Monday, August 30, 2010


So this is undeniably out of order and skewed a bit, but the important thing is that its here, right? For posterity and all the world to see... Erica actually took these pics because it took a lot of concentration to drive. It was, at times, precarious. So I stole them from her facebook, doctored the color on Picasa... and voila!

So apparenty the black spots on the rocks are caused by mineral deposits being exposed to the sun and other weather (which is apparently very little other kinds of weather...)

This truly, truly fascinated me. There was a man named John Wolfe who was a Civil War vet who decided it would be good for his health to settle in the area. His health? Seriously? What drives a person to look at this landscape and say "Why, yes, I think it would be perfect to live here?" It was terribly remote and primitive...even by the standards of 1888. They stayed for 20 unbelievable years after building a dam on the salt wash and using the sparse grassland for cattle. Now that's an interview I would have loved to have been able to have. The geography was amazing...but its people that fascinate me the most.

The minerals make some of the sandstone green and some red.

I believe this one is called Devil's Garden. We didn't go in. Its a heck of a hike and must be ranger led.
Pothole Arch

Ashlyn spent a lot of time collecting the ones in her hand here.
She wanted to take a picture.

This series of arches is supposed to look like elephants.

Balanced Rock.

Quote of the day:

Several actually...


"Hey mom, what are we going to do with that brown thing we used to put our TV on?"
Me (teasing): "we're going to put it up your nose."
A (Pauses to think, wrinkles her nose): "Nah. I don't think it would fit. And it would kind of hurt."


So Paul asked me to practice his French letters with him and kept getting confused by the vowels which sound similar to our own but in different places with slight variations. In French the vowels A-E-I-O-U are pronounced: ah-eh-ee-oh-oo. PAUL: "Sounds like a monkey." PAUSE. "Does that mean all monkeys are French?"

"Mom, do you think cats and bunnies can understand each other?"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trip to Utah: Visiting a loved one...

I Did Not Die
Author: Melinda Sue Pacho

Do not stand at my grave and forever weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.I am the gentle autumn’s rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and forever cry.
I am not there. I did not die.
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Trip to Utah: Conner's Baptism

It was one of those days that was a very good day: a jewel of moments in my life. It was extraordinary to see so many people there: people who have been a part of my life, there now to join with us and celebrate with Conner as he took the step necessary to begin the process of building the most important relationship of his life: the one with his Savior. There were about 75 people there...and the spirit was incredibly strong. Conner, the day after, told me it was the best day he had ever had. And in the weeks after, he has said the same thing over and again. And although its true he got a lot of attention and a fabulous Wii, what he recalls with perfect clarity is the love he felt; from our Heavenly Father, the Savior, his own father from the other side AND the power of the love of those who gathered to be with us on this day. Here are some pictures from those special moments:

My Aunt Lisa and cousin sage pose with Conner and th gift they gave him: a special white towel to dry off with embroidered with his name and the date.
Conner was baptized by Dave's older brother, Aaron (who also baptized Maryn)
All ready to go!

The worthy priesthood holders who stood around Conner as he received the gift of the Holy Ghost.
From Left: Gary Broderick (great uncle), Ben Curtis (uncle), Aaron Cameron (uncle), Vaughn Thacker (grandfather), John Cameron (grandfather) Conner, Bryant Thacker (uncle), Kent Cameron (uncle), Garrett Thacker (uncle)

My youngest brother Garrett confirmed Conner. He kept saying he was worried about getting through it in English since he had never done it in any other language then Portuguese. He did great!

Quote: "Mommy, I want everyone to know I will make good choices now, because I am part of the gospel."
He described the experience later:
"I couldn't stop smiling when I went into the water. I felt so happy!"

Here is the program:


Bishop Gary Broderick (Great Uncle)


Bishop Gary Broderick (Great Uncle)


Becky Broderick (Great Aunt)


Clarine Downs (Great Grandmother)

Opening Song:

“When Jesus Christ was Baptized”

When Jesus Christ was baptized
Down in the River Jordan,
Three members of the Godhead
Were present there in love.
The Father spoke from heaven
When Jesus Christ was baptized;
The Holy Ghost descended
As gently as a dove.

And now when I am baptized,
I’ll follow his example—
Be baptized by immersion
Through sacred priesthood pow’r.
Then I will be a member
Of Heav’nly Father’s kingdom
And have the Holy Spirit
To guide me ev’ry hour.

Opening Prayer:

Erma Cameron (Grandmother)

Talk :

Paul Willis (Brother)

Paul spoke very simply but eloquently to his brother directly about being baptized and being a member of the church and repentance while Conner listened attentively.

Musical Number:

“I Know My Savior Loves Me”

Maryn Cameron (Sister), Heather Cameron (Cousin), Sage Bearnson (Cousin)

They sang so incredibly beautifully! And they looked like angels!


Ordinance performed by Aaron Cameron (Uncle)


Vaughn Thacker (Grandfather)

John Cameron (Grandfather)

Interlude: Becky Broderick


Ordinance Performed by Garrett Thacker


Gary Broderick (Presiding), Vaughn Thacker (Grandfather), Bryant Thacker (Uncle), Ben Curtis (Uncle), Robert Downs (Great Grandfather), John Cameron (Grandfather), Aaron Cameron (Uncle), Kent Cameron (Uncle)

I don't remember much of what was said, but I do remember Garrett specifically telling Conner his Father in Heaven and his own father loved him very much.


Chiara Cameron (Mother)

I bore my testimony about relationships, how the word revolves around them. And how the most important one was the one we create with our Savior. I sang a song called "Perfect Love". I couldn't even look at anyone since I was so close to weeping anyway. Somehow, with the support of the spirit, I made it through, but even as I sang with my eyes closed, I could hear others crying. Later, someone told me nearly everyone had shed tears. The next day, Conner told me he loved it when I sang that song, and that he cried. i asked him if he knew why he had cried. He smiled and answered, "The Holy Spirit in my heart."

Closing Song:

“Families Can be Together Forever”

I have a fam’ly here on earth.
They are so good to me.
I want to share my life with them through all eternity.

Fam’lies can be together forever
Through Heav’nly Father’s plan.
I always want to be with my own family,
And the Lord has shown me how I can.
The Lord has shown me how I can.

While I am in my early years,
I’ll prepare most carefully,
So I can marry in God’s temple for eternity.

Fam’lies can be together forever
Through Heav’nly Father’s plan.
I always want to be with my own family,
And the Lord has shown me how I can.
The Lord has shown me how I can.

I couldn't even sing the closing song. I looked over at my son, nestled in my arms, and saw tears welling in his eyes. This was for his dad, and I knew it.

Closing Prayer:

Carolyn Thacker (Grandmother)

Heave and Thud

One of the many joys of getting ready to move is the joy of going through all the accumulated crap and tossing it in a rented dumpster. Although it’s a bit daunting, I enjoy getting rid of trash since the heave and thud involved in tossing assorted items into a big metal box is rather satisfying. This time I am determined to really get rid of all unnecessary items (the children are staying J). I plan on really, honestly, thoroughly and literally cleaning house.

But there is a catch. When you decide to purge, you have to face every single thing you’ve hung onto over the years. You relive every wasted dime (like the box of 500 piano copies I made and never used) and relish each forgotten moment (like an envelope I found with a scrawled note on it from a kind and compassionate postal worker who delivered our packages and $20 from her own pocket on Christmas morning the holiday after David died). You can’t escape it. You have to face each choice from the past, and decide whether to wallow in it or heave and thud. You get to chose what stays and what goes.

Along those lines, I asked my sister this question, “If you had go and take only one box with you (kids, hubby and food are already accounted for) and leave everything else behind you, what would you put in that box?” She thought about it for a minute and responded “Well, outside of what you just mentioned, there is nothing else I couldn’t live without.” Agreed. But for the sake of thought and argument, if you had to represent your entire life (and thereby pass it on to your children) in one box, what would be in it? What was worth holding onto more than all the others?

Okay, we did have this discussion, but what we both decided to put into our boxes isn’t really all that important to the point. The point I’m heading for happened after we had this little chat, but you need to understand the foundational discussion.

I am trying to decide what top put in my box. Not in a literal sense since we will be taking many boxes with us when we go. It is very figurative. What am I taking in my box?

It is time for me to move forward. When I made this choice I felt very strongly that if I stayed I would be fine, but that going would be better. It would be the difference between treading water (staying afloat with the sole intent of staying alive) or swimming toward something. Progressing. And you certainly can’t do that if you’re box is too big or too heavy. And here’s a little truth for you; if you have to carry around that one box, why would you want to fill it with heavy, silly things? Why would I choose to carry around a ream of paper to remind me of how stupid I was instead of the note riddled enveloped that reminds me there are good people in this world? I want to fill my box with only the things that I am willing to carry, that won’t weigh me down…things that are worth swimming with.

And that, my friends, means a lot of heave and thud. And a lot of choices.

In my sortings, I found a picture long forgotten of me, my ex husband and my oldest son sitting on a couch. We are all smiling and pulled together closely. I am 20 in the picture, and for some reason I look at that girl and want to cry. She looks so innocent and sweet…and pretty. Wow, I can’t even believe I was that pretty 15 years ago. She may not be as wise and worn as the woman looking at the picture, but she has a certain look about her I envy. One of pure, unadulterated hope. She believes that the world will be what she decides it is, partly because she doesn’t know any better. Did she know that the man with his arms around her would become the person she most feared? Did she envision the battle ahead with a second husband whose mental illness crippled their relationship and then left her alone with 4 children? Did she even comprehend the possible consequences of trying to raise four children alone when she decided to bring each of them into this world and become a mother?

It should be clear that those 15 years are thud worthy. Right?

Wrong. Because heaving it would be a symbol of regret, and regret denotes a certain amount of self loathing. And I do not regret or loathe my life (although I do regret the loss of the pretty thing…but it’s there somewhere under all the stuff I’ve buried myself under in an effort to cope with the crap). In fact, there is one thing I have learned from living in the country and that is this; it takes a lot of crap to grow good things. Without it, the fields are not rich enough for a bountiful harvest.

And so I put the picture in my box to remind me of a few things; that that young woman in the picture is not lost to me. That I can again be filled with hope and faith…and possibly be pretty again as well. That I am better now than I was then because now I know and understand that enthusiasm without direction is lost. That I am stronger than I thought I was and capable of great things. That I am, have always been, and always will be…me. And I, crap and all, am completely box worthy.