Thursday, September 22, 2011

Local Author supports Lottes of Love

UPDATE:  Have a Kindle or a Nook?  Great news!  Daniel will be donating 20% of any electronic book purchases to Lottes of Love!  Would make an awesome CHRISTMAS surprise!  Don't ya think? 

A local author, Daniel Coleman, learned about Lottes of Love while discussing an upcoming assembly he will be holding at Thomas Edison Charter School. He offered to lend his support to our efforts and will be donating 10% of his sales to Lottes of Love.  You can order his books on Amazon or Barnes and Noble (just email us a copy of your receipt to and he will donate 10% of your purchase price to Lottes of Love) or stop by the Fall Festival this Friday night at Thomas Edison Charter School 5-8 pm to complete an order form.  Contact us with any questions.  Here's a little bit more about Daniel and his books.

Daniel Coleman spends his time back and forth between two worlds – the fantastic world of Writing where happy endings are common, and the very real- life world of Firefighting where the outcomes are as varied as the emergencies.

A small farming town in northern Utah is his home, where he resides with his wife and 3 kids.  If you know where to look, you can see him at his kids’ bus stop in a variety of costumes when he’s not at the fire station.  Over the course of the school year he plans to prove there are few lengths he won’t go to in order to embarrass his kids. (Check the blog on his website for pictures.) 

Daniel has also agreed to remain after the assembly on November 22nd to sign his books; Jabberwocky and Hatter read about the events and characters that shape Wonderland long before the arrival of Alice.  

Additionally you will have a chance to win one of his books which he has graciously offered to donate as a prize for the 5k and 1 Mile Run's on October 15th.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Difficult Times

In late September of 2008, I found myself in a very difficult time. I was struggling with incredible feelings of bitterness and anger toward someone close to me. I was disappointed with their choices. Whenever we were around one another, it seemed that all we did was fight. I felt that I couldn’t continue my relationship with this person any longer.

On a Saturday near the end of the month, I spent the day painting walls in my house. A recent interaction with this person had left me angry and upset and I was trying to vent my negative feelings in work. As it neared evening, I began to get hungry and I realized that I hadn’t eaten all day. As I began to put together something to eat, I saw a flyer announcing the General Relief Society session of General Conference. It was due to start soon and dinner would be provided afterward. I was wrestling with feelings of frustration and anger. I was sure that it would be of no value to me to attend the meeting. I felt that my personal situation was far too complicated for anyone to understand, let alone provide any words of advice or comfort. Yet, a small thought came into my head, that because of my lack of meals for the day, I had technically been fasting. Perhaps, if I could soften my heart and pray for guidance, the Lord may have a message for me.

I quickly got ready, left the kids with my husband, and headed to the stake center. I was late and felt uncomfortable walking in. I hadn’t had much time to get ready. I felt frumpy and out of place. All around me were lovely sisters dressed in their best, sitting happily with friends. I sat alone in the back with paint caked on my hands and under my fingernails, a hastily donned dress, hair in a ponytail and very little makeup. I wanted to leave, but again came the prompting to stay and pray. I stayed. I struggled with my feelings of unhappiness and despair and prayed forlornly for an answer to my difficult situation. Only occasionally did I hear any of the talks and none of it seemed to touch me.

As the end of the session neared, I began to give up hope that I would hear a message directed to me. Maybe the Lord hadn’t heard my prayers; maybe I was too selfish and insignificant to hope for an answer from the Lord. Perhaps I was hopeless. Why would the Lord care about me? The despair I was feeling seemed insurmountable and I knew I couldn’t overcome it alone. I prayed yet again. Yet, this time my prayers were subtly different. In my despair, I had gained a measure of humility. In my anger toward this person, I also harbored pride. I felt wronged by this person and I was certain that the burden of responsibility to mend our troubles lay entirely upon their shoulders. I wanted the Lord to fix them.

As I thought I was giving up hope, I also began to give up my anger and negative feelings. Without these negative feelings burdening me, I softened my heart and another thought came to me. Maybe I wouldn’t hear a message directed specifically to me. But perhaps, if I were to let go of all the selfish and negative thoughts I was holding onto, I could still hear something of worth.

Near the end of the session, Elder Uchtdorf stood to speak. His talk was entitled, “Happiness, Your Heritage.” Near the beginning of his talk, he spoke of gratitude, “grateful to be here, grateful for your talents, compassion, and service. Most of all, I am grateful for who you are: treasured daughters of our Heavenly Father with infinite worth.”

Still feeling somewhat peevish, my first thought was, “What talents do I have, how could Heavenly Father possibly treasure me?’ Immediately after, the thought came to me, “You can be improve the little things around you, you can be compassionate, you can provide service to others.” And suddenly I knew. This was the talk meant for me. The Lord wasn’t going to tell me how he was going to fix this other person; he was going to tell me what I needed to do. I felt a strong impression that the answer I was looking for in relation to my woes was, “Not right now. Right now, I have work for you.”

Elder Uchtdorf went on to talk about how we could learn to partake of God’s happiness by creating and being compassionate. He pointed out that our creations may not be readily visible or masterpieces destined for a museum. Our creations could be a smile, a laugh, a family memory, and all the actions of our daily life that “improve not only the world around you but also the world within you.” This was something that I could definitely improve in my life.

He went on to talk about the importance of compassion and our responsibility as disciples of Christ to have compassion and to serve those around us. Once again, this was an area I could improve in. I realized that compassion and service are talents and, moreover, talents I needed to improve upon.

“Not right now. Right now, I have work for you.” I realized that I was looking at my situation incorrectly. I wanted justice for the wrongs I felt I had been dealt. I wanted this other person to be punished for the hurt I felt. But, in His infinite compassion, the Lord knew what I needed. I needed to realize that I couldn’t change the other party involved, but I could change myself. I could quit focusing on my indignation and anger and all the other negative feelings I felt so justified in immersing myself. I could let go of that selfishness and use my experiences to feel more compassion for others. I could use all the energy I was spending on my antagonism to serve others.

Two weeks later was the rest of General Conference. I was astounded at how many of the talks seemed to carry a message of overcoming trials. The next summer, I attended Education Week at BYU-Idaho where I attended many classes on doing hard things and overcoming the challenges we face. My ever-loving and omniscient Father understood me far better than I knew myself. He understood my weaknesses and, being aware of the challenges life would bring, needed me to allow Him to make me strong. The Lord gives us a powerful promise in Ether 12:27: “And if men come unto me I will show them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

I can’t tell you that I now qualify for sainthood because of my amazing persistence in following through on the things I learned. Obviously the Lord is still endeavoring to teach me! Some of my enduring faults are laziness and fear. More often than I would like, my efforts to be compassionate and of service are hampered by these flaws. However, as I strive to follow the promptings of the Spirit and push past my fear, I have gained a greater happiness and understanding of those around me. With that understanding, I have a greater love. Most of all, I have more peace and harmony in my relationship with this person I was struggling with.

I am so grateful for the challenges the Lord has given me that I might have more empathy and understanding of the challenges we all face. In facing challenges, my first instinct is to focus my energy on the pain and suffering that I am enduring and wallow in self-pity. Surely, my trials are more than I can bear! However, thanks to the guidance of a loving Heavenly Father, in the last few years, I have come to realize how selfish that attitude is. All of us here on Earth struggle with pain, hardships, and trials that oftentimes seem impossible to overcome. The energy I want to spend on self-pity is much better used in empathy and service. And when I increase my talents for compassion and service, my energy is returned to me tenfold in strength. President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “The more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls.”

"Happiness, Your Heritage" can be found here. Other talks I found especially pertinent are here, here, and here.

By: Charlotte Gardner

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The "Blonde Runner" joins Lottes of Love

Please welcome Lottes of Love’s newest sponsor, Lora Erickson aka the “Blonde Runner."

Lora is a USATF certified running coach and personal trainer. She has been running for 26 years and coaching for 15. Her enthusiasm about running is contagious!
Lora was highly recruited out of high school by schools like Stanford, Yale, BYU and University of Utah. She accepted a scholarship to the ‘U’ and started off as a distance runner, then transferred to Utah State University where she earned the title of Big West All Conference Runner. She graduated USU with a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Education with duel minors in Nutrition and Chemistry.
She is the owner of Blonde Runner Health LLC and the founder/organizer of the Northern Utah Triathletes (a USAT sanctioned club), Team Blonde Runner and the South Davis Road Runners in Davis County. Lora is also the race director and founder of two annual charity events: The Race for Infant and Pregnancy Loss and Save Your Skin 10K and 2 mile awareness walk. Lora is also a busy mom of four and enjoys spending time with her three boys and little girl.
She teaches the American Heart Association weight loss class as well as cooking/nutrition classes, and fitness boot camps. Lora is enthusiastic about health and approaches everything; from helping people lose weight, to training for races, to life in general with a ‘can do’ attitude.

She is a mother, an entrepreneur, trainer, coach, race director, running and triathlon club organizer, weight loss specialist and a friend. We are so pleased to have Lora on our team of sponsors. Thank you Lora for your support!

For more information on Lora Erickson and what she offers go to

Saturday, September 10, 2011

An example of patience

The following post is written by Jill Williams a mother of two beautiful princesses and a handsome prince and they all have smiles that will melt your heart.  She and Charlotte have spent many hours running together in preparation for one race or another.  Jill is also the organizer of the 5k and 1 mile Fun Run which will be held October 15th in Cache Valley.

Tonight I stopped by Charlotte's house to drop off some dinner. I found her sitting at the kitchen counter with her youngest son, helping him with homework. He looked frustrated. I know she has a cold right now, and she looked tired. But patient. That's one thing about Charlotte that's always impressed me. She is so patient. She never lets things rattle her.

I've witnessed her boys climbing like monkeys all over the playground, making me bite my nails with nervousness as I worry they may fall. Charlotte keeps her cool, and assures me boys will be boys and I will soon see now that I have my own little baby boy.

I've seen Charlotte at 4:30 am as we boarded a bus the morning of the Bear Lake Marathon. I had been training for it for 6 months, and was anxious about the miles ahead, worrying over the weather, if I was overdressed, if I was underdressed (I would have been if Charlotte hadn't let me borrow an extra jacket she had brought along, just in case), if I had enough water in my water belt to last me between aid stations, if I was trained enough, and many other things. Charlotte had been training for the half marathon, but since it was filled up decided to sign up for the marathon instead. Although she hadn't been training for it, she kept her cool, knowing she could finish, and just her presence calmed my nerves.

Now I've seen my dear friend Charlotte learn she has cancer, calmly explain her situation to medical personnel over and over again, humbly accept meals and financial assistance from friends, family, and strangers, and continue to uplift everyone with her beautiful smile and sweet spirit. And she patiently waits to discover what the Lord has planned for her, trusting him with infinite faithfulness. I am so thankful to have Charlotte as such an example of patience in my life.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why I am helping with Lottes of Love

This guest post is written by Cynthia Mikesell. She is a mother of 3 boys, two of whom attend Thomas Edison Charter School where Charlotte taught before her diagnosis. She has a degree in Educational Interpreting for the Deaf and has worked in that field for over 10 years. Currently she is a stay at home mom who is dedicating herself to helping with the organization of events for Lottes of Love.


I've been thinking of the post Charlotte wrote last week about her experiences at the Cancer Treatment Center while receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatments.  Then this morning while I was doing some housework with the radio blaring there were two separate songs played in the time it took me to clean the bathroom that were about receiving a cancer diagnosis and living every moment like it was your last.  And I realized that being diagnosed with cancer is becoming so prevalent in our society that most of us know at least 1 person who either has just received a diagnosis, is fighting it or is in remission.  I know that I can think of over a dozen friends, neighbors, teachers, or family members who are either fighting or have lost their battle with cancer.  I'm sure you can too. . .  That's when I start to feel overwhelmed.  

Cancer is big. Cancer is scary.  When I start to focus on how big and how scary it is I start to feel helpless.  Nothing I can do will heal the bodies of any of the individuals Char has met at her treatments or the people the music stars are singing about.  That thought both frightens and saddens meSo what can I do?

I've started to feel that giving to some foundation who is doing research is all well and good and maybe the easy way out to feel like I'm doing something or have done something. In the past I've supported the American Cancer Society, the Pink Ribbon Campaign, and the Huntsman Cancer Center.  But I've learned through Charlotte's journey that most of those foundations aren't really designed to help those who are diagnosed. They are researching and doing clinical trials but the patients still have to find a way to pay the astronomical costs associated with the experimental medications. Which makes me start to feel helpless again. When I give to the big research foundations most of my money is going to researchers and scientists. 

I agree that what they are doing is important work. It is necessary work. I hope and pray that one day they find a cure. However, more must be done to care for financial needs of  those who suffer from this devastating disease now. To get the treatment they need as early after diagnosis as possible. The science and technology exists to save a lot of lives, but the access to it is guarded by massive expenses that many (especially those without medical insurance) simply do not have the resources to overcome on their own. Had Charlotte been able to have surgery within a few weeks of her diagnosis, before the cancer began to spread to her lymphatic system, her chances to beat this disease would have significantly increased and the treatment needed to save her life would have been less complex. I don’t have statistics on how many people won’t survive their fight against cancer because they lack the monetary resources to get the treatment that could very well save their lives. But that number should be zero.

Don’t stop donating to cancer research foundations—they do important work! But next time you hear that someone has been diagnosed with cancer, remember that they will likely need much more than your prayers and well wishes to beat it. Their successful fight against cancer may require your time, talents and whatever funds you can give. I can't fix Cancer. I can't make a difference in the lives of everyone diagnosed with cancer who lives in Cache Valley. For today I want to be able to help someone, just one person in a way that makes a difference in their battle against cancer. For me that person is Charlotte.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Art: by Charlotte

Near the beginning of August, I was fortunate to spend the weekend with my family at the farmstead where my mother grew up. My aunt owns the property and was generous enough to allow us to stay.

It happened to be a full moon that weekend and on Saturday, I walked to the upper house with my parents to watch the moon come up over the Tetons. It just so happened that moonrise coincided with sunset and the sunset that night was a brilliant red. As we reached the upper house, we could turn east and see the tranquil moon rise up from behind the majestic Tetons. It was a lovely pale golden while the sky was a soft blue with a few clouds. To the west were the Sawtooth Mountains silhouetted against the radiant red sky. Both views were dazzling and an astounding contrast. For me, it was a reminder of how lucky we are to live in such an amazing world. It also seemed to be an apt depiction of our lives. Our lives are often full of similar contrasts. Like the fiery sunset, we have challenges in our lives. They can seem frightening and ominous yet they hold such beauty in the lessons we learn in overcoming them. Meanwhile, like the peaceful moonrise, we always have the peace and comfort of the love of our Heavenly Father. What a gift the Lord has given us!

I have thought back to that view many times in the last several weeks. It has brought me such peace and comfort. Unfortunately, none of us thought to bring a camera so I can't share any pictures. But not to worry! I spent many hours recreating the scene in another medium. I hope you will appreciate them.

My son says I should apply for the art teacher's job at his school if the current teacher ever quits.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spreading the Love!

Thanks everyone for all your efforts to get the word out about our wonderful friend Charlotte, her battle with cancer and Lottes of Love!

 Because of you, someone nominated Cynthia and  the Lottes of Love blog on the ‘Do the right thing’ segment on Good Things Utah last week.

Check it out here.


Keep up the great work of spreading the love 
and  helping us help Charlotte.   
Together we can beat this!
Good Day Utah, for "Do the right thing", September 2, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Can't Run the Race but want to help?

If you are unable to run the races, we still have plenty of opportunities for you to help! 
Here's how:
  1. Sponsor the race! We are going to have an AWESOME prize table at the race and do a random drawing of the participants. We need a lot of prizes! We'll take anything from hair bows to camp stoves. If you don't have anything that you'd like to donate, a local sporting goods store will allow us to purchasing things at their cost, so cash donations are also welcome. Click here to see what sponsors receive!
  2. Volunteer! We need a lot of volunteers before (both the morning of the race and days leading up to), during, and after the race. Please contact me if you are available to help.
  3. Chip In! You can find the "Chip In" button on the right side of blog, These donations go directly towards paying for Charlotte's medical expenses.
  4. Spread the word! Please share this event and the blog,, with all your friends!
  5. If you're just not into running, check out another upcoming event, Spooktacular Bunco!