Saturday, June 16, 2018

Joyous Day...Summer Plan

Some days are just good days...peaceful, joyous days. Yesterday was one of those days. Time spent with dear friends that we absolutely two different temples, Brigham City and Logan. This summer is off to the best possible start and I can tell that we will experience great joy, come what may. As President Nelson said in one of my favorite talks (Joy and Spiritual Survival), "... the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives... Joy is powerful, and focusing on joy brings God's power into our lives."

Aly was one of the first friends I made when Alfredo and I bought our home nearly 16 years ago. Our children have grown up together. It's no exaggeration to say that she has been like a second mom to my children...even caring for them when they were younger while I was at work. Aly is kind, funny and is always looking out for others. I'm so grateful that she...and her family...are such an important part of our lives. And today, I've just been marveling at how good Heavenly Father has been to me. I have such incredible people in my life...I read a couple of months ago that a seminary teacher asked his class to begin writing a list of all the people that they owed a debt of gratitude first, they began a bit slowly, but soon every person was scribbling names as fast as they could and they weren't finished when the hour was over...I started, at that moment, to begin to create such a mental list...and it's impossible. My list would contain thousands of names. But even though it is impossible for me to create such a list or to personally thank each of those people, my heart is full and I am grateful.

Anyway, I really wanted to take my girls to as many temples in Utah this summer as possible.  But I know that is the type of goal that if I don't create a plan is unlikely to happen.  So I invited Aly and her family to come with us.  We are going to go as many Fridays as we can and attend 1-2 temples each time and we'll see how many we are able to visit.  Yesterday we kicked off our temple trips, and it was a glorious day.  I did baptisms with the teenagers at the Brigham City Temple while Aly stayed outside with the younger girls.  Then we all went for ice cream at Aggies Ice Cream.  Then Aly did baptisms with the teens at the Logan Temple while I took the younger two to a nearby park.  

Monday, June 4, 2018

Bountiful Temple

On Saturday, we went to the Bountiful Temple to do baptisms for the dead as a YW group.  Most of our YW came which was so great.  It was a beautiful morning...lovely weather and just gorgeous outside.  There were even two deer standing in front of my neighbor's home as we were leaving for the temple.

My dear friend and neighbor Andrea came with us as did my friend/neighbor, Heather.  It was one of our YW's first time going to do baptisms for the dead and she was able to be baptized in behalf of her grandmother!  The spirit was so strong at the temple, and I love the YW so much! It was a perfect way to start the day.  I am so thankful for the temple.
Over the summer, the girls and I are going with good friends to the temple a couple of times per month to do baptisms.  I hope it will be a real blessing in my girls' lives to attend the temple regularly and to get to visit several temples.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Odds N Ends

Life is good.  Busy and not a whole lot that is super exciting to write about, but it's good.  Here are just a few things that have happened lately.

We went to Hunter High's dance concert a couple of weeks ago.  Annie and Halee were in it as well as several of Michelle's friends.  My very favorite dance was one that Annie and Halee were in with one other dancer.  It was called Spelling Bee and it was awesome. I can't really describe it but it combined Shakespeare, spelling and dancing and it was powerful!
Here is Michelle after the dance concert with a couple of her friends.

On April 6, Alfredo called me to see if we wanted to go to a Bees game.  It was opening night and he got free tickets from work.  He only had 4 tickets so the girls and I went.  I ran into Barb, a teacher I worked with at Parkview.  We also saw the Simmons' family from our ward.  I'm not a huge fan of baseball, but it was fun to have 3rd row seats and spend time with the girls.

We try to have someone over for dinner about once a month.  A couple of weeks ago, we had the Bennetts over.  I really enjoy having the opportunity to get to know them better.  Then this past Sunday we had Immanuel and Denise over.  Usually when we have company over for dinner, Alfredo does the cooking.  He's such a great cook.  But not only does he cook well, but he cares about presentation.  On Sunday, he made a mango flower.  I sure love him and appreciate all he does.

And today I went to the temple with my dear friend Sara.  It was such a beautiful day...the weather was gorgeous, the flowers are blooming, and the peace and serenity in the temple calm my sometimes troubled spirit.  And I love being around Sara.  It was a perfect way to spend part of my day off work.

Rest of Arizona trip

So as I mentioned in my first post, my phone was lost/stolen a couple of weeks ago so I lost nearly all of the photos I had taken on my phone.  Which is super sad.  Especially for the second half of the trip.  Because I took quite a few photos on my camera the first couple of days...and then after that nearly all of the photos were taken with my phone.  Michelle took a few on her phone and I had texted a few photos to Alfredo so I have those.  But that's about it.

On Friday, we left Flagstaff and headed toward Phoenix.  On the way, we stopped to visit Montezuma's Castle.  It's pretty cool, although it's not as grand as I remember it being as a child.  Probably because my kids and I have seen other cliff dwellings since then.  And you can't get very close and the whole national monument is pretty small.  But it is still pretty amazing and was worth the stop.

 After the stop at Montezuma's Castle, we continued on to Phoenix where we stopped at the Phoenix Temple and walked around the grounds.  It's beautiful!  And I loved seeing the saguaro cactus surrounding the grounds...there's something majestic about saguaros, I think.  Their ability to survive, even thrive, in harsh conditions and how they stretch toward the sky, reminding us to look up.  I had Michelle take a nice photo of me next to a saguaro, with the Phoenix Temple behind me...but alas the photo is gone.

 On Friday evening, my mom, my girls and I went to the Easter Pageant at the Mesa Temple.   Our seats weren't very good, but the pageant was wonderful.  The Mesa Temple is closing soon for renovations so they won't have the Easter pageant for at least a couple of years...and my parents are moving up to Utah in May, so this really might be our only chance to go.  I'm glad we did.  It's a beautiful rendition of the life of Christ.  I felt the spirit strongly at several points and feel such gratitude for my Savior.

On Saturday, we watched Saturday morning session of Conference.  That was very special to be part of the solemn assembly.   Then I met two of my high school friends, Kara and Kerie, for lunch.  We had a wonderful time eating lunch and visiting.  It's been several years since I have seen them, so I really enjoyed the opportunity to catch up.

Then I hurried home to see the afternoon session of conference.

Saturday night the girls and I drove to Gilbert.  We walked around the outside of the grounds of the Gilbert Temple, played at a park for awhile, and then met my friend/college roommate Jenny and her daughter Amie at Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert.  The food was yummy and the company was even better.  It was so fun to visit with Jenny and her daughter who is Michelle's age.  We talked for a couple of hours and I would have loved to stay longer.

On Sunday, we watched conference, spent time with my Mom and Mike, played many rounds of Boggle and several rounds of Tri-ominoes.  And just enjoyed our time together before we headed back to UT on Monday. It was a really lovely spring break!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sunset Crater and Wupatki, Salsa Brava, Meteor Crater

On Thursday morning, we headed to Sunset Crater.  Sunset Crater was created by volcanic activity.  Flagstaff area is filled with volcanoes.  The cinder cone began to form when rock sprayed from a crack in the earth, high into the air, then fell to the Earth as cinders and large rocks sometime between 1040 and 1100.  The area is filled with volcanic rock.  It's really quite beautiful.

We took the lava flow trail to see all the volcanic rock.  It was beautiful and really quite amazing.

 Then we headed up the road about 15 or 20  miles to Wupatki National Monument.  Right behind the visitor center is a .5 mile loop trail where you can see the Wupatki pueblo.  The people of this area are termed the Sinagua...a title that refers to their ability to survive in an area with so little water.  The ruins show that this area was a crossroads for the Sinagua, Kayenta Anasazi and Cohonina peoples...with homes built in the Anasazi style but with Sinagua pottery and tools.  Some archaelogists believe that many different cultures interacted here; others believed they were just different groups or different ways to live as a Sinagua.  The people were warned by tremors that the Sunset Crater volcano would erupt.  They left before the eruption.

Wupatki pueblo...isn't that incredible?!

Ella and Gabby didn't really want to walk much and were being cranky about seeing the ruins so Michelle posed in many of the photos.

We saw the Box Canyon dwellings and the Citadel Pueblo and Nalakihu Pueblo.

Their stonework is quite impressive to me!

After we finished at Wupatki, it was lunch time.  We went to Salsa Brava, a Mexican restaurant in Flagstaff that my secretary (Dani) and another teacher (Laura) recommended.  It was tasty.  We took a cute photo outside the restaurant, but unless Michelle has a copy of it, it's gone.

Then the girls wanted to head to Meteor Crater to see it.  It was pretty pricy, but also pretty amazing how big it is. 

Way down on the ground, in the center, there is equipment.  There are binoculars and you can look through them and see a 6 foot cardboard cut out of a man near the equipment.  But from on top, he isn't even visible.  The crater is seriously huge.  But what impressed and surprised me the most was that there was a map of the moon and they circled a crater on the moon that was approximately the same size and it looked like this tiny the craters on the moon are ginormous!!

Like I said, you can't see it...but down there is the 6 foot cut out of a man.

I liked the museum which had interactive exhibits and a lot of infomation.  I took quite a few photos...all of which I lost when I lost my phone.  :(  

Then we headed back to the hotel and swam some more!   And had a relatively early night because we were all tired.