"Almost" ready to ride with the New Harmony Cowboy

It has been a long time since I was on my grandpa Ora's horse Kamanche.   Funny to most, but the smell of manure comforts me.  I can still see grandpa's hat resting on grandma's kitchen table and his boots covered in manure at the back door.  Wish I could have those moments back.  But Grandpa has been gone a long time now and Kamanche even longer.

Thursday morning after running with my little Middle School Cross Country team,  I headed to Scout Camp "encampment" for the entire stake at Deer Haven up Cedar Canyon.  Rigby was in charge of the week long adventure and it had been months in the making.  I was excited to see him and take some photos of  Scout Adventures.
 One of my favorite cowboys Austin Adams was there helping Richie Stubbs with the horsemanship merit badge.  It was quite a sight to see all these boys "off line" and having the opportunity to ride a horse for the first time.  What a gift Richie was giving to them.

  Not wanting to be left out, I took a turn.  It's funny how when I mounted the horse my grandpa's words of directions came rushing back to me (how to hold the reins, when to give the horse a little kick etc.). I wish I could of had a longer ride, but the just the "taste" of being on a horse was a gift!

 I was grateful three of our boys had the chance to ride as well.  Riding for Stockton was a little bit of therapy.  Since ankle surgery in January, times have been tough.  Football season is quickly approaching and I am just not sure if this QB will be on the field.  Maybe I will be sending him to the New Harmony Cowboy for a few rides- this mama is a little emotionally exhausted.

 Our Madsen loved the experience.  Not sure he has ridden more than a few times at the Lucky 7 Ranch with his Walter cousins.  He made it to scout camp after four days at the Dixie State Leadership Camp.

 A big shout out to Ashton and Jewkes for getting our baby boy Maleck in the saddle.  The rest of us prodded and begged, but it just took them once asking and he was in the saddle.  When I asked him why he did it for them and not me he said, "because they are my friends."  That says a lot about these two boys who are four years older than Maleck, but he calls them "his Friends."
 I loved how  Richie Stubbs shared his great love with a bunch of boys-  now if we could just get them to follow the Cowboy Commandments- I think the combination of the Scout Oath and the Cowboy Commandments just might save this generation.  And of course the "big guy" upstairs!

 Loved my afternoon ride in the meadow and my moments in the saddle!

 And who knows Mr. Prince, maybe my cowboy grandpa genes have found a home in this one


Baseball and the Dog Days of Summer

I have been a fan of baseball since I was a kid.  I love everything about it- the sights, the smells, the sounds.  Growing up on 2nd East it was the sound of the ball hitting the bat that I fell asleep to on hot summer nights.  The baseball park is where I grew up.  Baseball was our pastime.  We were to poor for boats and four-wheelers, and  we weren't a camping family and vacations came only only "once in a while."  But baseball- well it was free and for us it was just a part of who we were.

For the first time in years, we only had one "All-Star," our 14 year old Madsen suited up as a "bonus baby and took to the field one last time.  I love to watch this kid play ball.  He seems so nonchalant about it, but underneath that "appearance" is a kid who loves to win.  They say there is one thing you should say to your child after competing in any sport and that is "I enjoyed watching you play."  For me that is true every time Madsen gets on the diamond. There is just something about watching him do something he truly loves.

My days at the ball park are numbered.  Our Emma hung up her cleats for running shoes and our baby is just starting little league.  I hope he falls in love with the dirt, turning two, and the clink of the ball hitting the bat.  I hope I get to sit in the scorching hot sun cheering him on as he takes the diamond.  I hope he falls in the love with the game- the game that steals my heart in the "Dog Days of Summer!


Youth Conference 2017

Provo City Center Temple
 I am not sure how or where, but I fell in love with people  and places long gone.  Perhaps, it was the many times my father pulled over to read historical markers on the roadside or my mother reading stories to me of far off places.  Whatever the case this, love and reverence has blessed my life in immeasurable ways. 

Youth conference at Temple Square in Salt Lake City to me was better than chocolate- it was absolute yumminess to my heart and soul.
Mike Greer's Father's home- built in the 1920's
 We were blessed to eat lunch in this 1920's historical home in Provo.  It was absolutely gorgeous and hummed the melody of the history which belongs to it.
 The young women in our ward lift and inspire me.  They are beautiful on the inside and out!

 Hanging with the boys- there were gracious enough to pause and pose for me--- well sort of.
 I wasn't the only one happy to eat at this "historic find!"

 After going to do baptisms at the Provo City Center Temple, we headed to Ensign peak where the park workers dressed in period costume shared the culture of  the early Mormons with us- it was amazing.  The youth learned social mores dating, courtship, dress, and even played a few "old time" games.  They didn't even play on their phones.

My husband is a descendant of Mary Goble Pay
 Pioneer Village at Ensign Peak is very reminiscent of Nauvoo.  Many of the structures here have been moved from their original locations and placed here at this state park.  Other structures are replicas.  Although it was a hot and humid day in the valley,we wandered a bit and "took in" our surroundings!

 A particular blessing to me was having two of my sons come on the trip.  While I am not sure they share my love of all things "old" they humored me and shared a moment with me at this historic replica of their great, great, great, great grandfather Benjamin Franklin Johnson's saddle shop.

A little bit of "eye candy!

 We ended the evening with some dinner and some classic pioneer dancing.  Our youth loved it!

This crew is  an amazing bunch.  

Kind of love these boys!

We enjoyed our time at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. 
Another gem of our journey was visiting the Church History library and viewing church relics on display there including Hyrum Smith's 1840 edition of the Book of Mormon which he read from at Carthage jail before he and the Prophet Joseph were martyred-
Nothing beats standing in the shadows of structure that took 40 years to built by pioneers who had little but their hands and their faith!

 A highlight of the conference was listening to T.C. Christensen speak.  He is a storykeeper and film maker- 17 Miracles, Ephraims' Rescue, The Cokeville Miracle, and of most recent note Love, Kennedy.  He shared insights from his films and related the stories of his films to the lives of these youth!

Loved meeting T.C. Christensen!

 The Church History Museum was another powerful stop- I enjoyed seeing John Taylor's watch on display as well as the exhibit upstairs
Saints at Devil's Gate- It was powerful! (I am so grateful that my life was blessed by my grandfather Weaver who was a professor of art at BYU)

 Each landscape was accompanied by a diary entry of a pioneer who made the trek to the valley.  Their faith continues to inspire me- "I too, can do hard things!"

And of course to me the best part of the journey was hanging out with these ladies- their talents are as diverse as their beauty, but the faith they share is common!

My Stockton!

Part of the 32 member Ashdown Forest Crew

A huge shout out to my dear friends Brother and Sister Dunn for the planning and overseeing of youth Conference.  They were a lot of fun- love them!

                     Lunch outside the Joseph Smith Memorial Building

I even managed to sneak lunch in with two of my dearest friends.  Good friends build great futures 

 I loved loved loved the time we spent at the Church History Family Discover museum.  The technology her will absolutely blow yo away- it take family history to a new height-  I found I had ancestors from Italy (never knew that one) and learned a little more about my ancestral roots- closest related to Spencer W. Kimball- my  great grandmother's 1st cousin, President Eyring, Philo T. Farnsworth (inventor of the television and President James Buchanan- interesting mix.

 The cooking demo was a little bit of how to make a roux meets dating and courtship via a little stand up comedy by the resident chef at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building- it was amazing!Not your ordinary "devotional"

A selfie with my roomies!

Our tour of the conference center was amazing.  The exhibit of the apostles past and present was unforgettable.

 The youth conference concluded with a delicious dinner- check out the dessert -and a testimony meeting.  The gospel changes life and the youth of the church will be the ones to lead that change- What a wonderful youth conference!