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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell

Do you ever get the feeling you're being watched?

Capitol Reef through the eyes of my son - and apparently eyes all around:

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In My Mind
I just made myself laugh.  I was going to start this post with the statement "I have not been myself lately".  I was the victim of an attempted identity theft recently.  I am glad that even if I am not completely myself - no one else has successfully taken over.

So.....I have not been myself lately.

When we were kids and questioned "Why?" when asked to do something my mom would say, "Do you want a list of reasons or will one do?"  There are a list of things I could allow to cause a funk but I think really it's only just one.  I miss my mom.

I don't wish mom were still alive.  I am glad she is free of pain.  I don't mourn that I will never see her again - I believe with all my being that I will.  I do mourn for my father being alone after 50 years of marriage.  I do wish that my memories were more of the prior 40-plus years with mom and less of the final days with her.

There is so much good in the final days that I hope to never forget - her courage, strength and humor.  Dad's tenderness, patience and love.  The opportunity for my father, brother and I to serve mom through her last night.  What I do hope dims is the visual memory of what cancer did.


This June my husband and I took our three boys to Capitol Reef Utah.  The boys are used to green, rainy Oregon - not red, arid Southern Utah.  Our first hike the 13 year old was determined to "just get it over with."  So he launched out at a full march.  The 18 year old and 9 year old were not quite so fast but definitely ahead of my husband and I.  I did not think much of it until my husband, D, started to make a wrong turn on the trial.  I realized how easy it could be for the boys to get lost in unfamiliar territory.  Slick rock hiking is different than forest trail hiking and the hot desert is not a good place to be lost.  I expressed my concern to D and we hurried up the trail.  The boys were not at the end of the trail and we had not passed them on the way up.  D continued up the canyon, in case they did not know where the trail ended and I headed back to the car.  The boys were near the parking lot throwing rocks in the river.  I told them that we were going to do the trail again, we were going to stay together and we were going to point out trail markers the entire way.  I also explained the importance of staying at designated spots until everyone was together.  We had rented two little cabins with cable TV - a treat because we do not have TV at home.  The boys were informed that whoever did the hike the second time without complaining would sleep in a cabin with dad and could watch TV.  Whoever complained would be in a cabin with mom and no TV.  The second hike was complaint free.  We enjoyed each others company and the boys were delighted to learn that they had stayed on the trail and mom and dad had taken the wrong path (to my credit there were cairns marking the path we took - but there was a sign with a white arrow pointing the direction the boys took).  Both paths led to the same destination but it explained why we did not cross paths.

The next day we hiked the Grand Wash.  The boys asked why Capitol Reef  mattered so much to me.  I told them that memories from my childhood made the hikes extra special to me.  That evening the older two boys chose to stay in the cabin while D, the youngest and I went on the Sunset hike.  If you make the hike about 30 minutes before sunset the entire valley is bathed in light.  We missed the sunset but were able to watch the full moon rise - it was breath taking.  On the walk down from watching the moon rise my 9 year old took my hand and said, "This hike will be my memory when I'm older."


Hiking with mom.  In my mind she is wearing her broad-brimmed hat and smiling.

Really, really far away.

I was asked to substitute teach for the four year old Primary class today.  As the children walked in one little boy said in apparent surprise, "You don't look bad!"  I'm not exactly sure what he meant but it was the beginning of an interesting and entertaining hour.  I told two stories about children who prayed for help and received answers in "a still small voice."  Then we went for a walk outside to discover what we could hear when we are quiet and listening.  We heard an airplane, birds, cars, a truck, the jingling of dog collars...  While listening we saw a number of dragonflies and bees.  Back in class I told the kids that I would take turns tossing a ball to each one of them.  When they had the ball they were supposed to tell me something they had heard outside.  The first child with the ball said, "Wait before I tell you what I heard I want to tell you about my dad."  He related something about his dad and then said that he heard airplanes outside.  The next boy wanted to tell something about his sister before he said, "I heard two dragonflies, maybe a bee and a horse on a farm really, really far away."


Nine-year-old B had a box of Pop-Its - the little, white, twisted paper bundles that pop when thrown.  He asked me what would happen if a match were set to "one or four" of them.  I told him that would make a good experiment to do with his dad when we got back to Oregon.  He asked why it wasn't a good experiment for now.  I told him that it was a dad thing, not a mom thing.  B suggested it might be a Papa thing.  We found my dad reading a book.  Immediately upon hearing B's desire my dad's eyes lit up, he stopped what he was doing and got the matches. 
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