Well, who knew?! (Everyone except for me of course). *Welcome to the party, Courtney*
Anyway, so Pioneer Day! This is actually a United States holiday, but pretty much just Utahns celebrate it (and probably your select few out-of-state individuals that just want a reason to shoot off some fireworks-- but hey, why not?). So Pioneer Day is a celebration (every July 24th) of the arrival of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers to finally reach and settle in the Salt Lake Valley over 100 years ago. This day is really a commemoration of the physical, emotional, and spiritual endurance that the Mormon pioneers faced in escaping religious persecution by trekking from Illinois to the Salt Lake Valley.
Seriously though, what great examples of endurance, integrity, faith, and character! I always hear about our ancestors and the hard times they have gone through, but over time, I have definitely gained such respect and gratitude for the pioneers and I'm so grateful and blessed because of the sacrifices they made. They truly have taught me (and hopefully not just me), mainly 2 things:
1) Always be FAITHFUL, no matter how hard it gets, because God knows us and loves us and the struggles that we face are to help us learn to trust in and draw closer to Him. It is important for me to let the struggles that I face strengthen me, rather than turn me away from God. Our individual struggles are tailored to our individual needs to help us become our best selves. So faith is key.
2) What kind of LEGACY am I going to leave behind? It is so important for me to make sure that I develop a strong, unwavering testimony of what I know to be true, because my testimony is what will determine how I live my life, and how I live my life will determine the legacy I leave behind. My legacy is how people will remember me. I want to be remembered for being a Christ-like individual. Period. I will probably not reach perfection in this life, but I want to be remembered for having tried my absolute best.
*Now, cue Hannah Montana's "Nobody's Perfect"*
Oh, those were the good old days.
So, although I have lived in Utah a year now, I haven't actually celebrated Pioneer Day until today! Some of my favorite festival activities of today included:
-Tomahawk Throwing- talk about not holding back... literally. (LOL?)
-Log sawing- let's just say that it takes a lot longer than a minute and 27 seconds to slice through a giant log
-Rootbeer chugging contest- those 10 year old boys do not waste time.
All in all, it was great. We got some branded logs, free pixie sticks, and some coupons to Pizza Pie Cafe! What more could a poor college student ask for?
Also, the other night I attended a special Pioneer Day concert in Salt Lake City and may I just say... it was the most beautiful concert I have ever attended. The talent shared and the Spirit felt was beyond anything I expected. It was so pure and amazing and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to go. The video below is a recording of the whole concert.
Happy Pioneer Day!