Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I voted today!  It was my first time ever in the 11 years since I've been 18.  Judge all you want.  If you did judge, here is the talk for you: Laborers in the Vineyard.  And if you didn't judge you should read the talk anyway, it's super great!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I belong to Utah!

I didn't even mention that I had crazy camp glasses, but I did and here they are...along with my Crazy Camp Melissa :)  We do not even look like we've already hiked 12 miles!  But believe it!  But, I had to leave camp right after testimony and balloon launch on Wednesday so that on Thursday Eric and I could wake up early and drive.
Ok, technically we didn't drive straight here, we drove to a stake center in Moab and were spiritually fed all day...then we drove here :)
Our destination was something epic that could not be avoided.
As much as Eric pondered, he knew one day we would have to make the trek.
Because for 8 years our car has totted this little guy on it and we had never even been.
Image from here

 But not any more my friends, not any more!!!
I give you, The Delicate Arch, a la license plate.  The resemblance is striking, no?
It was one of those spectacular moments in nature that leave you with an assurance that there is a  God and that he is good.
Look how huge it is!!  That really is us under there...even though we look like ants!!
We loved seeing all the people there.  It made it so much more of a fabulous event.  Hundreds come to see this unique artform straight form heaven.
One amazing thing about the arch is now intentional it is.  It is surrounded by these huge bowls and stands so singular to all around it.
We came at just the right time of day too.  (I'm totally the one in the white shirt there)
The hike was quite splendid too.  In my mind I had envisioned short dirt trail lined with fences.  But no, we got to scramble up rock and find our way.  
And this is just to remind me that Heavenly Father answers prayers.  Always.
There was cool petroglyphs too...seriously, it was so crazy to think about how it got there and who made it.
Put it on the record...you ain't an official Utahn unless you've kissed under Delicate Arch!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Girls Camp!!!

Girls camp was amazing beyond amazing.  Every single second was filled with joy and the spirit and miracles and triumphs and laughter and growth and friendship and everything perfect that a girls camp should be filled with.  I wish I could record every single amazing thing here but it is impossible.  The theme was "There's no place like home" and it was perfect.  The ultimate event was our 15 mile hike to the Manti temple.  It was so amazing.  I can't even know where to begin.  So I'll just say when the mormon message video comes out some time next year on it (seriously awesome to have a church camera crew follow us around) you can watch that and feel of the spirit that we felt!  And before I go any further I must give a special thanks to my mom for coming to watch the kiddos and to Eric for the past 6 months of sacrificing his wife so that we could prepare such an epic camp!!  
When we got to camp we glittered everything we could get our hands on!  Our symbol from wizard of oz was the ruby red slippers and our value was virtue, so we were the Virtuettes!
Here's all our girls!  They were such gems all week.  We asked them to do a lot of hard things and they did them all with smiles.  It was unbelievable and wonderful and I love them all so much.
One miracle we saw at camp was 250 girls surviving on 4 toilets!  Thanks to Bro. Thornock for handling that situation!
Tuesday morning was our 15 mile hike.  We left super early!!  
We went about 7 miles down Ephraim canyon on the dirt road (yes, we had the 7 page permit for that)
Then we went the other 8 on the ATV trail along the highway.  You can just see the temple at the end of our pink line in this picture.
There's the temple in the upper left corner...it's getting closer!!
And here we are going up the hill to touch the temple.  My favorite part was that they had secretly asked all the women in our stake to attend the 10:30 session and then be on this hill to cheer us on the last bit.  It was amazing to see the physical angels there around us to make sure we made it to the temple as evidence of all the real angels that had buoyed us up on the entire hike.  I was literally sobbing and I loved it.  Sis. Dalton called in to talk to us when we had finished which was o-so-neat.
We all cooled off with ward spa time when we got back :)
The next morning we all thought we would be too sore to survive the ropes course, but we made it!  It was SOOOOOOO fun!!!!  We problem solved together and supported one another.
We held this pole so girls could climb up it.
And once they got to the top...
They jumped!!
As I mentioned the girls were all so good, we signed pillowcases for each other as a wrap up activity.
Then we were off to do hard laborious service!!  (Seriously, girls camp was not for the faint of heart!)  We were clearing bushes around camp and it was SO FUN.  And at the end we had the longest human chain I'd ever seen rempving the branches!!!  There was seriously 150 people in this chain.  This is but a small glimpse.
There's me!  I was really at camp!!
That night we had a wonderful testimony meeting.  The night before we had written our testimonies on weather proof paper with our stake website on it and after testimony meeting the stake brought out all the testimonies tied onto these balloons with lights.  
We released them into the sky at the same time and it was BEAUTIFUL.  And the shooting star Heavenly Father sent was an added bonus!!!

Girls camp was splendid beyond splendid and such neat special experiences happened there.  I hope that those touched and changed can remember that and hold onto it!!  I was certainly blessed by being asked to help with this wonderful testimony building event!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Willis visit!!

A midst the business of all our summer activities (summer school included...)

 We were able to have a wonderful visit from the Willis family!!!  WE LOVED IT!!!!  We loved it so much, that as is typical, we took minimal pictures.  We were basically either partying it up or resting it out to have time to take pictures!  But I did get this one of Tyler!  Haha, Charina and Jimmy discovered he would fall instantly asleep if they covered his eyes so he couldn't distract himself with the world.
 We dutch oven-ed three nights they were with us, we hiked to the hot pots, Eric and Jimmy played morning basketball, we had a home run derby, we went to the movies, went to Bullies and lunch in the park and watched NBA finals and Wasatch King as well as Sasquatch Gang!!! It tuckered Ram out!!  (When he woke up in the car later (nap transfer) the first thing he said was "Where my cheez-it?"
 As the Willises were headed out the door I said, "Wait!  I have to take a picture!!!"  So we did.
 And one with Jimmy.
 And one with little Jimmy...Tyler was the best traveling baby ever!  We loved him so much!!!!!
Thank you for coming to visit Willis clan we loved it so much!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Arise and get thee to the mountain!

In a few short months I will have lived in Monroe longer consecutively than anywhere else in my life.  Woa.  And in those 4 years that we have been here I have had an aching desire to be on Monroe Mountain.  Everyone else is...so I should be too!  We've dabbled on its base (beautiful and grand no doubt) and once took our little minivan a couple miles up but I've never felt like I had the true Monroe mountain experience.  Luckily my husband is a fabulous speaker and testifier and was asked by 5th ward to be a guest speaker at their combined activity up the mountain at a cabin--family invited!! It was absolutely everything I had imagined and hoped for.  Part of the activity included a two-mile hike to the cabin.  It was wonderful and the girls did SO good because it was not an easy hike.  
 But it was beautiful!!!  We had to jump over or crawl under lots of downed trees and every time Viana would say, "I think a first grader can handle this."  And she did!

The cabin was just how I imagined a mountain cabin would be.  It is owned by Lynn Parsons who is a Utah legend.  He was also gracious enough to go up early and cook dutch oven dinner!
Did you know CharlyAnn is a balla?  She is.  This hoop was perfect for her. 
Viana and Brooke balance beamed on this wall.  Ram toddling to the snow in the background.
And he found the snow.  And fell waist deep into it eventually :)
 Eric spoke about the theme for the youth this year, "Arise and shine forth" and it was wonderful.  I love being able to hear him teach.  The drive home was great too!  This is just a quick shot through the car window.  It was great to be able to ride in Coach Abbott's fancy Pathfinder!

I think it looks like Ram is on an airplane in this picture.  We were only about 500 meters vertically from the top of the whole mountain.
And just for kicks here is a video of the drive up.  Viana said, "This is like our bumpy road, but bumpier and longer!"  Proof:

So there you have it, Monrovian Bliss!!!