Music I Love

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Details

This morning, we had more places to go than we had cars and drivers to get us there, so I made two separate trips and dropped three girls off at their various responsibilities.  Craig came home early from a Stake 11-yr-old Scout Camporee and left shortly after to play golf with a friend.  And McKay spent the rest of the day camping and scouting. 9:30 this morning, I discovered that I had two whole hours with no one in my car or my house...which would actually stretch to more like 3 1/2!  When I realized my unexpected good fortune, my first thought was to tackle some of the million things on my personal list...groceries, baking, laundry, updating that budget I keep putting off...but nothing on the list sounded as appealing as the thought of sneaking off into the gorgeous day outside and taking some pictures.

So...that's what I did.  

Originally I set out with the intent to find some signs of fall, but I didn't ever find that.  Fall in Texas isn't quite as spectacular as fall in some other states.

What I did find, though, were some happy surprises...the kind of little details of the day that make you completely satisfied and content when you reflect on them at 10:00 at night...

1.  Two missionaries rode their bikes past me as I waited at a red light.  I waved and they enthusiastically waved back.  That's always a happy connection.  

2.  I sat at another intersection later, this one with no stop signs or lights or even any cars, trying to decide whether to turn left or right.  When I looked left, there was a big mop of black fur in the middle of the road.  And then it moved.  And then it started rolling back and forth in the patch of sunny asphalt where it was laying.  And then it got up and I realized it was a dog.  I couldn't even bring myself to take it's picture because I was so amazed at how blissfully unaware it was of anything but that sunny spot in the road.  I decided not to bother it and turned right.  

3.  I pulled over to get this picture...
and while I was sitting there, a car drove up next to me with a cute older couple in it.  The man rolled down his window and asked if I needed any help.  Isn't that SO nice!  He laughed when I told him I had just stopped to take a picture of the pretty hay bales.  

4.  The music that accompanies these drives really just makes the whole trip worth it most of the time for me.  Today I listened to that playlist up there underneath the blog header (that's pretty much what I always listen to when I drive) but it seemed to not-so-randomly shuffle to a lot of Boston and The Outfield.  Hooray! 

5.  And my very favorite little detail of the day was this...

I came flying around a corner and saw this gorgeous black horse with his entire head stuffed into his bale of alfalfa (or whatever it is that horses eat) so I immediately came to a screeching halt and took his picture...and I also might have had a brief conversation with him.  How fun to watch him thoroughly enjoying a hearty breakfast on a beautiful Saturday morning!  

The pace of the day picked up after I left the serenity of that drive.  But those two hours of complete immersion in the details of this day were exactly what I needed to sustain me through the rest of the craziness.  I am so grateful that peace and tranquility are available even when the temple is closed.  I'm grateful for a little free space in an otherwise cluttered day.  And I'm so grateful for the way Heavenly Father personalizes all the details in my life for me so that I stop worrying, stop running around, stop orchestrating...and just trust Him.  
"God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them." -John Piper

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Color Code

On Wednesday night, the girls took this personality test for a combined YW activity.  They invited a professional therapist from the area to help explain the test and the implications of the results.  When they came home, we all stayed up late analyzing each other's personalities.  (because that's what happens when Craig is out of town...)

Emma: (she was exactly 50/50)

Craig: (also 50/50)

Craig and I had taken this Color Code test years ago before we had children, so i already knew what our colors were, but the girls gave me the test again anyway just so we could be sure.  Yup...still almost 100% BLUE.   It was interesting and SO revealing to see what our kids are, though.  It really explains so much of the dynamics in our home.  All these POWER people, with two little agreeable WHITE peacemakers, and one lone BLUE.  I think it's odd that there's not much BLUE in any of the rest of my family.  No wonder I feel so much pressure to connect all these people.  

We totally had fun dissecting each other's personalities, and even though none of us is exactly like the color selected for us by the test (well, except for me...I am completely and unapologetically BLUE) it did give us a little insight and hopefully some greater understanding about how all of our heads and hearts work.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Have I even told this entire story here?  I can't recall.  

Last year, around this time, Savannah was considering her options for life after graduation.   At the time cosmetology school sounded pretty appealing.  She has strong talents in that area, for sure, and she thought it would be a good part time income opportunity for someone whose aspirations mostly included being a mom and a wife.  We spent all of last fall touring cosmetology schools in the area, and they were all great and she was excited about a few of them.  

And then...she took the ACT.  (and here is the craziest part of this story.)  She took the test under duress and only because we insisted that she keep her options open.  She didn't study.  She worked late the night before.  And she didn't really care whether she did well or not.  And then in December, her scores were emailed to her.  And they were surprisingly great.  We weren't at all surprised, but Savannah was.  Shocked is a more appropriate word probably.  

And over the rest of Christmas break, the wheels in her little head started turning.  All of a sudden she was saying things like, "Well, what if I just applied to a few colleges?" and "What's the average ACT score for acceptance into BYU?"  and "Do you think I could even get in?" and "What would I even major in?"

And just like little number on one little test changed the entire direction of her life.  

She talked to several people last spring, including a counselor at school, and realized that she had enough credit hours to graduate a semester early if she took two online classes through Texas Tech.  So, during our month long vacation in Utah, between tours of both BYU (Provo) and BYU (Idaho) she completed those two classes.  When we got home, she interviewed with our bishop, gathered all the necessary recommendations, wrote three essays, and ordered her transcripts.  And then on September 15th, she hit SEND and applied to all three BYU campuses (the third campus is in Hawaii.)

Last week she got this from BYU-I

And last night she got this from BYU
She still has one more campus to hear from before she feels like she can make an adequate decision, but hooray for this determined, hard working girl to have accomplished such a monumental goal.  I'm so immensely proud of her.  And it looks like I'll be flying with her somewhere west of here right after Christmas so she can start school on January 5th.  That's in 10 weeks!!  Holy cow...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day

It's such a nice thing to have a long weekend in the middle of October.  I opted for sleeping in and skipping Institute, which I may regret in the eternal scheme of things, but at 8:30 this morning it was a great decision.  

Savannah and a friend went to see this amazing movie...
Craig and I took the kids to see it Saturday morning and it was fantastic.  Really.  You should go see it.  You'll love it, too.

Megan and Emma went to the mall.

McKay's small flock of friends from the neighborhood knocked on the door at noon and asked him to go fishing.  Yep.  Fishing.  And yep, they're mostly girls.  Apparently some grub worms were unearthed after the torrential downpour last night, so the girls decided it would be a great idea to go fishing at the local pond.  Seven kids, one fishing pole, a handful of unsuspecting grub worms, and a day off of school...what else would you do with that perfect combination?    

Since the kids were all occupied with their own activities, Craig and I drove down to the Arts District downtown, and had a quick lunch before he left for Birmingham.  
I'm sure sushi from a food truck is perfectly safe, but we decided the Texas burrito truck sounded so much better.  
What an absolutely perfect way to breathe a little life into an overcast day and a partly cloudy mood.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


In addition to hunting for barns across Utah and Texas, I have also acquired a great love of old, abandoned homes.  Craig and I saw this one last weekend while we were in Morgan, UT.  Isn't it amazing?  Wouldn't you just love to know the people who lived in it?  And built it?  And worked the farm that it sits on?  And wouldn't you just love to see what it looked like 50 years ago?
We drove down the main road and almost missed it because nature has just about overtaken it.  But I caught a glimpse of something in the rearview mirror and screamed for Craig to stop and go back.  yep, I actually did scream  And then I couldn't just sit in the car and take a quick picture; I had to get out and wander all around the entire property while Craig patiently waited for me to take ten million pictures.  

I'm sure this house was absolutely spectacular in its prime.  And I was really, really tempted walk into what used to be the front door and just look inside.  There was an opening in the front gate, too, so I could have.  But there was SO much overgrowth and the bushes were so full of animal life that I didn't dare disrupt anything by walking in.  And, honestly, it was hard to tell if all the shufflings coming from those bushes were human feet or just really big squirrels.  Unfortunately, I couldn't talk Craig into trespassing with me, especially with Conference blaring on our radio, so I had to be content with just exterior pictures this time.  

I can't even explain my love for this new hobby I've taken on since the summer.  What on earth was I looking at all those 45 years before now?  It's shocking really to think of the things I must have missed.  What a huge blessing, though, to be able to have the time, the inclination and the equipment these days to wander around America and find treasures like this.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Porterville Meetinghouse

While we were on our barn hunt last weekend, Craig and I found the most amazing treasure.  This beautiful thing is the Porterville Ward Meetinghouse in Morgan, UT.  It was constructed in 1898 and later dedicated in 1908 by Joseph F. Smith and housed a congregation of about 300.  In the 1940s, it was sold and converted into a private residence.    It was abandoned sometime after the 1970s, though, and heavily vandalized,  Later, in 2000 it was almost entirely destroyed by fire.  Only the exterior walls are still standing. The building is currently for sale...and don't think the thought didn't cross my mind a couple of times that we should purchase this amazing thing and attempt to bring it back to life.  :)

This is a picture I found of the church with its roof in tact...

And this is a painting of the building that was done in 1948 by LeConte Stewart...
This beautiful historic building and one other abandoned house that we also found in Morgan were my two favorite finds of the whole hunt.  I lingered with both of them for a really long time, and would have LOVED to have gone inside and taken a few pictures.  Too bad I wasn't brave enough...or skinny wriggle through that wrought iron fence surrounding the whole thing.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Utah Barn Hunting

While Craig and I were in Utah, we planned an extensive barn hunt. 
We got up early and spent the entire day driving through parts of Utah that neither of us had ever been to before. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and it was so much fun to just wander aimlessly.  

Here are a few things I discovered on that adventure, in addition to the barns and beautiful scenery...

1.  I'm convinced that I would never get tired of driving around, exploring and taking pictures.  Ever.  We left the hotel at 7:00am Saturday morning and got back at 3:00ish that afternoon, and I was disappointed to have to stop.  That's how you can tell you really love something, I think...when you could just keep doing it for hours and days at a time and never grow tired of it.  

2.  It was hard to concentrate on hunting while General Conference was on the radio.  You'd think putting two things that I love together would equal something proportionately great, but it was actually a bit of a conflict in my head.  How do you choose between listening to an awesome Conference talk or stopping to get out and wander through some beautiful abandoned thing? Impossibly difficult.   

3.  I like what I like.  Craig tried to point out things that were interesting to him.  He really likes windmills, rivers, and those beautiful homes that sit on the benches up in the mountains.  I like interesting-shaped barns that sit all by themselves in the middle of fields with mountains and sky behind them.  Uncluttered.  I like flowers, fences, farm equipment, and houses that are falling apart.  Oh, and as of this trip, I have added cows, sheep and llamas to that list, but not herds of them...just their cute faces.    

4.  The more I hunt, within Utah and outside of it, the more I realize that there is no place on earth as beautiful as Cache Valley.  There just isn't.