My full name is Cristie Clark Carter

My full name is Cristie Clark Carter.

I am the oldest of six children. I grew up in a less-active family in Bountiful Utah. My heritage is about pioneers and polygamy. Poverty, abundance, gratitude and sacrifice.

I graduated from BYU and met my husband while we were in a Shakespeare play, Julius Caesar, together. My very good parents objected to our marriage and refused to attend so we ended up getting sealed in the Los Angeles Temple, (my husband grew up in Southern California) the only familiar face there was the man I was marrying. 

Seven of our eight children were born in California, Pennsylvania, Colorado with our eighth child being born in Utah. Our oldest three children were born … au natural, which I would not recommend. I have a special needs daughter. I have seen the working of God throughout my life...mainly through good RS sisters. 

I love to read, laugh, eat, lay on hot pavement after rain, walk, paint, dream, do laundry, share ideas, learn, embrace beauty found in nature or crafted by man. I need significant alone time, I wake up early, I love to listen and move to music, and I feel a thrill when I go fast. I have regrets, I know I am tough, but it is Jesus, Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost who get all of the credit for my resilience and joy. I know this sounds like Me Me Me, but my desire is to share a thumbnail sketch of my background and interests... to illustrate that even though each of us is unique, we are also very relatable.

Could I be a grasshopper? 

I have always loved the Disney cartoon that depicts a grasshopper who fiddles away the summer while the ants work, work, work. When winter comes the grasshopper is blue from cold and and the queen gives her “I told you so speech and then says something like… “so you like to fiddle? (long pause) then take your fiddle and play!” In the next scene our grasshopper, is out of the blizzard safe and warm. He is tapping his foot while the ants swing their partners and enjoy the music. This is a happy ending for both the creative grasshopper, and the hardworking ant…and someone may ask, “What about works…Don’t ants work harder than grasshoppers?”….and the answer is,  “Grasshoppers work differently from ants.”

Love sees individuals. And the seeing requires desire and time.

The strength of our sisterhood is enhanced through our diversity. If there were two of me, one of us would not be needed. 

My opportunities for embracing differences has been greatly enhanced by my involvement in RS. I have moved around and lived in four different states as a young mother with my husband’s career which took him away from home much of the time. Each move was a whole new location with not a face that I recognized. And, with each move, sisters reached out to me … some much older than I was, and they became my family. 

I’ll never forget when our seventh baby was born in Pa. Our very large family with very young little children were invited to an elderly couples lovely home for dinner after blessing our new little baby boy that Sunday at a fast and testimony meeting. This sister was my ministering angel. Her husband was less active and had not been to church that day, but he too warmly invited us in. Sister Harlow saw me, a young mother without family close by who could attend this special blessing day. For that day they became our family and loved us.

Through ministering I remember learning about effective laundry techniques, new recipes, child rearing ideas, where to shop, how to love and serve better through the myriad examples of my fellow sisters. At our home when we have faced challenges grapes show up, a book, watermelon, veggies, flowers, phone calls, ice packs, notes of caring, fresh artisan bread,  even assisted salad preparation when I had a broken wrist. Once I was so sick with mastitis that a sweet sister came to my door in Colorado and took four of our small children to her home so I could rest, let the antibiotic kick in and mother our new little babe. I have cried and rejoiced with you. I have been seen and heard. I love women and it is true, “the errand of angels is given to women.”

It’s obvious that the Lord does’t mind differences. He sent us here just the way we are, each of us with our own needs, our own abilities, our own desires for righteousness, and our own set of obstacles to overcome.  Our charge from the Lord is to bear one another’s burdens, not to increase one another’s burdens, or to increase our own.

In the Special Olympics, all participants have a “side liner“, someone on the sidelines who showers them with praise and encouragement and hugs. 

Everyone needs a side liner. A sideliner comforts instead of criticizes when you’re down or have failed. A sideliner sees that you are hurting, often when others don’t even notice. 

What special gifts does a side liner have? Does it require a special education? No. Special training in counseling or speaking? No. A full-time maid or one who has hours of free time to give? Then what do you need? Simply the desire. As we reach out and become a sideliner for someone else, we will see increased growth in ourselves. An interesting thing about side liners is that what they bestow on others, they also bestow on themselves. They put into operation a divine law.

A few years ago in Seattle at a Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line, for the 100 yard dash. At the gun they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish line and win. All, that is, except one boy who stumbled on the asphalt and tumbled over. He began to cry. The other eight runners heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back. One girl with down syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, “this will make it better.” Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood and cheered for several minutes because deep down we all know that what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What truly matters in this life is helping others along the way.

Sisters, we all have enough and to spare. Sometimes we feel like we don’t know what to say or do, but remember how Jesus healed the blind man with only a little spit and a little mud. It was enough to make a miracle. A text, a phone call, a caring gesture that suits your capacity is exactly right. You are enough and you have always been enough. I am standing here as your “sideliner,” just as you have been mine. We have a great work of caring and love to extend. And, we will be blessed beyond measure for our efforts.

I have been invited to share 7 minutes in RS this Sunday on the topic of "ministering."



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