The Watchman

The Watchman

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Real Athletes Don't Wear Shoes

Saturday was the Tri-State Region Swim Championships.  This is the culmination of all the work my girls have done this summer.  I am happy to say that after their preliminary times, they both qualified for the finals on Saturday.  More important, they each met the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the summer.

Emily wanted to improve her backstroke so that she could swim without running into the lane lines and wanted to learn to do flip turns for both the front crawl and the backstroke.  Lela wanted to improve her time in the 100m IM.  At the first meet of the season on June 9, 2012, she received a time of 2:03:49.  Her final time at Championships was 1:39:78.  They were both very happy with their results and are excited for the final Invitational this weekend.  It is aptly titled: Beat the Heat.

Here are some pictures from the preliminary races and videos from the finals:

Lela Attacks the Butterfly

Emily's Straight Lines on her Backstroke
Emily's Smooth Takeoff for the Breaststroke

Emily's Breaststroke

Lela's Breaststroke

Emily's Flipturn in the Front Crawl or Freestyle

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let the Games Begin

Our family loves the Olympics.  In 2002, we were fortunate to be living in Northern Utah and so had the opportunity to experience the Salt Lake Winter Olympics first hand.  Experiencing first hand the energy, excitement and brotherhood that is the Olympics had a great impact on my children.  I remember standing in line for one venue and my boys playing Snake with a couple from Russia.  During the Paralympic opening ceremony, we sat behind a group from Poland.  They would turn around and give us thumbs up and cheer with us through the ceremony.

Yesterday, Hunter posted this on Facebook:  I may not be the biggest fan of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, PGA, or follow any college teams (except the Aggies), but I am a huge fan of the Olympics! The next seventeen days are going to be AMAZING!

Below are some pictures from those events ten years ago:

Enjoy the games everyone.

What a Community Can Do

In Utah the 24th of July is dedicated to the commemoration of the Mormon Pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley.  The legacy those first settlers left of perseverance, charity, determination, and faith helped form the foundation for this State that I love.  I have many pioneer ancestors, as does Rick.  As a child I listened to my Grandma Cook and my Great-Aunts tell their stories.  As an adult I have enjoyed reading the biographies and journals these great people left behind.

One of the great lessons of the pioneers is that of community or working together.  They understood that the group was only as strong as its weakest member and so were willing to open their homes and share what they had with those less fortunate.  Even today, members of the LDS Church are asked to fast once a month and donate the money saved to the Church for the aiding of the poor.

Early Church members would also come together to build and to celebrate.  There were no construction companies that could be hired to do the work, so neighbors gathered together to erect homes, barns, businesses, and to build temples.  Many of these gatherings became social occasions.  At the end of a long day of work, neighbors would gather together to eat and often times listen to music and to dance.  Brigham Young, Second Prophet and President of the LDS Church and the man who led the exodus to the Salt Lake Valley and the colonization of Utah, is quoted as saying, "There is no music in hell, for all good music belongs to heaven."

Community was the theme of our 24th of July this year.

On Saturday, we took my parents and visited with our friends in Salt Lake at their annual neighborhood party entitled "The Cul de Sac of Fire".  This is the 8th or 9th year this neighborhood has gathered together to put on the party.  The band is made up of neighbors and if you are so inclined you can join in.  Each neighbor puts in a small amount to help purchase the fireworks, candy for the candy cannon and glo-sticks. Those who attend are asked to bring their own meat for the available grills and a dish to share with the 300 or so gathered.  It was a great party!

While we were in Salt Lake, our LDS Stake was sponsoring a community party of its own.  On Saturday they gathered together to build a trail in Springdale.  There were many that thought this couldn't be done in the time allotted.  Not only were the more than 250 volunteers able to complete the proposed trail, but they were able to help with another smaller project as well.  This trail has been considered for a few years, but the Town and Trails Committee had not known how it was going to accomplish it.  When the representative from the Stake came and asked for a project, the Town knew that this was it.

Then on the 24th of July, our day began with our community parade.  Our girls dressed as pioneers, but instead of riding in a wagon, they were able to ride on a trailer pulled by a big truck.

That evening, residents of the communities of Rockville, Springdale, Virgin, La Verkin and Toquerville gathered in the Springdale Town Park for a barbecue, games and entertainment.  There were close to 1,000 people in attendance at that party.  It was a great time to see old friends and make new ones.  The entertainment provided by the Chamberlain family was excellent and the food was delicious.  Wildcat Willies deserves a big shout out for catering the event.

The day ended with a Pioneer Extravaganza held in the OC Tanner Amphitheater.  My daughters were able to perform with a children's choir from the five communities.  It was a great program reinforcing our pioneer heritage and the power of a community that comes together regardless of our differences.  And that is the lesson that I hope my children will remember.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Float on Your Back and Look at the Stars

Yesterday was a hard day.  Not that anything horrible happened, it was just one of those days that was hard.  It felt like even doing the simplest things was too difficult.  I am sure everyone has had one of those days.

When Rick got home, we found out that a meeting we thought we were going to attend had been postponed, so he worked in the yard while I cooked dinner.  It was just the two of us and the girls at home.  Foreshadowing of what soon will be.  After we cleaned up dinner, the girls picked a DVD they wanted to watch, so we all hung out in the family room until bedtime.  It was so nice to enjoy some down time as a family.

After the girls went to bed, Rick suggested we take a swim in the moonlight.  The pool was as warm as a bathtub.  Really too warm to swim, but just perfect to float and stare at the stars.  It is amazing how easy it is to talk about the cares of the day and how insignificant they can seem when you are so relaxed.  The night was perfect with the half moon and wispy clouds.  The Milky Way stretched across the sky streaked by shooting stars.  Far in the distance you could see the lights of airplanes and nearer to home the lights of the cars coming down the road through Toquerville.  I wondered where they were going that they would be travelling so late at night.  What adventures awaited the passengers and would they be glad to finally reach their beds.

Finally at midnight, we called it a night and headed in to sleep; a perfect end to a hard day.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Celebrate Your Special Day!!!

Today marks the mid point of our family's four week birthday marathon.

Two weeks ago, according to the calendar, I celebrated turning 29 for the 18th time.  I am beginning to wonder if having 17 years of experience at being 29 might be enough and so I am pondering trying 28 on again for size next year.  Of course when I turned 28 the first time I was very, very pregnant as shown in the picture below from Rick's commissioning ceremony.  This was even a month earlier than my birthday, and as you can see, I look ready to burst.

28 was also the year we moved across the country to live in Virginia while Rick completed his Officer Basic Course.  We met some amazing people there and our family had some wonderful experiences.  Overall, it was an exceptional year for our family and might be fun to revisit.

In two weeks, Lela will turn 11.  She is looking forward to this birthday not for the presents, but because the idea that she can flip the numbers in her age and still be the same age has her very excited.  I can remember when I turned 11 telling everyone that technically I was now a teenager, because the teenage years really needed to start with a 1 and not a 3.  My thoughts are let her enjoy it.  I am glad she can find happiness in the small things.  I will enjoy my last couple of years with my non-teenage daughter as well.

But today is not the beginning or the end of our birthday celebration month.  It is the middle and the day belongs to Jon.  This year was a milestone birthday for Jon since he turned 18.  Today also marks the day that he can legally drive non-family member teenagers in the car without an adult being present.  So in fact, I received a birthday present today with the gift of a pinch hitter in the carpool game.

So here is my boy then and now:

Whenever I have a birthday, I think of my Grandma Cook.  She was very funny about the anniversary of her birth and would not tell ANYONE her age.  One year, a census worker knocked on my aunt's door and asked my aunt if she knew the lady that lived next door.  My aunt replied that yes she did, that it was her mother-in-law.  The census worker then asked my aunt if she knew what year her mother-in-law had been born.  My aunt asked him why he had not acquired the necessary information from my grandma herself and the census worker answered that my grandma had refused to tell him.  My aunt without missing a beat then informed the census worker that if her mother-in-law refused to divulge the information, there was no way my aunt was going to tell him.

 Each year on my Grandma's birthday, the family would gather at her home for cake and ice-cream.  Presents were not expected, but you were expected to not utter the words, "Happy Birthday".  Instead you could say that you hoped she had a happy day.  In her later years, it became a joke between the two of us.  I don't remember when she stopped wishing me a Happy Birthday and instead would call and say she hoped I would have an especially happy day.  For some reason it seems like it happened about the time of the first anniversary of my turning 29.  On second thought, I am getting pretty good at being 29.

In the meantime, my wish is that whichever day marks the anniversary of your entrance into this great big world, you make it memorable.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Taste of Heaven

Today I got a little peek at what I imagine Heaven to be like.  After attending our normal church meetings with our own congregation, Rick and I went with our oldest son Hunter to attend the mission report of Hunter's mission president while he served a mission for our church in the Montana Billings Mission.

As we walked into the chapel, Hunter was immediately surrounded by other young men and women, along with a few older couples.  In turn, all put their arms around him and hugged him, welcomed him, and told him that they loved him.  When President Gardner stood to speak, he broke into tears of gratitude and joy and said words could not express how overwhelming it was to be in the presence of a visual representation of all the support they had received during the three years they served the Lord full time.  Sister Gardner expressed the same feelings.

Elder Hunter Wixom with President Larry and Sister Carol Ann Gardner
August 2009

As I listened to the words of these two individuals who took such good care of my son for two years and as I watched the reunion that took place this afternoon, I was filled with a sense of love and joy and the knowledge that this is what heaven will be.  I know that there are many on the other side that love me and are cheering me on.  These individuals want me to succeed and offer help when they can.  One day, we will be reunited and I will be met with open arms and tears of joy.  There will be many hugs and professions of love.

It is this knowledge that helps firm my resolve to be the best person I can be.  I do not want to disappoint those that are cheering me on, especially my elder brother and Savior, Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven.

I hope you will enjoy this video and find it as inspiring and uplifting as I did.
"Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?" with Alex Boy√© and Carmen Rasmusen Herbert 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Good Morning

The best thing about having daughters who swim at 6:30 each morning is that I get to enjoy the beautiful sunrise each day.  Today was especially lovely with the smell of rain.  The green were brighter and there was a sense of magic with the mist that lingered over the buttes.  As usual, the view from our back patio is breathtaking.

Whenever it rains, I think of Emily's favorite Primary song.  I hope you can take a moment to enjoy it here.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day

I spent the morning celebrating the freedom we enjoy in this great nation with our town.  It was a perfect day with children running and playing games, entertainment by home-grown talent, hot dogs, ice cream, cotton candy,  a parade and neighbors just spending time together.  This is the America I love!

My son posted the following poem as his status on Facebook today.  Reading it reminded me of these two pictures from our parade this morning.  I thought of how much we owe to our veterans and how our future depends on our youth.

That Ragged Old Flag!
Written by Johnny Cash

I walked through a county courthouse square.
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, "Your old Court House is kinda run down."
He said, "No, it will do for our little town."
I said, "Your old flag Pole is leaning a little bit.
And that's a ragged old Flag you've got hanging on it."

He said, "Have a seat," and I sat down
"Is the first time that you've been to our little town?"
"Well," he said, "I don't like to brag,
But we're kinda proud of that ragged old Flag.

You see, we got a little hole in the Flag there,
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder burns, the night Francis Scott Key,
Sat watching it, writing 'Oh, Say, Can You See.'

And it got a bad rip at New Orleans,
When Packingham and Jackson took it to the scene
And, it almost fell at the Alamo beside the Texas Flag
But she waved on through
She got cut with a sword at Chancerville,
And she got cut again at Shilo Hill
There was Robert E. Lee, Bouregard and Bragg
The South wind blew hard on that Old Ragged Flag
On Flanders Field in World War One
She got a big hole from a Bertha Gun
She turned BLOOD RED World War Two,
And she hung limp and low a time or two.
She was in Korea and Vietnam
She went from our ships upon the briny foam.

Now they've about quit waving her back here at home
In our good land she's been abused,
She's been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused
And the Government for which she stands
Is scandalized through out the land.

She's getting threadbare and she's wearing thin,
But, she's in good shape for the shape she's in,
Because she's been through the fire before,
I believe she can take a whole lot more.

So we raise her up every morning, and we
Take her down every night,
We don't let her touch the ground,
and we fold her up right.

On second thought, I do like to brag,
Because I'm mighty proud of that ragged old flag!