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Monday, July 20, 2009

Best Sunday Date Ever!

Let me precursor this post with a little background (or else, you may just deem me completely crazy ;)

Growing up, my mom and I became super-sleuths when it came to finding old ancestors in graveyards. We spent many a summer--in both rain & shine, daylight & pitch blackness--combing through the graveyards of Delaware, searching for family members to further our genealogy efforts. We've come to know the thrill of actually finding a passed-on relative.

This must have worn off on me over the years, because I have come to love cemeteries. (Weird, I know! Just bare with me on this one :). I've found them to be places of peace & reflection, and I often find myself strolling through, looking at the names & wondering about the life stories. Who was this person? Who loved them? Who left the flowers?

I remember reading a quotation by Joseph Smith, found on a monument in the old Nauvoo Cemetery (I believe by the grave of Edward Partridge...but don't quote me on it!). Where he said a man's grave is a sacred place. Maybe it's that sacredness that I feel when visiting, but I often feel on hallowed ground, instead of being weirded out, depressed, or any other of the emotions hollywood often encourages us to have.

SO--imagine my delight today when Rob took me to the Salt Lake cemetery to search out the graves of Prophets. Now, I thought we would be driving up to a "Prophet Cemetery" (much like Brigham Young's--small, and clearly marked), but oh no! This place was HUGE! Probably the biggest cemetery I"ve ever been in. We ended up spending over an hour just driving/walking around, searching for familiar names and just exploring the area. Rob was the best at spotting cool people (he found 8, I only found 1--W.W. Phelps). AND, besides actually enjoying the search & find method, he also wanted to take pictures. I was thrilled! :)

So, without further ado, here are the graves of some of the greatest men who have walked the earth in these latter-days. It was a complete honor to visit each of their graves & pay my respects (especially President Hinckley's).

Our first find driving in--James E. Talmage (author of Jesus the Christ)

(John Taylor--3rd Prophet. You can see Rob walking around in the background, searching for the next find :)
J. Golden Kimball...the "Mark Twain" of Mormonism ;)

Heber J. Grant--7th Prophet
Pictures at President Gordon B. Hinckley's gravesite. He passed away recently, but was the Prophet, and great spiritual leader who led me through my teenage years, and most of my early adulthood. I love that man.

David O. McKay--the great educator (I went to the David O. McKay College of Education at BYU), he was also the 9th Prophet)

Joseph F. Smith--6th Prophet, and son of Hyrum Smith (brother of Joseph Smith). Probably some of my favorite life-stories come from this particular President of the church :)

Wilford Woodruff--4th President of the Church, and amazing missionary to Europe! He is also the Prophet who had a vision of the founding fathers & performed their temple work. Kept a journal everyday of his life! W.W. Phelps--great Mormon poet, wrote many of our most loved songs. Just learned this past Sunday that he left the church & played a key part in spreading lies about Joseph Smith & having the mobs attack the saints of Missouri. When he came back, he asked Joseph to forgive him, which he did. Phelps later when on to write "Praise to the Man"--a song honoring Joseph Smith, and one of my favorite hymns. Also, on the back of Phelp's grave, were the words to one of the most beautiful hymns we have--If You Could High to Kolob I've decided that next time we go (as we weren't able to find Porter Rockwell, quite a few other prophets, or Bruce R. McConkie), that we need to bring a Church History, or D&C Manual! There were so many names we saw, or huge monuments, where we knew the name was familiar, but couldn't place who they were. It'd be fun to learn the stories as we walked through!

Friday, July 17, 2009

She'll Be Comin' Down the Mountain... :)

More fun times in Utah! I celebrated my birthday out here at the Mayan with some of my closest friends. I love how I'm clapping for myself during my own birthday cake and song--I'm such a dork :)

I also had the chance to meet up with Tiffany (childs) Farns, and catch up with her and her brood! (The Farns Family introduced us to Bachi Ball--Rob is working hard to win us the game here ;)
Then on Saturday, Rob used his special privledges pass to get us up the Gandala & Ski Lift at the Canyons in Park City. It was AWESOME!! (this our feet hanging from the ski-lift. The ground is about 30 feet below us....and note the footwear! That becomes important about half an hour into this adventure, when we decided to hike our way back down the mountain!)(note Rob has switched shoes with me in this pic. They were 4 sizes too small for him, causing his heals to hang off the back...and he still made it down not falling. Way to be Rob! :) (Love, love, LOVE the variety of flowers! Aren't they pretty?)
(This one below reminds me of a mission picture I took in Artigas, with Tiffany actually!) (We made it down in one piece, and smiles on our faces! Some Brittish girls stopped us for pictures--there was a big Wine Festival going on that day at the Canyons. We opted out on that one!)

So, that's what I've been up to in Utah! One more week, then I'm off to the grand adventure of family vacation in Delaware. I'm SO excited to see everyone again and go to one of my favorite places on earth! :) Hope everyone is doing well! :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me :)

So usually I spend my days out here trying to get down to the family history library for a class or research, but today....I decided no stress on my birthday--just fun! :)  What's funny is that my idea of fun has consisted of a early morning drive up to Park City to drop Rob off at work, then take his car to an outlet Mall, followed by facebookin', bloggin', and probably more shopping at Kohl's to use up a few gift certificates :)  I AM super excited about dinner tonight at the Mayan--good friends that happen to be up here in Utah are joining me. I LOVE that birthdays have become an excuse to wine & dine with friends!! (Well, minus the wine. We are Mormon, y'know ;)
Utah State Capital (Capitol?!)
SO! Utah's been great! There seems to be a ton to do up here, an plenty of good company :) While flying into Salt Lake City, this new song called Say Hey (I Love You) was playing, and I completely fell in love with it! It's now the first song on the playlist below--enjoy!! I've toured the Conference Center, as well as seen an awesome Art Exhibit there, Gone to This is the Place park, hiked Ensign Peak, done the Hogle Zoo thing, seen a hilarious play making fun of Utah (Utahoma), and in general just enjoyed being in a place cooler than the 115 degree Arizona!
Conference Center Tour
Catchin' a little Mo-Tab Practice! (Mormon Tabernacle Choir)
Hogle Zoo Pics

Y'know it's funny, but I don't feel old today. Should I?? Twenty-Seven seems like such a cooler age to be than turning 26 did. I also feel extremely blessed. I have been thinking non-stop about the girls of the First Ward Relief Society back in Phoenix, and just feeling so blessed to know them, love them, and learn from them. Heart you guys!!  For some reason, Utah has brought back a lot of memories of BYU & Mission stuff....just a reflective time right now, and I'm loving it :)

PS don't I keep cute company???? ;)