Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crashing at Glacier

Since visiting Mom & Dad Mitchell last last June they moved in with Blair and Janae in Spokane, Washington. We decided to pay one last visit and see how they were doing before we went to Brazil. We left after church on Sunday, Aug 31st and went as far as Meridian, Idaho. On Monday we took the scenic route (back roads) through McCall, Idaho on our way to Spokane. Diane continued her Portuguese as we traveled. We decided that McCall might be a nice place to live.

Scenic river along the highway
Bear encounter in McCall

The GPS could find Spokane OK, but got lost trying to find Blair & Janae's house. The neighborhood is too new, I guess. They have a nice house with woods as part of their back yard.

Their house in Spokne
Woods in the back yard

We had a wonderful visit for a few days. They seem to be settling in OK. One afternoon we went out to some of the stores close by: Jo-Ann Fabrics (of course) and Trader Joe's. Brianne's fiancé, John, came over one evening so we had a chance to meet him and talk about his mission to Norway.

Mom & Dad in the kitchen

We took a couple of walks around the neighborhood in the mornings. They live in a new subdivision close to an older part of town with some colorful houses.

Metalwork in front of a house 
We heard of bunk beds, but bunk parking?
Watch out for those ruts in the dirt road!

We left Thursday morning to take the long way home.  We took Interstate 90 across Idaho and Montana until St. Regis where we headed toward Glacier National Park. We were just outside Hungry Horse (within about 20 miles from Glacier National Park) when we were rear-ended. A truck ahead of us suddenly stopped on the highway for a left turn onto a dirt road. The car in front of us stopped and we stopped, but the truck behind us didn't stop in time.  Luckily everyone was fine.  It took about an hour to get things taken care of with the sheriff and EMT making sure everyone was OK.

At least the trunk stayed closed
EMT checking on the truck
You can almost read the license plate number.
Are they extra bolts in our car?

We then continued on through Glacier National Park where we saw beautiful lakes, rivers, waterfalls and mountains.

Glacier National Park

When we were at Logan Pass we saw some mountain sheep. 

Logan Pass
Mountain sheep on top of the waterfall

As we continued on we saw a black bear (that was brown) feeding in some bushes. 

Next time a grizzly?

We then left the park and started looking for a place to stay. 

Yes, we actually saw a glacier at Glacier NP 
Say goodbye to Glacier NP

We finally got found a room in Shelby, Montana. We were able to get the trunk open to get our bags out, but we had a bit of a struggle to get it closed. We then went and sat in the hot tub to help relieve our stress. We had pudding, hot chocolate, and pretzels for dinner then hoped for a good night’s sleep.

On Friday we packed up the car and got the trunk closed. We bought some treats then headed to Great Falls. We stopped at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. It was a very nice place and very informative. 

Lewis and Clark slept here
Modern-day explorer?
Sunday best?
Let's carry the boats around these falls

We then found a Wendy’s for lunch. After lunch we drove on to Helena. There we decided to just keep on I-15. We worked on some technology whenever we had service available on the iPad. We got into Idaho Falls around 7 pm. We found a room in the Shilo Inn. We had a steak dinner in the restaurant in the hotel.

Friday night was steak BBQ night at the hotel

On Saturday we got dressed, had breakfast, packed up, checked out, took a couple of pictures of the river and the temple, then headed home. We arrived around 12:30 pm. 

The Idaho Falls temple from across the river

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rededication of the Ogden Temple

We just returned from the rededication of the Ogden Temple brought to us in our stake center in Logan by means of technology. It brought flashbacks from many years ago when I attended the first dedication of the Ogden Temple.

While they were building the Ogden Temple forty-three years ago I was in Vietnam, serving my country in the army. I said a little prayer saying that if I could return home by Christmas I would help with the Ogden Temple open house and dedication. My prayer was granted so I had the opportunity to be an usher in the tabernacle and temple for the open house and dedication. Since my father was one of the stake presidents in Ogden we were able to attend one of the dedicatory services in the temple. This was a very special time in my life. It was the 14th Temple operating at the time. As a youth we would travel to the Logan Temple to perform baptisms for the dead. I remember receiving my endowments in Salt Lake Temple before serving as a missionary in Brazil. While studying at BYU in Provo we would travel to the Manti Temple. Now we had a temple in Ogden, soon to be followed by a temple in Provo (the 15th temple).
Ogden Temple (dedicated 1972)
I also have fond memories of the Ogden Tabernacle. We went to the tabernacle to hear live audio broadcasts of the Saturday evening priesthood sessions of general conference. We always went across the street to Farr's for ice cream cones after the meeting. We also held stake conference in the tabernacle. I loved hearing my father's talks. After each meeting I would go up on the stand and say, "That was a good talk; what was it about?" The tabernacle also brought music into my life by singing with the stake youth choir and later the Weber State Institute choir.
Ogden Tabernacle
While returning from BYU Education Week earlier this month we stopped in Ogden for the open house of the newly remodeled Ogden Temple. It was not just remodeled, but almost entirely rebuilt. It was very beautiful and carried with it a wonderful spirit.
Remodeled Ogden Temple
We were surprised to see the changes in the tabernacle as well, which had also been remodeled.
People in the remodeled tabernacle waiting to see the temple
The experience of attending the rededication of the Ogden Temple brought back memories of my father and mother who spent many years of their lives dedicated to the service of Lord in the Ogden area. I wondered if they were given the opportunity to attend the rededication of the Ogden Temple. Like the Ogden Temple that became worn and needed remodeling and rededication, it impressed me that through the atonement of Jesus Christ we too, being worn, can be remodeled and rededicated to the Lord Jesus Christ and his work.

Technology at Education Week

We were told we would receive technology training for our mission, but didn't know when or where. We then learned that Paul Scherbel (the person in charge of meetinghouse technology for the church) was giving a class at BYU Education Week along with other classes on technology. We decided to go and see what we could learn.

We went to Pleasant Grove on Monday, August 18th, and stayed the night with Steve & Lisa. We had an enjoyable evening visiting with them and catching up with life in the family.

We found out that we needed to leave early in the morning to find any parking. Our first class (8:30 am) was called "Technology in LDS Meetinghouses" presented by Paul Scherbel. The class on Tuesday was an overview of meetinghouse technology, in which he discussed import and new areas in meetinghouse technology, such as meetinghouse internet, remote printing, scanning to email, and Personal Video Conferencing (the Church's version of Skype). On Wednesday he discussed using digital media in lessons and training. This got technical about the standard equipment found in meetinghouses, various options for showing videos in the classroom and chapel, connection types found on TVs, and the adapters needed to connect to laptops, iPads, etc. Thursday was a presentation on how technology is blessing the worldwide church with examples from many countries. It included 1) Meetinghouses in Papua New Guinea without electricity or internet; 2) Security for family history centers in Russia; 3) Information Resource Centers (internet café in the meetinghouse) in Africa; 4) Personal Video Conferencing in Japan; 5) Webcasting stake conference in Albania; and 6) An ultra-modern meetinghouse in Abu Dhabi, UAE on land donated by the Saltan. Friday's topic was on a new, exciting missionary opportunity - Area Technology Specialist. Diane was given a few minutes to express her feelings about the subject.

Our second class on technology (9:50 am), presented by Ronald J. Schwendiman, was "Teaching the Gospel in a Digital World". He covered subjects like : 1) What technologies may help in the church classrooms; 2) Digital resources for Sunday teaching; 3) Using technology tools to teach children and teens; and 4) Digital resources for the home and sharing the gospel. This class discussed a lot of resources the Church provides for teaching, but emphasized that we can't let technology get in the way of the spirit. He suggested having a technology helper in the classroom so that the teacher can focus on the lesson rather than the technical delivery of the lesson.

Elder David A. Bednar gave the devotional address on Tuesday on using the social media to flood the world with truth. He gave several examples of the power of social media for good. He gave us guidelines to follow: 1) Be authentic and consistent in our message; 2) Have messages that edify and uplift rather that argumentative; 3) Be respectful of intellectual property; 4) Be wise and vigilant. It was interesting that on Thursday there was a water line break at the Marriot Center so they had to cancel classes there. I don't think this is the kind of flood he was talking about.
Marriott Center flood (the Digital Universe)
Our third class on technology (11:10 am) was "The Church's Electronic Outreach: Keeping You Informed, Active in Volunteer Service, and Connected with Others". Wow, what a title! Sure enough, it took three presenters to cover the topics. On Wednesday, Russell J. Hanning talked about how we can receive personalized messages from the church through email and text messaging. On Thursday, Jayson H. Seegmiller told us about the Church's New Volunteer Initiative that fits opportunities for service with our interests and talents. On Friday, Fernando V. Camilo went through a lot of the social media the Church is using - Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.

Since we didn't have time to leave campus for lunch we were pleased to find that there were several gluten-free options at the Cougar Eat, including Chick-Fil-A. It took a lot of pressure off of having to go and find something.

We filled in some time with a few non-technical classes. We were really tired when we attended a class on the Apocrypha so we both slept. On Thursday we attended a class "To Them of the Last Wagon" by Kevin Hinckley. He referred to the pioneers who trailed behind others because of several difficulties then he compared them to several groups in the Church today that may feel like they are left behind: Spouses whose husbands have become disillusioned with the church or vis versa,  missionaries who for one reason or another returned early from their missions, recently divorced, those dealing with same-gender attraction, or "broken vessels" from mental problems. It helps us to be aware of others who are not in the mainstream. His class the next day was about--can people change and how does it happen?

Our final technology class was "The Church's Digital Tools and Treasures, and What's New for You" given by Fernando V. Camilo, a Brazilian. On Tuesday and Wednesday he discussed as a digital church resource and the productivity tools it offers. On Thursday he discussed many of the mobile apps put out by the Church, such as Gospel Library, LDS Tools, Bible Videos, etc. Friday was a discussion about some of the resources that seem to be hidden, but are really treasures. These included the new Youth Activities website, new social media, and teaching videos.

This was a busy week without a lot of pictures to show for it. One evening Diane had a chance to actually meet her Portuguese tutor and have a language session at Amanda Knight Hall (where Paul ate many years ago while at the LTM - Language Training Mission). 
Diane with Douglas, her Portuguese tutor

We were also able to have gluten-free pizza at The Brick Oven where everyone was very friendly, especially our server. We took some time to go through the art museum where they had an exhibit on period costumes worn by famous actors in the movies. (Pictures not allowed)
It looks like he lost his head
In the evenings we attended musical performances. Tuesday was "Seven Brides for SevenBrothers" one of Diane's favorite musicals. Wednesday was "An Evening of Music and Inspiration" presented by five of the popular LDS performing artists. It was a good performance, but we didn't relate to the music as well as other performances. Thursday was "William Joseph in Concert". He is an LDS pianist and composer. We enjoyed it a lot more.

During education week they premiered "Meet the Mormons" a new movie coming out October 10th in the theaters. We thought we wouldn't be able to see it, but on Thursday evening we got in the standby line and actually were able to get in. It was an uplifting movie. We hope it does well when it's released. 
Meet the Mormons comes out October 10th

We had tickets for the Ogden Temple open house Friday evening so we left in the afternoon right after our last class. The traffic was horrendous on all roads. We decided not to get upset and just crawled toward Ogden. We arrived an hour late, but were able to go through. It was beautiful!
We were glad to be headed for Logan, but we had very slow traffic through the canyon. As we approached Mantua we saw that there was an accident and many emergency vehicles. With the rain some huge boulders fell off the mountain and onto the highway. We just missed it. We were very glad to finally arrive home safely.

We are glad it didn't hit us! (

August 2014 Highlights

Summer is in full swing. We spent a lot of time this month preparing for our mission - Paul working on technology in Brazil and Diane working on Portuguese. The ICS group in Riverton found another couple (the Rowes) to help us. They are taking the information we have about technology specialists in Brazil and creating a spreadsheet. They will also send an email to all the stake clerks in Brazil asking about technology specialists within the stake. It will be a lot of help. We were able to meet them when we went to Riverton later in the August to discuss using a Learning Management System (LMS) for technology training in Brazil.

We did have time for summer activities, starting with Youth Conference. On Friday afternoon we went to the Brigham City Temple for baptisms for the dead. Paul was able to perform confirmations. It was a nice spiritual activity for the leaders as well as the youth. This was followed by a BBQ and testimony meeting in the back yard of our Young Men's president with a beautiful view of the mountains. The next morning we had a swimming (and sliding) party at Downata Hot Springs in Idaho. It was also a lot of fun.
Kamary with her friend Valerie
This has been a wet year, which sometimes interferes with mowing the lawn.
This was a downpour just before I was finished mowing
Kamary went to vocal camp again and really enjoyed it. She was given honorable mention and sang a solo for the group.
Why does she always have her mouth open?
Meanwhile Andrea played the clarinet for the community band at the county fair
Andrea playing at the county fair
The rest of us hanging around so we could hear her play
and the USU Alumni Band for their Sunday evening concerts. The music was hard and the only practice they had was a couple of hours before the concerts.
At least we could see her when she stood up
Our big family activity for the summer was a day at Bear Lake. It was the Saturday before school started and there were a lot of people there, but it was a lot of fun - and the water was just right. 
Alyssa ready for a swim 
Brynlie and Lauren play in the sand
That air mattress isn't big enough for four kids!
Kohler buries Hanna in the sand
Grandma reads in the shade
So does Mom
Why sit in the shade if I can get a sunburn?
Jason, master of the BBQ
Why would Kamary be reading on a day like this?
What a FLIRT!
The water was shallow for a long way out. Beyond that, there were three floating trampolines. Hanna decided to investigate. She can swim, but not that well. She made it, but was too tired to swim back so she got a ride with someone on a jet ski. She remembers when she "almost drowned". 
Hanna recovering after her swim and grandma providing shade
We were invited for breakfast at Rayhan's house (a friend of Paul's at USU). Paul had a good time playing with Jeren, her daughter.
Oh, to be young again!
And finally, a photo we couldn't resist.
Does he belong in our family?
We have been waiting for technology training, so decided to attend BYU Education Week where there will be several classes on technology in the church. We decided to have the experience as a separate post.