Why the Sparkly Mountain

My family spent a week pulling a trailer to various places between Mesa, Arizona and Salt Lake City, Utah for spring break when the kids were younger.

Oh, I could write volumes on the shenanigans we experienced, but for the sake of this post, I’ll try to keep it to one point.

We had just spent an entire day trying to get from Mesa, AZ to Goblin Valley, Utah, not really comprehending how unrealistic such a jaunt in one day really was.  After missing our turnoff in Flagstaff (add 3 hours to the trip because of the unscheduled stop at the meteor crater on the way to Albuquerque), our hope was to reach Goblin Valley, Utah before the RV park closed at 10 pm.

On the map, there’s a nice little road from Mexican Hat, straight up to Hanksville, which is only a little ways away from Goblin Valley.  By the time we reached Mexican Hat, it was clearly impossible to hope for a 10 pm arrival; we’d be lucky to get there before midnight.  I just prayed that the gate would remain open for us by some fluke, so we pressed on.  We had already paid for the first night, and I wanted to benefit from it.

(Do all you CAN do, and expect things to work out for you in the end, right?)

When we reached the turnoff outside of Mexican Hat, there was a large, obnoxious sign that said we’d be stupid to drive that road with an RV.  It was small with switchbacks and although I was anxious to get to Hanksville, we decided it would be smartest to go an extra 40 miles out of our way through Bluff and Blanding instead.

Here’s a street-view Google image showing the sign, which we saw in the dark:

to-hanksville
10% GRADES /  5 mph SWITCHBACKS / NARROW GRAVEL ROAD /  8 MILES

By 1:00 in the morning, we finally rolled into Hanksville, exhausted and grateful that we were there in one piece.  It had been a lonely, dark, unpredictable and nerve-wracking road with our long and heavy trailer.

We slept at a gas station in Hanksville, and in the morning, headed down highway 24 towards Goblin Valley.  Happy to be close to our destination and well rested, we excitedly told the kids we were almost there.

(To this point, the destination was still a secret.)

About 20 miles out of town, my son saw something sparkly spread across the hills on our left.  I looked, and was amazed at its beauty – it looked like it was covered in hundreds of yards of gold.  I knew it couldn’t possibly be, so I just assumed it had to be pyrite (fools gold).

Unexpectedly, the glitter ended with the next hill.  “Shoot!” We thought, “we should have stopped to see what it was and take some home with us!”  But our trailer was too large, and we were too long to turn around on the narrow 2-lane road, so we just pressed on.

Around the next corner, my husband thought he saw some more on the right side of the road and quickly pulled off to take the opportunity.

But it only took a moment to realize that the solid-looking shoulder was deep and soft from rain the day before.  He gunned it to get back on the road, but it was too late.  We were stuck.  Stuck on a road that sees a traveler only once in a very long while.

Long story short, a group of college kids eventually saw us, turned around, and stopped to help in vain (to my oldest son’s amusement, one happened to be from the same high school as he attended, 550 miles away).  Then a man in a truck stopped, and went into town to get a chain.

With everyone pushing, and the man with the truck pulling, we finally pulled out.  My husband ran ahead to thank the man in the truck, who asked us where we were going.  My husband responded, “Goblin Valley!”  To which the man replied, “You’re going in the wrong direction!  You need to take the 24 East, not West.”

Amazing. We were already 30 miles off course and would not have known it for a very long time had we not gotten stuck in the mud.

The college students asked, “Why did you pull off the road?”

We chuckled, “Because we saw something sparkly.”

They laughed at us.

Hard.

We let the kids out of the van to go climbing while my husband drove up the road to find a place to turn around.

You know, sometimes life is like this. 

You’re traveling along in the wrong direction and don’t even know it.  So God allows you to be enticed by a dream that gets your attention – maybe it’s financial freedom, maybe it’s a nice house or a car.  So you divert your attention toward the goal and somewhere along the way, you end up getting stuck.

Jacob and Sarah coming down the hill to get back in the van.

In an effort to get unstuck, you reach out for help, and ultimately learn something that puts you on course toward your ultimate goal, after having been off course without even knowing it.

People looking for more money or a better lifestyle often end up discovering the principles of prosperity and laws of success which apply to all areas of their life, all because they got stuck financially and searched for a way out.

The good news is, being stuck is one of the best things that can happen to you, because it often stops you from continuing in the wrong direction, and opens up an opportunity for you to not only get unstuck, but to get back on course when you didn’t even know you were going the wrong way.

I’m convinced that’s what the “glitter” of life is really for. 

“Materialism”, being too consumed with material things, isn’t all bad, because if it gets your attention, and if your heart is in the right place, it can lead you to answers you don’t even know you need.

For more help on getting unstuck, prospering your family, and turning your life around, visit ProsperTheFamily.com.

PS. I’ve since determined that the mountain was probably covered with of Mica or Gypsum.

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By small and simple things

Two Sundays ago I woke up and made Trevan a special birthday breakfast. Well, not incredibly special, just pancakes with whipped cream and strawberries, and scrambled eggs with sausage. But I did bring it to him in bed (a tradition in our family for those who have a birthday), so that was something.

After that, I went downstairs and turned on the Roku to see what program I could watch to kick off my Sabbath before the kids woke up. Originally, I thought I might find an episode of the discussions on the scriptures from BYUtv. My mom has raved about them many times. Since I interruptions were imminent and I enjoy those more when I can have uninterrupted focus, I instead selected a talk from the October 2017 General Conference. Scrolling through the sessions, I decided to watch John C. Pingree’s address called, “I have a work for Thee”.

His opening words were:

“To Moses, God declared, ‘I have a work for thee’ (Moses 1:6). Have you ever wondered if Heavenly Father has a work for you? Are there important things He has prepared you—and specifically you—to accomplish? I testify the answer is yes!”

And while I usually think that kind of a message is talking about my blog, books, and podcast, etc., I also know they very much refer to family history research and my family history calling (a.k.a. my assignment at church).

Normally, I feel like I should be making some kind of giant splash with my work, but the thought often overwhelms me and sometimes renders me motionless. Gratefully, in that moment, the Spirit gently nudged me with a simple idea of what I should do next. I was to put on my Sunday clothes and go to each of the 4 buildings in our stake, and post the pamphlet about “Language Skills Needed” on the bulletin boards at each of the buildings. That’s it. That’s all I needed to do. It wasn’t a big splash, but it planted a seed.

I knew that if I did my part to get those pamphlets posted, the Lord could guide the right people to notice them. I was reminded once again that it is by small and simple things that the Lord does his work. Knowing this helped me calm down and enjoy my day just a little better.

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The rest… already winners

My friend Kevin Allen gets a donut and a drink at the local QT convenience store every morning, and has done so for years. Sometimes he writes about his encounters there, and they never fail to entertain, amuse, or inspire. Now, with his permission, I am excited to begin sharing his “QT Chronicles” here at my blog.

Enjoy!!!

QT Chronicles, by Kevin Allen
March 14, 2018

I go to the same CircleK every morning, when I’m not at QT. Today the lines were longer than normal and I accidentally chose the correct, faster-moving line. I hope it doesn’t throw off the Universe.

I watched the other line as a guy started doing his “Lotto business” for the week. (It’s Wednesday.) There were only two people behind him but I assure you, he is still there now (an hour later) organizing for the big win he will have tonight. My turn at the front of my line I looked over and called the two people waiting to come and get in front of me, even though there were a half-dozen people behind me. To my surprise…NOT A GRUMBLE. Everyone agreed with my actions.

The guy that jumped at the opportunity first checked out before me and paid for my donut and health-food drink. I thanked him and paid for the guy behind me. I watched as he paid for the guy behind him. It went at least four generations before I had cleared the store doors. Easy enough with everybody holding no more than a donut and coffee and some just coffee. Nobody but the guy who bought my stuff paid any more than normal, and yet, everybody felt like they had done a huge “good turn” for the day in buying someone else’s treats. The clerk had fun too.

When I left, the store was full of smiles, except for one guy who was oblivious to it all, as he organized himself to win a hundred million dollars tonight.

The rest of us are already winners.

QT ChroniclesMarch 14, 2018I go to the same CircleK every morning, when I'm not at QT. Today the lines were longer…

Posted by Kevin K. Allen on Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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Letting God Finish our Masterpieces

 

I could see in her eyes that it wasn’t good news. After hours and hours of hard labor with my fourth child, my midwife told me I hadn’t begun dilating. In fact, my cervix wasn’t even fully effaced. Seriously?

I was ready to cry.

With each of my other pregnancies I felt like I had some control. To get my contractions to increase in frequency and intensity, I paced. All over the house. And it worked!

I have proof:

  • Baby #1 – I arrived at the hospital dilated to a 7.
  • Baby #2 – I arrived at the hospital dilated to a 6.
  • Baby #3 – I arrived at the hospital dilated to a 5.

And the nurses were awesome. They let me wait to be admitted while I continued pacing and progressed to a 7 or so.

So here I was broadsided with this news about Baby #4.

Death by Castor Oil

Now to be completely truthful, I may or may not have tried to tempt Fate. I was worried that my husband would miss Baby’s debut if we didn’t have her that weekend. So I took castor oil.

Let me give you a hint. DON’T. EVER. TAKE. CASTOR. OIL. No questions asked. Just don’t do it.

So after the unspeakable effects of the castor oil, it seemed to affect my labor like Pitocin. What do I mean? Well, basically my contractions were super hard without progress.

What Now?

So my midwife delivered the news. I was devastated. See…in the past I simply walked off my pain. But now? Suddenly I needed major labor support. I felt so ridiculous! Like something was wrong with me. Here I hadn’t even begun dilating and we had used up just about every one of my midwife’s tricks!

Well…I gave myself a generous 30 seconds to decide my next step. I was really at a loss. But I felt that all I could really do was to surrender.

I had assumed I could control the situation…that I could hurry things along. But in reality there was nothing I could do. Except choose how I would respond.

If I was going to labor for another 5-10 hours, the only thing that made sense was to get some rest. So I chose to let go. We stuck a movie in (I have no memory whatsoever of what it was), and I laid down on the couch.

Understand – laying down was always the most painful way for me to labor. But it felt like the right thing to do.

Time to Give Up?

Let me back up for just a sec. During my pregnancy my midwife told me that when I started to feel like I was done…just ready to give up and go home…it would most likely mean that I was in transition. Interesting concept.

Okay. So hold that thought.

Back to the Story

I laid on that dang couch trying to sleep for about 45 minutes. It took a lot of self control to just stay there and breathe through those contractions. It was pretty miserable, but I already knew that pushing through and trying to make it happen wasn’t working. I didn’t believe for a second that I could progress just laying around, but what choice did I have?

I finally got up to run to the restroom, but as I stood up….OUCH!! I thought I was going to die. I had a horrible contraction, and I was DONE. I was exhausted, emotional, and I wanted to go home and forget the whole thing.

Wait.

This was kind of a deja vu moment. Didn’t my midwife say something about this?….Hmmm. Ah yes. She suggested these feelings meant transition. But there was no way…I wasn’t even fully effaced.

Still, I asked her to check me. She reluctantly did so, and then I watched the panic set in. I WAS DILATED TO 9 CENTIMETERS! The baby came about 15 minutes later. Yup. It’s true.

Letting Go

Isn’t it fascinating? How much time do we spend trying to control things? We want things to happen on our timeline. We want answers now! We want the pain gone NOW! And yet, it wasn’t until I finally let go of my timing and left it in God’s hands that I progressed. And it was much faster than ever before. By a LOT. God did more for my progression in those 45 minutes than I could have possibly done on my own.

Painting Your Masterpiece

Ya know? We all have things we are creating. We have these beautiful dreams we are painting on the canvas of life. And I, for one, am one of those people who just can’t walk away from these masterpieces. I guess I’ve always believed that the painting will never get finished if I’m not there for every last stroke.

Apparently it was time for these beliefs of mine to be challenged.

My baby’s delivery was a defining moment for me. It inspired a lot of questions.

Is it possible that we don’t really make things happen? Could it be that we are only part of the equation? Could we possibly be fighting against a Higher Power when we try to do it all on our own? And in our own way?

Be Still and Know That I am God

Are you good for me to just share my interpretation of all this?

Here goes…We don’t have to do it all. We don’t have to make things happen. We don’t have to be everything to everyone. And we don’t have to run faster than we have strength.

When we put forth our best efforts, we can slow down a bit. Take a step back. Then we can rest assured that Life will take care of the rest. We can let go and trust God.

Consider the peace that will come when we stop and remember that sometimes, in the stillness, the finishing touches are performed by the Master Painter, Himself. And in the end, with nothing more that we can do, our Masterpiece is beautifully and perfectly complete.

Author Stephanie Francom is a Mindset Mastery Certified Mentor and Genius Bootcamp Facilitator. Join Stephanie for our next Genius Bootcamp – Click here to learn more.

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For more on this topic, read Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters (free!)

Related: Your ability to Create (video)
Related: How to Surrender, and why you’d want to

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