March 31, 2013

Trials, Tragedy, and Triumphs!

I tend to think a lot about many things.  Bet you never would have guessed!!  Ha!  With Easter having just been celebrated, and more particularly because of the trials we have dealt with in varying degrees,  a lot having to do with Denzel's death, I have pondered deeply about the Atonement and so many different aspects of it.  Just like President Eyring mentioned in last April's Saturday morning's General Conference talk, although we would NEVER pray for the trials and struggles that have come to us, the growth, understanding, and strengthening that has come about is profound, and truly blesses our lives.  I have felt that thoroughly!

As I continue in my reading of The Infinite Atonement, I find amazing things to contemplate.  Here is one of them:
"Just as the physical body weakens with the onslaught of disease, it seems that in the same way we weaken spiritually as we embrace each new sin.  Perhaps we lose our capacity or will to absorb light and truth.  Perhaps, like an injured muscle, we lose strength and resiliency to confront each new temptation.  Whatever the mechanics, spiritual death seems to result in a form of spiritual degeneration or entropy.  As with physical death, there needs to be some power to reverse the decaying process, to heal our spiritual wounds, to strengthen our spiritual fiber.  Again, the Atonement is the source of that reversing power, that fount to which men 'may look for a remission of their sins' (2 Nephi 25:26)."

How I wish I had been better able to communicate and teach in such a way so that all of my children could understand the importance of resisting sin!  It seems so clear to me, but I don't think I was able to communicate very well.  Or perhaps I should say, I wish I could have taught Denzel in such a way that he didn't have to learn so many things the hard way.  He was not perfect, and neither was I.  

And so, I come full-circle to my gratitude for the Atonement.  No matter which direction I go in my thoughts, in my heart, in my memories, whether they be pleasant or difficult, I ALWAYS end up at the Atonement.  Our Savior truly is our Redeemer.  He "buys us back" from the chains of hell.  All we have to do is accept His purchase price...our obedience to His laws and commandments.  We either gain light (and spiritual strength) or lose it, depending on our choices.  Society gets very caught up in physical fitness, exercise, and strengthening their bodies by working out at the gym.  If we could only see as easily the importance of strengthening our spiritual muscles!!  
I hope you will each gain your own understanding of the Atonement.  It IS Real!  Please believe it, Trust it, and Use it!!  It is THE most amazing gift ever given to anyone.  And it has been given to each of us!!  I am SO grateful!!  I love you all more than I can express.  I will be forever indebted to our Savior for providing the way for us to be together forever.  Now THAT is how we are able to take trials and tragedy and have them become triumphs in our lives!


My Letter to Dezmond

March 31, 2013

My dear sweet Dezmond,

This is the first letter of many (I hope!) from your Grandma Trice.  How I love you! 

I loved being present at your birthday on June 27th, 2012.  I felt so honored to be there with your parents as they welcomed you, their first-born child and son, into their family.

My very own first-born son died almost two months to the day prior to your birth,  and my heart was broken.  I don’t want to make you sad, so I won’t go into all of my feelings, but it was a very difficult time.  I was so grateful to have your mother close by for me to help and to encourage as your birth drew near.  You even went horseback riding with us (inside your mom, of course!) up until the day before you were born! 

And then, almost suddenly, you were here, and such an important part of our lives!  From the very beginning I have loved to hold you and feel of the peace you brought with you.  Your Uncle Denzel would be SO excited to know you, to love you, to play with you, and to protect you.

With your parents living only ten minutes away, Grandpa and I get to spend a lot of time with you and your parents.  We love that.

Friday “hamburger night” is a favorite.  

Sunday dinner is another special time that we all enjoy.  And I love that you feel comfortable with me!  I certainly feel comfortable with you!

Some days, when I’m having a “Denzel Moment” and things just seem a little harder, I ask your mom to come over so I can have a “Dezmond Fix.” 

I hold you in my arms,

we play with Hank,

we go for a walk,

or sometimes we just take a nap. . . and it helps to heal my heart. 

You are a sweet boy, Dezmond.  I am SO glad you are my grandson!   I love you tons, and I love you forever!

       Grandma Trice

March 17, 2013

Mom's 57th Birthday!

What a PERFECT birthday!!
Woke up and barely finished showering and cleaning up when Dad came in to wish me Happy Birthday and to tell me breakfast was ready...AND RJ had even gotten up early to be here for my birthday breakfast!!  Now THAT was a sacrifice for him!!  (Thanks, RJ!!)
Loved the birthday sign Nat made and there were cards and packages from near and far!  They included being from:   ELDER HUNT,  Aunt Linda, Aunt Michele, Faith and Devon, Sharon Webb-McPherson, MaryAnn's parents, as well as her niece; MaryAnn and Gary, Millie and Hans, Nat and Rj, and the Siglers.  Too bad when Nat did "Heavy Heavy hang over they poor head..." with Dallin's "gift," neither of us realized it was the GPS unit I had sent to him (we had to swap because I sent the one without Canada on it) and she konked me on the head a good one!!  It was actually pretty funny and only a little painful!!

Breakfast was great!  Fried eggs, bacon, toast and Ovaltine!!  AND a treasure hunt!!  Nat even got it on video for Dallin!  It ended outside in the dog run...a BEAUTIFUL stand-alone hammock!  I LOVE IT!!!  AND it goes beautifully with the new waterfall we have in the backyard...we came home from California to find it nearly done...(Craig Strain had to taken down Dallin's waterfall since we couldn't use it due to a BIG leak somewhere and we couldn't risk the water compromising the block wall...but I had told Craig how important those rocks were to us...and he surprised us with a pathway using the rocks, and keeping it somewhat the way Dallin had it.  I was SOOOO happy, and it has a great water sound to it!)

After breakfast, Amelia, MaryAnn, Audrey Godfrey and I went for a horseback ride in Snow Canyon.

When we got home, I quickly changed for the lake, and helped Rod finish up lunch prep, and then we headed out to Sand Hollow Reservoir.  Nat and RJ were already there with a couple of jet skis and two canoes.  Hans and Mil were literally right behind us!

So we spent the afternoon in the perfect warm air, sunshiney skies, and even Dezmond falling asleep in my arms.  The water was VERY cold, but other than that it couldn't have been more perfect, UNLESS ALL the kids were there!!
I DEFINITELY do NOT know where Natalee came from...a sandy dog on the beach...UGH!!!
Good thing Oakley s so sweet!!

After the lake we went home and got everything ready for my birthday dinner...

BBQ chicken, half-baked potatoes, steamed veggies, salad, and garlic bread!  YUM!  And, of course, we had homemade German Chocolate cake for dessert!!  

(Dezmond really "got into" the pan drawer!!  The THREE candles were PLENTY!  And Dezmond enjoyed all the birthday festivities, too!!)

I think my sweet husband worked harder in one day, trying to make sure everything was perfect (and it was!!), that going back to school will seem like a vacation!!  Thanks to him, and everyone else, it was a wonderful and memorable day!!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!  :}

March 15, 2013

California Getaway!!

Thursday night, March 7th . . . Natalee moved home to find a job in St. George and get ready for her wedding in May.  Friday afternoon, March 8th . . . Rod and I left town!  *_*  NO, not because of Natalee; but it did work out extremely well that Nat was here, and we didn't worry about leaving...thanks, Nat!!

I had a national Music Teachers Association conference that was held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California, AND we had a friend offer to let us stay in her condo in Newport Beach the week we were going to be down there since she was going to be out of town...what an incredible blessing that was!!  So we left St. George as soon as Rod got home from school, and arrived in Newport Beach around 11:30 p.m.

Saturday morning I was up bright and early and at the hotel by 7:00.  Spent the whole day in classes and learned a ton!  That evening we went out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse.  Delicious!!

Sunday was kind of funny in that we showed up at an LDS meeting house...just to find out it was Stake Conference!  Two other cars with "visitors" showed up, too!  We managed to find another building (in Tustin...Jack Rushton's old ward), but we were about 20 minutes late.  It was their Ward Conference, but ALL of the talks and classes were REALLY good!  We were so glad we went!!  After church we found the Newport Beach Temple and walked around the grounds.  It was really beautiful.  After lunch at the condo, we took Jen's dog, Jon, for a walk to the beach.  It was only about half a mile away, and we went out on one of the jettys and enjoyed the gorgeous afternoon, the sound of the breaking surf, and watched a TON of crabs on the rocks.

Monday was more classes for me at the conference, but Rod dropped me off, and had the car for the day.  That evening he met me at the hotel for the Gala Dinner where Dr. Lynn Dean was being honored for his great contributions to music.  Even though the cost was $100/plate, it was a VERY enjoyable evening, and I loved having my husband there with me!!  Since this was my first conference, I wasn't sure what to expect, but these ladies were so much fun to be with.  The Mickey Ears really set the UTAH DELEGATION apart from everyone else!

Tuesday we did some exploring, and ended up on the Peninsula, and even found a place that rented out a sailboat for us to long as we paid for the sailor to drive it!  It was perfect for our first time on a sailboat!!  I think Rod enjoyed it at least as much as I did!  We'll definitely go again!!

Wednesday we took the ferry out to Catalina Island, went on the Submarine ride/tour, saw some cool fish while under water, then walked a bit, then rented a golf cart for three hours and drove up and down the mountains and saw some cool views without doing much sweating!!

There was ONE shop that had what I was looking for...and it was closed!  It was a shop with FLAGS...and I would have bought a Catalina Island flag!  Oh well!!  If it would have been warmer we would have gone snorkling or kayaking, but we had a lot of fun anyway.  The ferry ride to and from was a little over an hour long, and it was very comfortable.  Beautiful ocean ride!!

Thursday we drove up to Malibu and had a tour of the J. Paul Getty Villa/museum.  It was very impressive, but the thing that probably interested me the most was the mummy.  That was cool!  I can't imagine how much money Mr Getty had to have amassed to be able to fund such a place.  And it's nothing compared to the MUSEUM in Santa Monica!

After that we drove to the Los Angeles LDS Temple, and managed to get there with just enough time to change out of our "tourist" clothes at the Family History Center, and get into the temple for the 3:30 session.  While we waited the few minutes before the session, a lady leaned over and said, "Are you Sister Hunt?"  I was a bit surprised and said, "Yesss..."  She said, "I'm Leanne Olsen, Katie and Peter's mom..."  I was SO surprised, and we talked as much as possible before the session started.  Wow, what a small world!!

After the temple and taking pictures outside, we changed back into our other clothes, and drove down to the beach to spend a couple hours just reading down by the surf.  It was SO relaxing, and MUCH better than sitting on the freeways for two hours to travel 20 miles!

When we got back to Jen's we got most of our stuff packed, cleaned her apartment, and ate the rest of our leftovers.  Rod pointed out that we were gone for a week, didn't eat fast-food once, and only ate out at a restaurant once.  More of the perks of staying at the condo!!  THANK YOU, JEN!

Friday morning we were up early, and on the road by 6:30 a.m.  Traffic going our direction was fairly light and we didn't have any backed up traffic to deal with  We arrived home (with the loss of an hour due to time changes) at 1:00, and were VERY surprised to see the water feature in the backyard nearly complete!!  It's going to be SO cool when it's all done and things are cleaned up!

We got unpacked, kind of, and by 3:00 Nat and I were out on the horses with Erika's brother, Dane, and his friend Lance.  I think Dane finally understands why Erika and Kent like to come down to St. George so much...he said he'll be coming down every chance he gets!!

When we got done riding, Hans and Mil came over with Dezmond.  They dropped him off for a Friday night with Grandpa and Grandma while they ran some errands.  We had so much fun with him and he didn't miss them one bit!!  *_*  And that was the perfect end to a WONDERFUL week!!