning to appreciate whatever bread I make for them, no matter what it may look like.
And isn’t that what being a family is all about? No matter what we give to each other, good or bad moments, hard days or fun days, sad days or happy, they all come from the same place . . . . LOVE! If we were just to see that love FIRST and then learn to enjoy whatever shape it comes in, than I believe that would be heaven on earth!
So now I am off to a day FULL of service to my eternal family and heavenly family on this earth. I have “Fe en Dios” this morning, my first one, and then a Pool Party for a few of E’s new friends at church, here at our home. It will be a busy day but one that I hope to look back on, like my run to the top of Wasatch Blvd., that I can cherish and know that this is the start of good days to come, good experiences that we never knew we could have and good moments we can look back on and say, “I DID THAT! I KEPT TRYING AND LOOK HOW FAR I CAME!”
I leave these thoughts and a heartfelt prayer that YOU will climb your mountain today and do YOUR VERY BEST and never GIVE UP TRYING! In the name of Jesus Christ, Our Savior, Amen!
(And one last photo for the ones I love!)