Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"For Spacious Skies

Earlier this month, I spoke to a 12 year old gymnast, as we interviewed her, and her mother, grandmother and great--4 generations of strong women, as they came to see the little green Spring City house.   I whispered to Gabby that in this valley, when you walk outside, you can see amazing sky views that Heavenly Father has painted, "Just for you!" 

("And the Spirit said, 'Look!' And I looked.")  


 So, what miracles have you seen recently?

This April, visiting Tom and April (a great time to visit April) one of the things we talked about late one night was the slim chance of going somewhere off the map and randomly running into someone that you had known from long ago.  

Exiting a restroom at May's BYU Women's Conference, a childhood ally who used to wish upon stars with me at age thirteen, under North Dakota skies, before, between and after the 90-degree-below-windchill "snirt" storms (you know, snow mixed with dirt) tapped my shoulder and beckoned me to her special "Portal J" perch.  

The day following, in the same restroom, the daughter of my sister's best friend from Lander, Wyoming--who looked JUST like her mom from yesteryear was followed by an slightly older woman who heard from outside a blue door:  "Are you, by chance, Mickelle Van Slyke from Lander?"  She was.  And the daughter visiting from Spokane merited look-alike status.
A break from our Spring City working vacation came in an invitation from mom to our eldest grandson, Riley.  Allina, who has worked 70 hour weeks for months saw that her schedule was slowing enough to allow a visit from Dad.  "Oh, by the way, perhaps you can drive Riley home to Utah with you."            

The phone call happened just before one of the busiest Grand Canyon tourist weeks and Mather Campground looked to be our desired choice.  One problem--hoards and throngs had reserved their camping sites by January or earlier.   Allina, taking online classes, and Val working Spring City sprinkler issues, delegated reservations to yours truly.  

My first phone call to the National Park site brought one newly cancelled campsite for Thursday night..."and you can take a chance at other walk-in campsites the following days!"  As I was reaching for my card, however, the site disappeared.  Two more hours' research led to $400/night motels 
with no campsites left.  Before giving up, a little prayer, and a final call to the Grand Canyon park site (just to check) led me to a lady named Rileesha (named after her father, Riley) who noticed that an open campsite,  A002,  had reappeared .  I snatched it.  A favorite author of our Kristen, Gerald Lund, teaches how to look for heaven's signature in our lives.  This summer, we have smiled to find gifts from heaven that seem to have our names written on them!  
Concerned about having to resort to expensive motels if we did not get the walk in sites, we left early early early (before 4 am) Wednesday morning and arrived in time to secure a non-reserved spot for the next five days.  

Next morning, walking toward the General Store, a car pulled sporting a driver who looked surprisingly like a niece from New York.  The sedan door opened and out stepped flight attendant, Michelle or "Pookie" with her hiking buddy from London, ready to hit the Bright Angel trail preparing for her upcoming hike to Machu Picchu. 
Michelle's friend Richard's unexpected work conference call and our need for eight quarters eaten by the nightly shower brought us twelve paces from the General Store in the same trajectory.  Chances of meeting in a parking lot thousands of miles from either of our regular paths?  Who knows.  But we caught it on camera, and keep looking for signatures in the sky.
Allina and Laurene claimed a final victory in the last Rook game of countless in a weekend-long marathon.  
Hey Amber, we even saw a real Golden Doodle!
With other animals up close and personal.

Between tidbits from Allina's motivation class and contemplated upcoming interviews, we meandered bus rides, tiny hikes, condor sighting, and red rocks at sunset speckled with peering at night skies with heaven peering back.
I cannot remember more striking rocky scenery than our road trip home on Arizona roads, coupled with conversations with a ready-to-begin-driving adolescent, who loves to read and chatted about a charter school, healthy friendships and great tips for Grandpa about developing biceps and abs.
Rock skipping, nobody could beat Grandpa's record of nine times!

On Memorial Day, we found Orson Hyde's tribute and grave in Spring City's cemetery.  

Then, steering a riding lawn mower, plumbing a broken flapper valve, and programming sprinklers, Riley challenged Grandpa to a "better than beans" cook off, where Riley claimed victory.  Trumping Crispix, we feasted on baby potatoes and pasta under the hand of a budding chef.   

Just prior to our Grand Canyon jaunt, after interviewing families with multiple children, Val decided,  to gather contractor bids for an upstairs window
 and heater vents to upgrade the farm house from three to five complete bedrooms.  

Laurene begged for the momentum to continue to replace an upstairs Jacuzzi which five years ago made the downstairs lights flicker 
and an accompanying shower that brought Guatemala to mind.  Cold, cold, cold when you open it full blast!  When water reduces to a trickle, it might get kind of warm.  Plumbed backward, they said.  Could be a 10 minute fix, or two days.  (Your stars will decide which.)  Our stars were lucky, and it was 10 minutes! The tub, of course, was a longer job--but Marty and Sam Shaffer knocked it down in two days.  
The original creator of this bathroom forgot to paint under the counter, or caulk, or paint the trim.  Funny how a few minutes can create a masterpiece!  

The rest was left to Super (Caulking) Grandma.  In the level beneath, however, kitchen cupboards and windows awaited steam cleaning, bathroom doors begged four coats of stain, and a carpet cleaner brought stain relief to disappear dozens of red Kool-Aid spills.  But magic came with a cost--pouring, potion-mixing, and patiently steaming iron over wet white washcloth.  Eventually all but two bright red rivers vanished into something besides light pink!
Another magic trick came in finding out that magic marker (or various colored Sharpies) could disguise a bleach stain over blue.   Voila!
Grandma also became a poster child for Magic Erasers...carrying them without fail in her jeans pocket for two months! They are magic.  

Between beans and rice, and brief grandson visit, Val and Laurene worked sprinklers, stains, baseboards and window frames with prime and double coats, water filters, and planting and fencing five fruit trees to compensate for the 12 or more dead and nearly dead.  

Tedium relief for a chief caulk and bottle washer came in bright pink earphones and devouring of audio books:  Wife for Life, Emma and Joseph, Essentialism, Unbroken, and The Book of Mormon.  Night time with no TV, and "hurt ankle, knee, and toe" ushered in reading of Pain Free by Pete Egoscue,
 (This particular pain came hoisting sod laden garbage can to the street--so glad the man steering the can saved us from the snake!!)
 with positioning and exercises to address other discomforts.  Also we savored Dean Hughes' We'll Bring the World His Truth and Tarryl and Fiona Givens' A God who Weeps. 

So...Did you know?

--New York's Brooklyn bridge was completed by the wife of the original engineer after her husband became paralyzed.  Synergy in teamwork can be unparalleled! 

--Characters conquering unsurpassable trials can offer courage and a silencing of trivial complaints. 

--One thing is needful...we came to do something. What if we discover it and do it?

--Sauntering over a familiar words in a different language for the umpteenth time affords approachable landscape, friendliness, poetic gravity where paragraphs once dictionary driven, upon repeated review, present only occasional puzzling passage per page.

An ultimate celebrated signature came in the arrival Saturday of horse trailer, parents and families of several siblings to lift and lug shrink wrapped beds, boxes and bags to assist a family with three children 

[This is Emily and Ryan with their three children, wishing a missionary brother farewell]
relocating from western Nevada and Texas, eager to watch over our trees, sprinklers, filters and tiles of the green envelope farm house with a red barn. 

Meanwhile, anticipated granddaughters, Leah and Chloe Galli remain nestled and nourished, graduating from preemie status last week.  Mom is no longer destined for Cheesecake Factory dinners at a high-risk hospital.  

Rooms are readied.  Hospital suitcases and Grandpa/Grandma duffel bags are assembled.  Toby and Jake are pacing.  Amber basks in beauty sleep.  The countdown has begun.  

Zach and Kristen are conniving to squeeze a quick anniversary run to St. George while Grandpa and Grandma remain fancy free:


Here is William's new joke:  
Question: What do you get when you cross an animal and a vegetable?
Answer: ZOOchini.  
Becca has a new twist to food storage...only she has a little difficulty in locating what she has stored.  

We can find nothing better to do than 

Following two months perusing Sanpete County gravel roads, Kaysville skies do not span quite the same space. 

But biking past ponds where high school daughters walked and peer daughters still giggle and pant, 
counting through eccentric barbells, we embrace more exercises (our latest--Pete Egoscue and Jonathan Bailor--try them, you might like them!) to assess weights and balances, striving to achieve "Pain Free" status as we anticipate the anthem: 
"O Beautiful for Spacious Skies"

       awaiting Amber's wave! 
Free kisses waiting in duplicate!
    Interested in learning about heavenly signatures in your daily skies.
 Anxiously the audience,
Laurene and Val