Saturday, August 30, 2008

Favorite Shots of Summer 2008

Summer is winding down. We've endured two frosts this past week that finished off
my zucchini plants, tomatoes, etc. I suspect this is a hint that fall lies just around the corner. As such, I thought I would celebrate the final week of summer by sharing some of my favorites pictures---shots I took at varying times and places during the past few months. We'll call this one of my traditions---savoring fun memories that were a big part of summer 2008.
(The sunset shot above was taken from the east shore of Bear Lake . . . in case any one was wondering.)

Take a wild guess about what we found in a wildlife preserve located just outside of Zion's National Park---something I'd never seen before. I'll give you a hint---here are the proud parents:

Yep, ostrich eggs. Way cool, and again, something I'd never seen before. How about you?

And since I mentioned our trip to St. George, I'd best show off a picture from the famed Zion's National Park. I was excited to see that the road matched the color of the gorgeous red mountains. Wouldn't it be neat if this type of thing was evident all over the world?! Highways colored to match the local scenic beauty. That means in Bear Lake County, our streets would be an aquamarine color to match our claim to fame, Bear Lake. ;) We spent quite a bit of time in this location this past summer. Can you blame us?!

Summer wouldn't be complete without mentioning family reunions. We attended our share of those this past summer. A highlight: floating down Portneuf River in Lava Hot Springs at the Crane Reunion. Aside from a few bumps and scrapes, everyone survived that adventure.

Here's a shot of my husband and I at yet another reunion, after enjoying delicious smoked pork and a plethora of salads, desserts, etc. (Note: that's a bottle of water in my husband's hand, just in case you were wondering.)

We also spent quite a bit of time camping this summer. Our small camper is fairly easy to drive around and we enjoy spending time in the forest. True, I pretty well out-fished my husband this summer, but in way of good news, he didn't make me walk home. ;)

Girls' Camp was another whole adventure in and of itself, something I'm still recovering from. (See the blog post entitled "Climb Every Mountain . . . or not" posted on Aug. 6, 2008 ) Pictured below are the girls from our ward shortly after a performance of the traditional camp skit. They did a great job of hamming things up.

And one of the final adventures of the summer, the traditional huckleberry gathering. We've been out about 4 times now and I can safely state that we will have plenty of huckleberries for the holiday season. I may even be able to stash a couple of pints for our youngest son's missionary homecoming next spring. ;)

All in all, I would have to say that we thoroughly enjoyed this past summer. I don't recall sitting in a corner being bored. ;) And I took enough pictures to document everything. They don't call me the family photo-bug for nothing. ;) Now I'll have to shift gears and prepare for the fall foliage shots. I can hardly wait. =)

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life by the Inch

In today's hustle and bustle, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. To wonder if we're ever going to cross off every item on our expanding lists of things to do. I've been feeling that way a lot lately. Hence today's blog. ;) We'll call this a therapeutic moment on our busy journey through life.

In college, I came across a wise tiny poem. It is as follows:

Life by the yard is hard.
Life by the inch is a cinch.

These are words to live by, especially in today's crazy world. Don't get me wrong, it's good to set goals for the future, to lay out plans, and to ponder how to achieve all that we desire. But it is also extremely easy to get so caught up in what we're not accomplishing, to stress over events we anticipate in the future, that sometimes we overwhelm ourselves.

Several years ago, my mother gave me very good advice. She told me while I was high school age that it's important to take each day as it comes and to do as much good as you possibly can. Then there aren't any regrets. I'm going to add to this sage wisdom: While you're doing good every day, do not run faster than you have strength. (I know there will be a lot of eyes rolling over this item---it has taken me a while to adhere to this scriptural counsel. I just began this past week.) ;)

I think the best thing to do is to prioritize each day. Obviously, we're not going to accomplish all of the items we've scribbled on our lists. We have to pick and choose, and take each day as it comes, do the best that we can, and let some things go. Last night, I turned down a request to perform today at a local senior citizen center. I actually said that naughty, two-letter word: "No." And I didn't feel guilty. Instead, I realized I just couldn't work it in. We're entertaining company this weekend, and I'm trying to get over a vicious bug that has relieved me of my singing voice. I've come to realize that Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to run ourselves into the dirt. Part of the gift of agency is learning to use it wisely. It doesn't do anyone any good if we allow our cupboards to get as bare as Old Mother Hubbard. ;) We have to take the time to restock the shelves, so we can be of helpful service to those around us.

In recent weeks, I've agonized over heart-wrenching trials some of those nearest and dearest to me have endured. These sisters of the heart are experiencing challenges that would tax the bravest soul. I pray for them, worry over them, and then realize, I need to trust more in our Father. If anyone knows and understands what they're going through, it's our Father in heaven and our Eldest Brother. They alone know how best to heal broken hearts and broken spirits. Some of us may get called upon to help in administering to their needs, but it will be under Their direction and on Their timetable. Instead of panicking over, "Oh, no! Now what are we going to do?!" I'm learning to place my hand inside of our Father's and allow Him to guide me toward what is best.

A few short months ago, our own family was plunged into the icy river of pain with the unexpected death of my husband's brother. We're still healing from this heartbreaking blow. I find that we're adhering to my mother's advice yet again. She learned, following the death of my father, that there were days when survival meant taking life one minute at a time. In the morning, she would awake and think: "Right now, all I have to do is get out of bed." Then she would. The next task would surface: "Now, I just need to get into the shower," followed by, "I just need to get dressed." Etc. She learned that it was too hard and too scary to consider everything that had been heaped on her plate in the days following our father's untimely death. By taking life in mini-steps, she learned to survive. And it wasn't overwhelming, it was do-able.

That is my advice today: take life by the inch. Don't try to do it all at once and risk burning yourself out. These days, it's important to keep that inner flame lit, even if it means taking a time-out once in a while to restock one's spiritual fuel.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

New Contest

Anne Bradshaw is sponsoring a new contest on her blog:

Follow her instructions and you just might find yourself the owner of a newly autographed book. =)

Mount Rushmore

This week, as presidential campaigns rev up for the general election, I find myself thinking of a handful of past United States presidents. I'm sure we all have favorites---mine would include: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

I admire George Washington because of his integrity, courage, and leadership during the formation of our country. Abraham Lincoln has always been a favorite because of his wisdom, compassion, and courage during a time that tore our country apart at the seams. I've enjoyed reading the exploits of Teddy Roosevelt and I admire his spunk and his push (the Square Deal) to provide a fair shake for average citizens and businessmen alike. Franklin D. Roosevelt overcame great personal trials to lead our country through the challenging depression era.

To me, these men epitomize what being the president of our country is all about.
Three of these four men are honored by the famed sculpture that was carved on Mount Rushmore. Here's a question for you: which of the four former presidents mentioned above are featured on this National Monument? No peeking, no googling---just off the top of your head. =) I'll list all four of them at the bottom of this blog.

Last summer, we had a chance to travel to Mount Rushmore. It's the first time I've ever seen this national treasure in person. I've seen pictures of it before, but nothing compares to seeing the actual thing. I caught a glimpse of it as we drove around a mountain. Filled with excitement, we parked down below, then walked up the cement steps that lead to the mountain sculpture. An alleyway of State Flags lead the way. Then there it was, rising in grandeur before us, this tribute to mortal men who shaped our country during the first 150 years of its existence. There are no words to adequately describe what I felt that afternoon as I imagined the work that went into the creation of this monument.

A man named Gutzon Borglum was the artist who was asked to design and create the sculpture. In an interesting twist, he was born in a little Idaho town called St. Charles, which happens to be here in Bear Lake County. =) Gutzon and 400 workers worked on this overwhelming project for 14 years (Between October 1927---October 1941). Unfortunately, Gutzon died of an embolism before it was completed, in March of 1941. His son, Lincoln Borglum, continued with the project until it was completed seven months later.

Mount Rushmore stands as a permanent tribute to some of the most courageous Americans to this point in time.
If you are ever near South Dakota and the famed Black Hills, take the time to see this national monument. I can promise that you'll never forget the majesty of this creation.

(Answer to the question above: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, & Abraham Lincoln.)

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Huckleberry Season

Huckleberry season is upon us. I've been scouting known patches for quite some time, in the hopes of harvesting these luscious berries. Last year most of the blossoms froze, and the berries that did survive didn't flourish because of drought conditions. It was quite possibly the worst year ever for huckleberries in the history of Bear Lake Valley. Instead of my usual 15-20 pints in the freezer, I only found enough berries to fill one pint. Yes, I was extremely sad. So was my husband and our offspring, who love the huckleberry desserts I usually create for the holidays.

I was introduced to the great huckleberry tradition by my mother years ago. Sometime during the first two weeks of August, we would usually journey to her homeland of Wyoming to pick enough of these purple berries for tasty treats like pie, homemade ice cream, and oft times, pancakes. My maternal grandmother could create huckleberry delights that amazed us all, and her recipes are closely guarded secrets. Sometimes. Usually, I give them out to anyone who wants a copy, but don't tell my family. ;)

You can understand my excitement when I married into a family of huckleberry enthusiasts. That first summer, a few months after Kennon and I were married, marked the beginning of my education on where to find the elusive huckleberry in Bear Lake County. Here are some important rules regarding this fine tradition:

1) Never reveal where your huckleberry patch is located, unless you want to be disowned by the family. Most patches have been passed down from generation to generation. (I kid you not with regard to this information.)

2) Make lots of noise, since huckleberries are favorite treats of the local bear population. Noise tends to scare them away. I've often been tempted to borrow the neighbor's dog for just this purpose. =)

3) Wear clothes you don't mind ruining, since these berries tend to stain. They'll also stain your fingers, but purple is a lovely color, so I don't mind. ;)

4) Never spill your bucket. Not only is this shameful, but it causes tremendous grief to the one who has spent hours filling that bucket. (You earn every berry picked.)

5) Bring plenty of treats to snack on since berry picking adventures usually take a few hours. We also bring plenty of ice water and insect repellent.

6) Bring a bucket with a lid. I usually cut a small hole in the lid. This way you can drop the berries in and they don't spill out. Ice cream buckets work great for this.

7) Wear a hat in case the squirrels throw things at you while you pick berries from "their" patch.

Huckleberries only grow on mountain hillsides. Sometimes it takes quite a bit to reach their isolated location. I only know of one patch that is easily accessible. Most times we resort to using a 4-wheel drive vehicle to climb the steep dirt roads that lead to huckleberry patches. Other times, the berry patches can only be accessed by way of horse or a contraption known as a 4-wheeler. Earlier this week, my husband graciously drove a friend and I up to a huckleberry patch on his 4-wheeler. He dropped us off at the patch, then rode around the hillside exploring since he doesn't much enjoy picking the berries. By the end of the day, we were all happy. My friend and I had picked a lot of berries and my husband bonded with nature (ie: took a nap).

If you are extremely lucky and your berry patch is loaded, it doesn't take forever to fill a bucket. Here is what my friend was able to pick during the time we spent in a secret location I will never reveal:

Actually, I'm one of those who usually tells people how to get to the berry patches. Yes, I know, I'm breaking with tradition. =) If someone wants to go to all of the trouble to pick huckleberries (ie: this is a lot of work) I think they should know where to go to enjoy this pastime. Besides, my husband and I are the only family members still residing in Bear Lake Valley, so it's time to share this information. ;) This year, the bushes are loaded, so people who really want berries will go home with a bucket full.

As an insulin dependent diabetic, I've had a few adventures during huckleberry season. One year, after we had spent a couple of hours picking, I felt rather yucky. Thinking my blood sugar level had dropped drastically, I ran a quick check with my blood sugar meter. To my surprise, it flashed a number in the high 500's. (Normal range is 80-120.) Panicking, I gave a large dose of insulin, via my insulin pump. A few minutes later, I felt worse. So I ran another check. This time the meter flashed a number in the 30's---which is extremely low. That's when it occurred to me that the first check wasn't valid---the first finger I had poked for a blood sample had been covered in huckleberry juice. Evidently, those berries contain a lot of natural sugar. =) As you may have guessed, I did survive that episode. My husband made me eat an entire package of cookies as he drove us down the mountain, fearing he would have to take me into ER. I didn't have to visit the hospital that night---by the time we reached our house, my blood sugar level was fine. But I will never be able to eat that particular cookie ever again. ;)

This month I've enjoyed berry picking adventures four times during the past 2 weeks. If the berries continue, I may go one more time, just for kicks and giggles . . . and delicious desserts. And if any of you would like my grandmother's recipe for huckleberry pie, let me know. Just don't ever tell her that I shared this prize-winning creation. If you do, she may want to have a little chat with me on the other side of the veil for sharing a family secret.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Enjoy the Journey

Summer is winding down. I think that's kind of sad. This summer has been filled with adventures like camping, reunions, weddings, gardening, and so forth. Yesterday I overheard someone say that they could hardly wait for summer to be done---that it would be good to have a routine again.

A part of me agrees, but the other part is already missing summer. I guess that's human nature. Here's my take on this strange aspect. Actually, it's a little poem I learned while in college a "few" years ago:

As a rule, man's a fool
When it's hot, he wants it cool
When it's cool, he wants it hot
Always wanting what is not
Never wanting what he's got.

So while a part of me is looking forward to the fall colors, I'm going to do my best to enjoy what is left of summer. Today, I'm heading off to the mountains to pick yet more huckleberries. I love frolicking in the forest. I love how the pine trees smell, and I enjoy watching the squirrels who usually throw a huge fit when we invade "their" huckleberry patch. They have been known to launch pine cones at human intruders. We've had a few thrown in our direction the past couple of weeks. Last week, as an irate squirrel chittered at us in a lecturing fashion, he\she fell out of his\her tree. We laughed over the poor squirrel's humiliation most of the afternoon. It was hilarious, especially when the poor thing hid and refrained from sharing its opinion the rest of the day. =) Even squirrels get embarrassed. Food for thought.

The point I'm attempting to make today is that we need to learn to enjoy the moment we're in. I suspect that's what our Father intended when the seasons were created. Each season possesses attractive qualities---spring is a reminder of the sacredness of life with the arrival of baby animals, flowers, etc. Summer gives us a chance to get out and about to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. Fall beckons to us with vivid colors and bounteous harvests. And what would Christmas be without snow? I know there are a lot of places in this world that don't get the chance to enjoy the white fluffy stuff, but in our neck of the woods, we usually have an ample supply during the winter months. True, it seems to stick around much longer than we would wish some winters, but the snow serves an important purpose. It's crucial for the spring and summer months, not to mention fall. Without adequate water, there wouldn't be a bounteous harvest. Spring rain inspires the flowers to bloom. Storms make growth possible.

The seasons of our lives are similar. For us to grow and flourish, there must be seasons of trial and pain. These storms pave the way for eternal happiness. There are also seasons of beauty and joy. It's important for us to learn to savor those moments when they arrive.

A few years ago, I wrote a song for a special occasion in Young Women. The girls I was working with at the time did a beautiful job of performing this number. I will end today's blog by sharing the lyrics:

Enjoy the Journey

Enjoy the journey, enjoy life's ride
Your attitude determines who you are inside
Happiness can often prove to be the key
That shapes your eternal destiny.

Are you searching for a path
Free of thorns that hold you fast
Are you running from a test
That might lead to happiness?

Are you weary of life's load
Smiling makes an easier road
Enjoy life as it unfolds
And . . . (repeat all)

End: Happiness can often prove to be the key
That shapes your eternal destiny.

Cheri J. Crane

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

School Days

Earlier today as I was returning home from a jaunt to Utah, I swung by a couple of stores in Logan. Since my husband and I are now considered an empty-nesters (our youngest son is currently serving a mission in Canada) I'm obviously out of the groove for the yearly tradition known as "Back-to-School Shopping." Both of the stores I happened to visit today were filled with harried parents and their offspring. It was rather fascinating to watch.

"Here's a pair of pants on sale," a hopeful mother offered.

Her daughter, who looked to be between the ages of 12-14 replied: "Puh-leeze. The zipper is like gi-nor-mous!"

"What's wrong with the zipper?"

"It's like 5 miles long!"

The mother examined the pants in question, then rolled her eyes. "It isn't either. It's barely 4-5 inches. Now stand still so I can see how they'll fit."

"Mother! They come up to my armpits!" the teenage girl wailed.

"They'll barely cover your rear-end."

"That's what layered shirts are for." With that, the sweet young thing turned and began to send a flurry of text messages, her thumbs moving so fast they were a blur.

"You did not just text your friends about this. And just so you know, you are not buying those low-cut pants your friends all wear!"

Since I was in this particular store to find a pair of shoes for my husband, I moved out of range of the ensuing argument. Hurrying toward the back of the store, I passed a mother and son combo. They were looking at shirts.

"Here's a nice looking shirt," the mother said, retrieving a striped polo-style shirt from the rack in front of her.

"You're all up in the Kool-aid," was the indifferent reply. (Incidentally, I looked this phrase up online when I returned home and learned that it means: "You're getting in my business.")

"Well then, what do you want to wear?" the tired mother inquired.

The teen in question sauntered to a rack of t-shirts that looked like something from a frightening Halloween movie. "Aight!" he exclaimed. (I looked this term up, too. It means: "All right, or okay.")

Casting a sympathetic glance toward the appalled parent, I moved on past, finding the shoe aisle. I passed a small girl, possibly about 6-7 who was looking at shoes with her mother. The only requirement this young lady stressed was that the shoes had to be pink. Her mother was trying to convince her that pink wouldn't necessarily match everything in her wardrobe. This discussion didn't seem to be going well as I moved on toward the mens' section.

As I searched for the shoes my husband wanted, I began pondering what the conversations might have been like during shopping adventures when my parents were teenagers:

"Jane, what makes you think you need a poodle-skirt?"

"All of the other girls are wearing them."

"What's wrong with this nice black wool skirt?"

"Puleeze! There's not a dog on the front of it and it's black!"


"Son, what is that stuff in your hair?"

"Gel. All the guys are using it."

"If all of the guys were jumping off a cliff, would you do it too?"

Here's a hilarious blast from the past. I came across this set of lyrics that my grandmother wrote with regard to a hairstyle she and my grandfather had no doubt discussed with my father:

Years back, when I was just a lad
A notion in my head I had,
Each year I asked my dad once more
To cut my hair in a pompadour.
Each time he only shook his head,
“A plain haircut for you,” he said,
“Is so much better now my boy,
“And other people won’t annoy.”
Which only made me want the more
To have my hair cut pompadour.

A pompadour, a pompadour
Oh how I want a pompadour;
To others it may be a roar,
But I sure want a pompadour.

And then one day when I came in
And with a firm, determined chin,
Said, “Dad, I’m asking you once more,
To cut my hair in a pompadour.”
“Alright my boy,” he said, “you’ll see.
A pompadour your hair shall be.”
The clippers he began to work
And with no time to rest or shirk
He clipped and clipped and clipped some more
And gave to me my pompadour.

My pompadour, my pompadour,
At last I have my pompadour,
To others it may be a roar,
But I sure love my pompadour.

-------Elsie C. Jackson

I guess my point is, the styles and speech patterns may change, but the arguments stem from the same source. Teenagers are trying to establish who they are. They are striving for independence and anything considered cool by their parents is automatically out of the question. And on the other side of the coin, parents are usually appalled by the current fashion trends. This is a time-honored tradition. I predict that in years to come, today's teens will be having similar conversations with their offspring:

"What are you thinking? That metallic suit is atrocious. The colors don't even match!"

"I like it! It speaks well of my individuality."

"Your what?! Don't you use that kind of language with me young lady!"

"Talk to my robot."

"Come back here! We are not through discussing this! And I refuse to speak to a stupid brain in a can!"

"Warning, Tercel's mother unit, your blood pressure is dangerously high. Refrain from this behavior."

And so on. I suspect conversations like this began with Adam and Eve's posterity:

"You are not wearing that leopard skin skirt!"

"Why not? Cain slew the beast. It's not like anyone else is using it. And it looks great with my emu-feather top."

"I've asked you not to wear that thing. It looks disgusting."

"You don't understand me!"

"You did not just slam that wooden door! The house collapsed. Are you happy now?"

Here's what I've noticed: Trends and fashions change. The relationship shared with our children is what matters most. I learned to pick my battles. My kids picked out interesting hair styles and clothing through the years, but I usually let that go, standing firm on items like curfews, etc. I did stress that my sons had to dress modestly---to me, that's important. But if they wore colorful, sometimes outrageous looking garb in the process, I tried to be tolerant. After all, I'm from the era that made bell-bottom jeans popular. I don't have a leg to stand on. ;)

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Portland was Impressive

Three years ago I saw Portland, Oregon for the first time. I traveled there with my husband on a business trip. We drove, taking my mother-in-law along with us---she wanted to see her sister in Oregon. Braving the huge desert that lies between Idaho and Oregon, we broke the trip up into a couple of days.

The last time my husband and I had traveled this way was on our honeymoon in 1982. [I'll let you do the math.] ;)We had traveled to Oregon and along the coast during that adventure---the first time I had ever seen the ocean. I remember still how beautiful everything was, after passing through the desert. Possibly an analogy there, but I'll refrain today. =) Back to our 2005 trip:

Here is a picture of the Three Sisters Peaks that are visible as you leave the desert realm.

After passing that landmark, we enjoyed the brilliant green forest that is part of the charm of Oregon . . . along the western portion of the state.

Upon reaching Kennon's aunt's abode, we dropped off his mother and headed north, toward Portland. It was an impressive sight as we entered this port city. We drove across a huge bridge that spans the Williamette River, eager to explore.

We walked around that night, taking in some of the sights that were near our motel. Then we tried a local restaurant and enjoyed scrumptious cuisine.

Since this was a business trip and my husband had to make several stops at stores that purchase Monsanto products, we did a lot of traveling in the outlying areas near Portland. This was a lot of fun as it provided opportunities to see places we wouldn't have accessed otherwise.

Here is a shot of a quaint little park we found in one small town. This was the band stand.

One afternoon, we ate lunch in this fun cafe and savored every bite. It offered a unique menu with delicious foods, making it hard to pick which items to sample.

We then traveled along the Columbia River, enjoying the various sights along the way.

We also drove to the famed Mt. Hood, heading up the mountain to the ski lodge for a closer look.

One night, we drove to the ocean, taking the time to walk along a secluded beach. Truly a romantic setting. We later ate fresh seafood in a local restaurant that was wonderful.

On our final day in the Portland area, we found time to hit a session at the beautiful Portland Temple. It was a much needed spiritual boost.

We were sad to leave the Portland area. I hope someday we can return and explore the places we didn't get to see while we were there. Sometimes there's just not enough time to do everything. It's a good thing we have all of eternity to catch up on that kind of thing. ;) Guess what I'll be doing after mortal mode---whenever I can work it in. Yep, traveling. A lot. I probably won't even have to worry about luggage. That can't be all bad. What do you think? =)

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Friday, August 8, 2008

I received an award =)

I just received the following award from Jody. Way cool. =)
And now I must pass it on to 7 others. This is really hard because so many of you deserve it.

At this time I choose:

Kerry Blair
Jenny Hansen
Tristi Pinkston
Candace Salima
Jewel Adams
Cindy Beck

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Climb Every Mountain . . . or not

So yesterday was the beginning of our annual stake girls' camp adventure. We've been planning for this event for quite some time. As the YW president of our ward, I've had my hands full getting the girls excited, and helping our two new camp directors prepare for this great event.

We all met at the church house yesterday morning at 7:45 a.m. After loading 3 pickup trucks full of camp gear, and cars with 12 girls, we headed for the mountains.

We arrived at Camp Ho-nok about 9:00 a.m. right on schedule. Then the true adventure began, the setting up of the tent(s) scenario. We only had to set up four---one for the priesthood leader, one for the camp directors, one for the food, and one for our girls. The tent we set up for our girls is a huge white canvas cabin tent. This tent was purchased a few years ago by our ward and it solves a lot of problems: since it holds about 20 girls, there is no arguing over who is sleeping in which tent. It provides one big slumber party. There is only one downside---the framework for this tent consists of fairly heavy metal pipes. They come in 3 sizes, and since it had been a while since I last helped put this tent together, we weren't sure which pipes went where.

Diving in, we did the best we could, and formed what we thought was the correct framework for the tent. But as we attached the final pipes, then slid the canvas tent over the top, we could see that we had made a huge mistake: it wasn't wide enough and we had a vaulted ceiling. ;) Yep, we had put it together incorrectly. Sighing, we knew we had to tear the thing down and start over.

We had each been assigned to hold onto a pipe as we slid the canvas over the the framework---those on the right side of the tent were instructed to remove their pipes while those of us on the left side held our pipes firmly in place. What we hadn't counted on was the immediate collapse of the middle. My husband was trying desperately to hold it in place, but it was to no avail.

Without warning, one of the center pipes nailed me on top of the head. There I was, valiantly holding onto my pipe, minding my own business, when the pipe threw off my groove. Literally. One of my counselors later said that she saw the back end of the tent collapse, then me hitting the ground and rolling over a couple of times. That's the part I don't recall. I remember something connecting with my head, then lying in the dirt in fuzzy mode as everyone around me panicked.

When I opened my eyes, I was asked silly things like: "Are you okay?" They sat me up and that's when the real fun began; I was bleeding profusely. The girls screamed and scattered. First Aid kits were dumped out on the ground as everyone searched for gauze pads. One girl bravely sacrificed her nice, white wash rag. =) It will likely never look the same.

I was rushed down the mountain to Montpelier (about a 45 minute drive) for medical assistance. As I sat waiting to be looked at, an older woman walked over to ask me what time it was. Then she registered how "lovely" I looked and backed away muttering, "I am so sorry. I didn't realize you were hurt." I tried not to let the horrified look on her face affect my self-esteem. ;)

As it turned out, I didn't have to endure stitches. The gash is located right on top of my head, in the middle. The doctor told us that to stitch it shut, a portion of hair had to be shaved away. I declined this gracious offer. He figured it would seal on its own and it did, eventually. And since I did know my name and where I was, he decided I would be just fine. I was cautioned to wear a hat over my head if I returned to girls' camp to keep the dust, bugs, etc. out of my cute little wound, and we hurried home to change into clean clothes, since we were both covered in blood. (Head wounds look a lot worse than they are.)

We did return to camp---I knew I needed to reassure the girls that all was well. They were pretty freaked out about the whole thing. I was just so very grateful that I was the only one hurt. I would have felt terrible if any of them had sustained a similar injury.

This morning, I have a bit of a headache. I probably will for a few days. But it could've been a lot worse. We're calling my wound this year's memory dent, and we're all laughing about it now. The thing I hope "my girls" will remember is this: Life rarely turns out the way we envision. The best laid plans often go awry. And sometimes we slide down the mountain we're trying to climb. The important thing is to keep climbing, to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and continue on our way. We may have to take a different path, but if we arrive at our intended destination, that's what matters most.

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EFY Music CD

This just in from It sounds like a great deal : wins distribution rights to 2008 Especially for Youth™ music CD; The disc will be available for sale starting August 23; Popular artists include Jessie Clark Funk, Dan Beck and Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band

Salt Lake City, Utah (August 5, 2008) The 2008 Especially for Youth™ CD, featuring the songs of local recording artists such as Jessie Clark Funk, Daniel Beck and Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, will be available for commercial sale beginning August 16.

yourLDSneighborhood, which was awarded distribution rights to the popular CD, announced that the disc will be sold through its web site and at retail music stores along the Wasatch Front. The CD is a compilation of songs chosen to support the theme and focus of this year’s program “Steady and Sure” and has become a vital part of the EFY™ tradition. EFY™ is a summer program sponsored by the Church Educational System of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and held in locations through the U.S. and Canada.

Gaylen Rust, president and founder of, said the commercial release edition will contain an additional track not available on the CD distributed to EFY™ participants and feature more robust instrumental accompaniments. “Music is an integral part of a young person’s life and the songs on this CD really speak to the everyday challenges and exhilarating experiences that youth encounter. It’s uplifting and inspiring but also the kind of music that’s fun to listen to anytime. It’s also a way for teens unable to attend EFY™ to catch the spirit and joy of the whole EFY™ event.”

The “Steady and Sure” CD features 12 tracks including “Steady and Sure” – the title track on the disc by Jessie Clark Funk, as well as “Amazing Grace,” by Daniel Beck, “A Woman’s Heart,” by Felicia Wolf, “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee,” by Mindy Gledhill and “Dream Big,” by Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band. Other artists include Ben Truman, Megan Flinders, Greg Simpson, Hilary Weeks, Terry White, Tim Gates, and a group song “Hurrah for Israel,” by Daniel Beck, Megan Flinders, Jessie Clark Funk and Dan Kartchner. is a new virtual neighborhood launched in November, 2007 where a wide variety of goods and services are sold from clothing and jewelry to sports, scrapbooking, travel, and things of interest to home and family. Visitors can stroll through the neighborhood, stop and browse at retail stores, purchase merchandise, or stop at newsstands to chat with more than a dozen bloggers, read timely articles or listen to audio interviews with newsmakers and hometown heroes. At Jukebox, a new music feature in the neighborhood, visitors can listen to hundreds of new tunes and download them. A music directory lists dozens of musicians who are available for family reunions, concerts, weddings and other occasions. Besides the virtual neighborhood, produces an informative lifestyle newsletter four times a week delivering thought-provoking and inspiring ideas, and offers special marketing opportunities for artists, musicians and authors – as well as those interested in buying artistic works.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Fairly Good Time =)

I love this time of year. We're beginning to see the fruits of our labor in the garden patch and my flowers are finally all in bloom. Girls' camp will soon be behind me.(We leave tomorrow for that adventure.)The huckleberries are almost ripe and ready for picking. And next week is the traditional county fair!

I love this tradition, a delightful aspect of our rural culture. I love wandering through the buildings full of produce and seeing all of the 4-H projects. I like observing the animals in the barns and patting a furry nose here and there. My favorite thing to look at would be the artwork and photography exhibits. Sometimes I even enter a photo or two of my own.

I enjoy meandering through the craft booths, and each year I savor the infamous "Hansen Hoagie," filled with freshly grilled onions. True, I have heartburn for a week after this event, but it is so worth it.

Carameled apples, live bands, rodeos, demolitions derbies, magic acts, and the annual talent competition all spring to mind when I think about going to the fair.

The carnival rides have never appealed to me---I tend to have a bit of motion sickness. Here's an interesting story. On one of the first dates with my future husband, we drove through a local canyon to enjoy Preston's county fair. It was a double-date; one of Kennon's friends had asked a sweet young thing to accompany him, and we were set. We arrived, ate the traditional fair burgers, and the boys showed off with a couple of the carnival games. When they didn't win any prizes, we girls sympathized, stressing that we were certain the games had been rigged. Then we enjoyed the rodeo.

Luckily, we ended up sitting across the arena from where one of the bulls jumped into the audience. I had never seen anything like that before in my life. Kind of scary, but the only injury was a broken arm as I recall. I think that's the fastest I've ever seen an audience scatter. ;)

After the rodeo excitement, we decided to enjoy some of the carnival rides. We tried a couple of the tamer rides, then decided to experience one similar to a "Tilt-a-Whirl." When Kennon and I sat in one of the compartments, the carnival worker grinned and spun us around, telling us it would make for a better ride. I did not concur. It made it far worse. By the end of that ride, I could barely walk a straight line. Kennon was in the same shape, but since we didn't know each other very well, we didn't want to let on that we were suffering . . . a lot. But when it became apparent that we were both staggering, Kennon led me to a nearby grassy spot and we sat down, trying to get our heads to quit spinning.

Already nauseated, we weren't looking forward to the ride home. Kennon's friend had driven us down to Preston and he liked speed. Picture if you will, Kennon and I, slightly green in color, sitting in the backseat of a sports car as it was driven at breakneck speeds on a winding mountain road. Not a good match. =)By the time we arrived in Montpelier, we were both in rough shape. But somehow, we refrained from losing the contents of our stomach in front of each other. Uncool dating etiquette. ;)

I'm looking forward to the fair next week. It will be a welcome adventure. And through it all, the following set of lyrics will probably be going through my mind:

"A Veritable Smorgasbord"

(From the original Charlotte's Web Movie)

Lyrics & Music by: Robert Sherman & Richard Sherman

A fair is a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord
After the crowds have ceased
Each night when the lights go out
It can be found on the ground all around
Oh, what a ratly feast!

Melon rinds and bits of hotdogs
Cookie crumbs and rotton cotton candy
Melted ice cream, mustard dripplings
Moldy goodies everywhere
Lots of popcorn, apple cores
Bananna peels and soggy sandwiches
And gobs of gorgeous gook to gobble at the fair

A fair is a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord
After the gates are shut
Each night when the lights go out
It can be found on the ground all around
That's where a rat can glut, glut, glut, glut!

What are some of your favorite fair time memories?

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Fun Contest Sponsored by Anne Bradshaw

Anne Bradshaw is sponsoring a contest on her blog. The winner will receive a free copy of the book, "Caught in the Headlights," by Barry K. Phillips. Click here for details. =)

Friday, August 1, 2008

San Diego was Stupendous =)

A few years ago, we had a chance to travel to San Diego, California. That trip is still a family favorite---even if I suffered a bit of a glitch just before we left. Since that's an interesting story in and of itself, I thought I would share it with you today. =)

We had been planning this trip for several weeks. Our sons were thrilled with the idea of exploring Sea World. As was mentioned in a previous blog, I love the ocean and I was excited to see it for what would be the second time in my life. We also thought since we were that close, it would be great to see Tijuana, Mexico, which is just across the border from San Diego.

As we continued to make plans, we decided to invite my mother. She had never seen the ocean and she had always wanted to fly, so we made additional plans to include her in this adventure.

Two nights before we were to fly out of the Salt Lake Airport, I made the mistake of participating in a city league volleyball tournament. Actually, that wasn't my mistake. I had played with this particular volleyball team for years. It was a lot of fun. We called ourselves the Bennington Beauties, and we were. =) During the night in question, as we played in our first game of the evening, I twisted my ankle. It wasn't too bad, just a slight sprain. I figured I would be fine (not one of my better decisions) and I continued to play. As I went after a ball that came flying my direction, I slipped on that weakened ankle, and tore up the ligaments on both sides of my right ankle.

From the way the thing swelled up, everyone thought it was broken. I was taken to the emergency room of the local hospital for x-rays. Long story short, the ankle wasn't broken, but I had sustained a really nasty sprain. It was so bad, my doctor wanted us to cancel our trip. We had a little discussion and I proved to be more stubborn than he was. He got even. I had to spend the first couple of days in California in a wheelchair. Nice. My ankle was placed in a walking boot and I was given a pair of crutches to take along on our trip.

It wasn't bad flying to San Diego. And we found our motel without too much difficulty. We had rented a mini-van during our stay in California and my husband did a great job of driving us around.

Visiting Sea World while in a wheelchair was not my idea of a fun time, but we tried to make the best of it. My mother pushed me around for a bit as my husband and sons rode a couple of the rides located in the park. =) Then it was off to see Shamu. I was excited to see this show. And it did live up to my expectations. There was only one problem---the wheelchair. I was pushed to a special booth that provided a great view of the show for wheelchair bound individuals . . . until about 8 kids crowded in front of me. Then I couldn't see a thing. I asked them politely if they could please move somewhere else, and they ignored me. I learned during this experience that there are a lot of people in this world who show great disrespect to people in wheelchairs. Not cool. My husband, who was sitting nearby, caught on to what was happening, and he took care of things for me. ;) After the kids moved, I snapped the picture of Shamu that you can see at the beginning of this blog. The rest of the show was great, even if we did look like drowned rats at the end, as you can see in the picture below. Not only did we get splashed on by the stars of the Shamu Show, but it rained on us a bit, too.

We had one other adventure involving the lovely wheelchair----after seeing Shamu's show, everyone was starved. So we set off to find a place to eat in Sea World. It didn't take my boys long to find a small restaurant that served hamburgers. Son # 2 was pushing me around at the time. He pushed me up the hill toward the hamburger joint and then, caught up in the excitement of eating, he left me, forgetting to lock the brakes on the wheelchair. I found myself living a moment seen in comedies---my wheelchair began rolling backwards down the hill. Luckily, Derek caught on before we had a tragedy. He ran as fast as he could and caught me before I tipped over. =) Good times.

We loved the weather in San Diego. It was around 70 degrees the entire time we were there. Since it was still winter back in Bear Lake, my entire family loved the warmer temperatures. The ocean was awesome. We visited it the next day, when I no longer had to use a wheelchair---just crutches.

Old Town San Diego was fascinating. There are a lot of craft stores, including a glass-blowing business that sells all kinds of vases, glass animals, etc. My mother and I watched, intrigued as the owner of the shop made a glass vase utilizing a metal pipe and molten glass. Naturally, we each had to purchase something from this great shop. =) A souvenir of a wonderful afternoon. Later, we met up with my husband and sons for an old-fashioned milkshake made with real ice cream.

We didn't have time to see everything that San Diego offered. We spent one afternoon in Tijuana, which I'll talk about in a future blog. We spent another exploring San Diego itself. We ate delicious fresh seafood one night in a fancy restaurant called The San Diego Pier Cafe. It's part of a fun area near the ocean called Seaport Village. Seaport Village contains a ton of little shops that are full of neat souvenirs. Again, we ran out of time before we saw everything it had to offer.

I would love to go back to San Diego again sometime, minus the crutches and wheelchair. ;) But I'm not sure we would have any more fun than we did during those few days when we experienced San Diego under "entertaining conditions." ;)

Incidentally, my book, "Moment of Truth," features several scenes that take place in San Diego. The adventures described are fiction, but the settings and descriptions are based on what I saw while visiting this beautiful city.

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