Wednesday, July 27, 2016

MTC Drop-Off

He is prepared. He is all of the other Boy Scout qualities too! He is the Lord's missionary. We pulled into the MTC and a host approached the car and said, "You have about one minute to say goodbye." All four of us jumped out, got the suitcases out, he hugged his mom and dad for the last time for two years, grabbed a suitcase (the host grabbed the other), and off he went, never looking back. He was SO excited to get this thing started!

I heard the host ask, "Where you going, Elder?" He said, "Korea Seoul South." All business. The eight year old who asked me to speak at his baptism is now an eighteen year old missionary!

He did say, "Love you, Aunty Jo," as he strode right past me toward the MTC. Love him.

A Missionary Packs Up and Says His Goodbyes

It was a morning of finishing up the laundry, labeling everything, and packing the suitcases. Folding pants, matching socks...a missionary in our home! I'm so glad I was granted the opportunity to see my nephew and to spend his last couple of pre-MTC days with him. He's such a great kid! He is 18 and 1/4 years old with quite the resume from high school. He is obedient and stalwart. He will make a great missionary. I'm so impressed with his parents and all they've taught him. I made him eat his morning raspberries with chopsticks so he could practice. It was SO NICE having guests in our home!!!

Amy took Alex into a bedroom to say goodbye to him personally. Kevin gave him a Father's Blessing. We got a little emotional and teary eyed, but mostly we were all so excited for this opportunity! He's going to learn SO much on this mission!

The Mountain...and the Mountain of the Lord

I had fun with these people! We ate Korean food and went to the rec center and did some shopping and eating out...and then yesterday morning, we went to the Mountain. We drove up American Fork Canyon and hiked between Pine Hollow and Salamander Flat with great views of Mount Timpanogos. The temperatures were cooler than in the valley. Then we went out for Kneaders French Toast, took showers, and headed for the Mountain of the Lord, the Salt Lake Temple. We did a session using Kevin's family file names and then we did some sealings. After that we ate at the Nauvoo Cafe and watched three films in the Legacy Theater. Then we toured Temple Square and stayed at the North Visitor Center until they closed at 9:00 p.m.

Western Cone Flower, An Essay

Swans and Such

Yellowstone is beautiful every single day.

One day I was on trail patrol at Mud Volcano while the ranger managed his guided walk with thirty or so people. A bison came right down the slope by Dragon's Mouth Spring, took the boardwalk over toward Mud Volcano, and then slipped behind the fence in order to plop right down in front of this namesake thermal feature. I wonder if the old bulls are arthritic and the heat from the feature makes their bones happy. Or I wonder if the gurgling, churning noises from the hot water soothe them, especially when so many people are around. For some reason, they like it. I babysat the bison to make sure no humans jumped the fence or did anything seriously stupid to aggravate him. One of my favorite questions is, "How do you know it's a boy?" Also, one gentleman was reading the wayside sign about Mud Volcano and then gazed at the thermal feature itself when suddenly, he spied the bison (yeah, that 2,000 pound beast right there in plain sight). It startled him in a terrific way, "Oh my GOSH! I did NOT see that! Oh my GOSH!" He was a little freaked out.

Volunteer Susan and I took off to Cody one day to view the garden show. We toured five gardens around the city and took lots of photos. There was an artist at each garden creating art which was later auctioned off at the luncheon.

TR and I finally got to go camping again! It was only our second time all season due to my illness and trip to Virginia. We camped along the Madison River and then drove the Gravelly Range. Wildflowers were in bloom and so we had to snap more than a few pictures. We saw FIVE osprey nests, three of which were being sat upon. I wonder if mothers were shading their babies from the 93 degree heat. One nest had a rope swing of sorts. Looks like these birds are using baling twine to supplement their construction projects--funny.

On the way back into the park, we stopped at Artist Paint Pots. Love the white mud there...and tried to get the irregularly shaped "pieces" of mud that were getting launched into the air. Look closely. Mesmerizing.

One morning I drove out to Hayden Valley prior to sunrise. Five trumpeter swans were sleeping with their beaks tucked into their down. As the sun rose, one pair decided to swim compliantly toward me for morning coffee. Later, the other three swam over, so I was able to watch these beautiful creatures for a good thirty minutes. Sandhill cranes, geese, ducks, and other birds were having morning conversations and taking off at intervals, an airport of sorts.

The bison rut has begun. Poor gentlemen, they are at the mercy of their hormones, therefore, they've lost all of their senses. One was hanging out in housing the other day, bellowing for all he was worth. He was making dust clouds around himself, turning back traffic, and scratching his head and horns on the power pole. My favorite picture is the one where he's all sacked out like a dog.