Sunday, November 6, 2011

Autumn in Utah

This has been a great fall season. Utah had the most wonderful weather all the way up until like this weekend. There is more color than I would have thought, so that has been nice. Being autumn, the two things I think of first are General Conference and BYU football.

We missionaries received one ticket to conference. I attended the Sunday morning session. I sat about 10 rows from the bottom, but on the far left. It is crazy around here during any type of large event at the Conference Center. The traffic is crazy, the parking is worse. Thank goodness, I can just walk across the street, and I am there.

I bought season tickets to BYU football. I usually drive down early and hang out with Luke and/or Anna. I have had a blast.

Somewhere in this picture (in a white t-shirt) is Jimmer Fredette. He is quite the celebrity around here.

I sit in the student section. It rotates every game so you never know where you'll sit until just before game day. Also, the students don't sit. They stand the whole game (except for short breaks during time-outs and half-time.)

And lest I forget that I am in Utah, I woke to the following yesterday morning. They say this is just the beginning. Remember it is only Autumn. But something about the dry air, makes the cold not so bad, (So far).

I drove down to Provo and Provo had received no snow. How wierd!

Also yesterday I took the kids out to Tucano's Brazilian Grill to celebrate Luke and Cameron's birthdays. I had never been there before. It was alot of fun. Kind of a toss-up as to who ate the most, either Cam or Luke.

And this is a picture of the "famous drink". Some man, according to our server, bought me a drink and had it sent to our table. I'm a little skeptical, but alas, the drink was very good. And when I suggested Cameron use a different straw as I passed the drink around, he said, "Why? We're all family". Hopefully he's not bringing any strange germs into the family.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Summer in SLC

Well, I survived a summer without central a/c. Thank goodness fall is coming!

To update my visitors, I have seen: Diane Horsley (without Doug), Beverly Olson (& family), Becky Douglas and her missionary daughter (serving at Temple Square), Joye Woodruff, Hope Lane, Robin & Kara Seabrook, Laura & Stevie Kaiser, and Bob & Ruth Morton. It is always great to see old friends.

Living in downtown has been a real change from the Grayson suburbs - alot of things going on, and just walking to everything.

I've seen the Tabernacle Choir on several occasions, attended concerts at the Assembly Building, visited the Children's Museum (with Nic & girls), watched the Pioneer Day Parade, went up to Cache Valley and saw the Martin Harris Pageant, and spent alot of time with the Woods when they came to the states and stayed up in Farmington with Jon's parents.

Pictures from the July 24th Pioneer Day Parade. President Monson is riding in the car, couldn't really see him, though.

We celebrated Maggie's 3rd birthday on August 7 at the home of Jon's sister. It was a Princess Party in case you can't tell. Maggie did really well, no melt downs.

Notice two different cakes... AJ is getting really cute and turning into a "Big Girl".

And then the "big announcement"....................It's a Boy!!!

This is the little tour bus that goes over to the Humanitarian Center and Welfare Square. I took the tour over and saw Welfare Square. The grainery in the picture holds like 16 million pounds of wheat.

This is the main place I like to go for walking. It is Liberty Park. In 1860 Brigham Young purchased the land and planted all the trees.

In August I went up to Cache Valley. This is a picture of the newly constructed Brigham City Temple.

This is Jon & Pam Cook and Linda Stewart in front of the Martin Harris gravestone.

Every other year the people up here put on an outdoor musical about Martin Harris. He was one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon. He moved here in his later years and died here.

The biggest event of the summer was the engagement of Anna and Cameron. Cameron had me get them up to Temple Square. He also had a photographer (as seen in picture) on hand. I was strategically hiding to witness the event. This is right in front of the Reflecting Pool on the east side of the Temple. Anna knew the proposal was coming, but she thought it was going to be late September. She was totally surprised!

And finally a thought I heard while attending Music & the Spoken Work on August 21, 2011.

"Life, in this world, can be hard on anyone. We hear and see things that are discouraging, even disheartening, and at times we may feel dismayed about the state of the world and the condition of our own lives. Yes, life can be hard.

"But within us, deep down in our heart of hearts, resides a sense of robust hope and sweet expectation that can lift us out of life's fog to see clearly who we are and our capacities. We lift the fog every time we count our blessings, every time we are kind toward others, every time we seriously ponder life's purposes. We lift life's fog as we pause to listen to our heart..."

Until next time........

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My first month as a Missionary

I knew I wouldn't be good at keeping up with a blog. But in an attempt to keep my promise to Anna, I am making this entry, a month late. First of all, I must say that being here in Salt Lake has been great. I have spent some time with 4 of my 5 children, which has been great. I have also seen many other friends who have been in the area. Among those whom I have seen are: John and Pam Cook, Linda and John Stewart, Rich and Susanne Mullins, Susan Dale (Bill's mother, sorry I don't know her married name), Sabrina Venesky (sorry I don't know your married name), Travis Jordan, Cindy Foley (sorry, I don't know your married name), Heather Alvarez, Raelle Frailey, and tomorrow I see Doug and Diane Horsley. My first picture below is of my first house guest.... Luke.

I live just west of the Conference Center. I would describe it as being about one step above my last apartment in Provo when I lived in married housing. But it is so convenient and very easy to maintain. Below is the view from the apartment, the actual apartment and the view from the parking lot (notice the temple).

Temple Square is actually pretty amazing. The flowers are everywhere. The buildings are stunning. People from all over the world stop here to tour and visit.

I spend most all of my time on Temple Square. Here is a picture of the cafeteria where I eat regularly. It is pretty cool to have someone playing a grand piano as you eat cafeteria food.

This is a picture of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. It is on Temple Square. I have church here each Sunday and I work here Monday - Friday.

This is a picture of our chapel in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

This is a picture of the Family Search Center where I work each day. This is where people can just stop by and search for family information. We have people from all over the United States stop by. There are also people from many different countries. It is amazing that so many people see Salt Lake as a tourist destination. Alot of people who stop by are often doing a western tour of national parks, like Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Zions's, etc. Salt Lake is kind of a hub for this type of tour group.

These last pictures are of some of my new friends. This first picture is of my group that began missions on the same day. There were 35 of us I believe. The last two pictures are of me and my trainer, Sister Whitaker. I spent two weeks working one-on-one with her. She was a great teacher and I learned so much.

And lastly my list of what I miss the most about Georgia and what I like the most about Utah:

I miss: my central air conditioning, my garage, my friends, my washer/dryer
I like: no humidity, no bugs, great grass, walking everywhere, Sunday dinner at Grandma's with family

Till next time...............

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

8 Days to Cross the Country

I left Georgia on May 25, 2011. But before I did, I enjoyed a nice farewell lunch with some of my good friends from Church.

I loaded up the car with as much as I could fit in and just locked the door and left. I thought it would be harder than it was to leave. Rachel, Thayne and Don -- please keep a good eye on the house!

My first stop was Kentucky. I spent 5 days visiting Holly and her family. There is never a quiet moment when you have 3 little boys running around. I had lunch at school with Tommy and Jackson, attended the end-of -year awards program, played games and read books, and just enjoyed being with the family. Tommy will be baptized while I am away. I hate to miss that, but I think he'll understand.

I left Kentucky and headed to St. Louis. Spent a night there and then off to Kansas. You know, Missouri and Kansas are two very long states. But all went well. I thought I might see some tornado action in Kansas, but fortunately I was able to miss that.

I arrived in Denver on Tuesday, the 31st. I spent a great night at the Walton home. They are Logan's in-laws. We took a really nice bike ride that evening. Made me realize how nice it is not to have any humidity. They were very gracious. Look forward to making a stop there on my way back east next year.

This picture is taken from the rest area as you enter the state of Utah.

And here is a glimpse of the great Rockies!

I am now settled in and working. I'll post on that soon!

Monday, May 16, 2011

3 Weeks in Thailand

I spent 3 fabulous weeks in Thailand with Nicole and fam. It was a great trip! The flight is incredibly long. 14 hours from Atlanta and then another 7 hours to Bangkok. Poor Nicole! How do you do it? I watched at least 6 movies on each trip. Thank goodness for free movies and meals on international flight. This first picture was taken at the Tokyo airport where I ran into some missionaries headed to Bangkok to start their mission.

We had a lot of time for visiting the tourist sites. There is alot of gold and a lot of Budhas as you can see.

The night before Songkran, their New Year we took a night bike tour of the city. It turns out the Thais start their celebrating a day early and it lasts for at least 3 days. The main activity is massive street water fights. Let's just say we were totally soaked within a few minutes of our tour. But since it is never cold, it wasn't too much of a problem, except for having to maneuver our bikes down a totally packed street.

Nicole and I took an elephant ride. Nicole thought it was a little scary. Maggie wouldn't get any where near it.

I even got to do a little scuba diving. Thailand has some of the best diving in the world. It was really good. But I still think Honduras has the best.

The best part of the trip was being with 4 of my favorite people in the world. Thanks for being such great hosts. :) The big question you may now be wandering: who is the fourth I'm referring to: Kemo or Jon???

Till next time...