The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion

The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion
These kids know how to have fun!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas letter 2009

Merry Christmas -- December 2009-- from Blanding where skies are blue and snow is deep!
Dear Family and Friends,

As this year rapidly draws to its end, we reflect upon the past year, and count our family and friends among our choicest blessings. We pray that you had a good year and the next one will even be better. We enjoy good health and seem to be more busy now that we are retired. Maybe as we get older it just takes us longer to do things.

We were released from our mission to the Navajo Reservation on April 22, 2009. We served 18 months in Ganado, Ariz. We left behind many good friends and still maintain contact with them. All of our family returned to Blanding in April and we had a super family Great Race/Luau reunion orchestrated by Anthony and Ashley.

In July we went back to Ganado and for a visit/service project. We then traveled to Snowflake Arizona to attend the temple with Joseph Yazzie and his daughter. We taught Brother Yazzie the temple preparation lessons and were thrilled to go through the temple with him when he received his endowments and was sealed to his wife. It was a joyous reunion with them.

From Snowflake we drove to Gilbert, Arizona to visit Quentin and Bev and to see our new grandson Brig Keeler Wilcox.

Janet stayed for a few days to help entertain the girls and Steve returned to Blanding to take care of the garden. Grandma got to go see the musical Wicked with Quent, Sage, and Quincy.  It was a fun activity.

Brig was blessed in July in Blanding.

Chris, Quentin and Anthony's families came to spend the 4th of July in Blanding.  Lots of fun!!

In Sept. we went back to Ganado to attend the funeral of Gilbert Kinlichee, a Navajo Medicine Man. Even though he did not accept the gospel, his family asked Steve to give him a priesthood blessing when he was hospitalized. We taught his family and eventually baptized his son-in-law and one of his grandsons.
We went up to the Murphy/Keeler Reunion this summer and saw quite a few relatives. Lynn was also there from Rhode Island as he and Roseanne had come down for their daughter and son-in-law's graduation. It was a short but good visit with lots of people.

Janet's siblings: Nancy, Lynn, Doug, and Janet

Steve raised a big garden and we took a car full of garden produce to share with our Ganado friends and children. While in Ganado the Branch members presented us with a beautiful photo memory quilt they made for us. It is wonderful. Corey Waunkea, a fine young man we taught the gospel to is living with us and attending college in Blanding.

We loved visiting all of our children this summer and had fun playing with the grandchildren. New grandson, Gannon Thomas (Andrew and Amy's) was born June 29.

Gannon's baby blessing:

We also cheered Autumn and Theron in a couple of triathlons: American Fork, and Blanding Hillman and helped Nathan and Tammy move into their first home.

Quent and Bev are also moving into a new home this month. Anthony and Ashley are in Mesa now (going to Law School). Chris is working for BYU and Pam is the family activity Supervisor and traffic director. Rob and Kathryn were the "big losers" in our family during 2009 and are looking svelte and healthy.

We tended Ethan on Mondays during the summer and had lots of fun activities, including fishing with Grandpa! Laurie and Brendan came down and spent a few days with us as well. It was very fun for all of us.

In Sept. We took a two-week cruise to Hawai'i. We boarded the ship in Los Angles and cruised to Hawai'i visiting the four main islands. We saw the Polynesian Culture Center, rode in a submarine and did lots of other fun things. On the return trip we stopped in Ensenada, Mexico. We had great food on the ship (So much for our diet!) and Steve even tried the frog legs. We did a lot of reading (4 books each) watched a few movies, lots of live entertainment, and played games with others in our group!! We had the best time.

Right after we got back to Blanding our stake president called us on a service mission to set up and run the LDS Family Service Addiction Recovery program. We have seen some success and we enjoy working with the attendees. We are also working with the YSA in our ward which includes CEU dorm students. (That's why we love to play games so much!) Last week Janet was called to be a History specialists for a Hole-in-the-Rock trek in June.

Four families were able to come home for Thanksgiving. We loved their visit. The weather was beautiful, and we enjoyed hiking, along with eating.  That Saturday, Quincy was baptized, which was pretty special since both sides of the family could be there.

We wish you a very merry Christmas and a "stimulating" year. May we remember the real reason for the season. We are thankful for our Savior Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for us. We are also thankful for our wonderful family. We have truly been blessed.
            Love, Steve and Janet 2009 Christmas

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rough Rock Writers and other 2009 Books

Steve and I decided to pull together a collection of poems which we had written over the past 50 years, and then we branched out and included things the kids had written as well.  

   It was quite a detective hunt finding everything, but since we're both such hoarders, we actually ended up with quite a lot of poems.  There were 110 poems, filling 70 pages.  I also included some art work and photos.  We hope this will encourage the next generation to write, we know they have the talent and creativity to do it.  Hopefully, we made enough copies to give one to each grandchild when they turn 8 years old.

It turned into quite an extensive project by the time we finished up.  I used PageMaker to do the layout, then converted each page to .pdf files, then sent them via e-mail to the printers in Provo.  We published it with the Cougar Press at BYU.  They were wonderful to work with.  
Back cover with more shots of the Trail of
the Ancients Hike to The Citidel in 2006

Inside cover with 2009 reunion picture

Another printing project this year was this little book of winter scenes celebrating the great winter Blanding was blessed with.  I designed and printed it with Shutterfly.  It had 25 pages.

We hope the family has enjoyed reading and looking at these as much as we have.

Our first publishing project in 2009 was the Ganado Branch History.  We wrote about it in our mission history....It was a huge task, but one we were happy about.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quincy is Baptized--A Red Letter Day

Quentin was the proud Dad who got to baptize his oldest daughter, Quincy Gayle; he also confirmed her. Others in the circle were her grandpas, and uncles: Rob, Theron, Dallin, and Travis. Grandma Wilcox gave a talk about baptism, comparing it to removing tarnish from a penny. Grandpa Shumway talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Brig loves his big sister, and was so good at the baptism.  We were so glad we were able to be a part of this special day.

Quent and Bev are such good parents and very attentive to keeping their family safe, and involved in activities which help them grow physically and mentally.  Quent is especially good to play with his kids and enjoy being with them.  Hope they inherit his offbeat sense of humor.

Trotting off the turkey, and other Thanksgiving activities

Quent and Bev and family came to Blanding the Sat. before Thanksgiving, so they had a longer and  pretty restful trip.  They stayed at Grandma Perkins' home.  On Wed. we did a Thanksgiving craft activity with all the kids and had  a potato bar and ham.  That was easy and filling.  I'll have to remember to do that again.

After breakfast Thanksgiving morning, (thanks to Nathan & Tammy), we went on a hike along the West Water trails.  It was a beautiful day.  We stopped here at the pavillion, and the kids immediately found frozen ice to break up, then climbed up to the flag pole.

Next we made our way to the towers.  The kids had a lot of fun, as did Leah.  Laurie wasn't able to go, as she is getting treatment for a wart on the bottom of her foot, and is a temporary invalid.  Brendan's friend Joshua also came with us.

Hunter, are you looking for dinosaur eggs?

Autumn made stuffed pasta shells for supper Thurs. Yummy!   We stayed up and played games most nights, which was fun for us.  Wed. night, Carl Whitehair came by and we fed him too.  He is one of our favorite YSA kids from the dorms and a friend of Corey's. 

We had Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, with 19 of us there.  It was wonderful having so many of the family with us.  We took a few minutes and did a Thanksgiving alphabet appreciation activity.  The kids participated really well, and Sage kept us on track.  Nathan and Tammy left shortly after dinner.
Nathan helped us set up a wireless connection so we can share files, and access all printers.   (This was the last meal I used this set of  plates, which I've had for 20+ years.  I set them out on the corner, and some needful person has them now.  I had more china sets than I needed.)

The next day Chris and his family went to Tooele to help install a fan and water softener for Nathan and to cheer for BYU. We love it when our kids get together with each other, even if we aren't there--though we wish we were.

 I have to admit though that I tried to orchestrate a few too many things, but between Steve and I we did manage to get most of the Christmas presents wrapped, and a special "Pay it Forward" home evening activity put together for each of the families   We gave each family $50 and challenged them to use it in ways that would "Pay it Forward."  We hope to have a report from each family on what they did.
We also presented a book of our family's "Proclamation"  to each family after dinner.  It took several weeks to put it together, but it was a gift of love, and I hope each family will cherish those ideas, and use it to teach and keep their families strong. 

  Here are some of the pages I especially love.  All the time and tears and prayers we spent raising our family was worth it.  We are so thankful for each of our children and their spouses, and our wonderful grandchildren.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

October-Nov. Ramblings

We're sure glad we have a young man with a healthy appetite living with us again.  Corey is good to help eat up the leftovers; however, his bowl isn't usually this big.

About 3 days before the first snow storm, Dad burned the huge pile of prunings, clippings, trash, etc. that had been accumulating for 5 months in the barn yard.  Wish all the little Yahoos had been here to run around the fire hollaring!

This is the most beautiful rose I raised all summer, though it actually fully bloomed after the first snow fall. It is from one of the least expensive rose bushes I ever bought and is also the hardiest. It also smells the best. Wish I knew its name.  Grandma Murphy would have loved it!

This is what our yard looked like the day after I cut my last roses.  It took about a week for the rose above to fully bloom, but it was a glorious end to summer.   We also enjoyed the heavy snow storm, which was beautiful in its own way.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Back on the Sea Again

Oct. 8 I can’t sleep tonight; images from the Angles and Demon’s movie must be waking me up! (Actually I discovered, when Steve got up, that I had set my alarm clock one hour back, instead of one hour forward, so it is 6:00 AM instead of 4 AM. That makes me feel better! Hated to waste that good sleep time by being awake!) The movie was a very intense and well done. This is one case where I liked the movie better than the book. I didn’t like all the gory death scenes in the book.

The show was projected on the gigantic screen outside, so we were sitting on lounge chairs, and the waiters bought us popcorn, pizza, cookies and milk—how cushy is that! Ron Howard was the director and the scene from the Vatican were amazing. I’m sure The Catholic Church didn’t allow filming there, so everything must have been constructed replicas, which were amazing.  It was a little windy, so we had jackets to keep warm.

New friends we met and dined with often.
Robert & Diane Widdison on our right have relatives in SJC
We are on the long voyage home now. I think 7-10 days is enough vacation for me; I’m starting to feel like a real bum, and am ready to get home and do something useful for the world. Yesterday we went to the ship’s book group of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. There were only 4 of us there, but we had a good discussion. The assistant tour director led the discussion, but he wasn’t a family man, so I don’t think the book had much meaning for him. However, for those in the Church who recognize the importance of families and generational connections, it is especially meaningful, as we know the eternal nature of families and the importance of passing on a legacy of values and character, and optimism. I hope you will all read this book.

Afterwards we played Trivia with about 100 people. A lady from the book discussion and her mother-in-law helped form our little team. We got 19 out of 20 right. We would have gotten all of them, but couldn’t understand the Welsh accent of the MC (who was also the book discussion leader). He was asking for a synonym of “awes” meaning to cross water. We tried to get him to spell it, but he wouldn’t…What he was trying to say in “real English” was oars. If we had been able to translate, we would have gotten the word paddle!
One of the theaters on board
We’ve finally been able to rouse some interest with our group in playing games, and have met at 10 AM the past few mornings and have taught them about 4 card games. We also learned one called Thirty-one. The only problem is that the tables are so small, that we’ve had to change the game of “Nines” down to “Sixes” but it is played the same way. Yesterday as we were leaving I spotted another group playing the same game, but they call it “Dumb Luck” which is a better name for it!
Our tour leader Len Geertsen with Marilyn and JT Beech from St. Anthony

Attended a Latin a musical called “Caliente” two nights ago—getting us ready for Ensenada, I guess. It was very energetic and fun. Earlier this week they had a Luau at 10:30 PM. We stayed for awhile, but it was a little rainy and we left after a quick nibble at the buffet table. This could qualify for one of Dante’s Inferno punishments, with piles of food surrounding people who are trying to overcome food addictions! Dad has done pretty good on food control and is walking about 3 miles each morning. I’ve been a slacker, but did get up yesterday and resumed my regime. It’s only 65 degrees right now, so I’m going to wait for another hour or so to go out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kaua'i and Mau'i visits

A visit to one of the few privately owed Macademian farms

Missionaries established this home in 1823

Largest Banyan tree in the United States
Oct 5. We’re at the last island Mau’i. Where we landed is the setting for Mitchner’s book Hawaii. Lahaina is the little town where the first protestant missionaries came in 1823, and many of those early buildings are still there. It was very interesting seeing what parts of the true story he had used.
This is all part of the same original tree

Planted in 1873, to commemorate 50 years anniversary
of  Missionaries in  Lahaina

Besides  the historic walking tour, we did some shopping. In the early afternoon went on the Atlantis, submarine trip. It was quite interesting. We went about 100+ feet down, and saw thousands of fish, 3 sharks, and scuba divers along the coral reef.

The shortcut to the chapel
Oct. 4—Kauai--Len , our group chaperone, Steve and I caught the Hilo Hattie’s shuttle, and made our way to an LDS chapel which was only about 3 blocks away from the drop off point --where we were able to listen to the final session of Sunday conference.

 It started here at 10 AM. The talks were very encouraging and uplifting, like a light in the darkness. We heard that night that a new temple has been announced for Brigham City. Two couples in our group were very happy about that, as the Ogden temple has parking space problems, and this will eliminate that pressure.
Church in Hawaii, complete with walking shoes.

In the afternoon we walked over to the beach so I finally got some sand and water on my feet and legs. I’m re-reading The Last Lecture, so that was uplifting too to read on the sand. Steve wandered around and took pictures. I figured this was probably going to be my last chance to actually get in the water, and I didn’t want to miss it.