June 28, 2008

Chin Puppets

What do you get when you mix a very late night in a small midwestern town with crazy women, a little bit of yarn, a baby outfit and some make up? Chin puppets! While in Missouri, Jeni, Maddy and Whitnie (Trent's wife) somehow got the crazy idea to dress up their chins like faces. Attached below is the result. The first one is Whitnie, the second is Maddy, and the last is Jeni. All I can say is it must have been really late.

June 27, 2008

Quote 8

Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him... Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 226-227

June 24, 2008

Manti Pageant

Last week Jeni, Maddy, Joey and I headed an hour south to Manti, Utah for the annual Mormon Miracle Pageant. This reenactment of several historical Church events takes place on the grounds of the Manti Temple and runs for two weeks each year. We had a great time eating dinner outside from the local vendors and we had great seats for the show which started at 9:30pm and lasted an hour and a half.

Here are a few interesting facts about the Manti Utah Temple. It was the third temple built in Utah and the only temple dedicated by President Lorenzo Snow. It was built on a rattlesnake-infested site, known as the Manti Stone Quarry, but once Brigham Young designated the site for a temple, it became known as Temple Hill. On the morning of the site dedication, Brigham Young confided to Warren S. Snow that Temple Hill was the spot where Book of Mormon Prophet Moroni dedicated the land for a temple site.

June 22, 2008

Quote 7

When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. you can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 93

June 18, 2008

When There was Me and You

Maddy's Center Stage group, Xtreme Kidz, started their summer tour performing songs from the Disney hit "High School Musical." Several individuals from the studio were principal dancers in the movie and one of them was the assistant choreographer so I think Maddy's group had some inside information on the dance moves!

Maddy does a wonderful job in the show and has a solo singing "When There was Me and You." Here's the link to the original recording from the movie, and below is Maddy's performance from her group's vocal showcase the other night at a local University (UVSC).

June 15, 2008


A few weeks ago Joey and I went to Moab in southern Utah with the entire Ward Young Men's Group. Even though Joey isn't of Young Men's age, beause he had earned his Arrow of Light he was able to attend since some of the camp was Scout related. We spent 4 days and 3 nights there and other than the record rain the first night (some of which is still in our sleeping bags), the trip was amazing. We hiked over 10 miles in Arches National Park, spent almost an entire day riding the white water rapids on the Green River and ate some great dutch-oven meals each day at the campsite. It was Joey's first official Scout camp and it was full of memories. Below are some pictures.

Joey with his trademark smile

At our campsite

Trying to stay warm in the rain

Joey throwing his rock during the "Duck on a Rock" game

Ward Group at Arches National Park

Overlooking one of the many drop-off's in the park

Landscape Arch

At the world famous Delicate Arch

Joey showing off his superhuman strength

June 14, 2008

All You Can Eat

One of the fun traditions we had growing up was "All You Can Eat" nights, though these weren't the traditional trips to the local buffet (we did those too at the "Royal Fork" - what a name!). No, instead we would head to a grocery store and were allowed to buy whatever and as much of whatever we wanted for dinner, the only condition being that whatever we bought had to be eaten that same night. I remember feeling so excited, the whole store opening up to me like never before! Should I get a whole case of ice cream bars and a dozen doughnuts? Or what about a six pack of pop and an entire pizza? The possible combinations were almost too much for a young boy's mind. And no rules about fruits or vegetables - heaven!

This tradition is something that Jeni and I have continued from time to time over the years and one that Joey and I had fun with when Jeni and Maddy went out of town the other night. For the sake of confidentiality (and embarrassment), I won't share our spoils for the night but suffice it to say, we ate everything and it wasn't ALL sugary.

June 11, 2008

Quote 6

My brother [the Bishop], during the supper, and during the entire evening, with the exception of a few words about Jesus, when he entered, did not say a word which could recall to this man who he himself was, nor indicate to him who my brother was. It was apparently a fine occasion to get in a little sermon, and to set up the bishop above the convict in order to make an impression upon his mind. It would, perhaps, have appeared to some to be a duty, having this unhappy man in hand, to feed the mind at the same time with the body, and to administer reproof, seasoned with morality and advice, or at least a little pity accompanied by an exhortation to conduct himself better in future.

My brother asked him neither his country nor his history; for his crime lay in his history, and my brother seemed to avoid everything which could recall it to him. At one time, as my brother was speaking of the mountaineers of Pontarlier, who have a pleasant labour near heaven, and who, he added, are happy, because they are innocent, he stopped short, fearing there might have been in this word which had escaped him something which could wound the feelings of this man.

Upon reflection, I think I understand what was passing in my brother’s mind. He thought, doubtless, that this man, who called himself Jean Valjean, had his wretchedness too constantly before his mind; that it was best not to distress him by referring to it, and to make him think, if it were only for a moment, that he was a common person like any one else, by treating him thus in the ordinary way.

Is not this really understanding charity? Is there not something truly evangelical in this delicacy, which abstains from sermonizing, moralizing, and making allusions, and is it not the wisest sympathy, when a man has a suffering point, not to touch upon it at all?

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, p. 70

June 09, 2008

Liberty Jail

A few weeks ago, Jeni, Maddy and I visited Liberty Jail in Liberty, Missouri. It was a great experience to see the location where D&C 121-123 were received by the Prophet Joseph. B.H. Roberts said that these revelations "made Liberty jail, for a time, a center of instruction. The eyes of the saints were turned to it as the place whence would come encouragement, counsel—the word of the Lord. It was more temple than prison, so long as the Prophet was there. It was a place of meditation and prayer. … Joseph Smith sought God in this rude prison, and found him” (B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:526).

There was an LDS visitor's center there and we received a brief tour of the history of the site as well as the construction of the jail, how it became a home at one point in time and how the Church purchased it, reconstructed it as a jail using the last remaining wall, and then built the visitor's center around it. The first two pictures below give you a good idea of how cramped they must have been as well as how deep the rock walls were. The last picture shows the jail as it stood in its original condition back in the 1800's.

June 08, 2008

Cool Charmer

On Joey's last day of school, he brought home some awards he had earned during the year. We were very proud of his accomplishment in math.

But the one he was most excited to show us was his award as the world's best "Cool Charmer."

In his teacher's own words, the award was for "being smooth with the ladies." I guess we should be grateful that he's maximizing the use of both the left and right sides of his brain!
Quote 5

Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently? And this difference, so far from impairing, floods with meaning the love of all blessed creatures for one another, the communion of the saints. If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the Church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note.

CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 134

June 03, 2008

For Good

Maddy had the privilege of performing a musical number at her Elementary school graduation last week. She sang "For Good" from the Broadway musical Wicked, with her singing one part and the rest of the 6th Grade singing the other. We are so proud of her and continue to be impressed by her wonderful talent! Below is the performance.

June 02, 2008

Quote 4

I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road. A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never simply going on. Evil can be undone, but it cannot 'develop' into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, 'with backward mutters of dissevering power' - or else not. It is still 'either-or'. If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.

CS Lewis, The Great Divorce, p. 8-9
Trent's Graduation

Jeni's brother Trent graduated this past weekend with his Bachelor's degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. Jeni, Maddy and I headed to Springfield, Missouri to attend the ceremony and be a part of all the festivities. While there we got to spend some fun time with Trent, his wife Whitnie and their adorable one year old Pagelynn. Congratulations Trent!