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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Larry Beardall and Laurie Beardall hold up I AM A COUSIN signs during A.J. Jacobs' keynote speech at RootsTech at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015.
We each have stories of laughter and sadness, ups and downs, tragedy and triumph. We have each had experiences, big and small, that have shaped us into who we are today, but if they don't get written down, who will ever know about them? Who will ever learn and grow from them? —Noelle Pikus Pace

Al Fox Carraway and Noelle Pikus Pace both spoke prior to Elder Neil L. Andersen’s remarks on Saturday at the RootsTech Conference as part of Family Discovery Day at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Carraway is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is commonly known as the “Tattooed Mormon” and is a blogger, wife and mother.

Carraway spoke about her conversion to the church and the trials she faced as a new convert, estranged from friends and family.

“I just wanted people to know that I was trying," she said. "I had a major decision. And that was to choose to get mad, choose to get bothered or offended, or choose to not. It was choose to keep going, choose to have faith, or not. What it came down to, and what it will come down to every single time, is choose God.”

Carraway talked about how the gospel helped her come to know the importance of family bonds. Her sister has also converted to the LDS Church.

Carraway and her husband, Ben, had a baby this past summer, starting an eternal family of their own, and are planning a move to Arizona.

Pikus Pace talked about her skeleton racing career, her Olympic silver medal at the Sochi Games and the importance of the past, present and the future.

She shared the story of her ancestors, who immigrated from their home in Germany to Utah to make a better life for themselves. She talked about how without her ancestors, she probably wouldn’t be where she is now.

After suffering a serious accident, Pikus Pace was discouraged and felt she wasn’t improving. That led to the realization that she wasn’t setting goals for herself. It was then that she pulled out a blank notebook and decided to keep a journal.

“I want to stress the importance of today," Pikus Pace said. "Each of us have stories to tell. We each have stories of laughter and sadness, ups and downs, tragedy and triumph. We have each had experiences, big and small, that have shaped us into who we are today, but if they don’t get written down, who will ever know about them? Who will ever learn and grow from them?”

Pikus Pace was surprised on the stage by her husband, Janson, with flowers for Valentine's Day.