Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Sometimes when we FEEL our prayers are not answered we feel like PROFESSOR CHAOS... The truth is... Our prayers are always answered.

Later in this episode Professor Chaos (Buttars) tries to flood the world by turning on the hose outside their house. He is a little frustrated when after waiting all day with the hose on he only manages to create a mud-puddle. Very cute!

Prayers Not Answered

For the last two years it seems that many of my prayers went unanswered. It seemed to me like I had a righteous desire. The things that I prayed about didn't seem to happen the way I expected them to happen.

I didn't know what I was doing wrong. Why weren't my prayers being answered? Last night I was reading talks from the last general conference and I ran into a talk by David A. Bednar that gave me some insight as to what may be going on.  The following is an excerpt that I found some strength in:

Discerning and accepting the will of God in our lives are fundamental elements of asking in faith in meaningful prayer. However, simply saying the words “Thy will be done” is not enough. Each of us needs God’s help in surrendering our will to Him.

“Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other”. Humble, earnest, and persistent prayer enables us to recognize and align ourselves with the will of our Heavenly Father. And in this the Savior provided the perfect example as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. . . . And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly” (Luke 22:42, 44).

The object of our prayers should not be to present a wish list or a series of requests but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is eager to bestow, according to His will and timing. Every sincere prayer is heard and answered by our Heavenly Father, but the answers we receive may not be what we expect or come to us when we want or in the way we anticipate.

Prayer is a privilege and the soul’s sincere desire. We can move beyond routine and “checklist” prayers and engage in meaningful prayer as we appropriately ask in faith and act, as we patiently persevere through the trial of our faith, and as we humbly acknowledge and accept “not my will, but Thine, be done.”

Instead of worrying about how my prayers are answered or not I need to figure out how to put my desires in alignment with what Heavenly Father wants for me. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Family Vacations

Mt. Rushmore 2008

One of my favorite things to do with my kids is to go on vacation. It almost does not matter where we go. We are going to have fun. We always bring home fantastic memories.

The photo to the left is my kids in Hot Springs, South Dakota. This trip was Kohl's idea for his birthday present this summer. He said: "I want to go to Mt. Rushmore for my Birthday."

On July 3rd,Thursday night after work, we left our home near Salt Lake City and drove all night.

We had ample room in our van for everyone's stuff, and everyone to have a seat. We brought food treats, and books on CD to listen to on the long journey. The books I brought to listen to I felt were ones that would grab our attention and keep our minds occupied to pass the time. Two of these books were ones that we all enjoyed.

Sierra and Kohler did fall asleep for awhile. Dylan managed to stay up with me most of the night. I always had at least one kid up with me.

At 5AM it was Sierra that rode by my side. That last hour of the journey Sierra's excitement was palpable. We were driving the back way through Custer State Park and we saw a herd of antelope. This was the first time that Sierra had ever seen antelope and it really was exciting.

When we drove around one corner suddenly off in the distance you could see it. Our goal was in-sight. To see Mt. Rushmore at sunrise was a treat.

Mt. Rushmore 2008

With Dylan and Kohler still asleep Sierra and I left the car to explore. It was a cold morning. Walking around was invigorating. My mind was loopy from the long drive and being awake all night. Walking to the edge of the trees and viewing Mt. Rushmore on the other side of the valley was enough to clear my mind.

Mt. Rushmore 2008

We drove up to the gate of the park an hour before the park opened so we drove a little further and parked. We ate some breakfast and had some time to take a few photos. Kohler and Sierra had a blast pretending that they were in the 2nd National Treasure movie.

Finally we were in the park and we could see the mountain in it's full glory.

Mt. Rushmore 2008We toured every inch of the park. Kohler was still certain that we could get to the parts of the mountain that he had seen in the National Treasure movie. He was dedicated to finding a path that would lead us to the top of the mountain. He was not satisfied that the back of the mountain was off limits until we found a fully uniformed park ranger and asked him.

Later that day we drove to our hotel. We took a nap and ate dinner. That night we played games outside until the sun went down and the Independence Day fireworks began.

We were tired. It took some energy from all of us NOT to be grouchy... We had shared some magical moments together and ultimately we grew closer.

Mt. Rushmore 2008

The following day we drove to the other side of Custer State Park until we found a herd of bison. Kohl was NOT excited to be driving through the State Park to see bison. He didn't care about bison. He wanted to go swimming. We we finally saw the heard of bison he quickly changed his mind. They herd was nearly three hundred meters away. Even that far away these animals were impressive. They were massive. We were in their home and they WERE wild.

Mt. Rushmore 2008

Kohler did finally get to go swimming. There was a hot-spring pool in the town we were staying at. The pool was gianormous and was constantly flowing with fresh warm spring water. There were waterslides and other things that occupied our time for 5 hours. After half a day swimming we were very worn out. and it was easy to talk the kids into going back to the hotel to watch a movie.

We spend the next day driving home. It was a tremendous weekend. Recently I was talking to the kids about going back to Washington for Thanksgiving. They asked if we would fly or drive. When I said that we would probably drive they became very excited. For some reason the road-trip is part of the adventure with these kids. I am so glad.

Maybe we will drive to South America someday!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Big City Small Town Lifestyle

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These two scenes take place only a a few minutes a part and only a few blocks apart. This is GuangZhou. It is one of the oldest cities in China. Many people in the west still know this city by the name that westerners gave it hundreds of years ago Canton.

I am amazed that such a quiet and serene scene could take place a mere few blocks from one of the busiest markets in the world. I love China for many reasons. One of the reasons that I love it is for it's urban landscape. It amazes me that in one moment you can go from a busy bustling noisy city center to a quiet serene domestic setting. This happens all over in many of the large cities in China. Just one block from that first photo is the scene where this third photo was taken. If you didn't know it; these next photo would almost seem rural.

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