Monday, September 29, 2014

*Monday Memos*


 (If pictures are too small, just click to enlarge -if print is too small, you need glasses! ☺)

This may get published before I post about our Hawaii trip!  But, it is coming!

dear jet lag, I don't think I ever adjusted to the time change while in Hawaii.  They are four hours behind us.  Coming back has been a little bit easier even though it should have been harder.  I'm just grateful I was able to get some good sleep the night we returned!

dear needing a vacay after returning from a vacay, this always happens when you go nonstop while "vacationing" so you can get it all in!  Skyler made sure we didn't miss a thing.  He was a great host and tour guide.  But boy... am I tired and could use a little down time.  Too bad for me, there is no time for that.  I did get unpacked and most of the laundry done in record time for me.  However, Taylor will be home in ONE month and so I have to keep burning the midnight oil in order to get everything done I need to for that.  I am trying to get caught up on a lot of things that I should have while he was gone and I am also trying to get my house in better shape for his return as well.  I had planned on having it all painted, the hardwood floors redone, the basement finished 100%, and on and on.  Didn't happen.  Not even one of those things.  Besides all of that, I have started to redecorate a bit in some rooms and so that is keeping me busy.   I also have a lot of places that need organizing and a deep clean before his homecoming.  I have always said that it's a good thing I have something to motivate me to get these kind of things done or they never would!  Now if I only had few more months!  


I want to go back to Hawaii!

Speaking of vacationing, I saw this funny sign on the back of trailer this week while driving.  Cracked me up! (you'll have to click to enlarge)

dear sky, I sure do miss you already!  I am so excited you will be coming home soon for Taylor's return!  I also miss that incredible island of paradise you call home right now.  Of course, home is where your mother is, and so I know you must be homesick! hah  Here is a recent fish you caught this week.  This one is really weird!  His head goes out about a foot beyond your right hand.

dear elder wilding (aka taylor), YOU ARE ALMOST HERE!  I am getting so excited I can hardly stand it!  I'm almost giddy!  I know these next few weeks are going to fly right by!  I also know that you are not as excited about coming home as we are about having you back (two years is a VERY VERY LONG time!) because you love the people in Brazil that you have taught and served and it is going to be very hard for you to say goodbye to most of them probably for the rest of this earth life.  Hopefully you will be able to reunite with a few of them once you return.  Facebook is such an awesome thing for keeping in touch that way as well.  
 Now that's a lot of rain!
Man, you've gotten skinny boy!
 If you came home this week, you would have felt right at home!

dear first run since the marathon, I have to say those first couple of miles I was feeling such a love for running.  I was feeling like a bird flying in the air as free as can be.  Then about mile three I started to "feel" it.  The legs were still a bit tight from the full and I could tell I wasn't fully recovered quite yet.  But I kept going and got up to seven miles.  I only ran five of those because I walked the first two because I was talking to my Mom on the phone about the trip.  I was happy that I finally got out there and pounded me some pavement.  I have never gone this long without running after a full.  There just wasn't time while in Hawaii and I was much more sore than after most of my other fulls and so I wasn't feeling one bit bad for taking the time off.  But, I need to get back to the grindstone.  I am not signed up for any races currently, but Jen wants me to run the Spooktacular in Mantua and the Haunted Half Marathon in SLC.  When I got online to register for the Haunted Half, I didn't do it because they want $64 for that race.  I'm not sure why race directors think they can keep going up in price, but they do.  The Ogden Half is now almost as much as the full.  It's getting kind of ridiculous.   But, after a while I will probably end up registering for it anyway because I need something to keep me motivated to get out that door each day. 

dear outing to city creek with friends, I felt bad we had to cancel due to some conflicts of a couple of the peeps, but in some ways I am actually relieved.  I had so much to do today and I was having a hard time justifying going and playing all day especially when McKay was out of school for a teacher prep day and Dave was also off.  I was unaware of both of those things when I said I could go.  I tried to really use my time wisely and get as much done as I could.

dear boy's memory boxes, well... I have put getting you caught up long enough.  The stack of things I needed to file was getting enormous and making my laundry room look like a mess.  I decided to tackle you on the day I was supposed to go to City Creek with some friends. It was like I was given a free day.  I needed the entire day too!  And I am still not done!  WHAT A PROJECT!  It makes me angry with myself that I didn't stay on top of it each year.  But, I didn't.  Sometimes I am a super duper procrastinator and it always comes back to bite me.  The night before we left for Hawaii, I was thinking of all the "what ifs?" if we were to die.  Yeah, I do that every time I go on a trip.  I'm weird like that.  Those memory totes were one of the things that was nagging at me.  That and my messy closet that I got organized the week before.  I knew if I died that NO one else would ever do those memory boxes and I want my boys to have them. They are basically their entire life in a box.  Years ago I completed Skyler, Tyson's, and most of Bryce's, but Taylor and McKay's I hadn't even put much of a dent in.  After spending all day long sorting and filing and trimming newspaper articles, and organizing and reminiscing over so many memories, my back was aching in the worst way!  I had papers scattered everywhere all over my bedroom floor!  It was an overwhelming sight!  I can't believe I didn't take a picture!   I had to get as much done as possible because I knew the rest of this week I wouldn't have much time to do anymore.  I was right.  The project is still not 100% completed and I think I will need another good day at least to get it all done, but at least I got rid of that huge pile and things are well on their way to being where they need to be.  I do like my system though because I think it's simpler and easier than doing a "scrapbook".  Faster anyway, unless you put it off for years!  But, it does the lack the convenience of holding a book in your hand and turning the pages of preserved memories.  Their totes are essentially their scrapbooks.  I have a file folder for each year of their life starting with Preschool.  It goes all the way up to their 12th grade year.  I file according to the school year, not the actual year.  Everything that happened that year that was of significance or worth saving (articles or photos of them in the newspaper, report cards, birthday parties, cards from grandparents, funny things they wrote or drew, awards, certificates, vacation memories, diplomas, all of the special things of that school year, etc.) I put in the folder of the year it occurred.  Truth is, they may never even look inside them ever for as long as they live, but I feel good knowing all those things are preserved somewhere.  I have decided that I am a historian at heart.  I know this because I started keeping a journal when I was eight years old and have continued to throughout my life.  I have this inborn desire to preserve the things that happen in this life of mine and my children's.  I really have no idea why, I just know that it's something that is part of who I am.  I know some people that don't save anything of their children's lives and it really makes me crazy.  My mind doesn't work that way.  I will admit, I save some things that are totally not worth saving and over the years I have gotten better at that. I think I saved every single school paper of my firstborn's Kindergarten year.  I have gotten a lot better at letting those kind of things go.  But, I still do save a lot more than I need to. I have a lot of files in my laundry/craft room that I need to go through and dejunk big time.  Back when I saved all those things, there was no internet or pinterest or a way to save them electronically and so I would cut out articles from magazines on parenting, decorating, traditions, parties, and holiday ideas etc. and file them away.  It's time now for those things to be hitting the road soon.  
This is Tyson's Memory Box
So glad I have this!

dear manic manicans, I only got one photo of you this week.  I'm sure you changed your appearance more than once, but that's all I was able to capture.  

dear football dinner, I was asked to make two dozen brownies and so when I delivered them to the school, I decided to go around and put down our blankets for the game so we could get the seats we wanted.  If you wait until game night you end up sitting in a really bad spot and so it's worth it to me.  When I got to the stadium the team was still practicing and I didn't want to go out and do it while they were on the field and so I sat in the car and waited thinking it would be 10 minutes at the most.  30 minutes later, they ended practice and went in to eat.  Normally I would have been bothered with having to wait for that long, but instead I decided to make the best of it and I got caught up with a lot of peeps on things I needed to via my cell phone.  What did we do without technology?  Sometimes it is definitely a curse, but most of the time it's a blessing.

dear new recipe of the week, this week I tried a new Goulash recipe.  I am a huge pasta fan and Italian flavored anything so I was hoping this would be good.  It didn't disappoint other than I didn't have elbow macaroni and so had to substitute with Rotini noodles that I don't think were quite as good as the elbow would have been.

Bobby's Goulash (recipe courtesy Paula Deen)
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 large yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups water
2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (I used one quart of our canned tomatoes)
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon House Seasoning below (I used Hidden Valley powder dressing mix)
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix the ingredients together and store in an air-tight container for up to 6 months. Use as a seasoning on meat and when cooking vegetables.

In a Dutch oven, (I used a frying pan) saute the ground beef over medium-high heat until no pink remains. Break up the meat while sauteing. Spoon off any grease. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and saute until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, House Seasoning, and seasoned salt. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves, and allow the mixture to sit about 30 minutes more before serving.  Serve with garlic bread and a salad.

dear aunt dixie, I am so excited you came for a short visit.  I love it when you come because then I have an excuse to get together with my parents and other relatives more often.  I stopped by to see you on my way home from running errands in Ogden on Friday and again on Saturday and it was good to see you.  It was fun eating Cafe Rio at my Mom's house and chatting and catching up.  I wish you could stay longer than four days, but at least you were able to come.  I feel bad your health isn't very great right now, but hopefully you will start to feel better soon.  I am looking forward to going out to breakfast on Monday with you before you go home too.  
 We were all matchy matchy and so we needed a picture of it. I used my timer app and as you can see we got kind of carried away.  What a riot!  I love my family!
 We brought home Cafe Rio!  Mmm.... it was yummy!  My Pa was a big boy and ate his all gone!
Cute Mya and Britt also stopped by on Saturday

dear friday night lights(ning), this week we played Roy.  We had a game delay due to LIGHTNING for about 45 minutes and then once that ended it started to POUR!  It was coming down so hard!  Those poor boys!  It was kind of fun though too.  There were so many umbrellas up that it looked pretty cool.  It stopped for a while and then it picked up again and even worse!  I was soaking wet because the people in front of me had their umbrella at an angle that allowed the rain to run off of it and onto me!  It was just pouring down so bad!  Right at the end of the game, it started to pour again!  Sadly, we got beat, but Roy is undefeated and #1 in region right now and so I wasn't too upset about it.  McKay on the other hand was.  I don't think I've seen him so sad after a game loss.  I am glad I went and put down blankets though because I ended up needing enough seats for 12 people!  Dave's parents, my parents, Dave's sister's family, and his other sister and my niece Mickey all came.  Also my friend Robin and her hub wanted to know if they could sit by us and we had enough room for them too.  What we hadn't planned on was seating a total stranger.  This guy came walking over by us and sat down next to Dave's sister Karen (nearly on her lap!) and I guess he didn't have enough leg room there and so he plopped himself down between Dave and my brother in law who were sitting in front of her!  Didn't even ask, just pushed his way in between them and they were sitting fairly close!  Craziest thing I ever saw!  I think he was either certifiably crazy or drunk.  Whatever he was, it was entertaining for us all.  He sat there until almost the very end of the game too.  We play Bonneville next week.  Not sure which side I should cheer for.  hehe  It was really nice to not have to carb load and set my alarm for an early wake up call for my long run because I knew it would be cooler in the morning and I'm only going 10 miles.  That sounds kind of funny to say "only going 10 miles"!  You know you just finished marathon training when you say that!
 Before the downpour!
 I think those boys were praying for rain! 
 I had a hard time getting everyone to look and smile for the picture. 
Our "guest" is sitting next to Dave in this one ↓.

 There he is again ↓ haha
It poured!  McKay is #40.

I walked by these posters ↓ to take a photo of McKay's and there were four girls standing by it looking at him and one was touching his face and one said something like, "Oh McKay" as she rubbed his face and was practically drooling over it.  I tried to inconspicuously snap a photo of them as they started to walk away, but as you can see, the one girl saw me.  hahahahaha  Still haven't asked him if he knows them, which I'm sure he does, but pretty funny. 

dear long run, it was pouring rain and that only made me more excited to get out on a run!  I absolutely love running in the rain!  I had tried to get together with Jen or Robin, but Jen was sick and Robin did hers on Friday and so I was on my own.  I was going to try and go 10, but once I got out I decided to just go eight and see how I felt.  Robin told me at he game that her daughter-in-law was not going to be able to run St. George because she hadn't trained at all and so I could have her bib if I wanted it.  I was surprised how excited that made me.  Especially this close after a marathon!  haha  It's my head that wants to run it, but my body says, "NO!".  Robin really wanted me to come and run it with her because this is her first marathon and she said that it would be so great to have me there with her.  It sounded like so much fun.  I can't even believe I actually thought that!  I can't even explain it.  I really want to run St. George and I think that is going to be my Boston Qualifying marathon if I can get in next year.  It's really hard to get in because so many want to run it.  It's a lottery now.  I had the opportunity to run it under my own name a couple of months ago but I choose to do Big Cottonwood instead thinking it would be a better course. I really wish I had chose to go with St. George now because it's course is so much better.  Live and learn!  But at about mile four on this week's long run, I decided that doing another full this soon after my other one would be an injury waiting to happen.  Some people can run back to back marathons and not have any problems but I'm not one of least not yet.  Maybe the more fulls I get under my belt, the easier that will be.  Anyway, as I was running behind the high school I saw another crazy runner out there in the rain and as I got closer, I saw it was Linda!  I asked her how far she was going and she said 10. She was on mile 4 and I was on 5.5 and so we ran together the last 5 of mine and she went further after we got to my house.  I got in 10.5 so I was happy!  I felt okay other than it felt like I was running 8's and 9's and I was only going 11's and 12's.  That confirmed my decision about the St. George marathon. That, and the fact that I read on Facebook that they are really strict with running under someone else's name and you can be disqualified if caught.  That would not be worth it to me.  Besides if I am going to run a marathon I want it under my own name!  haha
 Raining hard ↑ but hard to tell from picture.

With Linda.  I was so glad I ran (nearly literally) into her!  The rain had eased up a lot by then.

dear general women's meeting, I can't believe I totally forgot about you!  I had gone into Ogden again to run errands and then to my Mom's to visit with my Aunt Dixie when my friend Robin text me asking me if I was going to the meeting.  I told her I forgot but would try and get back in time.  Luckily, I barely made it home in time to throw on a skirt and get to the church.  Robin saved me a seat by her.  I am so glad she text me because it was the BEST meeting!  I was so moved and touched by each speaker and especially the cute Korean Children's Choir!  They were adorable!  I really loved Sister Burton's talk (in fact I just did a blog post about her talk here) and Pres. Uchtdorf's was amazing!  I felt so blessed to be there and to be a member of this church.  What a grand blessing it is in my life.  I learned that I have a lot of improving to do, but Pres. Uchtdorf's message was so comforting and made me feel so loved by my Heavenly Father even with all of my imperfections.  I had tears that, as hard as I tried, I just couldn't keep inside the eyeballs.

Yes he does!

dear mr. cat, I think you actually try and pose for me at times.  What a beautiful setting with you on my purple rock and the gorgeous greenery in the background.

dear week, I had a lot of things on my to do list this week and most of them didn't get checked off.  I am not sure how I am going to get everything done that I need to.  I pray that somehow I will have some help from above to make time extend somewhat so I can get it all done!  That can happen right? 

(we think alike Dawn!)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Daily Drops (Big Cottonwood Marathon)

I went to the General Women's Meeting last night and Sister Linda K. Burton's talk (HERE)  made me think of how much living the gospel is like running a marathon in many ways.  I have been reflecting quite a bit about my last marathon experience lately mainly because I was so let down I didn't reach my goal that I had set for myself and partly because I was really doubting my ability to do so before even attempting it.

I really want to qualify to run the Boston Marathon.  Ever since I have been running (almost 8 years now), I have looked in admiration at the runners I knew who were fast enough to actually qualify and never thought it would be even remotely in my reach - not even in a million years.  I didn't consider myself in that league in any way shape or form.  To me they were always the ones who were born with the gift of speed and their standard of running was just so fast that it was way out of reach for me.  I felt that they ran at a higher standard than I was capable of.  I was just content to admire their skill and be happy for their accomplishment of making it to Boston.  I never dreamed it could ever become a reality for me.

Until May of this year.

I ran the Ogden Marathon and knocked 23 minutes off of my previous marathon time.  I was beyond thrilled!  I was surprised even though I did train really hard for that race for almost five months and I followed my training schedule religiously, so I was hoping I would do well, just didn't think I would do that well.  My finish time was 4:14 and in order for me to qualify for Boston I needed a 4:00.  14 minutes.  Doesn't sound too tough, but trust me, even a single minute is hard to cut off when it comes to a full marathon.  BUT . . . it was now in reach!  I knew if I worked really hard, I could cut off 14 minutes.  So I signed up for the Big Cottonwood Marathon because it is touted as a fast course and many BQ (Boston Qualify) at it.  I ran the half last year and while watching the full racers cross the finish line that day and seeing so many reach a BQ, I thought I would possibly attempt it the next year.

Training for it this summer proved to be much harder than I anticipated.  Getting up at the crack of insanity to get in a long run before it gets too hot, was tough, as was the discipline required to run my training plan religiously.
Actually, I was usually out and running on long run days by the time set on this alarm.
 I used to love running in the heat until last summer when I got heat exhaustion and now the heat really gets to me.  It was a hot summer this year and even though I didn't follow my plan to a tee, I did my best.  I didn't do my 20 miler long runs as well as I did when training for Ogden, but I did what I could.  I was feeling a little burned out as well.  The course had changed in a not so good way (much harder) than last year and last year's was tough according to those that ran it.  So come race day, I told my husband (and myself) to not expect a BQ.  I also took the pressure off of myself to get one.  I still wanted to finish with a PR (personal record), but I was relieving myself of the BQ pressure.  I just wasn't having very many great runs and my speed wasn't near what it had been before Ogden.  I had a back injury this time and that forced some time off too.  Overall, I just wasn't sure it was going to happen.  So, pressure off!

On race day, I did decide to start out with the 4:00 pacers though and keep with them for as long as I could.  I actually ran ahead of them most of the downhill because I knew if I got behind them I would get very discouraged.  I wanted to be able to stay positive the entire course.
I tried to stay just a little ahead of the 4:00 pace group.
Still feeling strong!  (And cold!)
With Adrian, the 4:00 pacer.  This was when I was starting to pace a bit behind them, but they were still right in front of me.  He had to make a pit stop and he is trying to get to the other pacer to grab the pacing stick.
I was so happy Adrian was one of the pacers.  I love that guy.  He makes me laugh and he has a lot of wisdom about running smart.  I knew if anyone could help me get there, it was him.  Sounds like I still had some hope doesn't it?   The honest truth is, I will ALWAYS have hope. About mile 13 or so, I was talking to a woman who was also pacing with the 4:00's who looked about my age and so I asked her if she was trying to BQ that day.  She said that she was and that she had flown in from Oklahoma with three friends to run it.  We chatted more and discovered we were the same age.  She asked me if I knew that particular day was the "magic day" for a BQ?  I asked her to explain and she said that if we BQ today (and only today) then we get to run Boston in 2015 AND 2016!  And then she went on to say that since we will be 55 at the time of Boston 2016, that we could BQ that day for 2016 with an extra 10 minutes (our qualifying time when we are 55 is 4:10) because we will be 55 that year.  Okay, that made me ecstatic!  I had an extra 10 minutes I hadn't planned on to BQ!  After hearing that info, I really thought it was possible!  I was so thrilled!
The only problem was, if I had known that when the race started, I would have paced myself totally differently and started with the 3:55 pacers.  I didn't dare do that originally because I didn't want to go too fast at first and then bonk after the downhill. But knowing what I do now, I think if I had done that, I could have crossed that finish line at 4:10.  I actually would have had to cross it at 4:08:58 in order to be accepted to Boston (this year anyway - that may change by next year depending on how many apply.) Not everyone that BQ's gets in.  They go with the fastest of each age division until no spots are left.  This year you had to beat your qualifying time by 1:02. Sounds tough, but I think it was doable if I was shooting for 2016.  For 2015 I would have needed a 3:58:58. Ouch!
Still feeling good?  Or just faking it?
Some of the uphill during the out and back.  Those 8 miles were NOT fun!
I hung with the 4:00's until close to mile 15 when the downhill ended.  Not only did it end, but we got to endure some serious rolling hills almost right after the downhill was over.  That first large hill was formidable!  I don't usually walk in a race, but I really had no choice with that hill.  Nearly everyone around me was walking up it - you never see that in a marathon.  It was just too much after all that downhill for our legs to transition so fast.  But, I kept pushing as hard as I could.  I did not give up once.  I did feel some keen disappointment as I watched the 4:00's get ahead of me on that hill.  I kept trying to remind myself of all the training I had done and to trust in it. I had technically been training for this since January.  It wasn't perfect training, but it was a lot of miles and more than I had put in for my first two marathons.  I kept telling myself to trust in the training.  I know training pays off.  One day at a time.  One step at a time.  It just wasn't quite good enough for me to reach my goal.  The out and back part of the race was brutal.  There is no other way to describe it. And not just for me.  Every single person I talked to, every single blog post I have read, every single FB post, every single finisher I talked to after, all agreed that it was B R U T A L!  I also found out that those that had run it last year all said this course was 10 minutes slower than last years.  I kind of wish I hadn't heard that.  Do you know what that means?  If they hadn't changed the course I would have qualified!  I finished with a 4:17 time!  SEVEN measly minutes shy of a 2016 BQ!  I was pretty let down, but at the time I was just so glad I was done running and that it was over, that I didn't really care at the time.
Very glad I was done, even though my face isn't showing it.  I look like crap because I was feeling like crap.  And I also had the worst neck ache for the last 11 miles and I now know why because in all my pictures I was holding it up in a weird way.  I had no idea I was doing it while running and I have no idea why I was doing it.
With Adrian the 4:00 pacer.  He is one awesome pacer!

Now that I have had time to think about it and ponder over it, I am seriously let down that I didn't make it.  Mostly for the fact that now it means I have to train again and keep running marathons until I DO qualify.  UGH!  I am not ready to give up on my goal.  The day of the race, I had decided to maybe check into running as a charity runner for Cystic Fibrosis because that would mean a lot to me as well, but deep down I want to run it because I earned it, because I was good enough to run it.  But I haven't totally thrown the charity idea out the window.  Running for CF would be so inspiring to me!
The real motivation for me to qualify and run it is because my friend Shauna lives in Maine and she really wants me to run it so she can cheer me on across the finish line.  She told me to please sign up and run Boston.  She didn't understand that you can't just sign up and run Boston.  You have to earn Boston.  I have some of my high school buds who have also said they would take the trip over with me and cheer me on.  Now that is motivation if anything is!  Just knowing you have someone waiting at that finish line is sometimes the thing that gets you to the finish line!   This was my first marathon my husband and boys were not able to make it to the finish line.  They had unavoidable conflicts.  So I had no one I knew cheering me on as I crossed.  But that was okay.  I was just so thrilled I crossed!  There are no words to describe that feeling.  No words.  I always get so emotional and so elated that I actually did it and just so relieved I am done!  I think about that moment for almost 26.2 miles.  The moment I can stop running and rest!  hah  This year I also got sick once I finished.  I was very nauseated and dizzy.  I am pretty sure I was dehydrated.  I really didn't drink like I needed to and it got extremely hot during those last 10 miles.  I need to hydrate better so I can avoid that next time.

I am hoping someday I will be able to actually say I qualified.  I don't know if it will ever happen, but I am an optimist and so I am going to stay positive.  Running is such a fragile thing and you never know what is going to happen with your body and injuries.  I just hope this old bod of mine hangs on for a bit longer so I can.
So in a nutshell, running Boston is like the Super Bowl for runners.  If you run Boston, it means you have earned it. Not everyone who tries to qualify does.  Many try each year.  One of my good friends ran 18 marathons trying to qualify!  She finally did last year and missed getting in by 13 seconds!  They have raised the standard higher by only accepting a limited amount of runners and so not even those that do qualify are guaranteed an entrance.  Only the fastest of the qualifiers get accepted. 

So how does all this relate to Sister Burton's talk and the gospel? Well, since you are still here (amazingly) after this marathon post, I will tell you.  Hang in there, you are almost to the finish line!

Sister Burton said because Latter-day Saints come to the temple to receive eternal blessings, it should not surprise them that a higher standard is required to qualify for those blessings.  “World-class athletes and university doctoral students spend hours and days and weeks and months and even years of preparation,” she said. “Daily drops of preparation are required of them to come out on top. Likewise, those who wish to qualify for exaltation in the celestial kingdom are expected to live a higher standard of obedience that comes by practicing the virtue of obedience day by day and drop by drop.”
Going to the temple requires a higher standard just like getting into Boston requires a higher standard.  Not everyone who runs a marathon will be accepted into Boston and not everyone who is a member of the church will be admitted into the temple.  Only those that qualify.  Qualifying is hard work.  It requires daily training.  Daily discipline in order to meet those tough standards.  It means a lot more when you know you have worked hard to earn that privilege.  It's not just something that is handed out to everyone. 

Same thing with qualifying for exaltation.  Not everyone who is a member of the church and not even everyone who is a temple recommend holder is going to qualify to get into the Celestial Kingdom (CQ = Celestial Qualify).  It requires even a higher standard.  Only the best of the best will make it to that level.  You could call that making it to the Super Bowl of heaven☺or the Olympics of running. It's going to be tough to get to that level.  Really tough.  But it is doable.

We are probably going to have days when we will look at others and think that we are not in their league.  We are not as spiritual as they are.  We aren't as good as they are and we never will be.  We weren't born with their gifts.  We might even think it will be easy for them to qualify, but so much harder for ourselves.  But if we really want to qualify then we are going to have to work extra hard even though things may not have been going so well or going according to our plan, and even then, our course may change along the way and we may think it's unfair that our course is harder than someone else's course.  We may even get injured (from sinning) along the way and have to change our plan.  And most likely our training will not go perfectly.  We may get to the point where we would rather just take the pressure off and give up the hope of a CQ.   But, like Sister Burton said, if we practice the virtue of obedience (like daily training) day by day and drop by drop, we will qualify.  It won't be easy and we will have times when we just want to let go of the dream, but if we keep following the plan (the commandments) then we can. 

The best part of the gospel is that just like my friend Marci who had to run 18 marathons to qualify, we will never be told we can't make it as long as we are willing to keep trying and keep training (practicing obedience).  And when we come up short - even when we are so close - there is ALWAYS hope that no matter what we do or don't do, we have a loving and forgiving Heavenly Father who will forgive us and give us as many chances as we need to finally get it right and qualify.  He is our personal pacer and He will never give up on us.  He will encourage us and be there for us whenever we need his support.  He gives us hope when we are discouraged.  He knows we can do it.  We can always rely on Him for help.

And just imagine what crossing THAT finish line is going to be like?  All of our family and friends that have already finished the race will be right there cheering us on!  What a feeling that will be knowing that we earned it after a hard fought fight.  That alone makes all the training and practicing worth it!

And best of all, a CQ lasts forever... for eternity.  

Something else to keep in mind along the way!
The other post I wrote on the Big Cottonwood Marathon is here.


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