Monday, February 13, 2017

Three State Trip Part 2

Part 2

Unfortunately, I did not get any good pictures of Adrianne's boys but I did get this one of a big sister taking good care of her baby sister. Adrianne's kids absolutely adore this new baby. They take turns holding her when she fusses and refuses to sleep. She smiles and is happy when she has had at least a little cat nap. Believe Adrianne when she tells you that this baby doesn't know how to sleep. It's very bizarre. All of her kids have been like this.



We had a great time visiting with the family. It was fun to see the school work, read their poetry, see the books they read (volumes!) and watch them interact. It was great to be able to talk to the parents one-on-one after the kids were in bed or when we were out and about. They took us for a ride around the area and we marveled at the hills and trees. We could imagine at every little dip and turn of the road a stillery hidden in the treess. Where we were and what we saw was very clean. There was no junk in the yards. All places were well cared for whether they were large, beautiful homes or simple ones. It definitely wasn't like junky Wyoming and Utah.

We got to watch Mike make an ornament of the Payson Temple for us. He explained how his machines work. We got to see Adrianne's beautiful artwork that is in progress.

Our time came to leave and head to Lance's. It made my heart sad to leave this little family. They are fun and very loving towards everybody. They were coming down with colds and beginning to feel sick so our departure was probably welcomed so they could crash and just be sick. Loved our visit with them!!

Georgia -- The scenery was still filled with trees and hills but the further we got into Georgia, the large the hills. There were constant hills and trees. You could not get a sense of how large any one place was. It was similar but still different from Tennessee.

 Emory Hospital on the campus of Emory University. Where Lance began his job. Lots of construction going on.

 Clinic that Lance managed until recently.

 Lobby of the hospital. Unbelievably beautiful.

 Front of the hospital.

All the buildings on campus have marble on them. They are truly gorgeous.




I believe this is part of the CDC (Center for Disease Control) which oversaw the Ebola issues. This is just down from the Uinversity.


Churches were everywhere! 


We went inside this building called the Mandir. It is a Hindu Temple. The carving inside the building is incredible. This is just a block or so from Lance's house. It was awesome!

Three State Trip Part 1

Jim and I fell in love with the countryside in all three states we visited, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. It had been a lifelong dream for me to see a beautiful Kentucky horse farm with wide, long driveways and sweeping fences. Little did I know that the dream would be fulfilled while attending Jason and Ashly's wedding. We stayed with Ashly's friends, Jill and Tom. They were the perfect host and hostess. The house was beautiful inside and the outside was just as beautiful. They only had 2 horses but they were friendly. I got to feed them apples and had a little chat with those animals. It made me a bit homesick for my childhood.


I was surprised at how hilly it was because it had been such a long time since I had been in southern Indiana. I actually went to Louisville with Jim once when we lived in Indiana. We stopped at that time to see Churchill Downs. I remember trees but not hills. I couldn't believe how beautiful the area was.

The wedding -- walking into the sealing room seeing all our children seated there (minus spouses) was unbelievable. I felt like my breath was taken away as I looked over at all of my family. I realized that Jim and I have been blessed beyond comprehension due to the goodness and faithfulness of our children, I can imagine our reunion after the last comes through the veil. But I don't know if there will be a "last." Grandchildren and great grandchildren will come.and then eternity will come without end.

It was wonderful to meet Ashly and her children. It was wonderful to see the joy on Jason's face and to realize that there is a happily ever after - after trials, heartache and sorrow to absolute joy. It made my heart feel peace. We wish them every possible happiness.

As we left and traveled across Kentucky and into Tennessee, I marveled at the continued beauty of the landscape. I saw the Kentucky Thoroughbred Horse Retirement Farm - that's where race horses go after they are done racing. The fields were filled with beautiful horses. I about drove off the freeway while I was staring. Just can't beat that scene.

The scenery changed from rollings hills to steep hills. The freeway cut through solid rock draped in ice. I became more and more amazed at the steepness of the hills. In between the hills were little bowl shaped valleys filled with more trees than I have ever seen in my life.

We finally arrived at Mike & Adrianne's set to stay for a few days.


This is where the Richards go to swim in their neighborhood.

 A log covered with mushrooms of some kind.

 Mushroom in detail.


Pretty path in the neighborhood.

Mike took us on a tour of the University of Tennessee. I hope it doesn't offend him for me to say it was a pretty ugly campus. Grass doesn't grow easily in that area so the grounds were not terribly beautiful. The buildings were old on the outside. He said they are gutting many of the buildings and remodeling them inside but leaving the outside shell. And talk about hills! Anybody that thinks BYU's steps are hard, well, they are wimps. This place is built on many hills. So many stairs!! 
The stadium that housed Peyton Manning is right there on campus.The Tennessee River runs on one side (it's a large river!) and then all the buildings for campus are crammed together with not a lot of green space. There was a good combination of old meeting new here.


Administration Building.

 Downtown Knoxville as seen from campus.
Stadium at the University of Tennessee.

 Inside the stadium.
Peyton Manning's home school.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Simple Witness

Yesterday evening, I left work to go to a local business meeting in downtown Sacramento. As I left, I opened my phone to turn on music and immediately felt a prompting to put the scriptures on instead. I resisted for a moment, until a stronger voice and feeling urged me to put the scriptures on again. Thankfully I heeded that feeling.

I am reading in 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon and had just started the book from the beginning. Honestly, after a full day of work, my mind was pretty distracted and I missed most of what was being said. But at about halfway through 1 Nephi  2, my attention rested on the scriptures being streamed through my car speakers just as verses 13 and 14 were read. They read:

13 Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.

 14 And it came to pass that my father did speak unto them in the valley of Lemuel, with power, being filled with the Spirit, until their frames did shake before him. And he did confound them, that they durst not utter against him; wherefore, they did as he commanded them.
 
As I heard verse 14 and the description of the power with which Lehi spoke, it was like that power reached through time and truly affected me. I could feel the very power of it myself. The Spirit rested on me as I drove and told me that what I heard was true, that The Book of Mormon is true.

I am always grateful for any witness to the truthfulness of the Gospel of Christ, and I feel especially grateful for this one because it was unexpected, because I had overcome the urge to ignore the prompting to listen, and because it was a direct blessing for my obedience to the Spirit. But most of all, because I have prayed for further witness and strengthening of my testimony of this book.
I do know that The Book of Mormon is true. I am grateful for the wisdom, the truth, and the peace that is contained in that book and how it has helped me so many times find answers to my struggles and questions. It truly testifies of Christ and His gospel.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

2016 Sibling Gift Exchange

This should be the line up for the 2016 Clark Family gift exchange. This isn't supposed to be a burden on anyone so please keep it simple. 

Please update your addresses on the family spreadsheet so we can ship things to the right places. Also, suggestions are sure appreciated. :)

Jason: Ammon

Adam & Amy: Jason

Brent & Chelsey: Adam and Amy

Jess & Jen: Brent and Chelsey

Mike & Adrianne: Jess and Jen

Lindsey & Hans: Adrianne and Mike

Lance & Nancy: Lindsey and Haans

Dave & Tana: Lance and Nancy

Gillian & Kevin: Dave and Tana

Chad & Kaitlin: Gillian and Kevin

Ammon: Chad and Kaitlin 

2016 Sibling Gift Exchange

This should be the line up for the 2016 Clark Family gift exchange. This isn't supposed to be a burden on anyone so please keep it simple. 

Please update your addresses on the family spreadsheet so we can ship things to the right places. Also, suggestions are sure appreciated. :)

Jason & <Soon to be Ashly>: Ammon

Adam & Amy: Jason and <soon to be Ashly>

Brent & Chelsey: Adam and Amy

Jess & Jen: Brent and Chelsey

Mike & Adrianne: Jess and Jen

Lindsey & Hans: Adrianne and Mike

Lance & Nancy: Lindsey and Haans

Dave & Tana: Lance and Nancy

Gillian & Kevin: Dave and Tana

Chad & Kaitlin: Gillian and Kevin

Ammon: Chad and Kaitlin 

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Family Reunion

I didn't go stir crazy with pictures with this family reunion. I was too busy, but it has been a wonderful and interesting experience. This is the first reunion we have ever held. We have learned a lot of lessons - just in case we ever decide to have another one. We have exhausted the kids and they have exhausted us. (I think I can express that in behalf of all the parents.)

Today Gillian and David went home. I take my hat of to them, especially, because they both made the long trek here without spouses. That couldn't have been an easy task but they did a remarkable job of holding it all together. Their kids were tired today. I hope they slept most of the way home.

Adam will leave on Saturday and Jason will leave early Monday morning. The day everyone started arriving (June 3), my heart kept beating quickly. I left work at 11:00 that morning to be here when they all started arriving. I kept saying,"I can't believe this is really happening!" And I was beyond happy! I haven't slept much in the past week because I lie awake trying to figure out details of the next day, but it has been worth the sleeplessness just to have so many family members together.

I am convinced that the more often family members get together, the better our understanding of each other will become; the quicker it will be to resolve personal issues; the stronger the bonds will forge and the individual support will strengthen. This is my wish for this fantastic, crazy family. And yes, we are LOUD! Cousins got to play with each other and got to know one another. For the most part, this was a great adventure. There were a few difficult patches but hopefully those will straighten out.

Here are a few random pictures. If you don't see your kids in one of them, it's either because I did not have my camera with me or they didn't sit still enough for me to catch them. (And I'm only posting a few.)

First day -- Park play and just chillin'.

 Eva had the great idea of having the kids follow her in a single file. She was the leader of the pack. They followed her.
 This adorable little girl was happy to be still enough to let me take her picture.
 All but two.
Second day:  From this.....
 To this!
 Ladies (including Eva) started painting the ugly brown trim on the front of the house.
 Dinner time after a long, hot day of service. There are a lot of us!
 Alyssa asked me to take a few senior pictures. We did a few practice pictures tonight. I wish I was a better people photographer. We'll see how it turns out tomorrow morning. There's smoke in the sky so I'm hoping the sky doesn't get blown out. She's definitely a pretty subject.

 

Friday, May 06, 2016

A Nice Mother's Day Rant



After I became a mother, I began to hate Mother’s Day – more than any day of the year. I was grumpy as the day approached. I knew there would be no fuss except for the little things the kids would bring home from school. I wore the Kerr bottle rings as necklaces. I wore the dried clay pins and macaroni necklaces that the kids made at school. That was the only symbol that Mother’s Day had arrived. But nothing was different on that day. Everybody would ask me what I wanted. I would say, “I’d like a day when none of you argue and I would like to have a day without having to cook.” So simple. But the kids still argued. I still fixed all the meals. I sat and listened to unbearable stories about the perfect mothers in the world knowing I wasn’t one of them. Lip service was given about how special I was but action rarely followed those words. Every year I tried to change how I felt. I tried to be more adult about it. I tried not to care that my kids didn’t pay attention to the day any more than any other. And my husband rarely stepped up to make a special meal or give me a break from the daily grind that came with a gazillion kids. I still fulfilled my callings at church. And then, at the end of church, they would give us some little booklet that talked about the glories of motherhood. I went home and dumped it into the garbage. Sometimes we’d get a little plant. I think mine died every single year. It was symbolic, I thought.
And then one year I figured it all out. I called all the mothers of my daughters-in-law and thanked them for raising such wonderful young women. I thanked them for being great mothers. I called my daughters and thanked them for being such stellar women and told them how much I loved them. It was such a simple task but it changed how I looked at Mother’s Day. I decided to honor my daughters, who made me in to a mother. I decided to look outward rather than inward. Once that shift in my thought process took place, Mother’s Day became more like Valentine’s Day, which is my favorite holiday. I could do something for other mothers. I stopped expecting gifts and fuss. I began to shed the years of frustration and selfishness. And now I love Mother’s Day. Some years I do something special. Some years it’s just another nice day. Nothing is expected – either from me or by me. And peace has come to me. I just have to figure out what I want to do this year. I feel phone calls to my daughters coming on. And phone calls to lonely mothers in my ward that don’t get to see their children very often. And a phone call to the bishop’s wife who is the mother of the ward. And our Relief Society President who mothers all of us. It’s not about me and never should have been.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Last Pictures of California Trip

I promise - these are the last pictures of our California trip. I can't forget the most important part of the trip -- the people!

The sweetest little face in the world. Who wouldn't be captivated by this look?

 The kids at the end of our hike in Armstrong Woods.
 Amy and Hannah at the beginning of the hike.

 Jim is soooo strong!


 Jim peeking through the base of one tree that split.

 The kids looking inside the base of a tree.

 Ammon is just a speck amongst the forest. It reminds me of Enoch's statement when he saw the creations of God and remarked how insignificant man really is.

Ammon was Mr. Taxi much of the time. Kids loved the ride.
 George was kind of talking to himself when I walked up by his side. He was actually talking to his shadow. As the shadow blended in with other shadows and he couldn't see it he would say, "And now it's gone into the ground." It was too cute to miss so I captured it here.

 Gracie
Two live oak trees - some of my favorite and in plentiful supply in California. I think they are gorgeous trees. It looks like they are sitting on the "Teletubby hills." Adam said that the green hills you see on the Microsoft window were actually taken in this area, just about 2 miles from Adam's house.
 The kids put on a little show for us. They use the entrance to their house as their stage. Sometimes they make up their own songs and sometimes they perform to a recorded song. It was lively and a lot of fun.
 These kids are the most energetic of any I have ever met, I think. These three, especially (Sam, Ella and Grace) seem to always be in the mix of it all. They certainly had fun together.

A few blocks from Adam's house is a nice neighborhood that has been invaded by wild peacocks. They were everywhere! One house had 4 peacocks on their front porch. While they are beautiful to see, I would be afraid of them with so many at my front door. There were also wild turkeys. We saw one coming back from the grocery store - he was just strutting across the street. It is a unique area.