December 23, 2010

PRE-Christmas Eve with the FAM!!. . .

Since it was easier for nearly everyone (minus the Texas clan) to get together up in Layton (thanks to Linda's and Monty's hospitality AND the use of their home!) we had a FUN pre-Christmas gathering. We were glad that Wyatt could be there, too!!

Enjoy the pictures!!

December 21, 2010

Yup, this is Santa Clara!!

Our family sure knows how to have a good time without much planning. . . Dallin spotted the canoe on the "rain-made" lake by the dike you kids used to cross going to the middle school.

Kristy, Mil and I couldn't pass up the opportunity...(Dallin had to go to volleyball practice!) So hi-jacked the canoe and paddled all over the lake. It was great!! Dad shot some of the pictures even though he was VERY concerned that we'd tip over...and we almost did!! But it was a blast!!


Random pics from the flooding in Santa Clara, down by Mark Walter's ranch, and by Green Valley

December 19, 2010


In the December issue of The Era, there are many excellent articles! One, in particular, was a good reminder about “stuff,” and how to make sure our lives aren’t defined by our stuff.

1. Know Who You Are. One of the most subtle and dangerous aspects of materialism is the false identity it can give us.” Does what we “have” make us better than someone else? Or does what we don’t have make us miserable and feel inferior? There is a constant onslaught of advertising messages trying to sell us an image of who we ought to be based on what we ought to buy. This is a distortion of our true identity; we our children of our Heavenly Father and we have a divine identity and potential.

2. Know Where You’re Going. The bumper sticker that says, “He who dies with the most toys wins” may be funny only because there are some people who really do believe it. The prophet Alma taught, “Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you.” The stuff we can buy in this world is nothing compared to the gift of eternal life, “which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God”

3. Be Grateful. People who develop a sense of thankfulness are able to reduce the negative effects of the materialism that surrounds them. “We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we … cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.” (Pres. Monson)

4. Think Outside Yourself. Material things, along with the ways they are marketed, move our focus onto ourselves rather than others. In this way, materialism can cause us to quietly reject the Lord’s commandment to “love thy neighbour as thyself.” Focus on self, and the stuff of this world, is not part of living “after the manner of happiness” In fact, modern research seems to have verified that (1) you can’t buy happiness and (2) a focus on others can bring greater personal satisfaction. “We are happiest when our lives are connected to others through unselfish love and service.” (Elder Withlin)

5. Be Wise. The Savior told His Apostles, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” In other words, we should be innocent but not na├»ve; we should understand the ways of the world without being worldly. We can avoid developing materialistic attitudes if we are more aware of the selling intent of advertising and marketing. Remember, the ads we see are just trying to get us to buy stuff. For what do we exchange our dollars? We need to be careful that the incessant drone of materialism doesn’t influence our attitudes and thoughts and cause us to forget the Lord and His commandments, as well as our true selves
“The tugs and pulls of the world are powerful. Worldly lifestyles are cleverly reinforced by the rationalization, ‘Everybody is doing it,’ thus fanning or feigning a majority. Products are promoted and attitudes engendered by clever niche marketing.” DON’T GET TRAPPED!!

December 13, 2010

The not-so-good, very bad day!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I don't usually have "bad days." But this was one of the rare days that qualify!

It started out great!! We took 8 horses in two trucks and trailers and headed to Navajo Loop up on the Red Mountain Trail. Harrison Schram was driving the second truck and had Mark Gubler and Isaac Allen along.

I had made the turn off across Highway 18. Harrison wasn't far behind, so I was surprised when he didn't come in behind me. Turns out he didn't slow down enough to make the turn, so pulled onto the right shoulder and was going to back up to make the turn.

I started walking towards the highway, and as I got within about 100 yards I whistled to get the boys' attention and tell them NOT to back up, simply make a U-turn and pull in. Well, my loud whistle was interpreted by Buck (who was in the back of the truck)as a signal to "Come!" He jumped out of the truck and started to run across the highway. But a truck was coming from the other direction and hit him, killing him instantly. It was an awful thing to witness, and then to realize my error.

The man who hit him laid down about two year's worth of tread on the road trying to stop. I was so grateful he didn't wreck in trying to avoid the collision. He was so sweet in his apology as he said in his Hispanic accent, "I'm so sorry about your doggie." I assured him it wasn't his fault and he helped me carry Buck off the shoulder and by some bushes where we laid him.

Not wanting to traumatize our riding group by the event, I talked with the boys in the truck about it a bit, assured them they didn't do anything wrong, and then we went on our horseback ride.

One of the riders was an 8 year old boy (Jake) whose birthday was the day before and we were helping him celebrate! I simply told him, "Well, my dog got hurt a little bit, but he'll be okay (he was!). Let's go ride the horses!!" This little boy didn't need to have that sad event in his memory bank.

So, the ride started out pretty well. Jake got comfortable on Silver and was riding without a tether. However, shortly before we arrived at the look out over Snow Canyon, Silver bucked and Jake went off the horse, landing on his back. I couldn't believe it!! In 6 years of riding, Silver has never bucked anyone off!! And Jake was traumatized!! Luckily, he was willing to get on behind me and we rode Zoro together. I had Jake's mom (Julie) ride Silver because she's so smooth, and then Mark pulled the empty horse behind him. All went well until we were about two thirds of the way back to the truck. Suddenly, Silver bucked again, and Julie went off into the sand. Unbelieveable!! She handled it very well, even though it was HER first time riding a horse and she was scared to death!! She got on Zoro and rode with Jake behind her. I rode Silver, who didn't dare buck with me!

Well, we got everyone home without further adventures and I was relieved! I felt badly for Julie and Jake; I was very disturbed about Silver's behavior; and I was holding in an extreme amount of sorrow about our sweet dog being killed.

When I got home I told Rod what had happened and then we drove back up, with a shovel, so we could bury Buck. I was so grateful Rod had gone with me. It was a sad time and we both cried as Rod dug the hole between two small pine trees and we carried Buck there, placed him in the hole, and covered him with the dirt. It made us think of how hard it must have been for the pioneers to bury their children and loved ones along the pioneer trail.

We are grateful for the joy we have had having Buck in our family. He served the original purpose for which we got him: to be a riding companion to Natalee when she was training Silver all alone.

Buck was SUCH a good dog. He loved to go with the horses whenever we rode and he helped the horses become totally accustomed to a dog darting in and out around their legs. He was very obedient, always stayed by my side when he would go running with me. Harrison LOVED having Buck for a running companion, too. I think nearly all of you kids have run with Buck at one time or another!

And we're grateful to have the last pictures taken of him being with Nikki sitting on Buck's back, pulling on his ears, with his patient look of, "Are we DONE yet?" never moving an inch until Nikki was done having fun with her doggie.

December 5, 2010

I don't usually use this word. . . but it works . . .

Life is like a straw. . .
. . . YOU are the only one who can make it suck!


A story was related in church last week that I wanted to repeat:

A gal walked into a nutrition store to get some vitamins while she was on her cell phone. The clerk, a friend of hers, started to help her while the gal was finishing up her conversation. At one point the woman on the phone said, "Yes, I'm home..." which rather startled the clerk because she knew this woman to generally be an honest, good person. The clerk didn't want to think poorly of the gal, but this was an obvious lie.

Well, the friend finally hung up her phone and mentioned to the clerk, "We just returned from up north, attending my uncle's funeral, so I had to let my daughter know we were home..."

Wow! How many times do we KNOW that something is one way...I mean, it's OBVIOUS, isn't it??? Just to find out we didn't know as much as we thought we did...

I hope we will all be careful not to pass judgment, even when we THINK we KNOW!!

December 3, 2010

Mom's reflections...

People occasionally ask me if I'm feeling the "empty nest" syndrome. I quickly reply, "Not so much...I have 25 'kids' who come in my house every week! (piano students)" However, perhaps I am if reflecting on the past 30 years of parenting is part of the empty nest experience.

It all started a few days ago. Dallin, Dad and I were putting up our NEW Christmas tree. Talk about slick! It’s the kind where the branches fold out with a little flick of the wrist, and, of course, is pre-lit! As Dal and I were fluffing the branches, he said, “Hey! Do you realize in a couple of years we won’t be doing this anymore?!” Not missing a beat, I said, “Yeah, we’re going to get a little table to put in front of the window, and we’ll stick a little tree on it, and YOU will get this BIG tree!! Boy, our life is going to be simpler!” In retrospect, I think Dal was awakening to the fact that “things change!” And from here on out in his life, there’s going to be a lot of change!

The next day “emotions” started to be tweaked in me. Weird evaluations of the past 30 years of parenting were the order of the day. “Remember this? Boy you sure blew it! Remember that? WHAT were you thinking!?! Man, you sure weren’t a very good mother!!”

Why is it always easier to see “stupid thinking” when someone else is having a problem than it is to see when YOU are the one being sucked into it?! SHEESH. Nevertheless, that’s what was going on when Natalee called me. I am SO glad she has figured out how to talk about feelings and not just shut down like she used to! ^_^ We had a good talk about a lot of things, and then I mentioned something about feeling like I’m losing a daughter because she is up in Logan, she’s far from home, much closer to Wyatt’s family and, in my emotional state, I felt like she cared much more about HIS family than ours. (Yes, I know it was retarded thinking…)

Anyway, we were able to talk about all of our feelings about that AND other things. Like my feeling badly that we were always so stretched financially and couldn’t buy so many of the things it seemed like “EVERYONE else” had. With a little help from Natalee, I suddenly looked at things a little differently. She said she didn’t remember some of the stuff I brought up, but that she was grateful for all the things she has learned because of not always having everything she wanted.

I said, “Okay, let’s see. Each of you kids KNEW you were loved. No question there. You were given MUSIC; you were given the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST; you were given parents who you KNEW loved each other; you were raised in a moral home. Wow! Would I trade any of those for MONEY? Nope!”

And so, these are just some of my rambling thoughts and experiences of the last couple of days. I am SO grateful for ALL that we have been blessed with, even when it may not have seemed like such a great blessing at the time!

Sometimes it takes the bifocals of time passage to help us see more clearly exactly what we have been blessed with.

I hope you’re all paying attention in your lives, and making good choices, so when you look back you will not have many regrets.