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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God multiplies things

Diana with her husband

Here is another installment in my Tender Mercies article series. Today’s story comes from Diana Johnson, who writes:

Leslie, I’m so grateful I met you about 7-8 months before my husband’s stroke. Reading your books increased my faith and helped put me in the frame of mind to experience so many miracles. With all my heart, I KNOW that God multiplies what we have when we share! He has already shown this to me.

Back in 2006, I gave my sister my share of profits from the sale of our parents’ home (about $10,000, because she was in dire need). We were in need as well; but I felt her need was greater. That, plus a loan of about $3,000, which I eventually forgave.

Ten years later, my husband suffered a massive stroke, and could no longer work. Miraculously, it happened when his Wal-Mart bus run was cancelled due to BYUI students leaving for Christmas. Otherwise, his stroke would have occurred while driving a busload of students!

And when our need was the greatest (after my husband’s stroke), the amount I gave my sister was returned to me, multiplied, in a miraculous, unexpected way:

I received a certified letter in the mail, which at first I ignored, thinking it was just another notice from the IRS. When I finally picked up the letter from the post office, I was informed that a previously unknown retirement was waiting for me from BYUI, where I had taught for 15 years. I had worked part-time, but was told that part time and adjunct instructors receive no retirement. Yet, here was a certified letter informing me of a lump sum which had been held for me for years, and growing without my knowledge. 

That unexpected retirement was close to $24,000, equivalent to one year’s salary that my husband made at a part-time job just before his stroke. And this has lasted us much longer than a year, due to other financial miracles: donations, an unexpected deposit from Social Security to our credit union account with a letter (which showed up later) informing us that they had not credited my husband properly for his military service!

While my husband was still in intensive care, I also received a call from DMBA (my retirement account), informing me that they had discovered another $5,000 plus that was owed me. This was exactly the extra amount I needed to pay for home medical equipment I had ordered, and didn’t know how I would pay for it! 

And then, when my husband suffered a relapse, putting him back in intensive care, my son tried to give us a thousand dollars to help pay the hospital bill.  They were expecting a new baby, so I told him to keep it until they had enough saved for their baby.  But two days later, I received a hospital bill discounted over $1000 (beyond the Medicare discounts)!!… 

…I have learned that when we live in LOVE, FAITH, and GENEROSITY, the Lord can return the same for us, in every time of need!

You can read more about Diana’s miracles here.

_____________

What about you?

So, maybe you’re not a millionaire. Maybe you haven’t yet realized that big vision for your life. Maybe your relationships aren’t what you want them to be. Maybe you’re still waiting for that breakthrough that never seems to come. Maybe you struggle with your health, or maybe you’re caring for someone else who is.

But even so…

Have you seen God’s hand in your life, sustaining you from day to day?

I want to hear about it. Submit your stories here!

#RareFaithTenderMercies
#ModernMiracles

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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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