Thursday, May 27, 2010

I love Spring

Spring means change...
One of Dallin's very best friends left to go to the MTC this week. Ricky will be serving in Tegucigalpa Honduras! Ricky lives straight across the street from us and they have been really close over the years, much like brothers. Dallin should be filling out his mission papers soon...
Good bye for 2 years...

Springs means firsts...
Chad caught his 1st fish!

Spring means clean...
We got the jacuzzi all repaired and cleaned and ready to be used!

Spring means growth...
The new avocado tree has grown!

The new nectarine tree has grown!

You can see baby oranges on the orange tree!

There are blossoms on the tomato plants!

There are even some new small tomatoes!

The status is in full bloom!

My hydrangeas are almost ready to bloom!

I love Spring!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mormon Helping Hands

An estimated 60,000 to 70,000 California Church members joined for the second annual Helping Hands Service Day throughout the state of California on Saturday, May 8.

Our stake met at 2 different sights. The women and children met at the Box Springs Park and cleaned up... we weeded, and pruned and picked up garbage... I am so mad that I didn't think to bring my camera so I stole these pics from a friend. The older boys and men met at the top of Pigeon Pass at the park and did a LOT of weeding and clearing hiking paths, it was a lot of hard work. Brad, Dallin and Chad were up there... I was down with the women...
Here is a pic of Cheryl and I. We worked as a team and did all the weeding from the entrance of the park down to the BBQ's and bathrooms... it was hot and a lot of work, but oh so rewarding! It was nice to know that we were all joining together throughout the state to make our parks a better place to visit!

Like I said, I wish I would have had my camera and gotten some pics of everyone working... and a before and after shot would have been nice, the park looked SO nice when we were all done. The served lunch afterwards... Here is Dallin and Ricky! Good work boys!

A group of the YSA's...

You can go HERE to read more about this project! There was a 2 page article in the Church News about it... Good job, California Mormon Helping Hands!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Answers to Prayers

Last night in institute we started the book of Ether. There is SO much to learn from the brother of Jared but I am going to just focus on "answers to prayer" today.

We know that the Brother of Jared was instructed by the Lord to build 8 barges to cross the ocean. He obeyed and then he had 3 questions for the Lord. Look with me at Ether 2:18 as he prays with the 3 questions.

v. 18 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me.

v. 19 And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breath, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish.

I guess I should not just assume that you all know how the barges were built... look with me at v. 17. "And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish." In other words, the barges were enclosed... tight like unto a dish (this could be a lesson in and of itself! WHY did He want us to know it was tight like unto a dish? that no water could get in as they were tossed about in the ocean! How can our testimonies be tight like unto a dish? that no sin can get in...)

Okay, sorry to get off on a tangent... back to the 3 questions that the brother of Jared had for the Lord in v. 19...

1) There is no light, how can we have light?
2) How will we steer the barges?
3) There will be no fresh air, how do we get fresh air to breath?

Then the Lord answers him...

1st the answer to how they can have fresh air...
v. 20 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air....

then the answer to crossing the great water in darkness...
v. 23 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? .....

then the answer to steering...
v. 24 For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.

Okay. Lets look at HOW He answered the brother of Jared's prayer.

1. Fresh air: make a hole in the top and the bottom of the barges, and when you need air, open up the plug. He told them how to do it... BUT, they have to do it!

2. Light: He asked the brother of Jared how HE wanted to do it...

3. Steering the barges: HE would do it for them.

In this one prayer the Lord shows us 3 different ways he answers our prayers.
1. He gave them directions and they have to go to work to do it.... Does he now tell us how to do something and then it is up to us to do it???? (that agency thing again!!!) °Ü°

2. It is up to us... it really doesn't matter... He will help us, but it is up to us HOW we do some things! (A good cross ref. here is Doctrine and Covenants 58:26 "For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant..." AND, in Doctrine and Covenants chapter 61 they want to know if they should travel by water or by land and here is the Lord's response... v. 22. And it mattereth not unto me, after a little, if it so be that they fill their mission, whether they go by water or by land....)

3. He said, you don't need to worry about this one, I will take care of it!!!! (We have to turn our lives over to him. Sometimes it is NOT the way we WANT it to go, but we have to trust HIM!!!)

I just want you to know that I know He answers our prayers, He loves us and wants the best for us... He WILL answer our prayers, sometimes not the way we expect Him to or in the way we WANT Him to but He knows all... we have to learn to say, "Thy will be done" and trust Him. We need to align our wants with His wants... He is very aware of us and our needs... He loves us!

He does answer our prayers.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Swimming with Gators!

My son Devin and his cousin, Jeff have always LOVED herping! Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles. They have "herped" for years! As they have gotten older they have decided that they are going to take a herping trip every year. Last year they went to Arizona herping and this year they went to Florida! Devin is blessed with a very sweet and understanding wife! Anyway, here are some great pictures from their trip! (I had Devin get on my blog and edit this post since I didn't know the names of the animals! I will put MY notes in parenthesis)
This is a Cuban Tree Frog. (I love his bright color!)
This is an Eastern Garter Snake

This is a Peninsula Ribbonsnake

and a Striped Crayfish snake (I love the color of his belly!)

Same Striped Crayfish Snake, he is a cool snake, and not that common...

A young and nice colored Corn snake

A very pretty juvenile Scarlet Snake

This is a young gopher snake, it was actually found in Utah before we left (oops)

Same Utah Gopher Snake

Same Utah Gopher snake

A Brahminy Blind Snake, this is actually two Brahminy blind Snakes...

A Curly tailed lizard, when they run they curl their tails up over their backs. Makes them look like a scorpion.

A fully grown Green Iguana, it was about 5 feet long including the tail. The biggest one we saw. I climbed up a tree after this guy, he was out on a thin branch about 3o ft up. I climbed as close as I could and then shook the tree branch so he would fall where Jeff was waiting below with a towel to catch him. It was pretty funny and very effective. (I wish we would have had a video camera on them doing this!)

A little closer pic of the old boy.

A pretty green treefrog

A BIG old Florida Softshell turtle. Just be fore he slipped back into the water I ran over and was able to stop him for some pictures (look at his funny snout!)

An eastern Garter Snake

Ring neck Snake (love the bright color!)

A green Iguana, not as big as the other, but more green, and a lot more aggressive, wanted to bite and he was whipping his tail to keep us away.

The same, more green individual

and a close up

Another large Florida Softshell turtle who had a run in with a Gator, you can see where the Gator attempted to take a bite of of him right on the side of the shell!!

(Okay, okay, so this lifeguard station wasn't in the everglades, it was right here in Cali... but they boys actually got in the water with the gators!!! Yes! They ARE nuts!!!)

A pretty big Gator roaming the water. This was taken the night we would wade into the water with flash lights hoping to catch one...

A Gator just relaxing catching some Florida rays

A different and smaller Gator just hanging out

Alligator showing off his big back

And finally after a lot of trying we were able to catch this 8 ft Alligator!

Me and the Gator

Showing his teeth

and again...

After cutting the rope, jumping off his back and letting him lose... The rope is not attached to anything anymore, once he opened his mouth again the piece of rope that we had cut lose slipped right out of his mouth

And one last goodbye
When we first pulled him out of the water and onto the shore he was pretty hard to control. We pulled him up on a nearby dock, and jumped on him to tire him out. We tied his mouth shut so we could get some good shots. He was very strong. (If you cover their eyes they calm down some, this one was about 10 ft long and too heavy for them to pick up. Devin said he was about 3' high when they let him go and he walked away!)

Snorkeling in the Keys and swimming with Gators... it doesn't get any better than that!
Anyway, that's my cute Devin... one crazy boy! Diana and I were glad that he make it home in one piece!!! Too bad they can't make money doing this, they love it so much!