The left hand side of the back window of this SUV had the familiar little decal family: a row of stick figures lined up along side each other, starting with Mom and Dad and descending in size down, down, down to a little stick baby. I always smile at these. I like to imagine what it would have been like to have been part of such a huge brood. All the noise and chaos and teasing and loving. I really yearned for that as a child. But on Friday afternoon in the sweltering parking lot on the east side of University Mall, what really struck my heart and imagination was the worry, heartache and struggle that this family must be going through right now. It must be pretty serious, because they are asking everyone and anyone who might see their car window to "Pray for Jaquell." Of course I don't know who Jacquell is, nor do I have any clues why she needs our prayers, but it's obviously serious enough that the grown-ups in her life are asking for our petitions in her behalf. So, I've been praying for Jaquell, and all those other little stick people who love her and are also worrying about, loving and praying for her. I hope you'll join us.
Several water features line the pathways as you make your way down to the creek.
The wide, rocky creek is lined with huge cottonwood trees which allow just enough sunlight to filter through and splash onto the red flagstone patio.
The creek cools the summer air and sparkles in the afternoon sun.
And when the waiter comes to refresh your soda, he brings it in a little silver pitcher and pours it for you, right there at your table . . .
Everywhere you look, you find loving attention to detail.
This beautiful little outdoor restaurant, set right on Oak Creek in Sedona, Arizona is one of my favorite restaurants in the entire world. No matter how hot the Arizona sun might be, when you walk down the winding paths into the trees that line the creek, it's always cool and peaceful. Last year we were here in June and ate and laughed while we watched several families of baby ducklings splash around in the water. This year, those babies were bigger and kept us entertained as they'd float past our table and down the creek for about 50 yards or so and then hurry to fly back up stream, skimming the water as they went, to start all over again.
I'm not sure who was having more fun, Greg and I or the ducks. But I'm pretty sure it was us. Listen to our order: a crisp, cool salad of field greens with candied walnuts, bleu cheese and fresh pears topped with a light balsamic dressing and grilled filet of wild salmon. Hand cut french fries tossed in truffle oil and parmesan. . . And a turkey, bacon, tomato and avocado sandwich with garlic aioli on a fresh home made ciabatta roll. Oh my.
Even the granite sink in the Men's bathroom was unique and beautiful. (Greg stood watch while I peeked.)
When we move to Arizona and you come to visit, I promise we'll come here for lunch.
Gretchen's daughter Tiffany, and her kids, Gideon and Avery
Elder Imnotsure, Gretchen and Elder Sondereger
Gretchen's sister Suzanne, Gretchen, and Suzanne's honey, Ed
Poor Greg hadn't performed a baptism in over 13 years--
but finally dip #3 turned out to be the charm!
(We figured Bart and Gav got a good laugh. It was just their kind of baptism!)
and our beautiful Gretchen who in every way exemplifies Alma's words . . .
. . . willing to bear one another's burdens,
that they may be light;
Yea, and . . . willing to mourn with those that mourn . . .
and comfort those that stand in need of comfort,
and stand as [a] witness of God at all times
and in all things, and in all places that [she] may be in . . .
It was a beautiful day, Grethen.
Thanks so much for sharing it with me.
I will hold the memory forever in my heart!
The La'ie 4th of July Gang
Waiting for Ireland
Wrapped around his little finger.
A little Gavin in the oven.
Our newest big brother.
Happy thoughts--keep thinkin' happy thoughts.
No sense in letting the mind go anywhere else.
No sense at all.
After four months of virtually non-stop travel, classes, study, family events, home repairs and work stress, I woke up one morning into the usual cloud of guilt that I hadn't had the energy or time to update my blog in weeks, and in that single quiet crystalline moment realized that what I really wanted to do was disappear the pressure to blog regularly, explode the expectation of coming up with something 'significant' to say on any kind of a regular basis, and gently slide easily back into simply living and living simply--and expressing myself with abandon--free of even the lightest intimidation that ANYONE would be dropping by to see what I was thinking or had to say.
I never imagined that this quiet decision on that bright Bermudian morning would end up coming off as a slap in the face to the people who have been lovingly dropping by to peer into my crazy thoughts and leave a little love and support behind as they read. I never dreamed my need for a break would end up giving the people I love the impression that they were being ousted from my life. Oh my.
Good people at Blogger, a simple request: Re-think your privacy design, would you PLEASE? Give us a way to gracefully slip away into quiet oblivion without leaving our followers feeling like some kind of exclusive club has been formed and they haven't made the cut for entry! How 'bout the option of a simple one line message to tell folks we just need a little break for now? Give us a way to draw the drapes for a minute yet still leave an 'I love you' note on the front door.
Get this: When I went to my own landing page and read that I hadn't been "invited"--I found myself feeling excluded and abandoned. What's up with that? It's about time I re-set my 'relationship default setting' don't you think? I mean, really. What is up with that?