My favorite family vacation wasn’t something that we had planned on. In fact, it was a spur of the moment, STOP. DROP. AND ROLL! kind of a thing. But it was perfect.

Early one Saturday morning, my husband and I were  bickering over breakfast. Our kids sat at the table, hands over ears. We had a long list of to-do’s before us that felt more like a list of to-don’ts.

stressed couple at breakfast


Then we stopped. We looked at each other. Almost as if on cue, we said:

“Let’s go to the beach.”

While I packed the cooler and he gathered toys and life saving devices, the kids wolfed down their cereal. Then we were off.

I even left my phone at home.

I made a silent promise that I was going to enjoy my family. I would not worry about chores, time-outs, or tattling. I wasn’t going to worry about calories or money burned. Or Facebook, instagram, or Pinterest.

This was going to be our day.

In fact, what are we humans doing all of this for anyway?

Each morning, my kids roll out of bed so early I wonder if they even went to bed last night. I meet them with a list of mandatory chores and responsibilities to be done before we leave for the bus.

After that, it’s a razzle-frazzle of flurried movement to return the house to normal before we’re off again to the gym. The rest of the day is a blur of errands, mopping up mishaps, and general managing of the family circus.

And that is all before the older kids get home from school. Don’t mention dinner time.

Did you mention dinner time?!

So, I ask you again, what are we doing all of this for anyway? This time management down to a milisecond? This exercising? This meal planning? This, this this!

Is there a red ribbon awarded at the end of the day?

A golden trophy glinting in the sunlight?

If all of this is busy work, and not much of it is fun, than why do we keep busy?

Where is the joy in that?

My friends. There should be joy. Joy there should be!

Thomas S. Monson, our beloved prophet, has said:

“Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family” (October 2008 General Conference).

Time never stands still, and yet we find ourselves at its mercy, striving to manage it and make do.

Is that how we want to remember our time? No matter how wisely spent it was? As a frenzied, yet organized, race through…well…time?!

How wise a prophet we have. He reminds us twice that there is more to life than managing time and stress.

“This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now…There is no tomorrow to remember if you don’t do something today” (Monson, October 2008).

With this in mind, I want to introduce to you my new life philosophy:


This is a phrase that was drilled into my head as a child. If you find yourself on fire, STOP. DROP. AND ROLL.

It also applies to other non-life-threatening situations, as it turns out.

On that Saturday morning, we stopped our bickering. We dropped our time management. And we rolled out.

Implementing the SDR method comes with a few drawbacks.

You have to be brave enough to immerse yourself in the moment.

You have to be willing to experience your surroundings with all of your five senses.

That might mean that you have to put down your phone.

Maybe eat a really greasy cheeseburger.



It means that you are going to view this day as one in a million day. This day that you will never get back.

And you know that, so you are going to soak in it until your fingers get all pruney and your heart will never forget.

I will never forget that day.

I see my sons, their muscles bunching under their beautiful tanned skin. Their blue-green eyes sparkling like diamonds, their hair a burnished gold. Their mouths stained from colorful slushies. Their laughter, loud and alive, competing with the crash of waves.

I see my husband kneeling in the sand, digging a hole to China, silver spoon in hand. He isn’t nearly fast enough as the ocean swoops in to eat at his work. But he is there, existing with us, and for nothing else.

I am kneeling and laughing too, reaching out to touch their joy, their warmth, their life–as they will only be on this day.

This is what I live for.

I will remember it. Not because we finally took a few pictures, but because I was there with all of my senses firing full blast. No phones, no schedules, no nothing.


On that day we decided to STOP. DROP. AND ROLL.

About Jessica Clark
Jessica Clark is a wife, mom, writer, runner, knitter, and proud Canadian. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Anthropology, and has been a student of people and cultures ever since. Right now she is busy studying the behavior and cultures of the people of Texas.

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