Grateful for Thanksgiving Dinners with Lindon City

Click to read the full story here

Alright, so this story is more on a personal note here.  This past Thanksgiving I got to be a part of something that mattered. My dad works for Lindon City and likes to keep our family up-to-date and involved.  No, there isn’t always something super exciting going on in the little city of Lindon, believe it or not…I know that is hard to believe ;).  However, the news I got about an upcoming Lindon City Thanksgiving dinner was in fact new, different, and exciting.  To be honest, I looked forward to finally spending my day doing what I considered to be service for my community.  I think we all hear about these types of opportunities and secretly wish we were a part of them.  The only problem is becoming a part of these events might take some effort on our part.  I was lucky enough to be simply placed in the situation and given the opportunity to experience this.  Thanks dadders.

To answer your question and probable assumption right now, no, this is absolutely not a do-gooder post gloating about how wonderful I am.  In fact, this is just the opposite.  I was able to be thrown into a situation that was so beautiful and powerful that I realized how incredible people around us are.  The mayor of Lindon City is adamant about this Thanksgiving dinner that he started last year for the community.  Of course he received the backing of city staff, contributors, and community members, but he did not received all support.  Some people felt it was a great idea but wasn’t practical.  “Too many people, tax dollars, and effort,” was what most non-supporters were thinking.  What people didn’t realize was that the mayor found sponsors for the event–no tax dollars would be used.  Now the enormous amount of effort necessary for this to happen part?  This absolutely was true.

I’m not sure if you think the way that I do or not, but logically this project the mayor wanted to do is absolutely a large commitment and work load.  This didn’t stop him though.  The passion he and his followers had for the project was enough to put the plan into action.  Passion about something can move mountains, let it.

My family and I were given the opportunity to be on the ‘food preparation’ crew for the event.  We arrived at 8 a.m. to start our work mashing hundreds of pounds of potatoes, sweet-potatoes, jell-o, and the sorts.  I was proud of my 36 boxes of good ol’ Stouffers stuffing that I made.  However, what I was more proud of was the elderly man next to me beating the soften potatoes into a creamy mixture endlessly.  I’m pretty sure he stayed there shaking the bowl back-and-forth with his wabbly hands for at least and hour and a 1/2 to finish in time for the dinner.

I was also proud and touched by really all of the other 175 volunteers that came in, young and old. Everyone was slaving in the two kitchens and running around frantically, yet orderly, to do their part.  Laughter was the sound that filled the refurnished city center and turkey was the smell of the building. I walked into the gymnasium where the actual dinner portion of the event was being held and honestly teared up.  I was overwhelmed with the effort put in by these people out of the goodness of their heart to create such a beautiful setting for everyone that came.  Live Christmas music filled the sound and I couldn’t believe what good hearts these people I was surrounded by had.  This to me was inspiring.  I was even impressed with the way that the 500 utensils were hand-wrapped with ribbons and each person at the dinner was hand-served.  These people could have just cooked the dinner 1/2 heartedly, developed a serving line system, used paper plates, and left the gym undecorated, but they didn’t.  Each detail was intricately attended to. The passion they had for people was enough to make sure everything was perfect.  A job worth doing is worth doing well.

I felt an overwhelming amount gratitude and admiration of the entire production.  These people are inspiring. The day and work wasn’t even about service, it was about being together and a part of something. I think this was one of those principles that I missed on–I thought I was going to just give service and feel good about it, so naive. But what actually happened was that I realized that we are all human. Everyone needs to feel love and a part of something.  I also realized how important it is to develop our own passions and take the time to go after something wholeheartedly. If we do this, the results we can produce will be beyond our wildest dreams.


Medals with Special Meaning

I ran my first marathon when I was 16. Absolutely bizzarre coming from a girl who vowed she never would run one, I know!  Anyways,  I have many memories of sitting in my little checkered jacket as a little girl waiting for my mom to meet us at the finishline year after year.  Every year that I watched my mom finish or ran along side her for the final mile, I realized the value of what she was doing.  I never really did understand as a little girl just how far 26.2 miles was. I didn’t know why she cried everytime she saw her kids cheering for her.  As I aged, I began to realize how strong my mom was.  I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to run one…. let alone cross the finish-line with the strongest woman I know.  Long story short, we made this little dream of mine a reality. Funny how sometimes you go out on a whim and for some odd reason do things you never thought you could like RUN A MARATHON.  So on behalf on my mom as a Sophomore in high school, I ran my first one.  I high-fived my mom at each mile; never have I felt such peace as I did that day after finishing with my mom.  Running has turned into emotional thing for me that brings such happiness—that is my motivation.  It is a get-away that I can’t imagine living without…. Like mother, like daugher I suppose? But the meaning marathons have for the guy in this story below have an even more emotional connection that is absolutely inspiring.

click to see the complete story here

So this blog isn’t really about the story of the Brown family running tradition in least.  However, I wanted to make a point here that we all have a driving force unique to each of us.  I found it absolutely beautiful that the man in this story has a motive to run for a fallen 9/11 hero…even at the age of 70.

To understand this next paragraph I’m about to write… You have to click on the above link and read the story! Ok, ready go.

Each marathon this guy ran was in honor of a fallen hero.  He contributed his entire race to comfort someone with a broken-heart, and even gave away his medal.  I myself can’t even imagine running 26.2 miles, being crowned with a medal around my neck, and then immediately turning to give that medal away.  Maybe I could do it once; but to do it time and time again is incredible.  This man had no problem with sending his medal to comfort a complete stranger for the loss of a loved one though.  

The love and strength this man had on behalf of even a stranger is commendable.  He continued giving and devoting his runs each year to his hero and made a difference in the life of many. This was not something asked of him–he very well could have continued on running having done his charitable work for the year.  However, he didn’t, he didn’t see this as ‘charity’ work but something he believed in and loved.  He coontinued reaching out. I’m in awe with the way this love and friendship unfolded.  The 9/11 victim’s family was rallied around–celebrating life.  If we had more stories like this in the world, we would be living in an entirely different place.  I was touched by the fact that someone else’s piece of mind was the motivation for his marathon. If I was a victim of the 9/11 attacks that had passed away, I would look down upon this act with nothing but smiles.

“Running marathons have given me everything,” Pratt said. “I knew if I could  give someone else just five seconds of comfort from all the effort and training  it takes to run a marathon that it was all worth it. I am very proud that at 71  years old I was able to finish the marathon and give this tribute to James’s  family.”

Preston Hadley…a Stud

Tribune Article

Who: Local football player, Preston Hadley

What: Worked towards his goal

This is one of those stories reminding us to never give up. It just so happens that I know this cute athlete so that makes this article all the better.  I can attest that Preston is a class act. But as I read this story about him, I kept thinking about the famous, classy quote by Michael Jordan here below.  Ironically, this quote has been on the little fliers floating around Utah Valley University recently so that serves as a great, gentle reminder.

A lot of times we get down on ourselves and feel overwhelmed with the world crashing down on us.  We start feeling like too many responsibilites, requirements, standards, jobs, tasks, to-do lists, goals, etc. etc. are weighing us down and we won’t ever make it to the top of where we want to be.  Along with these pressures, we might feel like we are just not good enough.  We experience failures time and time again that take a toll on our little hearts. Add in the pressures of society, peers, yada-yada telling us that we can’t and we just might as well eat our wheaties and head right back to bed. 

However, the people that get a head in the world are not the ones who go back to bed.  The people who rise above and succeed are the ones who take the hits.  They tell their offender thank you or offer them up an American wave (the bird).  There is no doubt pushing forward is hard when failures keep coming your way.  With persistance, you eventually will succeed.  Maybe you won’t achieve your exact goal, but you will reach accomplishment.

Preston Hadley, a local BYU football player, has done just that.  Actually, he has reached his goal but it wasn’t done easily.  He had to work his way to the top regardless of the hits that he took along the way.  He must have understood the principle that “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and pushed forward with confidence.  So moral of this post? We salute you Prest.

Never, ever give up on your dream.



Hometown Hero

Who: Brady Jardine, Utah State basketball player

What: Down-to-earth, great person

Tonight, I found a story posted by a high school acquaintance (and wife of this athlete) about a Utah State Aggies basketball player making an appearance at a birthday party and impacting some kids for good.  I thought I would link the article here for you all to read! With the sports world now days, athletes are not always noted for the exceptional character and performances.  That dynamic combination is hard to come by.

This guy showcased in the article though has the package deal. I think one of the greatest things for kids to see is their sports heros being great people off of the court.  When a kid sees this, they automatically want to emulate their behavior because it is seen as ‘cool.’ Kids also see that basketball (or whatever sport) isn’t the only thing going on in the athlete’s life as well. When this local basketball hero showed up at a birthday party, he exemplified the importance of the everyday things in life.  He showed that even sports stars appreciate spending time with close family and friends in a normal setting. He also showed that everyone is equal and we are all in on this thing called life together. I’m so grateful for these sports stars who remind people, especially kids, that there is more to life than a game and people are more important than a that buzzer-beating shot.

In our society today, I think kids especially get the wrong idea about what is important because of the bad examples and media coverage that goes around.  Kids don’t see players in their everyday life, and for that we are grateful given the example set by some! (no names will be mentioned specifically, ha!).  But the athletes that set a good example off the court aren’t seen for their role in everyday life either. Some kids might think that their favorite sports stars life is simply the game.  If they see the way good athletes interact with people outside of basketball and see where their values lie, kids might be motivated to balance out life as well.  Aside from the athletes, crazy fans might be setting up a bad example for kids too!  I’m guessing you could probably think of someone off-the-top-of-your-head that gets so involved in a game that nothing else around them matters. Their team loses the game and the rest of the week turns into a fight. If kids repetitively see this behavior, obviously they are going to think the game is the most important thing going in life that matters.  So basically what I’m trying to say is this: I’m grateful for the people out there that have their head on straight and remember the important things in life.

I’m personally grateful for athletes like Brady Jardine that lift kids and those around them to be a little better as people–it’s not all about the game.  Thank you for being you!


(no, David Beckham isn’t the featured athlete in this hometown article)