Going the Distance

Day 9 Go the Whole Nine Yards

June 9, 1834. William Carey died. He is considered the Father of Modern Missions. He spent forty-one years as a Christian missionary to India without ever taking a furlough. Being a missionary in China in the early nineteenth century was not easy!

To go the whole nine yards means “to continue doing something dangerous or difficult until it is finished”. William Carey went the whole nine yards.

When have you gone the whole nine yards? Write about it.

Or write a story of someone in a dangerous or difficult situation and how they go the whole nine yards.


Ellen was born to a wealthy family.  She grew up in comfort. She was pretty, and smart, and kind to everyone. She probably could have married  one of the young men in her social circle, but instead she chose a man who was over 20 years older than she was. He was enigmatic, attractive, and he waited for her to grow up so they could be married.

All was well for the first years.  The babies started coming, and Ellen’s life was very satisfying. Then  John lost everything in the Crash of ’29, and he moved his little family into the Arizona Strip, where they lived in a dugout and lived a hard-scrabble life.

Some women would have packed up and gone back home to the East Coast.  Not Ellen. She dug in, learned to keep house much as the pioneer women did, and she reared her family. With very little else to read, she turned to reading her Bible. Over and over, she read of God’s love for her. Her faith took root and grew, and she eventually influenced her husband and children to share that faith with her.

When things got a little better financially, they moved to Colorado. There were five children, but one little girl died of appendicitis. Later, a boy would be born who would be a great comfort in Ellen’s later years.

But they were never wealthy, and Ellen’s skills in making the dollar stretch, making do and doing without continued to grow.

John died in his 80’s, and Ellen spent several years as a widow. When she was 70 or so, she decided  to get a job helping old people. She became a companion to an older woman, but her health gradually declined and she could no longer do the work.

She was respected by those in her church, in her community, and in her family.  She faced  difficulties  she had never imagined when she was young, and she faced them with strength and determination.

She was my grandmother.  Some people think I look a little bit like her.  I ‘m just fine with that. She was a woman who went the whole nine yards.



One thought on “Going the Distance

  1. Thanks for sharing. Hardships can either break you or make you stronger. Your grandmother was survivor and did her best with what she had. A lot of people in this day and time need to learn that.

    Liked by 1 person

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