The Watchman

The Watchman

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Love to See the Temple

Rick's dad and stepmom are visiting Utah this week.  Yesterday we spent the day in Salt Lake City "shopping" in the new City Creek Center, although more looking was done than shopping, and visiting the adjacent LDS Church sites of Temple Square, LDS Conference Center and Church Office Building.  Here are some fun photos of the day.

Sitting by one of the many statues in the City Creek Center

In front of the Salt Lake Temple with Rick's dad

I love this image of Christ putting his arms around my children

Had to check out Wil's choir seat in the Conference Center

The roof of the Conference Center

With our host, Leigh, touring the roof gardens of the Conference Center.
You can only go on the roof with a host.

Photo on the roof of the Conference Center.  We were asked to look into the
photo to find ourselves in the reflection.  The photo represents the family of man.

All of us with the Salt Lake Temple in the background.  Thanks Leigh for being
our photographer.

The State Capitol from the 26th Floor Observation Deck of the Church Office Building.

Looking onto the Conference Center.

Looking on to Temple Square.

This was our first visit with our girls to Temple Square.  They absolutely loved it and all the interactive exhibits.  Rick's dad commented on the sense of peace and love he felt being in this special place. It reminded me of the song my children have learned in Primary:

I love to see the temple.
I’m going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I’ll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.

I love to see the temple.
I’ll go inside someday.
I’ll covenant with my Father;
I’ll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I’ve learned this truth:
A family is forever.

(I Love to See The Temple, Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry, b. 1938)

With my sweetheart.  We were sealed together for eternity  in the Salt Lake Temple.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Another Kind of Anniversary

Today is another anniversary for our family.  Today marks two years since our home was destroyed by fire.  Not something we choose to celebrate, but something that is there in the back of all our minds.  Even two years after the fire, there are still little things that haunt us.

This morning Rick and I went to vote.  He handed his driver's license to the poll worker and she looked at him and informed him that it had expired.  After a quick run home to grab birth certificate and social security card, we went back to the polls so Rick could vote and then I drove him to the Drivers' License Office.  I know I had reminded him previously to check the expiration on his license because I thought his always expired two years after mine, but he said that since he hadn't received anything reminding him to renew, he didn't worry about it.  At the DLD office, he asked why he hadn't received anything in the mail, since he knew our son had a couple of months earlier.  It was explained to him that since he had had a license reissued to him during the last five years, there is not a renewal notice sent out.  Of course the reason he had a license reissued was to replace the license destroyed in the fire.

Saturday we were coming home from a swim meet in Fredonia and saw big clouds of smoke off to the northwest of Hurricane.  This fire, the Quail Fire, burned over 1,700 acres and destroyed two outbuildings.  Many families had to be evacuated and left knowing their homes were in jeopardy.  (Read about the fire here.)  We made sure that we did not watch the news and kept the newspaper away from the children since just the clouds of smoke were enough to send them hiding in the house and not wanting us to leave.  Yesterday, the office staff in Springdale were talking about this fire.  One of the newer employees turned to Rick and asked if he had heard that this fire was started by someone burning weeds.  She went on to ask if he could believe that anyone would think it was safe to burn weeds on a day when the temperature was over 100 degrees and there was a wind.  He just shook his head and replied that yes he could believe it because on the same weekend two years ago, we had experienced the same thing.

Our original home

June 26, 2010

Our home today
I  have been a fan of The Motherload for a long time.  Sarah has made me laugh more times than I can name.  Today she wrote about lemons and lemonade.  Her take on the saying "When life gives you lemons make lemonade" was that sometimes the lemons are the blessing.  I know this is the way our family continues to feel.  The blessings we received as a result of that day two years ago are too numerous to count, and this knowledge is what helps us through those moments that come back to haunt us.

And it is those times that haunt, when we still have aftershocks, that make us hope and pray that no one else will have this experience the loss of their home due to fire.  This year, another family in our church congregation lost their home just before Christmas.  They are just starting to rebuild.  In northern Utah, over 40 homes have been destroyed by a single fire.  Everyday the news carries a report of a new fire being reported somewhere in the country.  The loss of a home is devastating.  It is a loss of the sense of security.

With the 4th of July and Pioneer Day celebrations ready to commence this week, please restrict your use of fireworks.  My family was overjoyed when our City's council voted to restrict fireworks to the park.  Most campgrounds in the area have banned any fire except for propane.  There are also many other fire restrictions in place throughout the State.  Here are a couple of links to see the restrictions:  (Southern Utah, and State of Utah) Please be careful, exercise caution and use common sense when it comes to the current dry conditions.  We know that we were lucky that we had insurance and were able to "recover" from our disaster, but we know that there are many others who would not be so fortunate.

By the way, Sarah Clark and her family are experiencing their own life test at the moment.  You can read about it here and if you feel you can help, please do.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dance Forever - Together

So I am home from an amazing evening/morning with my forever best friend.  Rick did such a great job planning our 24th anniversary celebration.  It has become a tradition for us to sneak away to Springdale for a night away from the kids and just be us.  It is kind of fun to play tourist once in a while and the residents in Springdale are very cool about not talking business when they see us together or they ask my permission first.  Since Zion National Park is one of the big reasons we moved here, I am glad that we can enjoy it without Rick's job interfering.

Dinner last night was at the Bit N Spur.  When we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by name.  A woman standing in front of waiting to be seated turned around and asked us since we had obviously been there before, what we would recommend.  Seriously, I go to the Bit N Spur when I want a fantastic steak or creme brulee, so that is my recommendation.  By the time the host came back, he wanted to make sure we weren't with her.  He knew us, but thought maybe we had brought her and her family, because we were chatting like old friends.  Yep, that is one of the things I love most about Springdale - the people you meet.

We ate dinner on the patio and watched the sun set and the hummingbirds flitter.  Unfotunately my phone was acting up and my camera wouldn't work.

Breakfast this morning was at another favorite spot, Oscar's Cafe.  Rick has been raving forever about the breakfast burritos, so it was about time I tried them.  It was so enormous, I only finished half and will still probably be full until dinner tonight.  
My sweetheart
View from the patio during breakfast.

Last night we stayed at the Cliffrose Lodge and Gardens.  I swear this place is magical.  I love to wander through the gardens.  There is such attention to detail and so many hidden surprises.  Last night after dinner, we walked down by the river and sat on a bench looking at the stars.  I know there are more stars in the sky over Springdale than anywhere else.  We sat for over an hour talking, looking at stars and listening to the river.  It was such a beautiful night.  At one point we looked over and saw a deer walking out of the trees.  She sat and stared at us for awhile while we stared at her and then she continued on her way along the river.  

Here are some pictures of the beautiful gardens and the backdrop is spectacular.

View from the balcony outside our room.  You can see the swimming pool
behind the tall pine trees
More of the view showing the playground area
The bench where we watched the stars.  The bowery in the background and
all the open area is a beautiful place to hold a wedding.

This very well could have been the deer we saw the night before.  Spingdale and
Zion Canyon are full of wildlife.

This path is behind the hotel and continues to the entrance to Zion
National Park.
The swimming pool, love the waterfall into the hottub.
Firepit by the river
Firepit hidden in the garden.  There are lots of these little barbecue areas for guests. 
This little patio area was right off our room.  What a great place to meet with
friends to enjoy the sunrise or the beautiful evenings.  We also had a small
private balcony right off our room.

It was such a great evening.  I love Rick so much; more and more every year.  I feel truly blessed to have been married to my best friend for 24 years and look forward to dancing forever together.

Our song:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Life is a Surprise

For some reason, I woke up the other morning remembering a conversation I had with my Dad a few years ago.  It took place about the time Hunter graduated from high school and my dad told me that he had never thought I would get married and have children.  He had always thought that I would be the one who traveled and never really settled down.

I guess he never thought I would meet someone like Rick.  With him, I have learned there are no limits.  Together we can do anything.  We have been to more than half the 48 contiguous states in this great country and I know one day we will visit all 50, along with a few other countries thrown in.  In 24 years, we have lived in South Weber Utah, Logan Utah, Prince George Virginia, El Paso Texas, Colorado Springs Colorado, Uintah Highlands Utah, South Ogden Utah, St George Utah and La Verkin Utah.  Each move has brought our family closer together.  Our commitment to each other has helped us raise five amazing children.

So Happy Anniversary to my forever sweetheart.  Wherever we're together, that's my home.

Thank you Billy Joel for saying it so eloquently.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home

Last night I slept better than I have in days.  Rick was home and all was well in our world again.

Rick and Jon had the opportunity to attend the Beaver High Adventure Base.  This was the last Scout Camp where Rick was the leader and one of our sons was the scout.  During the past 11 years, there have been so many of these activities and I am so grateful that Rick has desired to and been able to be an active participant in this part of our sons' lives.  These adventures have brought them closer together, helped our sons learn lessons of integrity and cooperation and leadership and overcoming adversity from their father, along with having a heck of a good time.

On the 50-mile hike - Wil on the far left, Jon on the far right
One thing I did notice while writing this was that while there were many pictures of our sons doing activities, we had very few pictures of Rick.  I know this is because he always made an effort to not only take pictures so that they could remember the experience, but so they could come home and share that experience with me.

Rick has also been amazing at spending time with the his children.  He is the man when it comes to carving pumpkins, building snowmen, shooting rockets (and rocket cars), skiing, golfing, playing tennis, riding the motorcycle and playing games.  Dad can do it all.

Rick, Hunter and the Famu Rocket
My sisters often tell me that I set the bar too high when I married Rick.  That he is perfect and they haven't been able to find anyone who measures up.  I know that the most important things Rick has taught and continues to teach our children they have learned from his example.  Our sons have learned how to work hard, be respectful and to treasure their wife and children and our girls have learned that they can do anything and be anything just like their brothers.  These are the same lessons I learned from my father.

With my dad during a daddy/daughter date.  I'm probably ten years old.
On Friday, Lela asked when her dad was coming home.  I asked her if she was getting tired of it being girls only at our house.  Her response was - Mom, we need dad.  I feel the same way.  I understand why Emily was so excited to be able to sing this song to her dad today in church, because I can remember being excited to sing it to my own dad - I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home (Daddy's Homecoming)

I'm so glad when Daddy comes home, Glad as I can be;
Clap my hands and shout for joy, then climb upon his knee,
Put my arms around his neck, hug him tight like this,
Pat his cheeks and give him what - a great big kiss.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kittens, Snakes, Puppies and Chickens

So today the three children that remain at home were discussing the need for additional pets in our family.  Now in my opinion, we have sufficient animals to meet our family's need for filling in chore charts with a dog, a cat, a bird, a turtle and assorted fish.  And while I would be sad to lose any of them, I do not have a burning desire for more.

Emily and Lela have been negotiating with their father for some time for chickens.  They have even brought assorted neighbors into the fray.  But each time the subject is brought up, Rick gets a panicked expression on his face, his eyes roll back in his head as he looks for an escape and he breaks out in a sweat.  So far no chickens.

Emily's latest quest is for a kitten from a neighbor's litter.  Again the answer has been a firm no.  One tiara-wearing cat in the house is enough.

Yesterday, after attending a reptile presentation, Lela decided she wanted a snake.  I told her to mention it to her dad.  I think he is more afraid of snakes than chickens.

Today while I took the children to buy shoes, the conversation again turned to the desired pets.  This time Jon threw in that he wanted another dog.

The plan devised today is to present to their father the four choices and see if they can get him to pick one.  If those were the only choices, I would place my money on another dog if those were the only choices, but it seems that there is a sixth answer to the question:

Which animal may we get as a new pet?
A. Kitten
B. Snake
C. Puppy
D. Chickens
E. All of the Above
F. None of the Above

Maybe one day they might catch both of us at a weak moment, or maybe they will sic "Aunt Linda" on us again.  Although when I mentioned that there was a rabbit at the Animal Shelter, all three children responded with a loud no because "Don't you know mom, rabbits stink!!!"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Time with Grandpa and Grandma

I mentioned in a previous post that my parents had been to St. George for a visit and we were able to spend time with them.  For a very long time, my parents have owned a time share condo in St. George.  I can remember coming here to visit as a teen.  We always went to Zion Canyon or another National Park in the area.  We always swam.  My parents would go golfing.  And I would always end up with a sunburn.  I can remember sitting on the balcony of the condo looking at the St. George Temple lit up in the evening and thinking I had never seen anything so white.

Now my parents may have slowed down a little, but this time is still a break from home for them.  It also affords them and my children a chance to have some one-on-one time that they get so little of with us living five hours away.  This year my sister came with them so that was an extra bonus.  It is nice to know that we do remember some things from our childhood the same way.  (Insert big smiley face)

While Emily was at Girl Scout Camp, Jon and Lela went with my parents and Lorelei to the Grand Canyon.  Not much hiking was done, but the view was spectacular.

Some wildlife
More wildlife

And even more wildlife

Jon's video of a lizard doing push-ups

On Friday, Lela, Emily and I took my parents and Lorelei to Zion.  It had been years since my parents had driven up through the tunnel to the East Side of the Canyon.  I love this drive up the switchbacks and the spectacular views.  The tunnel is a engineering marvel.  It stands as a tribute to the hard work and perseverance of all those who had a part in the construction.  

For me exiting the tunnel to the East Side is like entering another world.  It is a world of slick rock that appears to have been poured or oozed out to form this landscape that is a stark contrast to the towering sandstone cliffs found in the main canyon.

This trip we were able to see something I haven't seen in the previous nine years of living near the Canyon - Desert Big Horn Sheep.  Not only did we see one, but four, including a baby.  They most amazing thing about the wildlife in the Canyon is that to them people are part of their environment, so they are not afraid to walk down the road with you or stop and pose so you can take their picture.  Make sure you don't try to pet them or feed them because they are still wild animals who need to be able to fend for themselves in order to survive.

For lunch, we stopped at Checkerboard Mesa and let the girls do some climbing while we ate.  Then we drove back down canyon to catch the shuttle at the Natural History Museum for the ride up the Main Canyon to the Temple of Sinewava.  There the girls did their best to get soaked in the Virgin River.  The day ended with a stop at the Zion Canyon Lodge for an ice-cream cone.  

Emily was so excited about seeing the Big-Horn Sheep, that she picked one as a treat at the gift shop in the Museum.  Since the money from the purchase will go to the Adopt-A-Big Horn Program, she will soon be receiving an adoption certificate.  She was even able to name her sheep - Bucky (Lela's suggestion).

My little mountain goats found a comfy place to hang out and eat lunch.
Mom, Dad, the girls and I with Checkerboard Mesa in the background.
Same group less me add Lorelei
Girls in the River
Made it to the rock.
All done!
Now if you want to experience driving through Zion - Mt Carmel Highway Tunnel and an excellent song to boot, you can watch this Emmy winning video, Rocks on Fire, by one of my favorite groups - Red Rock Rondo: