Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Toddler Mix-up

So as we were leaving our friends' house last night, they told their two-year old daughter to "Say bye bye Foxies!" Obediently, she repeated, "Bye bye Fawkies!"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tribute

Terral and I just got back from a viewing. The funeral is tomorrow, but we both have class. I'm so glad we were able to go and remember our friend and neighbor.

When we were first married, we had an apartment on 500 W. Pretty soon we started noticing an old lady that walked frequently down our street. She looked a little ornery, and I didn't want to intrude, so I just minded my own business at first. Then we started to get settled in, and I felt a need to get to know my neighbors and fellow ward members. So one day I said hi to her as I passed, and we fell into a short conversation. Bit by bit I got to know Irene better. At church, she played the organ in Sacrament meeting and the piano in Relief Society.

When winter came, Terral would often shovel her driveway. Sometimes I helped. We had a hard time avoiding the money she kept trying to give us in return! We also had a hard time convincing her to go back inside when she had already started shovelling. Once, Terral noticed some footprints in the snow by the mailbox. They were made by bare feet. We caught her walking in the snow barefoot a couple of times, but she always said she was fine. We couldn't do much but shake our heads and smile. :)

She was such a people person. Talking to her always brightened my day. I had a few conversations with her about my schooling. She had been a music major once, but she stopped going to school when she got married. She said it was about the only thing in her life she regretted, and she made me promise I would finish. She was a very motivating person. And she was so talented! She accompanied me a few times. She played beautifully, and we were always in sync. She got frustrated sometimes when she was sight reading a piece and she missed a couple notes or a repeat sign. Her fingers, ears, and eyes hindered her from using her full talent, but most people wouldn't notice anything amiss in her playing.

She had several heart attacks in the past year, but she wouldn't go to a nursing home. She had some long stays at the hospital, but she always insisted on going back to the home she and her husband had built. And she couldn't sit still and rest. She was always out walking as much as her body would allow her to--around the block was good. She said that as long as she was alive she wanted to live.

Thank you Irene, for sharing yourself with me. I want to be like you. I want to be generous with my talents and friendship. I want to take advantage of the time given me. I want to make a difference in peoples' lives. I only knew you for two short years, but I don't think I'll ever forget you. Your body was failing, but your bright spirit always shone through.

The viewing wasn't depressing. There were smiles and memories being shared all around. I think Terral said it best: "She lived in the right way, and she died the right way."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blessings

There a so many things I could write under that title, but right now I'm thinking specifically about financial blessings.

Last year, Terral was working for Decorworks. They do design for grocery stores, etc. It seemed like a pretty steady job, but with the economic downturn, they started losing clients and money. Terral got laid off in November. He did freelance for a while, and then started working part time in January for a friend of ours. Washing windows wasn't exactly his favorite thing to do, but we needed something to supplement our income, so we were grateful for the job. By May, Terral was getting really busy with freelance work, so we decided it was time to move on from the window washing. In June, he started working for himself full time, and I started working at the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery. (I previously worked in the CPVA Dean's office.)

We've invested in the business as we are able. We are constantly making improvements and working toward our goals. Slowly but surely, Terral is making a good name for himself. In the meantime, our income has been pretty tight.

Now come the blessings. My switch to the gallery has been a big blessing. I get more hours, which is an obvious plus in the monetary area. On the other hand, school is starting on Monday, and more hours at work could mean more stress. My job last year was uber stressful all by itself, not to mention the compounding school stresses. But this job is pretty low-key, and I will likely have some time to do homework at work: Double Plus!

This is my fifth year of college, which means that my four-year full-tuition scholarship has run out. I admit that I was a little worried about that. But between grants and new scholarships, we now have all of my school expenses covered. Even my fees and books! (Including that darn $200 French book.) We can even put some of it toward Terral's school expenses.

Which leads to another blessing. Terral is going back to school to get a second degree in photography. We really feel like it's the right thing to do at the right time. When we made the decision, it was already past the deadline for scholarship applications. Then we found out he can't qualify for a grant because it's a second degree. Then Terral was offered the teaching position at SUU. It's only for one semester, but we think they may ask him again for the next. He is only teaching one class, but one of the perks of being an adjunct professor is that he gets to take 3 credits tuition-free. Also, he feels like preparing to teach his class has already made him a better graphic designer, and he will continue to learn as he teaches. He is making some advantageous connections, and will likely get some new clients through this position. His "boss" is in our ward, and he really likes getting to know him because they have so many interests in common.

We love our ward, and we are so grateful for our apartment! Last year we moved about a block away. We are in the same ward, but we have an awesome landlord (big difference), we are no longer in a dungeon. . . I mean basement. . ., we don't have to take care of the yard, the neighbors don't hear our every move, we're still within walking distance of the school (especially the music building), and our rent is lower!

This post has turned out a lot longer than I intended, but can you see why I felt the need to express my gratitude? It's so easy to focus on the things that we don't have, but Heavenly Father has given us so much.

Yes. I am blessed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Matt

My brother Matthew has been serving in the Sacramento California Mission. We (and he) found out on Monday the 10th that he would be coming home to get surgery on his knee. He'd been walking around on that injured knee for about a month, so it wasn't a complete surprise. We were just surprised that he was to fly in on the 11th! The amazing thing was that Mom was able to get everything scheduled so fast, and with a doctor that came highly recommended. Matt flew in Tuesday morning, went to a doctor's appointment that day, and had surgery on Wednesday. He stayed in the hospital for a few hours, but then he went home that night! We're really sorry that he's had so much pain, but we are really grateful for the miracles Heavenly Father has provided.

We were already planning on going to Delta that weekend for a family reunion (more on that later), so we got to see Matt pretty soon. I was a little unsure of what it would be like. For some reason I've had a hard time writing him because I just feel like our mission experiences have been different in a lot of ways and I just didn't know what to say to him. I know I liked hearing all the "newsy" stuff from back home, but I didn't feel interesting. Anyway, I wasn't sure how changed he would be when we finally got to see him, but a big part of me felt that it would be weirdly normal--meaning we would be just like always even though it's been more than a year since we last saw each other.

And that part of me was right! It just felt good to see him, and we talked just as we always had. Well, at least since I moved out of the house and we started to get along. ; ) He even beat me up the same despite his hurt knee. : ) No, he didn't really beat me up. He just gives VERY strong hugs. The nice thing was that we got to talk about our missions and I realized that a lot of our experiences have been very similar. I made a new commitment to write him better when he returns to the field, and ignore my inhibitions of uniteresting self-views.

I took my camera specifically so I could take pictures of Matt. Much to my shame, I realized when I got home I had none. I just wasn't thinking about pictures while I spent time with him.

But even without the pictures, I'll have some very good memories of this weekend. It was wonderful to be reunited with family and to sense the care of a loving Heavenly Father who watches out for us.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

One of my Passions

So, if you can't tell, I like gardening. I like it on so many levels I get a little tongue-tied when I try to explain it. So I won't try to explain it right now, but I would be very remiss in my blogging if I didn't tell you about our gardening adventures this year. So here you go.

This is a picture of our garden from the north side. Terral's sister Heather lives in her in-laws' basement, and this is their (the in-laws') plot of land. Heather and Chris were nice enough to invite us and Erin and Corey to share the space with them. Our section is what you can see over until the road posts that are strung with yarn. As you can see, there is quite a bit of bare ground in our section. We didn't plan it that way. We've had a few challenges this year.

We were spoiled with imported soil in raised beds last year. Sure, we had to do some MAJOR weeding in order to get to the beds, the earwigs almost completely destroyed our beans, the birds got most of our small yield of strawberries, and we had to replant our beets and carrots-- but we really had it good.

This year we've gotten to know the native clay-filled soil. We really struggled with keeping our plants watered at first, mostly because the water just didn't sink in. But we made it past the critical stages. Then we started getting attacks from the bugs. Now we have deer. (Tomatoes are their favorite.) But the worst has been the disease. It has affected our beets, tomatoes, zucchini, and chard. It completely wiped out our spinach.

If you look on the other side of the furrow and past the peas, you can see that our chard is doing okay. Spinach is definitely something we'll try again. It was sooo good while it lasted!

Our cucumbers are another fatality. I love cucumbers. We planted two to begin with. (Six was a bit much last year.) One died right away. The other gave us false hope by lingering on for a few weeks. This last one we got for free at the Ladybug Nursery open house. It struggled for a while, revived and grew blossoms, and finally it, too, succumbed.


Not all has been doom and gloom though. Our pepper plants, which seemed most likely to die in the beginning, have been doing quite well. Peppers are an acquired taste for me. My mom doesn't like anything "spicy", and even sweet peppers fall in that category. So I never really had them until I was older. I love them now!

We decided to try the rainbow variety this year. We ended up with green, yellow-green, and purple peppers. The purple peppers are quite small. This one got stuck in between two stems! (Forgive the lack of focus--my camera wasn't cooperating with close-ups in that light.)


Here's a picture of one of our latest yields. Terral likes to call that thing in the top/middle our "butt squash"--excuse his french.


I leave you with a view of our garden from the south. Terral's smiling because we are excited about the harvest of our valient surviving plants!

By-the-bye, what you see in the background is the houseboat that Heather's father-in-law built himself. That's right. Terral is inspired. No word yet on whether or not that's a good thing. ; )

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Celebration of Aforementioned Two Years

We celebrated our Anniversary on Wednesday the 5th. Natalie, my mother-in-law, works for the daycare at the Utah Shakespearean Festival, and she was awesome enough to get us free tickets to see "The Secret Garden". That story has a special place in my heart. Obviously, the main character's name is Mary, but I don't so much identify with her as with certain themes in the story. Forgiveness, love, learning,new life, and of course the magic of gardens are some of the things that touch me.

The actors performed well--especially the children. We had a wonderful time! Thank you so much Natalie!

Here we are at intermission with the old bard himself.

We got to celebrate a little on Monday as well. We were treated to a free dinner and a movie. (Yeah, we really like free.) It was the first Monday of the month, so our redbox was free, and Panda Express had an internet promotional deal going on.
Good food, good company--who could ask for more?

Type Nerd




Some of you may know that I am a type nerd. I love typography. I enjoy seeing type applied to a 3-dimensional surface. Right now I am re-designing my business cards and I wanted something to show both the photography and graphic design side of my work and this is what we came up with. I spent about 5 hours drawing on the ground with sidewalk chalk. I may or may not use it for my card but it will appear on some type of printed advertising.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Calf Creek Falls

For Pioneer Day, we took off on an adventure with some of our friends. Terral and I hate paying to camp, and frankly, any money we can not spend is a very good thing. So we found a spot by a stream on Hole in the Rock Road. We thought it fitting to camp along the trail the pioneers took.
(FYI this is in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and you have to get a permit to camp there, but it's free.)
Here is a picture of our group at the Visitor's Center in Escalante. It's a little hard to see with all the people, but there is a pretty cool giant lizard statue.

Emily (the little two-year-old) isn't looking because Jade (the white and black dog) was whining in anxiousness to get going. Emily asked with concern, "You okay puppy?" So cute! She may not have cooperated with the picture-taking, but she sure got the rest of us to smile for the camera!
We had fun at our campsite. It wasn't a "real" campsite, just a place we guessed would be pretty good from what we could tell on googlemaps. Turns out it was something of a watering hole for cattle. But none of those came around, so it really wasn't bad. We had shade and sand and a good place to set up a central meeting place. It was super hot by the time we got there, so Heather (my sister-in-law) and I changed into our swimsuits, but we didn't brave the mucky waters. We had to laugh when we saw what we were wearing. Great minds think alike! We found out the next day that we both brought bright green shirts to wear over our suits too. Random...

That evening Noah entertained us with his version of Weird Al's "Albequerque". The song is over 11 minutes long, so I only recorded a piece of it. That kid sure has some personality.
video

We sat around the campfire and talked and laughed. The dogs played in the water. Emily made us all smile. We were having a grand old time until it was time for bed. Everyone had a hard time getting to sleep because it was still so stinkin' HOT. Finally a little sprinkle and the tiniest of breezes cooled us sufficiently so that sleep could claim us. I fell asleep without any covers. That rarely happens.

In the morning, the Hailstones treated us to some gourmet french toast. With all the food everyone brought, it was really a feast. We used the left over sausage to get the dogs to do tricks. Emily thought that was pretty cool, so she started doing tricks for "treats" of sausage too.

Finally we were off for our hike. It's about 3 miles to the lower falls. Not bad, except for the heat. And the sand. Lots of sand. But it really is a pretty easy hike. And a gorgeous one!


The falls of course are the crown jewels of the hike.




The water was actually quite cold. Most people didn't stay in it long in spite of the hot hike. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it! Usually, I very much dislike being cold. For some reason, the cold water didn't penetrate to the core--it simply refreshed.

This was about as close to the falls as I dared get. There is quite a force where water meets water. The wind from the falling water, mist, and cold temperature all made it a bit difficult to breath.

I love the pattern of the water in these pictures!

We had a great time, and we are so glad to have such good friends to go on adventures with!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Two Years

So, Terral is out fulfilling his calling by taking the boys on a mountain bike trail. I thought I would fill up some of the time he is gone by posting about our anniversary.

Four years ago today, Terral took me up the canyon to go on a little walk. We needed to figure some things out. It had recently sunk in that I was going on a mission (I had turned in my papers 2 days before), but we really liked each other. We walked and we talked, and finally we sat down in the dirt. Terral told me that he would never think of questioning the answer the Lord had given me, but he felt like our relationship was worth pursuing. I thought I was crazy for even thinking about it. Who gets a boyfriend right before they leave for a year and a half? In the end, we decided to give it a try. It might not have made very much sense, but it felt pretty good.

I enjoyed our time together during the next couple of weeks, but I admit that I had a nagging question as to whether or not I had made the right decision. When I received my call, Terral was there to see me open it. With my family on the phone, I tore the open envelope and took out the papers. My eyes immediately found the words "Russia St. Petersburg". Emotion swept over me and flowed out my eyes. I could barely speak to tell my family. In that moment I felt a confirmation that not only was my decision to serve in line with the Lord's will, my decision to date Terral was also.

He later told me that he knew I was going somewhere in Russia the second I started crying, even though I hadn't said it yet.

Three months after I returned home, we were married in the Manti temple. That was two years ago today. Two wonderful years with a man who was truly made for me. And I was made for him.

Dallin Berry


Here is a sampler from the photoshoot of Dallin Berry on Friday. I was pretty happy with the results. Dallin's mom is one of Mary's friends and former roommates.