Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Elder Jordan Gibby Update

Saturday was Jordan's one month anniversary. Wow, that went by fast. It seems like we just put him on the plane and now another month is past. He is loving Brazil and putting his all into his mission. He wrote this week, "I can't believe I have survived a month in Brazil! Let alone the CTM (haha)." He and his companion are getting along well. Jordan has been able to motivate him to get placed on time and study more. Jordan enjoys the time he gets on p-day to go out in the city, explore and practice his Portuguese. "I am still having a blast being out in the city on p-days! its great. Last p-day we decided we would try placing a Book of Mormon because we had an extra one. We went out and did it pretty easily. It was cool."

I can tell already that Jordan is going to really enjoy his mission and be a great missionary (he just needs to send me more pictures).

Elder Jared Gibby - Wednesday Update - 9/30/09

Jared had another exciting week in Alabama. He and his companion had two baptisms with another scheduled for this week. He wrote, "This week has really been amazing. Words truly can’t describe. Last Saturday, Karina and her son Luis, entered into the waters of baptism. It was a wonderful experience. Every time I’m able to be a part of sacred ordinances where covenants with the Lord are involved the spirit or truth always bears witness to me of the gospel and what they are doing. The Lord’s work is real and I’m thankful to be a part of it. I baptized Luis and Elder Watson baptized Karina. Sunday I confirmed Karina and Elder Watson confirmed Luis."

The baptism scheduled for this week is a young women who has friends who are members of the Church. She actually asked Jared when she could be baptized the first time he met her. "This Saturday we are having another baptism with Ashleigh. She is super excited. As we have been teaching her it is almost as if she knows everything already. She probably didn’t even need the lessons. So the Lord continues to bless us and bringing forth fruit from our labors."

I am definitely the proud father as I watch my children excel in the activities and service they pursue. We knew that Alabama would be a tougher mission, being located in the Bible Belt. But Jared has entered into each area with a positive attitude and willingness to put his all into it and has been blessed with baptisms and success each step of the way.

Monday, September 28, 2009

An Adventure in the Stansbury Mountains

From 2009-09-26 001

On Saturday I had planned to hike Deseret Peak (11,035 ft) in the Stansbury Mountain Range. I headed out with Sherrie, Jonathan and Britney to conquer the mountain. We made it part way up South Willow Canyon when we encountered the gate across the road. Apparently, the fire on the west side of the mountain range a few weeks ago resulted in some damage to the road and it will not be re-opened until next year. The option to hike up to the trail head through the scout camp next to the gated road was offered. I figured that would add about 3 miles one way to the hike (all uphill) so we nixed the plans to the hike the peak. Not wanting to waste a beautiful day we turned off at the gate to go to the Medina Flats trail head. We started down this trail, which I quickly decided would go on my list of trails to NOT hike again. Not too far down the trail we crossed what I believe is Miner's Fork road (more like an ATV trail than a road). It ran up a narrow canyon with a dry creek bed at the bottom. I believed this would lead to Willow Lake so we turned west and proceeded up the "road". This was a pretty hike mostly through pine and aspen forest. It was, however, a fairly constant, steep grade trail. We eventually made it to the end of the "road" where the trailhead for Willow Lake was. At this point, everybody (except Jonathan) was too tired to proceed further. So we never made it to the lake. I was thinking that I might try it again, but the weather this morning indicates snow later in the week which means hiking in the Stansbury Mountains (for me) is done for the season. Hopefully, the road will be repaired and Deseret Peak will be available for hiking next year.

After making out way back down the trail (which due to the grade was almost more difficult than hiking up), we got in the car and headed out of the canyon. However, during our hike, a fire had started further down the canyon. We found out that we wouldn't be able to leave the canyon until they had the fire under control. We parked along the side of the road with all the other vehicles (mostly trucks pulling horse trailers) to wait out the fire. At one point it looked like we would be waiting 4 or more hours. I walked down a couple of times to see what progress was being made. I saw a helicopter bringing in water and I heard a large cottonwood tree go down. About an hour into our wait, the sheriff came up and told us we could drive down carefully past the fire trucks (our car was the only small car waiting and the only one that would fit past the fire trucks). I was glad to get out of the canyon. It is such a narrow canyon and full of fuel (scrub, grass and dead trees) that I was a little nervous sitting there with a fire burning. If the wind had picket up, it could have quickly ballooned into a large fire engulfing the entire canyon and there is not other way to get out. Thanks to an excellent fire fighting crew from Tooele and Grantsville and good weather we made it out safe (and smelling like campfire).

Grandma Celebrates 94!

From 2009-09-27 001

From 2009-09-27 001

From 2009-09-27 001

We went in on Sunday (September 27) to visit my grandmother for her 94th birthday. Her birthday was actually on Saturday, but prior commitments prevented us from going in on that day. It was a nice Sunday visit. While her lack of strength keeps her in bed most of the time, she was still very sharp mentally. We enjoyed a pleasant conversation. I even learned that her parents didn't have indoor plumbing at their house until well after she and grandpa were married (I remember my great-grandparents house very well). She remarked that her sons tell her she will outlive them all and she is starting to think that she might. Jonathan told me after we left that my grandma was funny. He apparently appreciated some of her subtle humor. She enjoyed the chocolates that we brought. We didn't eat the cake, so I hope she and her caregivers enjoy it. It is really amazing to think that she has lived to be 94 with as good of health as she has. She said she has reached the oldest age of anybody in her family or grandpa's family that she knows of.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Elder Jordan Gibby - September 22, 2009

A view from Elder Gibby's room

Elder Gibby in the CTM courtyard

Some patriotism

We heard from Jordan (Elder Gibby) today. He is doing fantastic in the CTM. He wrote, "I have been working super hard on making good lessons, I bought some scripture tab things that are different colors so I can find scriptures fast. They help a lot and make finding scriptures less of a task. I super stoked to hear that Stephen got his stuff turned in. I wrote him last week and told him that he will love it out here and he put all his stuff together right after I suppose. I didn't realize the example I had set until I had heard back from him. It's amazing being out here in Brazil. I wake up everyday super excited to be here and stoked to learn as much as I can."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cecret Lake - September 20, 2009

On Sunday afternoon we decided to find someplace beautiful to spend some time. We drove up Little Cottonwood Canyon to the Albion basin (no we didn't stop at the Oktoberfest). At the end of the public road is the parking place for the Cecret Lake trailhead. No the description said "interpretive trail" which I envisioned as a boardwalk on a flat surface to a pond. Well, in actuality, it was a real trail with some inclines and breathtaking scenery. We all made it to the top (so Sherrie and I working out every night must be paying off). I hadn't been up to Alta since I was much younger. I vaguely remember a drive up there with my grandparents. I will go back again (during the non-snow months - I wouldn't want to drive that road with snow on it).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weekend Time Flies

Here is another Saturday practically gone already. I did my 65 minute run at the gym, had tires put on the Subaru, mowed the lawn, changed the oil in the Subaru and the Suburban and now it is almost time to go to bed. I haven't even had anything to eat today. There just isn't enough time on Saturday to do everything that I need to. Hopefully I will finish the laundry tonight. I guess the Villager transmission repair (fixing what I broke when I fixed it the first time) will have to wait. I guess I also put the snowmobile back together with the new control arm on it and all I have to do to finish that repair is drill out the bolt I broke off and find another bolt. I guess if I had more Ssturdays, or st least more time on Saturdays, I would just break more stuff.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Loss of a Great Artist

I was saddened this morning on my way to work to hear of the passing of Mary Travers of the group Peter, Paul and Mary. They are one of my favorite singing groups. I have listened to their music since my childhood. I will have to go home and listen to their music tonight while I am mowing the lawn.

The following was posted on the website, "Mary Travers passed away on September 16th. After successful recovery from leukemia through a bone marrow/stem cell transplant, Mary succumbed to the side effects of one of the chemotherapy treatments."

Lean Mean Running Machine

Don't I wish! Actually, in spite of being tired this week from the rigorous weekend activities, Sherrie and I have been at the gym every night after work. Last night I even added an extra five minutes to my run. I didn't get to do my hour run on Saturday so I've been feeling a little guilty. It appears to be paying off. I am now down 19 pounds from August 25th when Jordan left for Brazil. I notice it most in my face. I would really rather lose the weight off my gut than my face, but I guess I will take it where I can get it. I haven't had to go down in clothing size yet (an indicator or how truly fat I had become). The upside is that my clothing fits better and I won't have to go procure an even larger size. I am slowly working my way up to the level I was before we left Eugene. Even right after moving to Utah I couldn't perform at the same level because of the altitude difference. I guess I have finally lived here long enough to adapt to the higher altitude. I do think that I have made enough progress to hike Deseret Peak now. I've planned to hike it all summer, but was really too fat and out of shape to make it to the top. Now I just have to convince somebody to come with me before the snow starts to fall (which shouldn't be too far off given the fall color I am seeing in the mountains).

Last Sunday I celebrated my 47th birthday (I guess everybody else celebrated and I participated). I haven't posted the pictures yet because I am still in denial that I am such an old man now (although my body and forgetful mind continue to serve as reminders). Hopefully tonight I will find my camera and get the pictures off of it. I was, however, successful in getting the ski off my snowmobile last night, so I may work on getting the new control arm on which won't leave me any spare time to post anything regarding my birthday (it may just have to wait a few more days). Sitting here thinking about tonight, I also have to get the lawns mowed. Between the fertilizer I applied a few weeks ago, the rain from the thunderstorms and the cooler weather, my grass is out of control. It almost needs to be mowed 3 times a week. I did cut back my watering so hopefully that will slow it down some and prepare it for fall. I am actually very ready for fall because I have reached the point this year where I no longer enjoy mowing my lawn and watering the flowers. The last of the fall flowers are starting to bloom now (mums and asters), along with my confused weeping cherry tree.

Well, I've noticed that I am starting to ramble (like an old person) so I'd better bring this post to a close and figure out how I am going to get the lawn mowed, the snowmobile repaired and all the laundry put away tonight before it is time to go to bed once again. Adieu.

Monday, September 14, 2009

One Down and Four to Go

Here I am at the end of Monday. I started this week so tired from my weekend that I am relieved I survived the first day. I was up at 5:00 am on Saturday to drive up to Island Park. I worked on the cabin and got it winterized. We were up again at 5:00 on Sunday morning to get the cabin drained and head off to to Idaho Falls. I enjoyed listening to Jackson Farnsworth's talk (even if it was at 9:00 in the morning). He is really prepared to leave on his mission. We enjoyed a nice lunch at the Farnsworth's and then headed back to Tooele. Today I had to go to "smoke school". This is an every six month activity where I have to certify that I can read the opacity of visible emissions from "smoke stacks". The class didn't start until 12:00 so by the time we started the thunderstorm was upon us. As as result of the bad weather I have to go back again tomorrow (bummer). I have a really full week at work so I'm not excited about spending another day at smoke school. On the upside, my run at the gym was easy tonight. I finished up my 35 minutes and wasn't even winded. I guess after three weeks I am finally getting back into shape. It seems like it took longer in Eugene, but I was probably more out of shape when I started there. I'm down 17 pounds from three weeks ago, but I didn't dare weigh in this morning after eating farewell cake and birthday cake yesterday. I guess it is time to go to bed as it is 9:00 and it is dark and rainy outside. I tried looking for houses tonight, but I gave up since there isn't much in the narrow band of criteria that I've set. There was hopeful house, but it turned up to be on a street that wasn't any better than the one I live on. I may just have to buy a lot and build a house. Well, I can't start on the housing situation or I will be here writing all night long.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Not Yet...

Well, I thought I had finally found the house to buy in Tooele to get us out of the dump that we've been living in since moving here. Moving here we had to buy a house before we sold our house in Eugene so that we could move the family out here in time for the kids to start school that fall. I bought our current house because it satisfied two conditions, I could afford it without selling my other house and we were able to move in quickly. The plan was to start looking for a house or building as soon as our property in Eugene sold. Well, it sold almost three years ago and we are still looking. We haven't been able to decide which community we wanted to stay in long term. Believe it or not, there are choices in Tooele County. We could live in Tooele City, Rush Valley, Grantsville, Erda or Stansbury Park. We ruled out Rush Valley after we found out that we would have to heat our home with propane (no offense to the propane guy in the ads on TV). After Sherrie started teaching in Tooele, we decided that we didn't want her to have to commute from Grantsville (and the kids said it would be a boring place to live). Personally, I kind of like Grantsville, but I am in the minority. Stansbury has been on again and off again (and it kind of still is). When we first moved here, we were going to live only in Stansbury Park. However, after living in Tooele for three years now, it is very convenient to have all the commerce and county offices so close. I also learned that they have mosquitos (which is actually spanish for little flies) in Stansbury Park. We really don't have mosquitos in Tooele (at least I haven't noticed them). We've decided that we like being up against the mountains and close to Middle Canyon. So I saw an ad for a home on the Tooele bench that was right in the location we were looking for. We drove up and saw a home under construction with jived with the location description. After mulling it over for a couple of days we decided that we really did want that location and we like the floor plan of the house (even though it was only framed in). Come to find out after calling the listing agent, that the home is already sold and the listing is now for a home that has yet to be built. I actually felt seriously disappointed for a good portion of the day. I think I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and found out that while there may have been some light, it certainly wasn't at the end of a tunnel. So I drove back to my cubicle in the ghetto. If anything, it has spurred me to action. I realize that it is time to take charge of my life and act on some of these things that need to be done. I felt like something clicked inside of me when Jordan left on his mission. I went back to the gym that day and started back on the treadmill. I haven't missed a day except Sunday since he left. Today I actually ran a 1 minute sprint on the treadmill (6 minute mile pace). I am going to work up to a 6 minute mile. I've lost 15 pounds in the last two weeks. I've finally decided that I don't have to live below my station in life (that does sound like caste system language - but, whatever). I am going to find a suitable residence and get out of the dump.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jordan Tuesday Update - 09/01/09

Mr. Cheney's Cookies across the street from MTC where Jordan will get his care package. This store was opened by a couple of RM's who served in Brazil. You can check it out at

I guess I will post these backwards. That is just how my brain works at times. We received a very short email from Jordan on Tuesday. He said that he hadn't received his "" account yet, so I think he just wrote a very quick note on his yahoo account. He said that he made it to the MTC and that Brazil is awesome. We also received a letter from him that he wrote on the day he arrived at the MTC. There is an instruction sheet for sending letters and packages. They have the missionaries write a letter to their family on the back of this sheet. The letters are brought back to SLC and mailed to the family. It was nice to have a letter (and artwork) from Jordan. He and the rest of the Elders had a good time flying to Brazil. They were apparently delayed in Dallas so they all took turns on the demo massage chair at the Bath & Body Works Store (I'm sure the store loved that). They met up with additional missionaries in Dallas for the flight to Brazil. He is excited to be in Brazil and said this is the greatest thing he has ever done in his life. He commented that the food at the MTC was really good. It sounds as if he is adjusting to mission life well (at least through the first day). He didn't say anything about the care package in his email so I hope he picked it up. I guess if he didn't he will get it next week.

Jared Wednesday Update - 09/02/09

Jared is right at the 2/3 completion point in his mission. The time really does seem to have gone by quickly. We receive his weekly email and things continue to go well for him in Oxford, Alabama. He will be getting a new Elder to train after just six weeks. President Tate told him that his is a good trainer. "Tuesday morning were transfer calls. I wasn’t expecting a call since I’ve only been here for 6 weeks and I figured I wasn’t going to go anywhere. President Tate called me and said, 'Elder Gibby, I have a new assignment for you. I want you to stay where you’re at and train another missionary.' He said, 'They keep turning out good and you’re popping out good ones.” I laughed and he said, “You’re going to have a great posterity!' So I’m staying here and not getting transferred and I’ll be training again."

Jared and Elder Deets were able to get a little sight seeing in before the transfer. "Last Wednesday Elder Deets and I went to Cheaha Mountain. We had a great time. It was a beautiful day and the man let us into the park for free. I didn’t have a dollar cash on me so he said “go and have a good time.” It was a really beautiful sight. We could see the rolling hills of Alabama for miles. They had this neat little observation tower they built on the very top of the mountain. I think it was probably about 3 stories high. It was cool."

While none of their teaching pool were able to attend Sunday Services they did have an unexpected visitor. "There was this guy, Tyler, who randomly showed up and sat on the last row. I went and sat by him and asked him who he came with. He said that he just came because the sign outside said visitors welcome. Unfortunately he is in the Anniston’s area but I gave him a BOM and committed him to read it and go on a church tour. So that was a neat experience." I guess people really do see the "Visitors Welcome" on the outside of the church buildings.