Monday, August 15, 2016


This summer, Aeryn had the chance to go on trek with the youth in our stake. Her dad was good to let us plan her visit to see him after the trek was done so she could participate. Since trek wasn't a thing when I was a teenager, I really didn't know what to expect for her or how to help her prepare. We followed the checklist from the stake making sure she had her metal pie plate to eat out of, two outfits for the four days, and a smattering of other things that would all fit inside of a 5 gallon bucket.

When she first stepped off the bus, she ran over to me and gave me a big, smelly hug. She immediately started crying because all the feelings she had bottled up for the four days came pouring out at once. She was physically and emotionally spent, in every way.

She and her Oregon BFF were both exhausted and felt they couldn't walk another step. I suppose going 30 miles over hilly terrain while pushing/pulling 700lb. handcarts is tiring...

I'm so happy that Aeryn was able to have this lovely lady as her "Ma." We have gotten to know their family very well over the years and she has the sweetest, most kind personality ever. It was a good personality mix for Aeryn as they (she and her husband) both have a way of being encouraging and supportive while being gentle. She told me how Aeryn was happy the entire time and never quit working. That sure makes a parent proud!

When we chatted about the experience, "Ma" said that "This was hard! I run marathons and I know hard, this was HARD." Then they got off trek and found that their car had been burned to the ground and all she had to say was that after those days on trek, she was just glad she didn't have to sacrifice anything bigger and was all smiles. See? Exactly the kind of example you hope your kids are around.

The stake had root beer floats waiting for the kids when they returned to the church, and had plenty for families. Tate thought that was pretty awesome. Ellie was there too, and had her share of root beer floats, but she tends to not stay in one place long enough to land herself in many of my pictures.

He also loved her bonnet! He loved it so much the beloved orange NIKE hood was removed so he could wear it. That is saying something.

There was so much work to do to clean up and get things put away. I'm sure everyone there was anxious for a warm shower and clean set of clothes, but people pitched in and got the work done. Tents were cleaned, handcarts washed, trucks unpacked, and eventually we were able to head home.

I will never really understand what that was like for her, but I am so thankful for the chance she had to be with good people and prove to herself that she can do hard things. Now that the pain has subsided, she is left with good memories and talks about it happily.

Our little Pioneer

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