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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cliché Mormon Pioneering, Praiseworthy Pioneers, and The Nienie Dialogues: Virtuous and Lovely

(F.Y.I. I got a Kait & Kaboddle button! Check it out, check it. It's to your left.)
Me and my cousin Cali, age 11

This lovely photo (me and Cali decided we look like those little girls in beauty pageants whose stage moms put them in way too much makeup, but that's a different story) was taken during the Castle Valley Pageant. LDS and never heard of it? Well, you're missing out. Dallan H. Oaks once said after he saw it, "this is the best pageant in the entire church."

It's true. When you're a kid and you're in it, you get to be carrried over a muddy pond by a couple big strong men, if you don't do that, you get to experience a rickety wagon ride. After you've gone to a real barn dance, you hide out in a fort-like pit with stone benches where you quietly wait till it's time to get all dressed up like a
Nephite. Then you get to sneak out of the pit and throw foam rocks at a guy named Samuel, who's perched on top of a wall (unless of course you hit him, and then you can't throw foam rocks any more, because "that's not how it happened!") You get to shake your fists, yelling as loud as you can, too. It's great fun, especially the acting like a rowdy Nephite part.

Castle Dale is one of the dearest places on earth to me. I've got memories of gorging myself on raspberries and sleeping in a trailer that me and my girl cousins made into our hangout. (Holla! Christy, Becca, Cali: Remember the Speed tournaments? Or when we traded stickers? Or when we ran away screaming like we saw the devil himself, but it was just a little dog that got into the trailer? Holly, I don't think you were there for the trailer, but you were there for the Speed tournaments and the laughing until we cried part.)

Guess what!

Next week me and the fam are going to camp out like pioneers. (Really roughing it, no blogging, which is quite an addiction already, no phone service, and no Facebook.) We're going to visit this lovely place again, and we're going to go to the pageant!

I can't wait to see it all, every dusty inch of it.
I'll look at the little dugout cabin used to portray the life of a pioneer family (pictured above), the steep ledge where the wagons rest before they make their grand entrance, and the shack where you go to buy all kinds of old-timey snacks (my favorites were the snow cones, real authentic pioneer treats, those rainbow ices were.)

Looking back, I know this pageant gave me my first testimony of pioneers. It's quite good at telling some simple, moving stories of them.

It might seem strange or dorky, and it's probably cliché, but there's a reason for us Mormons doing all of these things to reenact pioneer life. The pioneer spirit is one that comes from all cultures.

Giving up what you have to make a better life for yourself because of what you believe in is something anyone can admire.

In Utah, the 24th of July is a day that's marked to celebrate pioneers. We have a parade, and all kinds of summer happenings. (Tonight I'm going to watch some fireworks!)

Let's hope we can all strive to have a bit more fortitude and strength like those wonderful people who paved the way for us to live the lives we do now.

Now for the Virtuous and Lovely item of the day:
Nie Nie's story. She's displayed courage, strength, and fortitude that would make our pioneer ancestors proud.

Stephanie Nielson, or Nie Nie (whose blog button looks like a typewriter at the bottom of this blog) was already gaining fame as a very notable blogger in 2008. She blogged about the simple beauties of life. About her faith, about her family, and all about her adorable children. She should be noted for her spunk, style, and beautiful family. She made every day an adventure for her kids, and blogged about the fun things she did with them.

Then, one day, Nie Nie and her husband were in an accident. They were both burned severely after their plane crashed. Her faithful readers wrote in with letters of encouragement, and her sister Courtney kept the blog updated while she was recovering.

Here is the video, for your virtuous viewing pleasure.

"I am not my body."

Happy Pioneer Day!

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