Monday, July 27, 2009

All in a Pioneer's Day!

In Utah July 24 is a big day... even bigger for us pioneers... But with the large crowds of the weekend we changes our scenery with some special events and activities.

We spent the week preparing our houses for large crowds of people. Anything we didn't want to explain, have touched, or chase, was put away. I roped off my garden so it wouldn't be trampled and prepared the laundry buckets for a big day... throughout the village the settlers also spent a great deal of thought and time into making "floats" for the parade we walked through the village. Each site got a hand cart and were told they could use their imaginations. We were supposed to represent our site on the float and children can't ride inside. They would then be put to vote as the guests were asked to vote for their favorite one for the "People's choice."

Our float was awesome. With the help of Darci and Steve our hand cart was ready to go! And for the first day, we won people's choice! We lost on Saturday to the Hospital because of their skeleton holding the laudanum bottle... but still... :)

We also had Native American dancers dance for us, the Mormon Battalion was there giving cannon demonstrations, there was a pie eating contest, a watermelon eating contest, and of course a village full of pioneers. :) It was actually a fun weekend despite the stress of misfiring cannons...

Surprisingly short post today... but more to come soon!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Life Continues

The funeral services for Annie were held this morning. It was a wonderful service of celebration of a wonderful life lived.

The first speaker was a President from BYU. He brought with him a message of love and sympathy from the leaders of our wonderful university. The flag on campus was lowered to half mass today in honor of Annie. He also read a letter sent from the Dean of her it they explained that Annie was in her last semester of college before she would graduate. The Dean and his committee looked over her requirements and found, that with all of her advanced math classes (she really liked math) she had reached the graduation requirements. They want to present her family with her Bachelor's in Economics as well. It was really a nice start to a beautiful memorial.

In her life sketch her brothers (who happen to be twins) told a story of how she used to make them Macaroni and Cheese when they were kids. (One of the twins is about to be married, the other is on his last month on his mission and has flown home for a week to be here for this...) They remembered how it always tasted better when she made it and she told them that she had a secret ingredient. She would boil the noodles and when it was time to make the sauce, she would send them out and shut the door, knowing that they were listening through the door trying to decipher just what that ingredient was. Years later they were told that she was just following the instructions. :) She would move around and open random cupboards and things just to keep them guessing. She definitely had sass... :)

All in all it was a great service. It left me with a desire to be better, to love harder, and to live life to the fullest. Annie is on the other side with those pass along cards finding anyone she can who will listen to the message of the Gospel. Everyone in attendance today knows that. She loved the Lord more than anything. Her simple lifestyle, and desire to serve with that unfailing smile has served everyone around her, everyday that she spent here. I don't know that I ever saw her without that smile. :)

Thanks to all the love and support. Life continues on and because of this simple fact I pray to have the strength to be better. I love you, my family and friends and I love my Heavenly Father with this amazing plan he has for each of us. This is my testimony, that we are all meant to be happy. The church is true!

Monday, July 20, 2009


Nothing can prepare you for the inevitable... rather ironic, but hey, that's life. But what really does it include? What is a life well lived? What are we doing with that "dash" between the years?

Life includes love. A family that loves you and supports you as you grow up and mature into adulthood (hopefully into and through adulthood as well... ;] ), Friends will come and go and yet they are so important to growth and identification as the teenage years come around. Then eventually you find that one who you would love nothing better than to spend eternity with them and life just seems to make sense. Of course, who can forget the comforting strength of a roommate when things get a little bumpy...

But how is one supposed to feel when news reaches your ear of a child, not yet two passes on into the next life? Sure, there is some comfort knowing they are exalted... (Thank goodness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ) but it doesn't make it easy. Or what about a grandmother who has watched her children grow up and move on... What sort of time is considered a life well lived?

Life should be lived, not imagined, not stressed about, and certainly not put off for "tomorrow". What you have is today, make it worth while. Who knows what tomorrow will hold for you...

Let me tell you about Annie Jones. The day she moved into our apartment, box in hand, smile on her face I could feel something very special about her. I could feel the love the Savior had for this particular daughter and reciprocated love she shares with Him. With Annie, what you saw is what you got. There was no hidden meaning, just true honesty. She always had a smile and would never really complain about anything... She was a great cook and made us chocolate chip cookies almost every single day. We have grown to love her perfected recipe... Her standards were being lived with everything she could bear. A perfect example of how to live the Gospel.Her boyfriend, Sam would come over and always make us laugh. She was as happy as any 23 year old could be.

She spent the weekend in Bryce Canyon with Sam and his family. The plan for their return trip back to us was to drive Friday night to be home by Saturday. Annie, wearing her seat belt, was in the back seat. Sam's nephew was driving early in the morning... he fell asleep at the wheel and ran the car into the barrier. He came out of the accident with a couple of bruises, Sam has no physical injuries (thank goodness), and Annie... well... she was killed on impact. She did not suffer... but Sam did attempt to do CPR for 20 minutes...My prayers are for her family. One of 11 children and on of the oldest, this has come to a sudden and difficult blow to handle. But most of all, my heart goes out to Sam... Annie's uncle told us that Sam bought her a ring and was planning a surprise proposal very soon...

The news has come as such a blow and shock to us.Her family came yesterday to tell us, and get her stuff... it was only hours after it had happened... One minute she was here and now... we are all still almost hoping she will walk through our door... but we all know in our hearts that she wont be... For as little time as I have known her, there is... a hole... something, and someone missing. It is a different experience to have someone so close in age, in proximity, in circumstance... at the prime of their life, be suddenly gone. The bishop told me to keep my chin up.

The interesting thing is, I have no sadness... I know it sounds a little heartless... but our apartment has been blanketed with a kind of quiet, comforted peace... it is difficult to explain but I know that Heavenly Father knows what he is doing. I know that Annie was living the way she was supposed to and that she is in good hands. Those who are hurting are those left behind.
The trick? Keep on living life. If we halt, if we stop to worry and stress about the inevitable... then death will come and we wont be ready. Keep the perspective eternal and carry on. Life is beautiful, precious, and fragile... it would be a shame to waste it.

The Dash Poem
by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard;
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

© 1996 Linda Ellis

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fun Filled Fourth

I doubt if there is any possible way to include any more activity into a weekend than what Bryce and I jam-packed for our 4th of July weekend.

Thursday the Third Bryce and I joined my family in Wallsburg for an awesome ATV ride. I did not end on the ground this time... so we count it as a success. Ben found all the puddles he could and ended up rather stinky and muddy... but we definitely looked like we had fun...

The 4th of July had us driving up to Park City for a little visit with the Le Baron family there. We couldn't stay long however, because we were performing in the Stadium of Fire as part of the flag ceremony. It was a lot of fun! We got to listen to all the girls scream as the Jonas Brothers came out... and after every song... and before every song... and during every song... it made the fireworks kinda hard to hear... but the fireworks were very much worth sitting through the performance. Toward the end of the night they retired the giant (football field sized) flag that they have used for quite a few years. You may have also seen it hanging on one of the buildings in Salt Lake during the Olympics ... It was a lot of fun. Our part in the program was actually pretty neat. We dressed in the Civil War era clothing. As they honored the flag the first group to walk out was the Revolutionary War representatives carrying the original US flag. We were next as the Civil War, then came World War 1 and World War 2. Lastly a modern color guard came and stood in the center carrying the current flag and we sang the Star Spangled Banner as an entire, fully-packed stadium. It was pretty moving. I realized just how much living in America means... freedom isn't free... and we often take our agency for granted...

We got home late, Bryce had to give a lesson in church so we attended like good members do and then drove back up to Park City. Monday the 5th we rented a boat and went on the lake for a few hours, hit the outlets and finished listening to "The Giver" as we drove back home to work on Tuesday.

Included here are some pictures of the cutest pioneer couple ever... and our friend Brother Brigham. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bryce, Zion's, and Family galore!

It is the phenomena we know as irony... When I have time to write on my blog, I have nothing exciting to report, and when life is exciting... there is no time to write... Thus, long periods between posts and even longer posts when it does happen! (I apologize in advance... I'm not sure how long this is going to turn out...)

If you keep up with the Nelson Nine you will already be aware of the awesome adventures we as the Scribners were able to share with them. I had so much fun exploring the natural beauty of the southern state with so many that I love. An added bonus was
the handsome man that seemed to be around all the time... :)

Bryce claims that his namesake canyon was named after him... but its hard to believe as he has not (in remembered history) been to see the hoodoos. We offered to empty a couple of seats in the Nelson vehicle and enticed poor Devin and Ashely to ride with us. We had some great conversation, and stopped at Subway where Devin converted Bryce to chipotle ranch... When we reached the canyon, Bryce could barely contain himself. :) The remarkable thing about Bryce (the canyon) is that you can look at a hoodoo, turn the corner, look at the same view and it looks completely different! Awe-inspiring really. How could God not have a hand in this world? Needless to say, there were a lot of pictures taken. Ashley even found a good spot to do a little sketching.

We hiked for a good 5 hours, down 325 feet in elevation and then back out. The down part wasn't so bad... but the climbing out was more questionable. The arches along the trail were fun and a little short for poor Devin. But we had some fun spotting them in the distance. Every time I have been here we have hiked down in, to the "End of Trail" sign and then back out the same way. I have never been farther into the Navajo Loop to come out somewhere else... So we decided a new first was in order. You may recall my almost-trip to the Y... yeah... this time it was make it or stay stuck in the bottom of the canyon...

We made it back to camp a little tired and a lot hungry... had dinner and discussed dragon flies vs. mosquitoes with the Nelsons for some time. Mom's desserts really are the best (my roomies say "magical").

When it came time to go to Zion's the next morning, I questioned if I was really on vacation... But excitement for the river was thick in the camp as we ate some quick breakfast and packed for a day of water hiking! As we got to the trail head leading to the river entrance, the sun shone "uber hot" (as my brother described). We were all ready for some good cold water... the sun gods must have had it in for us, however. Just about the time we reached the river, grey clouds floated over us in the sky, blocking out some of the heat and sun. It got a little chilly as the wind blew straight up the little slot canyon we were hiking in. The water was as freezing cold as ever, and it was rather shallow. We had originally planned on hiking a good ways up and then ride the "rapid" parts, and deeper parts down with the current... I seriously questioned the idea... The cold didn't really slow us down... on the contrary, we played even harder and farther than we had in years past... :)Ben, Preston, and Devin found a large rock with water deep enough to jump into. They were frozen Popsicles by the time we showed up... but they wanted to show us what they found. We all took a couple of times jumping and then shivered our way back to the parents. To give you an idea of just how cold we were... I shall include a movie. (take note of how the camera shivers...and its sideways because there's no turning it when its recorded that way...)

All in all it was a successful day. I shivered a lot and ended up with some great bruises on my knees... but it was worth it. Later my dear mother pulled out a container of glow sticks with which we fashioned creative objects. Nikki make headphones, I twisted bracelets and necklaces for me and Abby, and Ben... well he's just kinda weird.... Bed time brought with it wonderful relief for achy muscles and I slept very soundly. A highlight of mine was the frequent roll of thunder while we were there. Usually at night, it was beautiful.

Breakfast burritos and packing awaited us in the morning. We were going up the state by way of the Freemont Indian park and Cove Fort. I believe the pictures explain the excitement of the Indian park...

Cove Fort is a favorite destination. They have really improved the places around it too! If you haven't seen it and are on your way down south, the trip is well worth it! There are metal hoops to chase around, a beautiful barn and blacksmith billows. The garden is beautiful (I'm inspired by gardens now...) and the spirit of the pioneer lifestyle is abundant... It really is quite amazing. This was another first for my dear fiance...

And here is proof that Mom cam with us... :D

The family reunion was lots of fun (Thanks Linda!) and it was great to see everyone and chat with most. I appreciate all the congratulations and well wishes. Bryce still wants to marry me even after experiencing the Barker side. ;) He says he had a great time and likes my family... so I guess he passed the test, or my family passed... I'm trying to figure that out... Success of the week proved itself once again in the wiped out posture of my brother at the end of Saturday...

Thanks again for all you do! And sorry for the long-winded post... until next time! -Jess *:P