Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July contest - Where did you come from? Where are you going?


I always think of July as a month to reflect, both on where we have been, and where we are going! We look back at the founding of The United States of America, and celebrate what our Founding Father's started 236 years ago!
So, what did they start? A democracy, which guarantees very specific rights and freedoms, and that has allowed for people from all over the world to "melt" into a diverse society with millions of different viewpoints. Some of us come from families that immigrated hundreds of years ago, other us are first or second generation Americans.

Many readers of my blog come from all over the world, and I know that not all of them want to come to America, and even strongly disagree with US government policies or programs. Then again, a number of you also live in the US and still disagree with a variety of things done here, political and otherwise.

No matter where you fall in the love-hate continuum with the United States, the 4th of July is certainly a national holiday that focuses on US history, honoring those that have served our country, especially in the military, and the close bonds of families. Oh, and did I mention fireworks? You can't have Independence Day without fireworks.

Unless you live in Utah, or grew up in the LDS church, you may not know as much about Pioneer Day, which is usually celebrated on July 24th. In Utah the focus is pretty heavily on the pioneers who settled Utah. Outside of Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, which were all heavily influenced by the Mormon migration, LDS members tend to see the celebration a little differently.

While the date has a lot to do with when the Mormon pioneers got to Utah, most wards I have lived in celebrate Pioneer Day as a day for all LDS pioneers. One ward I lived in had a celebration which focused on the pioneers in each family. Pioneer was defined as anyone who joined the LDS church, who was not born into an LDS family. It was really great to hear about parents or grandparents who had listened to missionaries, and come to believe in the Book of Mormon and the LDS church, from all over the world. Living in Oregon, a lot of those conversions happened here, or somewhere in the US, but several members of the ward shared stories of their ancestors who were converted in Russia, Argentina, Japan and India.
My mom joined the church when she was 18, and her faith and the choices she made impacted all of her children and now grandchildren. While none of our ancestors came west with the Mormon migration, there were ancestors who came by wagon across the continent to settle in California. One of those ancestors, a great grandmother several times back, came across the plains with only her daughters, because her husband and sons had gone ahead to build a house and start farming, before Sarah and her daughters came to join them. I have always loved hearing about her strength and commitment to her husband and children, and her determination to make a better life. I named my eldest (by three minutes) daughter after Sarah, my pioneer grandmother! My second daughter (by three minutes) is named after my mother, Kathleen, another pioneer in my family!
The contest this month is to share a story about your family. It can include you and your children, but hopefully it will have a link back to other generations in one way or another! Or, you can write about what you what you hope your grandchildren or great grandchildren will remember about you and your life. Whether you look back, or imagine going forward, the most important element for this contest is sharing who you are, and how your past influences you, or how you want to influence the future!

You can enter the contest one of three ways, write a post on your blog and share the link in the comments section of this post, or any of the reminder posts about the contest. Leave a comment with your story on this or any of the posts about the contest. Feel free to make the comment as long as you need to share your story! Third, post about this contest on your blog, and then leave a comment with the link to your blog post! (You can get a double entry for one post if you post a story, and tell people about the contest and put a link to it!)

 For this contest, I will make 3 winners a personalized set of 8 cards, using your favorite picture of you, your ancestors, your kids, or any other family. After I announce the winners, I will need a digital copy of your photograph and if you have a color preference, I need to know that too. My goal is to have all the cards out by August 1st, but some of that will depend on how quickly I get the photos!


  1. This is a really fun idea! And this is also something I have been thinking a lot about lately, so I guess I will have to get to work writing...

  2. Glad to give you the motivation to get started! Can't wait to see what you write!


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