October 31, 2011

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE These Surprises!!!

So, Mil invited me over for lunch after my college class on Friday. As I pulled into the parking spot right in front of her condo, I noticed a sign/poster in her front window. I looked to see what it said, then had to look again to decipher it . . . and then I yelled and laughed out loud at the same time, shouting "what?!?! Wahoo!!" all at the same time. I jumped out of the car and ran to the door, which opened before I got there cuz Millie was watching slyly through the window. What a wonderful surprise that was!!

And then. . . later in the afternoon, Mil came over to the house before Dad got home from work (I was out riding horses...) and put the same sign up on our bathroom mirror. She acted like she was waiting for me to get home from school, so after chatting a minute, Dad made his way to our bedroom and bathroom. I was on the phone with Mil to hear Dad's reaction. He was very surprised but was wondering if the sign was for ME to see. After assuring him I already knew and that the sign was for him, he was very excited and happy too!!

. . . then there was the creative way Hans and Amelia let everyone else know about the pregnancy! Via the "Movie Trailer" located at http://www.hamovies.info/.
(I did a screen shot below, but if you haven't seen it, you can check it out at the website...)

CONGRATS, AMELIA AND HANS!!! We are SOOOOOO excited for you!!


Had a fun Halloween party at Schram's on Saturday evening!  Mil and Hans were an "I-Phone", Holly was "Dr. Quinn". . .  and there were other creative costumes, too!  I used the night as a good excuse to wear one of the vintage hats Karen Hansen gave us.  I could wear a different one each day and not repeat for a month!!

We ate some really good food, played fun games, held Danielle's little tiny (5 lbs) two week old baby girl dressed up as the cutest butterfly, and played Halloween themed games of Family Feud and Charades.  Great time!!

Tonight, Dad and I, Hans and Amelia, and Megan Amundsen, are going to eat Mexicali soup, watch Hocus Pocus and hand out Halloween candy!!

October 30, 2011

Too much fun!

Last week Mil reminded me that we were going to do the Kolob Arch ride before it got too cold...

Hans and Mil were still in Idaho this past spring when it would have been a perfect time to ride, and then they moved here in the middle of the HOT summer . . . and things got really busy with school and the piano competition, etc., etc.

Well, Mil, April Nielsen and I finally got in the Kolob Arch ride!!  We left Saturday morning and drove the 45 miles north to the Kolob exit.  We're so grateful for a truck that runs and can pull three horses...the day couldn't have been more beautiful!!  PERFECT weather.  We rode for about 6 miles, stopped at the "water spot" and ate lunch and took pictures...then rode to the arch trailhead.  Had to leave the horses tied up, and hiked in another mile, climbing up and over rocks and hills.  By the time we hiked out, our legs were pretty tired, and we were VERY grateful to have horses to ride out.  As it was, our bums were sore and we were SO ready to get off the horses by the time we returned to the truck.  What a great day!

It was a long ride . . .  it was a beautiful ride  . . .
 it was a  LOOONNNNGG ride, but IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL RIDE!!!  

The pic with Mil sitting in the dirt was taken right after she did a somersault over Red Star's neck...
and she landed VERY gracefully!  She has some great bruises to show for it!!


October 28, 2011

Happy Halloween. . .

We hope you all have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN. . .  just in case you couldn't tell what the window says!!

October 24, 2011


Wow!  It's finally here!!  Nat moved to Ephraim Sunday after church, Dallin returned to Provo after a short weekend visit, and now Dad and I are home alone. . .



P  A  R  T  Y  !  ! 

Actually, we were both a little sad saying our good-byes, but then I reminded Dad that it was a GOOD thing he didn't have a BORING wife (the good "spin" on unpredictable, somewhat emotionally unstable..., with lots of irons in the fire)!  He agreed.  ^_^

MISS YOU ALL!  LOVE YOU ALL, TONS!!  HOPE YOU'RE ALL HAPPY!!  And we're THRILLED that Mil and Hans live in town!!  (Does this mean they get the grand piano???)


October 19, 2011

What a weekend. . .

Getting a total of 16 hours of sleep Thursday through Sunday night is just a small indication of what took place this weekend during Utah's statewide piano competition.  Here is a small synopsis:

1. Wednesday I left St. George right after class and headed to SLC.  Stopped in Provo for a brief visit with Dallin (20 min.!), drove to SLC and met up with Kristy for a short dinner at Sizzler before heading to the airport to pick up the first of three judges for the event.  Mykola Suk and I drove to Rocky's and Cherie's where we spent the night.  Didn't sleep well due to all the logistics of things.

2.  Thursday, I dropped Mykola off at the music store after a brief check-in at the Garden Hilton Inn in Sandy.  Then dashed off to the airport to pick up Caio Pagano and Giorgi Latsabidze, the other two judges.  Drove to the hotel, had about 15 minutes to get settled, then drove to Daynes where we had 10 minutes to get everything situated before we started seven hours STRAIGHT of a very intense piano competition.   This was the Senior division (ages 15-18) and there were 15 VERY talented competitors.  (Dallin's friend, Weiyi Le won!)  During a 20 minute break, we ate a quick Cafe Rio dinner that was brought in.  After the awards it was back to the hotel with the judges, and my continued work on getting things organized for Friday's competition.

3.  Friday, I drove judges to different locations before heading over to the Music Teachers Conference at 8:00 a.m.  I WON a gift basket with beautiful taupe towels!!  I was thrilled because I was going to buy some next week!  Only cost me $1!!  I was able to hear bits and pieces of a couple workshops, and then it was time for our Junior division (ages 11-14) competition.  Banquet afterwards with the conference, and the judges and I bowed out early due to our fatigue.  However, Kristy came over to the hotel and gave me a "good" (bad!) workout.  I KNEW I would be sore!!  (And I was...could barely walk down the stairs on Saturday...Sunday was worse!)

4.  Saturday we had an early (7:00 a.m., awake at 4:00 a.m.) board meeting...had to leave early to deliver judges to practice areas (they each perform internationally and have events coming up).  Got a few more snatches of conference workshops in, lunch with the judges, and then non-stop collegiate division (ages 19-26) competition from 1:00 - 8:00 p.m.  Kristy was there to help with door monitoring.  (Lots of memorable stuff, but don't want to go into too much detail...)

5.  By 9:30 we were all sitting at a table at Carino's restaurant. . . and my massive headache for the past 24 hours finally subsided . . . even GOOD stuff can be stressful.

6.  Sunday morning saw me up at 4:00 a.m., taking judges to the airport at 6:00.  Then getting back to the hotel, checking out, and taking my piano student (Alex Tucker), and Giorgi to meet up with Kristy at The Spoken Word at 8:45.  When we walked into the Tabernacle with the choir warming up, Giorgi was blown away with what he saw and heard.  It sent chills down me, too!  Afterwards, we walked around Temple Square, watched the Joseph Smith movie at the Visitor's Center, went to the reflection pool, the south Visitor's Center, then realized we were barely going to make it to church with Brandon and Tannya in South Weber.  Sure enjoyed holding Nikki in church, while listening to the talks!

7.  Headed back to Salt Lake, dropped Giorgi off at the airport, got Kristy back to her car by the temple, and drove down to Provo to exchange laptops with Dallin (his needs some major repair and I have a brand new one. . . is something wrong with this picture???); drop off a debit card for Natalee to pick up so she could buy gas for her trip home (another long story...), and then FINALLY got on the road back to St. George by 6:30 p.m.  I was just a tad concerned about driving on so little sleep in the dark, but I was VERY blessed, and received phone calls right when I needed them and got into town around 9:45.  I was exhausted and happy to be home!!

I absolutely LOVE the friendships I have made over the past four years of being in charge of the piano competitions.  Giorgi has recently been invited to join the piano faculty at the Music Conservatory in Vienna, Austria and he has invited Kristy, Me and Dad to come visit next year!!  I told him he is adopted into the family, so just know you all have an older brother...just two years older than Denz!  Maybe we should all pop over and pay him a visit.  All the judges were amazed when it came up that we have seven children in our family.  I told it was nothing compared to my sister-in-law with 14 children!  Isn't life relative!?!?

Well, that let's you know what I'VE been doing this weekend.  All Dad did was WIN AN IPAD II at the technology conference he attended while I was gone!!  (And I thought my towels were cool...)  He is LOVING learning about it and using it.  VERY COOL TECHNOLOGY!!

Hope your lives are calmer than ours!!


October 12, 2011

Thoughts I've Had Lately. . .

When we finally "get the connection," TRULY, that this life really isn't about "us" but about BLESSING THE LIVES OF OTHERS, we are finally proceeding down the right path.  Think about it for a minute:  when we are self-focused (selfish, self-absorbed, etc.) we are a very small package that no one else is interested in...unless THEY are a small package and want company...

There are TONS of marriages, relationships, etc., out there that are "small packages" and they bring with them lots of problems and unhappiness.

When we TRULY understand about giving of ourselves (NOT for what comes back to us, but because it's how we really feel) then we attract that kind of relationship, person, and experiences.  Some people NEVER understand this concept, and their lives reflect it. 

By the world's standard this concept can be very mundane and not very fun or exciting.  But the world is actually wrong.  It is the most healing, complete, secure and reassuring sense of our "being" there is!  When we feel this, we are MORE free to bless and give, and it NATURALLY comes back to us in many many forms!!

Often we hear the Savior's counsel "As I have loved you, love one another" or "Love thy neighbor as thyself."  We would do well to heed His words.


October 11, 2011

Red Flags of Pride. . .

Due to outside demand (a few friends I told about the email I sent you...), I'm putting this on the blog after all. . . sorry for the repeat, kids!  ^_^

I drove for a total of FIVE HOURS on Saturday, hauling 4 horses nearly to MODENA (that's past Enterprise, Beryl Junction, etc.) then over dirt roads, with massive mud puddles trying to suck me into their mire. . . to have four mares bred (3 of them about kicked the snot out of the stud...so that seems like a waste!), but while I was doing all of this driving I was listening to several of Uncle Kim's talks at BYU Idaho.  (They send us copies periodically...)  

Each of the talks were powerful!  The one he gave called "Are Ye Stripped of Pride" especially hit home with me.  I typed up some of the stuff he said, and thought I'd pass it along.  I wish you could each hear the talk, it was THAT good!  (http://web.byui.edu/DevotionalsandSpeeches/speeches.aspx)  (If you do a "speaker" search for Kim B. Clark, in 2010 you'll find this talk and several others.  The titles are VERY indicative of the talks:  Peace Like a River; Deep Obedience, Love by Faith,  Drenched in Gratitude: Protection Against the Spirit of Entitlement, and many others!!  That's just 2010. . . )

Red Flags of Pride:
1.       Do you find yourself critiquing the talks in Sacrament meeting?
2.       Are you critical of others?
3.       Do you look down on others?  Do you scorn or ridicule others?
4.       When adversity strikes, do you hear a voice inside that says, “Why me?”
5.       Do you react to prophetic counsel by ignoring it, being upset by it, or interpreting it to fit your own desires?
6.       When you do something good, do you hear a voice inside congratulating yourself?
7.       Do you feel self-gratification and a sense of importance in your knowledge and skill?
8.       If someone you know receives something good, do you hear a voice inside saying, “What about me?”
9.       Do you find a way to let others know about your success without appearing to boast?
10.     If someone corrects a mistake you’ve made, do you feel defensive and resentful?
11.     When someone does something that creates inconvenience for you, do you feel annoyed?

Uncle Kim said that he knows this list because he has dealt with each of these things, and that we should each work vigilantly to overcome these and other red flags of pride. 

He emphasized the need for each of us to deal with pride whether it is due to prosperity OR adversity.  I don't always associate pride with adversity, but it's there!

Anyway, I hope it gives you as much food for thought as it has me!


October 10, 2011

Funny girls. . .

What happens when you don't have a lot of time for lunch, you don't want to spend a lot of money, AND YOU DON'T LIKE FISH?!?!?! Well, you play "chase" through all the senior games drivers flooding the streets of St. George, take every back road you can find, finally meet up at Tom's Deli, but decide the "Hawaiian" joint next door might be pretty good, so you walk in there. Not seeing much of a menu, you ask what they have. You are shown a case with about 30 different types of fish entrees. When you tell the owner and his wife that none of you eat fish, they are stunned, and say, "Well....thanks for coming!" (Do you think "Poke" means fish in Hawaiian??)  And then you walk out the door and go eat at Tom's Deli! FUN TIMES!!

October 9, 2011

How did this happen?

Not the mess. . . the sheer number of boots!!

October 7, 2011

The "Hot Stove" analogy. . .

I'm reading Brad Wilcox's book, "The Continuous Atonement." I LOVE his "hot stove" comparison:
"In the context of touching a hot stove, consider some of the most common excuses for sin:
  • Just one touch won't hurt.
  • I'm afraid if I take my hand off I won't be able to leave it off.
  • I deserve this.
  • The only reason I feel pain is because of my Mormon culture.
  • But I was born with the desire to touch the stove.
  • It's my parents' fault. They're the ones who bought the stove!
  • I just need to adjust to the burning rather than try to overcome it.
  • I want to be excommunicated so it won't hurt when I touch the stove.
  • No one told me touching the hot stove was bad.
  • It may hurt, but at least I am touching it with someone I love.
  • It's not like it's totally wrong. It's a gray area.
  • Everyone else is touching it.
  • I'll touch it if I want. It's my right. Nobody is going to tell me what to do or not do.
  • Stove? What stove? I don't see any stove.
  • I just don't care anymore. I'm numb to it.
  • I know it's wrong, but I'll move my hand tomorrow.
  • You can't go without touching the stove all the time.
  • I've blown it now. I might as well touch it more.
  • Those who don't touch the stove are old-fashioned; my generation is different.
  • At least it's just my hand, and not my whole face.
  • How will I know it hurts unless I touch it myself?
  • At least the other stove touchers accept me and don't judge.
  • There are others who touch it more than I do.
  • If God didn't want me to touch the stove, He wouldn't have given me a hand."

If you're laughing your head off right about now, you're probably doing good at making good choices, and repenting when you don't. If you think this is REALLY STUPID, perhaps you've been touching the stove!

Love you all tons!!

October 5, 2011

This is WAR!!

Sometimes I think we get lulled into passivity . . . and we think we're resisting temptation well, and we're going to church, and we aren't really dishonest (not like the guy in the newspaper who was arrested for stealing millions from his clients); and the list goes on.

We seemingly don't think there's a big need for that "heavy armor" we're told to wear all the time to protect us during war. We are excited to be less encumbered; looking forward to having fun with our friends.

So we toss aside our shield as we run out the backdoor...we won't need it today; we leave our sword on the kitchen counter because we know we won't be running into the "enemy" where we are going today; and we ignore our helmet on the shelf because we look much better without it!

So off we go, not realizing (or remembering) that we TRULY are in the midst of war! We don't make it through the day without feeling the attacks of the Adversary. In fact, we are almost overcome and can barely make it back to the safety of our fortifications: HOME and FAMILY.

There, we are given "First Aid" and reminded of our armor as our wounds are cleaned and bandaged. Perhaps the healing will take time because the wounds are deep. But with the proper "care" they will heal!

What I'm trying to say is:



October 4, 2011

Mom & Daughter. . .

Just got the pics from Millie's camera, so this is a little delayed. . .
Nat was off to Arizona for RJ's game (sheesh!  you'd think she liked him or something!!), and Dad went to the Priesthood Session of Conference with Harrison and Devon (and Ryan and Jared, too!), soooooo Mil and I went for our own little campout (see what you started, Nat!)

 But this time we just built our fire by the lower pond, had to use a Snickers candy bar for our S'mores, and learned the hard way about turning the corn on the cob more frequently so one side doesn't burn!  (And to wear gloves when pulling it out of the fire...my index finger is stuck in the air cuz it got FRIED!)

After our wonderful dinner, and ride together, Holly and Julie came over and we played Nertz and ate popsicles!  It was a fun, fun evening!!

October 3, 2011

How much POWER do YOU have?

Dad and I loved our Conference weekend!  The messages shared both Saturday and Sunday were inspiring and motivating.  I had to put one of the quotes on the window, and hope the message is conveyed appropriately without offending:  Personal Purity = Power

I hope people who see the window pause to think about their lives...the kinds of choices they are making whether they be issues of honesty, integrity, or morality, etc.

Hans and Amelia had breakfast with Dad and me and we watched The Spoken Word together and Sunday morning Conference.  It was fun to watch them build waffle town houses and share candy at "half-time."

For the afternoon session of conference, Dad and I were completely alone for the first time in 31 and a half years!  Wow!!  It was pretty cool!!

The message that was shared today that had the biggest impact didn't come over the tv or radio.  It came from Hans and Amelia (and Nat and RJ.)  We got talking about "hotel rooms" because of Nat and RJ needing to get separate rooms in Arizona since his parents didn't end up going to his game so he couldn't stay with them...and he SHOULDN'T be staying in Nat's room.  Anyway, it reminded me of Hans' and Amelia's trip to San Francisco when Hans proposed to Amelia.

He had made reservations at a very nice hotel in San Francisco, for two separate rooms.  Well, when they arrived at the hotel, they were told that there were some problems and asked Hans and Mil if they would mind sharing a room since they were short on rooms.  When our recently engaged couple declined the offer, the hotel manager said they could have the suite, complete with jacuzzi, etc., and they would "comp" it, meaning their hotel stay would be free, rather than DOUBLE the cost because of the need for two rooms.

Well, they declined, and the hotel somehow survived their troubles.  But more importantly, Hans and Amelia had POWER.  The power of self-control, the power of integrity, the power of personal purity.  I'm betting the price of the rooms was worth it, and then some!!