Saturday, September 29, 2007

USC barely hangs on

USC hangs on with seconds left in the game to beat the Washington Huskies 27-24. We were favored by 3 touchdowns but only won by 3 points. I had a bad feeling the entire game. The refs were calling everything on us, and even made up some penalties in my opinion. We had about 16 penalties and lost 150 yards. Booty threw a couple interceptions, and yet we still won. We got really lucky tonight. Don't know if we will drop from #1 to #2 this week. It wouldn't surprise me. The picture above is USC getting a punt blocked with only a minute and a half to go. We were ahead by 10, it appeared we would win. Then the blocked punt, which turned into a Washington touchdown. Now we were only 3 points ahead with less than a minute to go. They kick an on-side kick, but luckily we recover and hold out for the win. Wow, I can't take games like this. I was a nervous wreck the entire time. But we are still undefeated. 5 of the top 10 teams lost today including Oklahoma, Florida, Texas and Rutgers. West Virginia lost on Friday. It was the weekend of upsets. Hey BYU hangs on to win tonight too against New Mexico.

Martin's Cove

I had to go to Casper on Friday morning for a meeting. After, I decided to go over to Martin's Cove. It is about 50 miles from Casper, WY. I followed the North Platte River from Casper to the southwest. I imagined my ancestors making that trek on foot. What took me under an hour took them a couple days. I have never been to Martin's Cove, but have wanted to go there. It wasn't very crowded, only about 6 other people, but the missionaries gave me a nice tour and drove me on a little rover to the cove. I definitely want to go back with Page next summer and walk around the trails. If you have ever been on the pioneer trail in Wyoming you know how barren and bleak it looks. I'm sure many wondered if they made the right choice leaving their homes in the East or Europe. Their faith kept them going. And because of their faith and strength, I have a wonderful heritage. I was supposed to get home around 6 p.m. last night, but actually got home at 10:30 p.m. but it was well worth it.

This is Martin's Cove. It protected the Martin Handcart Company. It is protected from the harsh Wyoming wind by the hill in front of it, plus it sits back against the mountain. I always thought they were here when the rescuers found them, but actually they were farther back on the trail exposed to the snow and wind. The rescuers brought them to this spot because there wasn't enough room for all of them in the fort near Devil's Gate and they had to get them out of the wind. This spot is only a couple miles from Devil's Gate and the old fort. There was no food at the fort for them either.

Here is the Sweetwater River. This is the river that the Salt Lake Boys carried the Martin Handcart Company members across in Oct 1856. At that time the water had chunks of ice in it and they were snow bound. Just imagine how cold they were. They had no heaters or parkas. They were out in the middle of nowhere with little provisions. Just a few items on a handcart.

Sean walked across this river a few years ago when he did the Trek with the Bozeman Stake. This river has special significance to me because my great great great great grandmother died on the Mormon Trail somewhere around here. It was reported she died at the crossing of the Sweetwater due to illness. She was buried in an unmarked grave.

You are looking at Devil's Gate. I always thought the Pioneers came through Devil's Gate, but they didn't, they went around it. It was just another landmark on the trail that they would look out for. The Sweetwater River passes through this opening. I took this picture very close to the LDS Visitor's Center. Devil's Gate, Martin's Cove and Independence Rock are just a few miles from each other. I never realized they were all that close together.

Here is Independence Rock. This was one of the landmarks that Pioneers would look for. Many Pioneers etched their names into the rock. It is called Independence because Pioneers would try to reach this spot of the trail by July 4th.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lacey and Devin sitting in a tree......

Lacey has a new boyfriend. His name is Devin and he lives here in town with his grandparents. He is originally from Pocatello, ID, but is out here going to school at the college. He also is working with his uncles in their plumbing business and wants to be a welder. Lacey is pretty smitten with him. He came over last week to watch the USC game with me and Lacey so he can't be all that bad. We have already had him come over for dinner a couple times too. He is a nice young man and is very sweet with Lacey, even opening up doors for her. They met at the singles ward, hmmmmm...... Anyway, Page and I really didn't care for the last boy she liked, which caused a lot of stress in the house, but things are a lot better now. Lacey usually has a smile on her face now. Keep smiling Lacey!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

New Calling at Church

I got my new calling today at church. I am the new 1st Assistant to the High Priest Group Leader. I've been in my new ward for about 5 months, so I'm happy to finally get a calling. I really like the High Priest Quorum in our ward, so this should be a nice calling. And since I am the first assistant, I do not have to go to all the early morning meetings like PEC, Welfare, Ward Council. I'm happy about that since I am not a morning person and I had to go to those meetings in other callings I have held.

I also joined the Ward choir and we sang in sacrament meeting. I think we sounded pretty good. A doctor at work is also trying to get me to sing in the college's Master Chorale this year. They perform a big community Christmas concert every year. They perform once in Cody and again in Powell. I am seriously thinking about doing it. First practice will be this Tuesday. And I am still doing the bagpipe lessons on Wednesday nights in Billings (90 miles away). So I am really filling up my calendar. I do tend to over program my life. But I'm the type that has to be continually stimulated and on the move.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

USC Does it Again

USC rolled over Washington State 47-14 today. They remain ranked #1 in the nation. This was also their 35 consecutive win in the coliseum. This is the longest home field winning streak in the country too. I missed the first part of the game because I ran and got Page and me some hamburgers and when I got home they forgot to give us one of the burgers so I had to go back and get it, at least they gave me some free fries because of the error. So I didn't really start watching the game until it was already 7-7. Then at the beginning of the fourth quarter when we are winning 40-17, ABC decides to switch the game over to the Iowa/Wisconsin game, so I didn't get to see the last quarter of the game. Wasn't too happy about the burger error or ABC's disrespect of USC football, but very happy they won.

FIGHT ON, TROJANS, beat the Huskies (Washington) !!!

BYU beat Air Force today too. It was BYU's Home coming and MWC Opener. They won 31-6. Sean was at that game today.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How's Sean Doing?

My Bestest Friend in Utah asked how Sean was doing, so here it goes. Sean is doing great at BYU. He has been there a few weeks and loves it. He is taking English, Culture of Creativity, Book of Mormon, German and Geography. He was a little nervous how he would do in his classes at first because he kept hearing how much harder college was than high school, but he thinks he is doing pretty well. He really likes the guys in his dorm. He is in Helaman Halls. In his ward he is a FHE Dad. He ran into a kid he was friends with when they were 8 and we were living in California. They haven't seen each other for almost 10 years, so that was really cool for Sean. Sean was able to hear President Hinkley speak, he has climbed up to the Y a couple times. He has gone to a couple sporting events. He has discovered "The Office" and loves that series. They have CDs of the first year and he and his friends go watch it on his TV in his dorm room. He is liking the girls too. We sure do miss him a lot but we are so happy things are going well. We are also very thankful that Karie and Hope are there in case he ever needs anything. Rise and Shout, Cougars! Beat the Air Force !

Sean and Brett at Devotional to listen to the Prophet, Gordon B. Hinkley

Sean and Luke (I think Luke was painted blue at some point...)

Kyle, Brett and Sean up at the Y for the Y lighting ceremony for homecoming

Sean hiking up to the Y

Sean with Kyle getting a little sunburned at the BYU/Arizona game. They were on the very top row of the stadium. Great student seats!

If you're around the LA Coliseum on Saturday

This was posted on the USC Football message board:

" the meeting of the perfect day club will commence at 4 pm at the naked headless statues at 4 pm this saturday, prior to the wsu game. the traditional handing out of the little debbie's chocolate brownies and sparkling cider will preceed the toasting of usc, utah and michigan. see you there! there is no official membership, so everyone is welcome. fight on!"

Wish I could be there. As you remember last week USC beat Nebraska, Utah beat UCLA and Michigan beat Notre Dame to make it a perfect day. (USC win plus UCLA and Notre Dame loss on the same day= perfect day).

Before any of you are offended about the naked hadless statues, they are the bronze statues that stand out front of the LA Coliseum and were put there for the 1984 Summer Olympic games that were in LA that year. It's art! By the way, Page and I were able to get tickets to the sychronized swimming event during those Olympics and saw the USA team win the gold. That was exciting. We were waving our American flags and sang the Star Spangled Banner. And yes the statues are totally naked and headless, as I remember they were patterned after a couple of athletes that competed that year- talk about lack of privacy....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Primary Sacrament

Every year one Sacrament Meeting is dedicated to the Primary to present a program to the congregation. All the kids in the Primary (ages 3-12) get to participate. Most have a small speaking part in the presentation and they all get to sing a bunch of songs they have learned every Sunday over the year. Our primary had their program this morning. There is nothing like watching the kids get up all excited to say their lines, and it is always a delight to listen to them sing. We had one little boy that really belted out the words to "I Know that My Redeemer Lives". What a testimony he had singing that song. Everybody had a big grin on their face. At one point I looked over to Page and she was crying. Crying? She says she always cries when the primary kids sing. I couldn't help but think back to when our kids were in primary and we sat smiling big at them to get them to sing. It's been a long time since they were in primary. Then my mind went back to when I was in primary and I participated in Primary Sacrament. I'm in my 40's so you know that was a long time ago, but I still can remember those presentations. The place was packed too. Lots of Grandparents, and I'm sure lots of Dad's who would rather be fishing or hunting but had to come see their kids today.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

USC dominates Nebraska

This was USC's big test. Playing Nebraska in Lincoln, dealing with the red sea of fans. The stadium was all red. The crowd was loud but USC only needed 4 plays to get its first touchdown. But then Nebraska came back and scored 10 unanswered points and took the lead. After that it was all USC. We ran through their defense at will. #13 Stafon Johnson was amazing and he earned MVP of the game. We ended up beating Nebraska 49-31 but it wasn't even that close. We gave them 3 touchdowns in the 4th quarter after we benched our first team and put in the reserves. Of course Nebraska kept their first team on the field. Our coach Pete Carroll likes to give the up and coming players some game time when we are way ahead. This gives them experience and prepares them for when they are first string. I think its great he does that but a lot of SC fans get frustrated because we always give up points when he does that. It was 49-10 when we put in our second string and then to boot at the very end it was our 3rd string in the game. I was very happy for my USC Trojans. They proved they are the number 1 team in the country tonight. LSU is coming on strong, but USC winning on the road in a hostile environment with a good team sealed the deal for USC. FIGHT ON Trojans! And Happy 56th Birthday to our coach Pete Carroll today.

Speaking of birthdays, today would have been my sister, Connie's 44th birthday. I still miss her and love her so much. She has been gone almost 23 years now.

Today was a Perfect Day

A perfect day in the TrojanNation is when USC wins , while UCLA and Notre Dame lose. It doesn't happen very often, but today turned out to be a USC Perfect Day.

USC beat Nebraska

UCLA lost to Utah

Notre Dame lost to Michigan

I hope you had a perfect day today too!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Night Lights- Wyoming Style

I went to my first Powell Panther's High School Football game tonight. Last year they won the Wyoming State Championship. Up until tonight they were ranked #1 in the State. They played Jackson which is #3 in the State. So it was a big game. Both came into the game 2-0. I sat with Roger and Sina and had a really good time. The Panthers experienced a rare loss tonight. So there ranking is going to tumble. They lost 14-6. The stadium was filled with fans which was very nice to see. The weather was great. In Wyoming all high school sporting events are free to the public, unless it is a regional or state championship game. So I got in free! How cool is that? I did feel for the Panthers tonight. They are not used to losing. But cheer up fans, they can still defend their title. They are not out of it yet.


I bought three dozen tamales today! And I have a big smile on my face because of it. Last week, me and a co-worker had to go to Lovell. When we drove through Byron we saw a little handwritten sign that said "Homemade Tamales". We stopped and each bought a dozen pork tamales. They were being sold by an old Mexican couple that couldn't speak English (My mission to Spain helped me in this situation with my keen Spanish language skills), so you know they had to be good. We also bought a dozen homemade flour tortillas. I brought mine home to Page and Lacey and they had them eaten in 2 seconds. They were sooooooooooooo good. I did manage to get two tamales before they were devoured.

Me and another co-worker had to go back to Lovell today. I told him about the tamales. He bought a dozen. I bought 3 dozen. He called me after he got home today and told me he wasn't sharing the tamales with his family. I TOLD him they were that good. He should have bought more. He will learn, like I did last week.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cancer Free

We just received great news about my Mother-in-law. She has been battleing Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma for about a year, and she had it probably about a year before they finally diagnosed it. She has fought the good fight and it finally paid off. The doctor's just told her she is in remission and they do not see the cancer anymore. We could not have received better news.

My Mom also had cataract eye surgery yesterday. She was really nervous last week, but got a Priesthood Blessing on Sunday and she said after that she was calm and relaxed. Funny how that works. She said it went very well and does her other eye in a couple weeks. Aunt Gail came up to help and is taking Mom to her house for a week to pamper her. You know my Mom will love that.

We are so glad that our Moms are doing great. We wish we could see them more often but southern California is a long drive away. We got to get them to think about moving to Wyoming.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Patriot Day

Six years have passed since terrorists attacked the world trade center, pentagon, and the attempted attack on the white house or other symbolic target. Many people died that day. I can't even imagine the horror they faced. I do have a friend that experienced it. He wasn't lucky that day as his plane was torpedoed into the pentagon. He left behind a wife and two young children. He wasn't even 40 yet. It was horrific for all Americans to witness, but when you have a loved one that was involved, it becomes even more personal. It is one of those events where you remember where you were or what you were doing when you heard about the attacks. I was living and working in Louisiana. I hadn't left for work yet. When I saw the second plane hit the towers, I knew it wasn't an accident. I watched for awhile and then had to drive to work, which took me about an hour to get to from my house. I heard the towers fall while I was on the road. I just about cried. I wouldn't know about Chris being on the plane for another 24 hours. Page was substitute teaching that day in Bossier City and they wouldn't let them leave the classrooms all day. She had no idea why until she got home from work and by then so much had already happened. The President of the United States flew into Barksdale Airforce Base in Bossier City that day. You could see his plane coming in with fighter jets on all sides protecting his plane. He was a surreal day. We were all nervous because we didn't know if the terrorists would try to kill the President while he was in our town, or if they would bomb the base since he holds our largest fleet of B-52 bombers. The next week I would fly from Shreveport to Long Beach to attend and sing at Chris' memorial service. It was crazy. When I landed in Dallas, there were armed military personnel with assault rifles, in uniform, walking through the terminals. It was so different from the country I knew just weeks before. We all did seem united during that time.
Today, I feel we couldn't be more disunited. Everything is so political now. We just recently heard tapes from Osama Bin Laden. General Patreaus is before congress now discribing the war's progress. There are factions calling him a liar. The President's poll numbers are at an all time low. There is just a lot of political turmoil in the country. We have had more soldiers die in the war that followed the attacks than the numbers that died on that day.
But today is a day of rememberance for all those who perished that day. May God bless the families and the people who have been touched by these events. May God bless this land of freedom. May we find peace and be safe. I am truly thankful for the men and women who are serving in the armed forces that are sacrificing everything to protect our liberty.
I'm sure we all have our own stories from September 11, 2001.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Power of Prayer

I really enjoyed the Sabbath today. I went to Sacrament Meeting with a prayerful heart today. I really opened up my heart to the spirit and the messages that were given. I really believe there isn't ever a boring sacrament meeting if you go in with the right spirit and attitude. I've been in interesting, inspiring but also boring meetings on Sunday. I now know what I get out of it is up to me. There has been some heavy matters weighing on me with much concern about a family member. I have to admit once this crisis started several months ago, I have been more diligent in my prayers, scripture reading, attending my meeting, accepting any assignment, etc. I don't know about you but it seems like it takes a crisis to humble me. I go through the motions in good times, and I try to do the things the Lord would have me do, but I don't do it with the same intensity or with the same heart as I do when I really need the Lord's help. I really need to work on that. Anyway, things are happening for the better in this family member's life that I know it's due to the spirit working in their life. It's not totally better, but it is getting better. That let's me know that there is still hope. Faith is another thing I could really work on. Well, as I was saying, church was very comforting this morning. I also received a new calling that won't go into effect for a couple weeks, so more on that after it happens.

Tonight, there was a CES Fireside. Cheryl Lant, the General Primary President spoke to the students at BYU to all church education students. I watched it on the BYU channel and was looking for Sean, since I knew he was in the Marriott Center, but of course I didn't see him. I did see my former Bishop, Gary Moore, sitting up on the stand. He is an administrator in the CES. He was my Bishop when I was a kid in California. Anyway, it was interesting that Sister Lant talked about prayer. She made some very good points. She talked about what keeps us from praying (many I knew from experience) and why we should pray, how to get an answer, etc. I thought it was a very good topic for all those college students, many who are away from home for the first time and not able to have family influence on saying their prayers. I'm sure Sean was listening and took in every word. Lacey was on the computer but I had it on, and I was hoping she was picking up the message even though she seemed deep in thought on the computer.

I think in order to get through the conflicts and traps of earth life, we desperately need to have prayer as a way to protect ourselves and get extra help. I can remember one of the first times that I gained a strong testimony of prayer. I was a young boy and I had lost my wallet. I looked everywhere. I retraced my steps, I double checked. I tore up the house looking for this wallet. I was the only one home at the time. I must have spent over an hour looking with no positive results. I then had a thought come into my head. I should pray to my Heavenly Father for help. I know in the scheme of things a lost wallet isn't a big deal, especially because I don't think I really had anything in it of value, but it was important to me. So I knelt down in prayer and asked my Heavenly Father to help me. As soon as I finished, I was prompted to go back outside to the garage (but I looked out there several times already!), as I walked out to the backyard, I didn't go to the garage but out to the patio. I don't know why because I don't remember going out that way with my wallet, but I did it and on a patio chair was my wallet. I couldn't believe it. I found it within minutes of my prayer. I knew right then and there that Heavenly Father heard my prayer, and that meant he knew me. What a powerful lesson I learned that day.

I need to remember that even when there is no crisis in my life.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Andy you looked GREAT

Even thought you lost to Roger again for the 14th straight time......

Andy and Roger met last night in the US Open quaterfinals. I wish they could have waited until the finals, but oh well. Roger won 7-6, 7-6, 6-2. Probably no big surprise to the tennis world. Y'all know I am a HUGE Roddick fan and would love for him to win a grand slam again, but Roger is just too good for anybody these days. Last year in the finals Andy won a set. Eventhough Roger won in three straight sets, I think Andy looked a lot stronger this year. He lost the first two sets in tiebreaks, and then let the third set get away from him. He played great and has nothing to be ashamed of in this loss. I thought it was cool that they both were battleing in black too, just hate to see him out of the tournament so soon.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sean made it to BYU

Here is the "Y" up on the mountain. Sean climbed up to this yesterday with his friends. When we were in Utah last week, it was so hot. They were having a heat wave, but we had a great time at new student orientation and getting Sean settled into his dorm, buying his books, etc. I also went to the BYU/Arizona football game on Saturday with Karl. We had a great time and BYU won 20-7. Sean went with Brett and Kyle since they purchased student sport passes. Earlier Saturday, I was able to help with Karl's ordination to High Priest. He was called as their stake's young men's president. Page and I also went out to dinner with Karie and Karl on Friday night. We really enjoy spending time with them. We wished we lived closer so we could see them more. We also got to visit with Hope and Samantha on Saturday night. Page also got to see Becoming Jane in American Fork. I think I was only 1 of three males in the theater. We had a great week in Utah. I think Sean is going to be just fine.

Saying good-bye to Sean before heading back to WY

Sean is unpacked and settled into his dorm room

Here is Sean's home for the next 9 months

20 things I learned on my trip to Utah

1. It takes 8 hours by car to get to Provo from my house.
2. Southwest Wyoming is desolation. I bet the pioneers had to work hard to keep their morale high.
3. Heber City sure has grown since the last time I was there.
4. Trees in Provo Canyon are already turning colors for Autumn.
5. Utahans are terrible drivers. I lived in LA, I know bad driving when I see it.
6. Provo/Orem is clearly an urban center. They have everything and everybody living there.
7. Jamba Juice with soy milk is yucky.
8. BYU sure knows how to conduct a new freshman orientation.
9. BYU knows how to take care of the parents too.
10. President Samuelson laughs at my jokes.
11. I wish I was a freshman at BYU, it looks like it will be a great experience for Sean.
12. Utah is in a heat wave. Boy was it hot!
13. BYU Creamery on 9th doesn't sell individual ice cream cups in the frozen section.
14. BYU is better than Arizona. 20-7
15. The Haka really does put fear in the heart of BYU's opponents. The Haka was cool!
16. Lavell Edwards Stadium has the most awesome views than any stadium in the country.
17. Rise and Shout is hard to learn. Good thing they put the words up on the board.
18. They retired #14 for Nielsen and Detmer and they are still considered "young men" to Lavell. (very funny when he called them "young").
19. It's hard to say goodbye to a child you are leaving behind.
20. It still takes 8 hours to drive home.