Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sharon's Stateside Summer (August 27 - September 9 in Provo)

Oh how I love to be with my children and their families - they are truly my joy in life!  However, when I grabbed my suitcase and climbed into Parker's sporty little Lexus (which I borrowed from Doug), and soared toward a comfortable empty home in Provo (which I "rented" from Thomas' parents), I was feeling as free as a bird.  It was Saturday, August 27, 2016, and I lit briefly at Thanksgiving Point to meet Michael, Kristin and Eve, at the wedding reception of our friend, Aaron Fife. Maybe the flood of emotion which flowed upon seeing some of Michael's good friends from Texas - my seminary boys - should have been expected.  Jordan Nunez, Ryan Johnson, Aaron Fife  - like my son, they were all leaving the nest and in the process of creating eternal families of their own.  My joy was overflowing!

I am grateful that our children all have wonderful in-laws!  I know that I can call upon any of them for help at any time.  Kris and Rex purchased a home in southern Provo several years ago as a place for family to use as needed while attending BYU or visiting Utah.  Because Michael and Kristin's apartment really had no place for me to stay comfortably, I turned to Thomas's parents for help.  It was such a blessing for me to have a place of my own for a couple of weeks!  And, I actually felt like a grown-up again to be able to drive a car without asking permission from someone!  Kristin only had classes and work 2-3 times a week, so those were the days I was privileged to go take care of Eve, and enjoy her all by myself.  After being with "Tanner the Tank", Eve seemed so tiny and fragile - although they are quite similar in length.  I'm hoping her dark curly hair will remain, but I believe she's destined to become a blonde.

While I was in Provo, Michael decided to sell his old green scooter and upgrade to a newer better model.  He and Kristin rely on the scooter for their daily commutes to campus.  The Toyota Rav4 is now officially the "family car".  With Michael planning to stay at BYU for a master's program in geology, he and Kristin decided they would like to purchase an apartment of their own.  Supported with financing from you know who, we began the house-hunting process.  And believe me, it's not easy in the Provo/Orem area - especially on their student budget!  But we were learning a lot while on the hunt!  James Seiman, the young realtor we were using continues to be a tremendous help and has become a good friend to Mike and Kristin.

A required geology field-trip took Michael to Yellowstone the last part of August and into September. So Kristin, Eve and I drove up to Green River for the weekend of September 2-4, and Bobby and his kids also joined us there. Tanner was going to receive a blessing by his father, Ben, in church that Sunday.  Bobby and his kids went directly to the reservoir on Friday so that he could do some spearfishing.  His awesome success was likely somewhat of a horror movie for his kids - just check out his "catch of the day" below!  That evening, Ben took his big kids out to Flaming Gorge to meet up with Bobby for a hot dog and marshmallow roast. The moms (and newborns) enjoyed a night out to dinner in Rock Springs.

Such cute kids!  Here's Tanner and Eve getting acquainted:

Hey, you're pretty cute!
May I give you a kiss?
Oh no, I think we just got caught!
 On Saturday, we met up with Ben's family and drove out to the reservoir to enjoy a picnic lunch.  Bobby took the kids "fishing" for crawdads, and the rest of us just enjoyed eating and visiting.  That evening we went to the hotel where Ben's family was staying.  The pizza and swimming pool kept the troops satisfied and entertained.

Tanner was fortunate to have so many relatives join him at church for his blessing day.  Doesn't he look handsome!  Cute little Eve was also garnering her fair share of attention!

 Returning to Provo, I ended up with plenty of free time to myself, I did some shopping (of course) and drove all around Provo on a trip down memory lane.  This hometown of my youth has changed in many ways, and yet it often felt like I had stepped back in time 40 years (wow, I am old)!  It would be difficult to return to live in this college town, but I am grateful that I still have reasons to visit.

The place I was most anxious to see was the new LDS Provo City Center Temple.  I spent a whole day there performing ordinances for our ancestors and soaking in the beauty and spirit of that remarkable edifice.  During my childhood, it was the gathering place for our Provo Sharon East Stake for conferences and cultural events, and remnants of memories came to life as I walked those sacred halls.  To learn more about this historic building, you might want to click on this link.

 Another day, I strolled around BYU campus and was impressed by the beautiful grounds and new architecture.  Some of the same excitement and anxieties filled my soul as I reflected on my own university experience there. And naturally, my thoughts turned to dad with tremendous appreciation for his devotion to his work in the Eyring Science Center where he taught upper division nuclear physics courses and did research on nuclear fission.  My friend Kathleen Barnett and I visited our fathers at work there many times during our youth.  I remember the "snake pit" of winding halls in the basement of that building, the giant Foucault pendulum, and the dinosaur bones that adorned the building's interior.  But the science center was intimidating to me at the time - a place for people much smarter than I! (That's Bobby and Stephanie with Grandpa Max Hill.)

The students at BYU now seem awfully young and exceedingly hopeful in this truly a wonderful and unique University environment.  I love our Alma mater!  I visited the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, which at the time featured a small collection of American Art as well as an exhibition titled "To Magnify the Lord".   The museum lobby featured a string art sculpture which was reminiscent of some we had seen in Vietnam.  I inherited a similar (though not so ornate) Ute buckskin jacket from my Grandma Edna Hill who did charity work for the native Americans.  How poignant the message of Norman Rockwell's painting, "Lift Up Thine Eyes"!  The stain glass window below is one of 6 acquired in 2008 from a demolished New York Presbyterian church.  I was interested in this because I was attracted to one of the others, which hangs behind the reception desk in the Provo City Center Temple.  That last photo was taken in honor of my dad, the hunter!

It had been many many years since I had visited the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, and I was impressed with the improvements!  I would have enjoyed bringing my grand-kids here.

 I especially marveled at the Elder Boyd K. Packer collection and his amazing variety of artwork.  He was such a gifted man and church leader and his teachings have been extremely formative in my life.  Here's just one of my favorite quotes:

“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior."  “The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. … That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (“Little Children,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 17).

It seems appropriate to conclude this post with the same symbolic images with which I began - Birds!  After all, my dad used to refer to us children as his little flock of birds.  I can still hear him calling to us now - "C'mon you birds!"  I believe his cry still reaches out to each of his children - he wants us all to return to the nest with him someday.  I'm grateful to know that we can, because of a loving Father in Heaven who has made it possible for families to be together FOREVER!  So for now, I'm going to leave BYU and continue with my little trip down memory lane in my next (final) post of the summer of 2016.  

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