Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Words of Wisdom

"Never lose sight of the goodness of our cause. Difficulties are not insurmountable. Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages." -George Washington

The Secular Church

Neal A. Maxwell shares a POWERFUL message about ALL religions and the aspiring state religion: The Secular Church.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I love the 80's

Am I the only one that loved the 80's episode on The Biggest Loser? I loved it--actually, I just love the 80's!! And call me crazy, but I loved the big hair. Seriously, I did. BUT my favorite thing about watching that episode was when Jerel said, "See that's why I'm not sure I should wear my headband when I run. Now I look like I never left the 80's. I look like them. I look old." Don't you think he looks like Bob in his 80's get-up?! LOL

Cute quip

I made cookies and when I tried to give Trevor TWO, he said, "UUHH, I only wanted ONE!" (Imagine him using a Napoleon Dynamite voice.) So funny. Go figure. Does this kid eat anything?

Trevor's class went to a performance of the "Snow Queen." We all thought it was going to be a play. It was a ballet. Trevor and his friend's take on the whole thing, "That was a chic play."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Summer Vacations - Havasupai

Our family was able to take several vacations over the summer and we have neglected to record these events and all the fun we had. So I'll start getting caught up by documenting one of the first adventures which was the Varsity & Venture Scouts/Teachers & Priests Quorum trip to Havasupai from June 9-13.

We left Mesa on Monday evening (June 9th) and drove most of the night. We arrived at Hualapai Hilltop an hour or so before sunrise and just slept in our vehicles until it started to get light. Hualapai Hilltop is a cliff-side parking lot at the dead end of Arizona Highway 18. By way of some history, the Havasupai Indians were farming the moist valleys of the desert tributaries to the Colorado River four centuries before contact by Spanish explorers. In the 1880s, miners and ranchers invaded their homeland and forced them onto a 500-acre reservation. Finally in 1975, Congress enlarged their reservation to 38,000 acres. Today about 450 Havasupai live in Supai.

We enjoyed a quick breakfast of muffins and drinks and then began the 10 mile hike to the campground. Actually, the hike to Supai Village is about 8 miles and then an additional 2 miles to the campground. The town center consists of a modern school, cafe, small store, a two-story motel and the Havasupai Tourist Enterprise building where hikers register for the campground. Despite its remoteness, Supai resembles many small Arizona communities, except children play and dogs sleep in the "street" without fear of cars.

The trail continued past scattered frame houses with corrals and horses and continues another half mile to the first waterfall. Navajo Falls, named after a famous Havasupai chief who negotiated the first treaty with the Army, tumbles 75 feet. However, the waterfall cannot be fully seen from the main trail. We visited these falls several times during the next few days as it had one of the best "jumping-off" spots.

A half-mile farther, we could hear the roar of Havasu Falls as it echoed through the canyon. The stream plunges through a notch in the wall and descends 100 feet through mist and spray into an aquamarine pool. This was by far the most impressive part of the trip. We had just hiked for several hours through desert conditions and all of the sudden we are experiencing a tropical scene including one of the most beautiful waterfalls I've ever seen. I would spend a fair amout of time over the next week soaking in the pool and relaxing while feeling the cool mist from the falls.

We dropped our packs for a few moments and took in the whole experience. We snapped a few pictures and I'm glad we did for reasons that will soon be obvious. We continued on the trail to the campground looking for others in our group who had gone ahead of us. We found them on the other side of the creek. I crossed the waist-high creek careful not to fall or let my pack become wet. Upon emerging on the other side, Josh Boatwright asked if my camera was waterproof. I quickly realized that I had left my camera in a pocket on my pants which was completely submerged when I crossed the creek. Needless to say, no more pictures for the remainder of the week. I knew that Camille would not be too happy since the camera is really hers (since she takes 100 photos to every 1 that I take). We had just got the camera back from being repaired (I broke it that time too) so I had all week to think of a good way to break the news.

We made camp while waiting for the pack horses and mules to show up which they did later in the afternoon. Daniel Palmer and James Smith had done an excellent job of preparing for this trip and came well supplied with food, treats, drinks, tarps for sleeping on, mule tape, and anything else you could possibly need. We were missing a connecting piece for our stove but we made due by borrowing from other campers. Water was easy to come by in the campground as there is a spring that comes out of the wall of the canyon from a pipe stuck in the wall. The only drawback is that all the other campers utilize the same water source which meant the line for water could sometimes be fairly long.

We spent the next several days swimming, hiking, exploring, reading, sleeping, throwing the football and frisbee, and generally just relaxing and enjoying being together as a group. Each evening we would gather as a group and we would listen and participate in a fireside. What a great experience to be learning the simple truths regarding our Heavenly Father all the while surrounded by a virtual Eden! It really made me grateful for the opportunity to come on this trip with my son.

One day several of us continued through the campgrounds to visit Mooney Falls. At 196 feet, it exceeds Niagara Falls in height. The trail to the pool leads through two slanting tunnels blasted through the travertine cliff. You had to grasp a not-so-reassuring chain and descend slippery steps cut in the narrow ledge. I later learned that the falls are named after an early explorer who fell to his death trying to reach the base. Who's idea was this anyhow? However, the falls were very impressive and we found a rope swing at the south end of the pool which made for some fun entertainment.

On Friday, we packed up and headed out and not a moment too soon. As the weekend approached, more and more campers began to file into the campground and our personal space quickly disappeared. The hike out was rumored to be extremely difficult but it wasn't too bad at all. Most of the hike is a gradual incline and only the last mile, which consists of several large switchbacks out of the canyon, proved to difficult. Everyone made it out okay (even those that chose to use the helicopter route). The outing was a great success and a good time was had by all who attended.

A related note of interest: on the 18th August 2008 the Redlands dam on Havasu Creek burst after days of very heavy rain. The potential threat to human life by the floodwaters caused the local authorities to evacuate the village and US rescue crews airlifted some 450 stranded people to safety. In addition, reports indicate that there may have been serious damage to some of the falls themselves, particularly Navajo falls. Supai and the campground are closed to visitors until spring. Here's a photo of Havasu Falls following the flood. This isn't the first time a flood has washed through this area but it can take many years before it resembles the beautiful oasis that we experienced.

Words of Wisdom

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens;
but often we look so long at the closed door
that we do not see the one which has opened for us."
Helen Keller

Friday, November 7, 2008

Words of Wisdom

"What sunshine is to flowers,
smiles are to humanity.
These are but trifles, to be sure;
but scattered along life's pathway,
the good they do is inconceivable."

Joseph Addison

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cute quips

Jerel and I were talking about some great things I learned in my institute class. Chase asked, "What's institute? Is it like Seminary for OLD people?"

My first response was, "No!"

And then I thought about my class and corrected myself, "Well, yes." We all had a good laugh over that one.

We all know how Trevor HATES to eat, especially dinner. Well, the other night I made another great dinner. It even had fruits AND vegetables--very well balanced. So Trevor announced VERY loudly, "I hate dinner!"

Jerel asked, "Why?"

Trevor explained, "It's BORING!"

Well, there you go. That's a new one. So does that mean that I now have to provide proper dining entertainment? lol

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It'll be OK!

I have been very, very afraid the last few weeks. I have been afraid of the economy; I have been afraid of government changes and leadership. I am mostly afraid of how our country is starting to define marriage. Arizona, is trying to amend their constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. It is Prop 102. It is like California's Prop 8. Many say that Prop 102 will easily pass. I am not so sure. It was on the ballot a few years back to change the constitution, and it did not pass. So I'm a little "cup is half empty" on the whole thing. The sad thing is that I have seen so much hatred amongst people in this election. There has been so much anger.

Two Sundays ago, as we were driving through the neighborhood, we noticed many yards where someone had come by and stolen the "Yes for Prop 102" signs. Almost home, we dropped off Jordan and another young man so they could collect fast offerings. As we were parked in the driveway, a man (I would say he was in his early 20's) walked by and without even skipping a beat, took the Prop 102 sign. I was shocked! I mentioned it to Jerel and we both got out of the car. We both called to the man to return the sign. He yelled back with much anger, "Why can't you just let people be? What does it matter to you if people want to get married?" Jerel called after him, "We all have our own opinions--that is why people vote." I again repeated, "You walked on private property to take that sign and it needs to be returned." He then started swearing and saying many derogatory things about Joseph Smith. So much anger and hatred, and he was ready to lash out at anything and anybody. I take it as a compliment that a complete stranger, who had only seen our family for a second or two, knew we were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Why he had to throw that into his anger towards Prop 102, I don't know. But I do hope we were good examples of the Lord's church--if only for a second or two. We tried to not show the same anger that this man had. We just encouraged him to vote.

Just an example of why I really was afraid and very concerned about how these changes would affect my life--my kids' lives. I was afraid of how this would affect my church. But then . . . I had stake conference.

Stake conference was a broadcast from Salt Lake City and for the whole state of Arizona, I believe. I was comforted in the Saturday night session as I heard from my stake presidency. They spoke about how fear is the opposite of faith--the absence of faith. I remember one of them saying, "It'll be okay" about three or four times in a row. It really brought peace to my mind. The next day during the broadcast, President Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke. He spoke specifically to the state of Arizona and told us that times were changing, and they would change "drastically." Those were his words exactly. But he then went on to say that we are to teach our children to NOT be afraid or be fearful. He warned us that we "need to learn how to listen to the Spirit" and to "gather as families and do the things we are taught." We are to "be steady" and "be inspired." My favorite was when he told us we could all still live happy lives. How my faith had been wavering. But I heard a prophet of God tell me that if I rely on the Lord and the gospel that I will still have peace and happiness. The votes may not go the way I want them to and the world may not be like I want it, but I can be happy and at peace. It will be okay!