Stephenson Family Ties The Barn Burnt Down
And Now I See The Moon
As to when I shall visit civilization, it will not be soon,
I think.  I have not tired of the wilderness; rather I enjoy
its beauty and the vagrant life I lead, more keenly all the
time.  I prefer the saddle to the streetcar and star-sprinkled
sky to a roof, the obscure and difficult trail, leading into 
the unknown, to any praved highway, and the deep peace
of the wild to the discontent bred by cities.  Do you blame 
me then for staying here, where I feel that I belong and am
one with the world around me?  
From: Heart of the Desert Wild
by: Everett Ruess


You cant know how very thrilled  i am to have red rock pics back up on my blog!! It feels almost as good as being out there among the rocks and sand...but in truth NOTHING can feel as good as being out there again!

Theres no way of knowing just how many times Ive been on the Slots hike in my hiking career. At least a hundred times Im sure.  But is had been at least 5 yrs since I've visited the trail.  I had my willing, patient companion in Clark...and off we headed to what I thought would be a most familiar trek.
The first bugaboo was discovering that the normal place that we have parked for years was no longer "legal." WHAT????!!  How can this be!!??  I tracked down a local  and asked what had happened, and why parking was no longer permitted.  He kind of rolled his eyes and said that things had kinda gotten out of control...too many cars, fender benders and law suits had made the citizens of the street feel that they needed to put up the signs. ugh
He told me that Snow Canyon had to put up signs too...prohibiting hiking where we have hiked for years. Sigh

Anyway...the short of it is that he directed me to a place to park and from there is was easy to find the familiar trail and begin the hike.

Oh how glorious it was to be out there!!



 Newspaper Rock with neighbors....




But alas....my aging brain found some places unfamiliar!! How could this be!!!?? I was sure I could have done this hike blindfolded!!
But there was no need for real concern. I do know this hike. I just did it a little differently than 'normal.'

For this being an "off limits' hike...we sure did see quite a few people enjoying the same scenery as we were and ignoring the same signs we were.

And may I also mention how heart-breaking is was to see spectacular , million dollar homes not 50 yards from Newspaper rock!?  People sitting out on their beautiful patios could easily see the petroglyphs on the rock!!  That just doesnt sit well with me...but Im not in charge of the world am I?!

Thank you Clark for going out there with me!


Cat tracks!!!

Can I just say ...how blown away I am by modern technology!! I ...little old me, has figured out how to get pictures off my phone for this here blog!! Thats crazy!! Im so grateful!! Im "grateful to Clark too...for his help and support...but this time I did this on my own!! yay for me!!


“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
-Dr Seuss  



Christmas is most definitely my least favorite holiday.
And I believe I can explain this with a few short words.
unfulfilled expectations
commercialism,
disappointment


No matter how hard I try to change my mindset on Christmas...discontent rears its ugly head.

When ones love language is so NOT 'gift giving' , Christmas  becomes a little dreadful and a burden. When ones love language is 'spending quality time" or 'acts of service', then you can see that Christmas hasn't gone  well for me, (or my family) for many years.

My dream Christmas, since my family began, is to bag the gifts and go away, board a plane, or pack into cars, and spend the time and money making memories that will last forever.  (who remembers what they got for Christmas last year?) To not be buying gifts that will soon be forgotten, or that leave the recipient feeling less than satisfied...or wanting something different, or feeling that's its a lame gift, or that someones elses gift is better...and on and on... Its all nonsense and weighs heavily on my heart when I go to bed after the brouhaha of Christmas.
My simple solution:
Maybe next year will be the year my 'fantasy Christmas' will materialize.
Plane tickets for all instead of socks
Beach house instead of jewelry
Service instead of gift cards
Memories instead of electronics
No regrets or unfulfilled expectation, only joy and great memories.

PS- my kids are GREAT! This is not their problem or their fault. I was born this way.  MyBuilder is the bonified spirit of Christmas in our house. I would have thrown up my hands in defeat years ago if it weren't for him. Bless him!!

They say no
 plan survives first contact 
with implementation.  I'd have to agree.
from: The Martian
by: Andy Weir



As I contemplate my daughters plea to begin writing again…I ponder why it is that I seem to have lost the ability to put into words what’s going on in my life and in my head.  As you can see, I have attempted several times in the past…and failed to be consistent.  Im sure it’s a 100% a head thing.  I have been feeling sorry for myself for so long, that its now  extremely difficult to climb out of my head and the hole I made for myself.  I now resolve to  begin and to see the light again..and to end the addiction I have to my phone..ie Instagram and Pinterest, and just do this…and be grateful to my daughter for the prod.
And because I love my daughter so, and I do so miss writing, I began a list of things I might be able to write about. 
-Baby Henry
-Annas birth experience
-Pams generously in taking me to California with her
-Clark
-Joe and family
-Robby being a cop
Brian and Mericar
Etc, etc, etc
Then I wrote ‘climbing/weightlifting/yoga’ and tears came to my eyes. Im not kidding. I struck a nerve.
 So why not write about that.


Just writing the word ‘weightlifting’ struck a sensitive cord.  I miss Atticus. I miss that year spent in the gym with him and his passion.. I miss getting stronger and learning new and wondrous things about our bodies and what they are capable of doing. I miss watching him heal others through his knowledge of our bodies and how they work. 
I miss being personally challenged beyond what I thought I was capable of achieving. I miss that boy so much! Losing him was like losing an adopted child. Seriously.  My own kids may not understand this..but when one spends aprox 10 hours a week with someone…exposing weaknesses and vulnerabilities, you get close. I felt like I had become his second mom as well . Spending time with someone who pushes  and cajoles you to get you to do things out of your comfort zone, you build a real bond. This man was a healer and so gifted and passionate about what he did. When he left there was a gaping hole in my heart and in my life. A hole that  is only now, after all these months…a year even..is beginning to heal.  (though I still cry when I write this this morning)  I was a part of something special…and I knew it…every time I walked through his door to the gym I knew it! I should have known better of course. It was too good to be true I suppose.  My personal, one on one training for an hour or more each day…was too good to be true.  But I was so grateful!! Everyday I knew I was blessed and lucky to have found him.  I miss it all. 
So Ive struggled  to find a replacement physical activity. I pray I have found it in “rock’ climbing. Rock is in quotations for I find it slightly humorous that this refers to climbing on plastic grips secured to walls inside a climate controlled building, and outfitted with auto-balays.  I’ll be mostly self -taught though, with a small smattering of helpful tips from the young kids that run the place and with added help and encouragement from Brian And Mericar.  There is no Atticus there…or at least I haven’t met him yet.  There is just no one like that kid.  (he was a beautiful mess and a wonder of a man, and I was greatly blessed to have known him)  May the secret desire that he might return someday drift quietly off into the ceilings of the rock climbing gym. I wish him well in all that the future holds for a talented guy like him, wherever he may be.

So there are My musing for this COLD December morning as I contemplate the yoga class Ill attend this afternoon…as I wait for my toe to heal…so that I may once again don the new climbing shoes my dear Builder bought for me last night. (hes so very supportive and anxious that I do find something to replace the weight lifting gym and the  excitement I had there- bless him!!) My goal—to get all with way up that dang wall!!  I will be storng again!! 
We meditate to discover our own identity, our
right place in the scheme of the universe. 
Through meditation we aquire and eventually
acknowledge our connection to an inner power
source that has the ability  to transform our outer
world.  In other words, meditation  gives us not
only the light of insight but also the power for
expansive change.
from: The Artist Way



I cant put my finger on why it is that hiking inspires me to blog.  I miss, miss blogging.  I have missed, missed hiking.  Weight lifting is a gas...I really love it...but I guess there are no gorgeous vistas to photograph...no down time to just take in the scenery and to breath. Too many sweaty, straining faces at the gym...who wants to see that!!??

I am so, SO grateful that Brian and Mericar are in town now...for now we have plans!!! Lots of plans for hiking. I almost feel reborn.  Hopeful.
Today we picked a moderate hike...for we had grands in tow. Anna and David are rock stars! They toted those kiddos on their backs and in their arms most of the time!! Thanks Blacksmith Barbell for the strength training there!!

It was a beautiful Labor Day Monday. Even My Builder joined us!!  I think the grands would follow him anywhere!! Even up a mountain!!


William may grow up to be a rock hound.  He was always on the hunt to find a precious rock to put in his pocket. I believe the headboard of his bed is lined with such treasures.  He is our treasure!

 Did I mention that the morning was glorious!! The clouds...the tint of fall colors on  the trees in the distance.  It  rained  last night...and everything smelled amazing...the grass was bent over with the weight and coolness of the moisture! Perfection!!
 This little grand is a talker!! Hiking opens up his mind...even more...and he talked to all of us about anything...things that most four year olds dont articulate.  What a boy!!  Growing his legs stronger so he can be an even better hiker!!

And look what we found as the hike drew to a close. A lovely "St George" colored caterpillar!! He was a tickling treat!!
Mountains are giant, restful, absorbent. 
You can heave your spirit into a 
mountain and the mountain will keep
it, folded, and not throw it back as some
creeks will.  The creeks are the world 
with all its stimulus and beauty; l live
there.  But the mountains are home.
from: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
by: Annie Dillard

It was a glorious afternoon, sweating, and huffing and puffing and mostly watching the rear ends of those I love recede before me.  But I was out on a trail!!!
Now that Brian and Mericar have moved back to Logan...I hope to hike at least once a week with them before the snow flies!! Today I am sure I hiked about 8 miles round trip. We were on the Bunchgrass Trail..a little east of Tony Grove...up Logan Canyon.  We got to the top...or at least we thought it the top...before it began to head down again, with no lake in sight...and thats when  I knew it was time for me to head back to my car. I was spent!! BandM continued on...for they had plans to camp somewhere up there in the quaking aspens. I DO NOT sleep on the ground...so it was my cue to turn around and high tail it home.
Really!?!?  Its only Sept 3rd  for petes sake and leaves are already beginning to change up here. How will an old lizard like myself deal with this reality!!??
No more coral dust between my toes either. Up here it seems its going to be alpine dust mixed with cow dung...oh boy.  We shared the whole live  long trail with lots of cows...all of which were less than happy we were disturbing their fall fattening on the slopes.
Cows to the left of me,..jokers to the right!!!
The skies were constantly changing as we trudged along.  I trudged...they seemed to glide across the trail...even with their huge packs!!



see...not one speck of coral dust....
Only brown dust and sweat...
change is good...thats what they say...
Throughout your life you're smoldering
gently with a fire that will eventually
consume you.  Some fear it as mortality, 
others embrace it as passion.  You have
no way of knowing how much fuel you have.
Some people burn like a bonfire and die
peacefully at 94.  Some people burn like a
candle and die before they are 30.  When it
comes to life, there's no justice or logic when
 it comes to length, There's only the ability to make
the best of if.  -Theo Lister



Its no small thing to have a cop for a son.  No small thing.  I may have an inner battle  with this for   many years to come...for he was to be a NURSE,  dagnabit!!...if I was in charge of the world.
And now 14 whole days have passed.  They have passed quickly...for hes not actually been on the streets...until today.  14 days ago he was awarded his shiny star and can now carry a gun.  In fact..he has to carry a gun 24-7. In and out of uniform. gulp. I've had  14 days for it to sink in.  What will it take for it to sink in?
Today he gets in a cop car with a partner and begins to see the streets of Vegas through a policeman's eyes.  (but seriously...I dont want to think about this yet.  Ha ha...like I dont think about it every waking moment!!)
Today i want to remember the celebration!  To remember the overwhelming show of support from dear family.  I want to remember the high that I was on watching Rob reach the end of his grueling training...knowing to my toes just how well he has been trained...to take care of himself first and the community next.  I will try to remember that all the family and friends that were there  will also be praying for Rob as much as me!! What a blessing!!
It was a beautiful day, a proud day, a day I wont soon forget.
I try mightily to not think about whats in store for him in the coming years.  I try to remember how happy this makes him.  How hard he has worked for this.  He and Chelsea have done much together...for he couldn't have done it without her support and encouragement.
God bless you Rob, this week and always!! Please!!!


Color Guard...opening ceremony

Waiting for his turn to get his badge...perfect attention!!
Police Chief pinning on Robs star/badge.

Its Official!!

proud Mom and Dad (with prankster brother in the background...way to go Joe!!)

Before he was even allowed off the stage I snagged a pic!!

Look at those kiddo...so proud of their daddy!!

Couldnt be prouder!!

Joe and Natalie...all the way from Lehi, Utah...Robs next younger brother.
Clark and Jenna...all the way from Kansas City...taking a break from medical school.


My brother Joe...or to Rob...Uncle Joe...all the way from Highland, Utah...interrupting a family vacation to join us and congratulate Rob.

Brian and Mericar...all the way from Coalville, Utah...baby brother.

Scott and Trisha...all the way from St George, Utah!! Bless them!!
J.J. Rogers and Kim and Sharon Rogers...all the way from Arizona for the festivities!!

Lisa and Janessa....Chelsea's mom and sister...all the way from North Salt Lake!

My dad!! Or to Robby...Grandpa Sharp...all the way from St George, Utah.

What a great bunch of folks...love them all!!  BLESS YOU ALL!!  Anna...this is the only pic I have of you!!! Sorry
 When we ask for God's blessing, we're not
asking for more of what we could get for
ourselves.  We're crying out for the  wonderful,
unlimited goodness that only God has the power
to know about or give to us.
from: The Prayer of Jabez
by: Bruce Wilkinson

I know Christmas is about Jesus...I know this well. And my journey to know Him and love Him better is a good one.  My concerted efforts to study  and learn about His life and Gospel has become a beautiful thing for me.
But what is Christmas without family?  Family was a little sparse this year...with it being an 'off' year...But there is nothing "off" about having Clark and Jenna and Gideon here and with celebrating with grands. William and Ben's enthusiasm and wonder are the reason for the season as well.

Im not embarrassed to admit...whenever we go to the DI we find a treasure. This time if was an armful of grandma furry hats!! They made us happy..all those hats and fur collars...that smelled like a grandmas drawer...talcum powder and musty perfume. We think we sport them well, dont you??!


 You gotta love Old Main Hill at the University!!  And the sunshine on this day was heaven sent!!  It felt like it had been months since the sun had shone around here!! A perfect day for sledding!! PERFECT!!!

 I love these people!!
 I challenged David to a race...he started of strong....but I beat him in the end!! Good times!!!



Im so grateful for my good, good family. They bring me such joy and happiness, and fun times.

And words cant express how very proud I am of of these two kids. Medical school is a challenge I cant possibly comprehend...and to have them both so challenged is remarkable to me.  Their being able to relax for a time was such a gift ...for I know not what else I could do for them.... God bless them.