"I first decided to walk for Anne because of visiting Pole Patch," says Maggie. "Seeing the cabin was personal evidence that she lived and was a part of my life. I am determined to do hard things, and it was amazing to me that Anne was determined to walk across the plains being blind."
On trek, Maggie elected to be blindfolded on the day there would be the most activities. "We talked about miracles and there were many re-enactments. But I decided not to watch. I never got to see anything from that day because I wanted to know what it would be like to not have the blessing of sight. I remember how much I had to rely on my trek family. I was important to them; it was important to them I stay caught up and not be left behind.
"I know she (Anne) had people to help her, but mostly I feel she had to rely on herself. Her mother and sister died. What pulled Anne through was sheer determination and reliance on God. It helped me to remember her when I was so tired I felt I couldn't go on. I had blisters on my feet, but I remembered how she never gave up. She had to walk all the way to Salt Lake. All I had to do was walk 25 miles."
Now 15 and a concert pianist at Utah State University, Maggie says the life lessons she has learned from family history will continue to guide her.
"In my life, I know there will be times when I may want to give up or quit. But remembering my grandmothers will give me strength to keep going, keep walking. I came from amazing people. Family history has made me want to live my life in a way that if my grandmothers were still alive they would be proud of me. When I get married, I want to teach my kids the importance of family and appreciating where we came from. I'll help my future husband trace his history and find our link in the vast family tree."
Lori Nawyn is the author of the recently released book "Simple Things" (Covenant) and illustrator of "Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen." To learn more about Nawyn, her art and books, please visit her website www.lorinawyn.com.
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