Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Pioneer Experience

Brigham Young once wrote in his journal on the way west "that it had been a good day - they had only crossed one mud hole. It was six miles long, but there was only one." I have come to believe that any true pioneer experience must include rain and mud to be authentic.

Last night we woke at 2:30a.m. to a huge clap of thunder and the heavens opened. We immediately ran to the car and spent the rest of the night there. Initially, it appeared that the rainstorm was only a night time storm. It has rained ALL. DAY. LONG. However, it appears that the show will go on!

We started the day with the most amazing missionary fireside. The Temple President & his wife, the Mission President & his wife all spoke. The music was amazing. Everyone always sings parts and our voices more than fill the chapel.
Update today - Wed.
It rain all day yesterday and during the first half of the pageant. The show still went on and we had a great time. Yesterday we spent the day learning many of the dances. SO. MUCH. FUN. Today, we spent the morning learning the first half of the show and learning the music this afternoon.
I need to go but I want to let you know that we stayed with another family last night and have been offered and accepted a house to stay in for the next week. More rain is scheduled so I am not taking any chances. The tent is drying out and it is a beautiful day again. Should be a great show tonight. I promise I will try to post more pics soon. So little time for the computer.
Love you all-

Monday, July 20, 2009


We made it. Great weather, great trip. We spent an hour walking around Hannibal, MO seeing all of the Mark Twain sights (pics to follow - I don't have time right now.) We listened to John Bytheway all the way. 

We arrived in beautiful Nauvoo Sunday at 6p.m. I can never tell you how amazing it is here. I feel like I am near tears constantly to be here, to experience this, to feel this. I did cry as I saw the temple last night. There are no words. It is so beautiful. We saw it with the sun slowly setting over the Mississippi. 

As I type this Ryan is watching and listening to the work crew - 15-18 yr. old young men who are singing "We Are As the Army of Helaman" during the lunch break. I think they are preparing for one of the devotionals or district meetings we have. These ym are preparing for their missions and are amazing. 
I am running out of time to post. I understand what it means in the scriptures when they say that they cannot write even a hundredeth part. I have so much to tell you already and I don't have time. 
Our campsite is AMAZING! We had costume fittings this morning, square dancing practice, the primary kids made puppets for the pre-show while the rest of us attended orientation for the pre-show. As I type this, a group of violins, cellos, & guitars is preparing. They sound so good. It looks like our next class is about missionary work. 

Oh, I have to tell you this - we sang the opening hymn acapella. I don't even remember what it was, but it was  so unbelievably beautiful. We had never sang together before and everyone sang it in parts - so amazing. I brushed away tears. I wonder what we will sound like after some practice. I truly felt angels singing with us. Spear & Weston families - I thought of you. You would both love this. So much music, so much laughter, so many smiles, so many feelings. 

Lastly- it was mentioned in one of the talks this morning that Nauvoo is a place of healing. I think so. Love you all so much!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Friendly Skies~

Friday, July 3 we flew out of OKC for the Northwest to visit family for 2 weeks. We arrived at the airport and only checked one bag since they now charge huuuuuge fees to check your bags. The result was that Ry & I each were carrying a backpack & additional (heavy) carry-on. The airport prices are so outrageous we decided to share a small sandwich and a bottle of water. Thus appeased, we headed to our plane. 

We boarded toward the beginning of the line,  found our seats and settled in. Within a few minutes it became apparent there was a problem. Some of the seat assignments for our fellow passengers (seats they paid extra money for) do not exist. The pilot came on and told us that we are on the wrong type of aircraft. The next 15 mins. was spent trying to sort everyone out when the pilot finally said, "we are going to be late, get on board and find a seat." Another 15 mins. and we were underway. 

The next time we heard from the pilot, he informs us that Denver airport is closed due to a violent thunderstorm. We circled Pueblo, CO for a while. 45 mins. later he tells us we have clearance to land in Denver, but we now do not have enough gas. We are diverted to Colorado Springs to fuel up. We land only to find out that we are one of many who need gas. We are #7 in the line up. 

The pilot comes on again - (we are learning this is not a good thing) to say that they are working on a plan to de-plane us and shuffle us between the planes ahead of us so that we can get to Denver and hope to make some of our connecting flights that have also been delayed. They are going over flight manifests, trying to determine available seats, and figure out how they are going to handle the luggage. They are also trying to get stairs or jetways cleared for us. 15 mins. later the pilot comes back with the news that there have been lighting flashes and all ground personnel have been called in. We can't get gas, we can't de-plane, however, we can sit and wait. 

30 mins. later the pilot comes on with "I have some bad news and a bit of good news." Turns out that our pilot & co-pilot have been flying since 3am and with FFA rules, they only have 6 mins. to get us to Denver before their allowable flight hours run out. Not gonna happen. Soooo, the new plan is that we are going to de-plane here in Colorado Springs. We can choose to stay there overnight (on our dime) or they will bus us to Denver and book us flights for the morning. We all get off the plane, find our bags and walk through the deserted Colorado Springs airport. It is a holiday weekend so the airport basically shut down at 4:30 that day. It is after 7p.m. and we are all hungry and nothing is open. We spend another hour of being shuffled around in the confusion. Ryan & I teamed up with a family with 2 tiny girls and tons of bags. Between all of us, we get loaded onto one of the busses, thinking that it will be better to get to Denver. Larger airport, a better chance of food and we can get flights first thing in the morning. 

We load and enjoy some sleep during the drive. Suddenly, we are awakened when our driver pulls off to the side of the road. The check engine light has come on and he can't get the bus to drive. Eventually it is decided that the second bus will continue to Denver and drop off those passengers and come back for us. Of course we are in the middle of nowhere. The 3 little ones on the bus had been doing so well. They were so tired. There was some crying but they really did well considering everything. We shared what food we had, we laughed, we texted & called family. When the other bus returned an hour later, we de-bussed into thick mud. I will never forget participating in an assembling line along a remote highway in the mts. of colorado at 11:00 at night as we transfered our baggage to the new bus. It was so crazy.

We arrived at Denver after midnight where they had hotel & food vouchers waiting for us. Some even got their baggage fees returned since we had handled our bags more than the airport personnel. We were estatic to find that Burger King was open!!!! After eating we found our shuttles and drove the 20 mins. to our respective hotels. Ours was a very modern one called Aloft. We were at the same hotel as the babies & I was very proud of Ryan. He helped all the parents with their bags without even being asked. We finally crashed into a very soft bed a bit after 1:30a.m. 

Four hours later my wake-up call sounded and we bumbled our way back to the airport, made our way through Denver security and found our gate. There we find that our plane is seriously overbooked and they are desparately  looking for volunteers to be bumped. After everything, I decided what did we have to loose? We didn't have young kids, we didn't have a connecting flight and we would be booked first class on the noon flight. So, we volunteered and cheerfully went to collect our free flight vouchers. We even had time to find the Sees Chocolates! 

In the end, we finally touched down in Seattle on the Fourth of July around 2 and made it to my sister's house by 3:30, 25 hours after we had left OKC. We learned a lot about choosing to be positive, laughing, and helping each other. We made some great friends and definitely have a wonderful memory. We can hardly wait to fly the friendly skies again!

Step by Step

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