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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thirty Years

I know I have been neglecting my blog. Sorry. When I asked for a title for my next post Emily said Thirty Years. Her reference here is the fact that our 30th anniversary was the day after Christmas. Quite an accomplishment in this day and time, they say. We have certainly had our share of ups and downs. I think marriage is actually designed for that. We grow from both the ups and downs. This year there is a special significance I guess with the diagnosis of Bus with leukemia two days before Christmas. We have hope that this will be one of the ups in our relationship in that it will help us strive to become even closer and more reliant on the Lord. I am grateful that the Lord sees fit to give us these challenges. We are both trying to put the best spin on we can. The family response has been great. Nothing but support and love. I felt a special bonding with our family during the holidays this year even without the usual trappings of Christmas (I didn't decorate this year due to the dust). I loved the thoughtful things done for me this year. Thanks guys.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Missionary Moment

Here is a letter I received this morning on my email. We taught this young 13 year old student right before I left Korea. He was the nephew of a strong member of our branch, Brother Song, Yoon Heon. Apparently when the New Horizon did their reunion tour this past October this young man came up to Elder Munoa and asked if he knew me. Elder Munoa and I have communicated over the past couple of years while he was on a temple mission in Korea so he had my email address and told Jae Joong that he would give me his email address. I wrote to him yesterday and received this today.

Dear Sister Spencer !

I am very happy to hear from you.

In fact I have never forgotten your name.

As you want to know about me, I will tell you some about me first.

Now I am 46 years old (45 in american age), I live in Daejeon city.

I married sister Jangdongran who is a daughter of Jang Byung soon ( he got baptised in 1972 in Cheong_ ju).

And now I have 3 children.

My first son, who is 12 years old can play the piano very well so his nick name is little Bethoven.

My daughter, who is 10 can play not only the piano but also violin well.

And my youngest son, who is 7 goes to kindergarten and he can also play the piano and easily make people laugh.

I graduated Yonsei University and majored in Business Administration.

Then I went to Daewoo Security company and failed in Investment.

So, I had great financial difficulty in my age of 31.

I quit my job and I had managed a Car washing shop for 3 years.

And finally I got married when I turned 34 and I started to study electronics, and I have been developing new electronic products.

My wife is an English teacher, she teaches adults and young students English.

And sometimes she translates for mission president's wife and american visitors at the church.

she translated for Elder Nelson's wife in 2006, when they came to Dae jeon.

She is far better than I in English.

I didn't serve as a missionary when I was young.

However my wife is a return misionary and she served in Seoul mission in 1988.

At the church I have been serving as a mission leader of my ward for 5 years.

We baptised 11 converters this year so far and the goal of the next year is to baptise 25 people.

I am really enjoying working with young and wonderful missionaries.

And my wife and I love missionaries and missionary work a lot.

Later I will send you some pictures.

And now I will explain about my uncle, Song Yoonheon.

He used to be the first Dae jeon stake president .

Now he became a patriarch.

He is a professor of a business department in Choong nam national University.

His wife,sister Byun MyungJa, runs a nursery school for the children under 36 months.

My uncle lives in Daejeon too, 10 minutes distance from my house.

They have 4 children.

Their first daughter, Jae in lives in Utah with her Korean husband.

The second daughter, who is a doctor lives in Phoenix and her Korean husband is a dentist.

The third son is a doctor in Korea and he lives in Daejeon.

the last son is now studying in Utah to become a doctor.

I will think about "what to show you." later.

Anyway I am very happy to contact you.

I hope you will stay healthy and happy.

with my best wishes,

Song Jaejoong.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Seven Things

Seven Things I Can Do:

1. Love my family
2. Do family history work
3. Be too serious
4. See patterns in things
5. Sit at the computer for hours on end
6. Work around blood
7. Store food

Seven Things I Cannot Do

1. Be funny
2. Not cry at musical events, especially marching band competitions
3. Relax
4. Understand math
5. Chit chat
6. Eat tuna and rice casserole
7. Stop worrying

Seven Things I Love About Bus

1. He's a hard worker
2. Laugh lines around his eyes
3. Broad shoulders
4. He still plays basketball on Friday mornings
5. He honors his priesthood
6. He likes my cooking
7. He drives an old truck

Seven Places I Would Like To Visit

1. San Antonio
2. Pampow and Wustmark Germany
3. Alaska
4. Italy
5. New Zealand
6. Jerusalem
7. Adam Ondi Ahman

Seven Things I Commonly Say

1. ...the coming pandemic...
2. Do you have your food storage?
3. ..my beautiful grandchildren...
4. Come and eat.
5. This stings a little bit but you'll feel better in a few minutes.
6. I need help...
7. I love you...

Seven Favorite Foods

1. Dark chocolate
2. Yogurt
3. Cookies
4. Funeral potatoes
5. Bananas
6. Soup
7. Anything someone else cooks

Seven People I Tag

1. Deah
2. Harrison
3. Taylor
4. Jolyn
5. LauraLee
6. Paula
7. Todd

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Get Educated

This is an important piece of information. I have been to several meetings regarding the upcoming pandemic. While no one is sure what the exact cause will be it is a foregone conclusion that it will be happening and probably soon. The LDS church has more information on their lds.org site as well. I think this plan from BYU Idaho has the best chance of saving people from being sick. Since the mortality rate from the avian flu has been over 50% this is significant. Do yourselves and your family a favor and find out about it. Of course, staying home for 3 months will require some advanced planning regarding having enough food and other essentials. There is still time though...

Cool New Trading Post

Do you have books, movies, CD's or games that you want to trade? I just found a new site that will find a trade for something you want and all it costs is the postage to send out your part of the trade. How cool is that? You can even print out a postage and address label.

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Fun Stuff

This is my latest toy. I cooked our lunch in it and the veggies from the garden were yummy.

This is banana bread that baked in it today. I think I overcooked it actually. I should have taken it out after an hour instead of letting it bake for an hour and a half. The good thing about baking in a solar oven is that it never burns, but you sense that it is overdone...

We also had this new window installed in the front room this morning. You can even see through this one. There is still some work to be done to fix the inside part but it is a vast improvement trust me. The old blue sectional has gone on to another family as well. So the remodeling has begun in earnest.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I guess I'll give up Text Twist...

"I don't know whether I had been praying, but I felt, not heard, a voice. It was an impression, which I knew then was from God. It was this thought, and close to these words: "Someday, when you know who you really are, you will be sorry you didn't use your time better." " - Henry B. Eyring, 1986, BYU fireside

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Here is another cute shot of Clark and Eva's first interaction.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What a difference a day or two makes

Here are Jan and Clark on Thursday. It's hard to tell if she is even pregnant.

Here they are again on Saturday. Her smile tells one story, her eyes the other.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Boy Meets Girl

Here is a look at the first meeting of Clark and Eva at the hospital. I only wished I had been quicker on the draw with this. When he first held her hand he was giggling uncontrollably. I'm pretty sure this was Labor Day morning. Eva was 2 days old at this time.
Jan was such a trooper, released from the hospital 36 hours post-partum, she faithfully visited, walking about 1/4 of a mile each time to see her sweet baby 3 or 4 times a day even though she was still recuperating from major surgery!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Since my beautiful pictures of our campout will not load on here...
Imagine a tent in a forest of shimmery green shrubbery with three aspen trees lining the left border.
Next imagine a large cement pad with 9 picnic tables and a raised dutch oven platform.
Next imagine a quiet lake with trees completely surrounding it and mountains covered with pine trees in the distance.
Next picture is Bus walking through chest high greenery up a narrow hiking trail splashing mud.
The next day's pictures include a vista view of Utah Lake out beyond the canyons covered with pines and quakies, imagine the purple white and golden wildflowers.
The next photo is a view of the back side of Nebo where Matt and Emily climbed with their extended family members one day about 8 years ago. It is super steep and gray streaked with green brush and rocks. Another view is of the mini Bryce canyon-type formation near Nebo.
While the pictures tell part of the story, the rest of the story includes a wildfire that started just after we passed through the mouth of Payson canyon. It became so large that Maple Dell boy scout camp was evacuated Friday evening. This necessitated closing the road out of the canyon as well. Saturday morning the camp host rode his golf cart over to tell us as much and that we would have to leave via the road going toward Nephi. After we got breakfast over and had a ride in the canoe we packed up our camping and breakfast paraphernalia and started driving the "loop". It has been years since I last saw that spectacular scenery. What a glorious place.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Amanda Morgan Miller

In honor of the 24th of July celebration I am posting a pioneer history. There are many pioneer stories that have become famous--either because of the calling of the person, or the extremeness of their situation. But the vast majority of the pioneers were men and women who did heroic things as a matter of survival and everyday sacrifice.

One of these, Amanda Morgan Miller was born in Vermont into a devout Quaker family. She was the last of 8 children. In about 1816 she married Josiah Miller. They had 8 children born to them but only 6 survived to adulthood. They had moved to Kirtland and it was there after her last child was born that she was baptized.

One of the recurring sacrifices that these pioneers encountered was a decision between family loyalty and church membership. The Millers had to face this decision several times. In March 1838 the Kirtland Camp was organized to facilitate the movement of the Saints from Kirtland to Missouri. Many of the Saints in Kirtland were in extreme poverty, and it was felt that traveling in a large company would be a good method of getting the Saints to Missouri. A previous plan to charter a steamboat had failed; and this new plan was the subject of much discussion. At a meeting of the Seventies on March 10 it is recorded that the Spirit of the Lord came down in might power, and it was felt by those attending the meeting that it was the will of God that the quorum should go up in a company together. A constitution was then drawn up under the direction of Hyrum Smith, who was the second counselor in the church presidency, which provided for an orderly organization of the camp. Six weeks later, however, Josiah was counseled to leave the camp because his son-in-law, who was not a member of the church, would not abide by the order of the camp.
The following is recorded concerning their leaving:
"Saturday, Aug 18, Josiah Miller, agreeable to the counsel given him, took his family and left the camp with the best of feelings existing between him and the Council of the camp; he left it only in consequence of the disposition of his son-in-law Aaron Dolph, to set at naught the Constitution by which the camp were bound by agreement to put their strength, properties and monies together to move the camp to the land of Zion."

The family stopped at Dayton, Ohio for a few weeks, then moved on to Indiana. They stayed there for a few years and then moved to Illinois.

The Millers left Nauvoo in 1846 with a group of Saints. Their daughter, Harriet had to make a choice again between church and family. She was married to Orton Warfield Burns, a school teacher who was not a member of the church. He did what he could to protect them but then was told if he did any more he would lose his job. Harriet, pregnant with their first child, could stay with her husband and be cut off from the church or leave with her parents and continue what she believed in but lose her husband. Harriet chose to go on with her parents. She had her baby boy, Miles Lamoni Burns in a sod-banked tent over a covered wagon in Council Bluffs.

Not long after leaving Nauvoo, the family had to sacrifice yet again. Captain James Allen arrived in June 1846 making a requisition for four or five companies of Mormon men to serve as volunteers in the war with Mexico. The Miller's only two sons then 27 and 25 both joined up. This left Amanda and Josiah with their three daughters to cross the plains.

On June 17, 1847, Amanda and her family left for the Great Salt Lake Valley in the Jedediah M. Grant Company. Amanda and her husband were 51 years old. Their daughters were 23, 20 and 17. Amanda's husband Josiah was a captain of ten in their company. There were so many companies coming at that time that they traveled in three or four columns across the plains. They reached Salt Lake on October 2, 1847. The next year, two of their daughters married.

In 1851 Josiah was called by President Brigham Young to help settle Salt Creek, which was later called Nephi. An so, in October of 1851--4 years after arriving in the Utah territory--their family moved yet again to Salt Creek. Their daughters and their husbands and 3 other families went together. By November, 17 families were settled in Nephi. Josiah was elected as Nephi's first mayor the next spring.

They experienced many miracles as colonizers in Indian territory. They had problems with cattle dying one winter in the extreme weather, but through united prayer and fasting, they beheld miraculous results. One observer said, "The first thing I realized on awaking the morning after the fast and prayer was a thorough thaw which continued steady, so that we have prospect now of our cattle doing well."

Fourteen years later on July 29, 1865 Amanda's husband Josiah died at the age of 69.

In September of 1872, another tragedy came into the lives of Amanda and her family. The younger of Amanda's two sons, Daniel, was killed by Indians, at a saw mill in Oak Canyon, three miles east of Spring City. He was the last white man in Utah to be killed in the Indian wars, leaving a widow and 9 children. Daniel's 12 year old son Danny, my great grandfather, was wounded in the attack.

Amanda Morgan Miller died seven years later in October 1879 at the age of 84.

She was a faithful pioneer woman who braved the elements, Indian attacks, and insect infestations with courage and faith. She lived out of a wagon for many months, perhaps years, moving as needed to stay with the Saints. She lost children but found strength and ability to forge ahead because of her testimony of the gospel. She was obedient to church leaders even in the face of ostracism, refusing to become offended or bitter. She saw her strong sons march off to war leaving a much weakened family to face the trek to Salt Lake Valley. Overcoming hardships developed strength of character which was recognized in the communities they served. I'm so grateful for this legacy in our family.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I forgot to load this picture. It goes with the next post.
These pictures are mainly for Emily's enjoyment. We did a little yard work in preparation for Gillian's wedding. You may or may not know what bad shape the yard was in prior to said preparations but here is the finished product, at least for the wedding. We are forever grateful that she asked to use the yard. It was the kick in the pants we have been looking for. Thanks again Gillian and Patti.

The picture below shows two new pieces of yard art we reclaimed from the Land of Desolation. Jethro designed these in one of his art/welding classes. The picture doesn't do them justice, you'll have to come and see them to appreciate how awesome they are. We thought they fit right in with the fresno...
Bus took out an extra pine tree that was languishing in this forest. It opened up the forest and made it look much better.
We had two bean plants sprout out of the whole package. Probably won't be needing to put up too many beans this year. We do have quite a few tomatoes though and the carrots came up pretty thickly. The peas have been tasty. Our yard looks quite a bit larger without the fence doesn't it? Luckily we have nice neighbors.
Ben Francisco really worked hard a couple of days cleaning up the Land of Desolation. He moved the wood stack (I KNOW) and the canoe, he rototilled the grass in, he moved bricks and brick pieces, he was wonderful.
Bus finally got his shed finished yesterday too. It looks great. John and Dorothy also came and helped a lot. Dorothy and Phil weeded our garden and the front parking space. John helped clean up the Land of Desolation with Ben. Bus and Ben hauled at least one truck load to the dump and then another truckload to the metal recyclers. We really appreciate all the hard work.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This is just a public service announcement. Mozilla has a new version of their web browser, 3.0. Just go to firefox.com and download it for free. It is fast and user friendly. It is awesome. That is all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You know the best part of a vacation for me is spending time with awesome people like these. Hanging out with the family was the funnest part of the trip for me. I loved playing games every night (even though Jethro and Robyn won every game we played). I loved going to the beach with Toni and Ben and Anna and Bus. I loved having great food prepared by everyone. I loved preparing food for this most appreciative group. You guys are so much fun. Thanks.

While the art inside the Getty Center is astounding, (I asked Jethro to paint me this kind of a still life 3 years ago...I'm still waiting)

The real beauty is to be found in the gardens surrounding the big campus of buildings.
These are made out of painted rebar with beautiful flowering plants inside of them.

Thanks Mr. Getty for allowing us to see your art displayed in an unforgettable setting. And mostly for not charging us an arm and a leg to see it. ($8 for parking, that's it!)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another day another vacation done. I know, its a hard life but at least I took some pictures so you can enjoy the sunset vicariously. Bus and I walked down to the beach one night to take some pictures and enjoy the time together. We saw one couple at a vista lookout with their roasted chicken picnic and wine. There was a guy out surfing below us. Some Asian kids walked by us while we were relaxing on the bench. This is looking north from Crystal Cove State Park south of Corona del Mar.

Friday, June 06, 2008

This book seems to have a lot of interesting lessons. When I finished it my head was spinning at how the story wrapped up. As I have been thinking about the message I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with my personal legend or what my main goal in life is. According to the alchemist whatever your personal legend is the Soul of the World conspires to make it happen for you. You have to be aware of the omens or little things that guide you towards your goal. Most times they are quite subtle. I will be thinking about this for a while and see what I can come up with. If you have read this story tell me what your impression of the message is. There were examples in the book of those who ignore their personal legend or don't want to put the effort forth to accomplish it. There were many other lessons to be learned from the shepherd's journey. So many symbols. I would love to hear your thoughts about this book.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Guess where this is? Believe it or not this is what the Sacred Grove looks like in early spring.
Maybe one day I will see it in color. There is still a very special feeling here, much like what one feels in the temple. I loved contemplating what happened here. We all separated and walked through alone. There are benches placed on the many trails through the trees. It is quite a bit larger than what I imagined.

The Palmyra Temple sits just east of the two farmhouses on a hill across the road but easily seen from the historical farmhouses.

This is a shot of the inside of the cooper's shed where the plates were hidden by Joseph Smith one time.
This is the hearth that they dug up to hide the plates another time. I have always loved that story and the ingenuity of the prophet for thinking of this.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

This is the Old North Bridge outside of Concord Massachusetts where the American colonists faced down the British soldiers at the beginning of the war. Its hard to imagine something so violent taking place here. It is very beautiful and serene.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Today's pictures are from the Boston Marathon. We selected a spot in Wellesley about mid point in the race to watch the runners. These army guys were the first people we saw on the marathon route. We weren't sure how long they had been marching or how far they would go. They were carrying pretty heavy looking packs on their backs. I was just glad I wasn't part of their group.

The herald of the runners were the motorcycle cops. We knew when we saw these guys that things were going to get serious. We had been waiting for about 10 minutes before we saw them.
The wheelchair athletes are the first to go. I think we may have missed the winners of that group since she was the only person we saw in that category. She is buff.

These were the first women runners we saw.
Here's Dorothy cheering on her man. I'm afraid he may not have seen these wonderful signs though. We didn't see him until he was almost passed us and he was running on the other side of the road. I was so busy trying to get his attention that I forgot to take his picture. Sorry John. We were sure proud of him though.

These were the Kenyan runners that eventually won the race in a little over 2 hours. They were pretty much sprinting past us.

Here are the first real group of women runners. There weren't that many in the initial group.

This is the picture that describes the main part of the race. We watched a river of humanity running past us for the next hour and a half. The numbers on their jerseys went as high as 26,500+ .There were occasionally some guys dressed up in costumes that passed by. One was Minnie Mouse, another was dressed in full fairy regalia. Sponge Bob Square Pants passed by as did a shark. One masochist was in a complete Yankee baseball uniform. We didn't ever really get tired of the parade which is unusual because I generally dislike parades. We enjoyed shouting encouragement to the runners, many had their names on their shirts. Some pushed their handicapped friends/loved ones in jogging strollers.

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