So much to say and so little time... Plus, I'm certain that it wouldn't be of much interest to anyone besides myself, but I will share with you some thoughts I have had lately most of which were inspired by our visit to Grand Canyon.
Blaine and I decided to go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for four days this past week for our 21st wedding anniversary. I visited the North Rim when I was in college, but Blaine had never been. It took us about five hours of driving to get there after stopping a few times along the way. The lowlands were plain and rather ugly on the way there, but what do you expect from the desert? However, as we rose to above 7,000 feet on top of the Kaibab Plateau the views were breathtaking. We hit the plateau just as the sun was going down and the forest full of towering pines appeared to be on fire. It was inspiring. We saw several elk along the roadside and had hopes of seeing a mountain lion after seeing a sign indicating they were in the area. The road essentially followed along the rim of the canyon and we soon found ourselves at the Thunderbird lodge where we would spend three nights. It too was on the rim of the canyon and we could get a sneak peak of its beauty through window of our room.
We spent our first full day there mostly resting and of course eating some excellent food. We have hectic lives and it was so nice to not have a schedule. We both were grateful for the rest and come Saturday we were energized and excited to hit the trails. That morning we went to the Imax theater and watched a movie on the past four thousand years of the Grand Canyon. It was so interesting. It showed John Wesley Powell and his group of men who initially explored the entire canyon via wooden boats. Powell talked about the trials they faced, the men they lost on the expedition, and how each day brought both excitement and fear because they didn't know what might be around the next bend. He called it a canyon full of glens. Blaine liked this of course because it reminded him of his father - Glen (can you imagine a canyon full of GLENs? Now that would be a sight to behold)!
After the movie we ate some lunch, stocked up on food and water for the hike and headed for the trail. At the trail head of the Bright Angel trail there is a gift shop and art gallery. We decided to explore it before heading down the trail. That was a good choice. The gallery was impressive. It was filled with paintings by various artists all using a technique called Plein Air using either oil, acrylic, or water color based paints. Plein Air was not a familiar term to me. That is why we were so happy to meet Sally from Minnesota. She explained that Plein Air simply meant that the artist paints his picture out in the open air. This method allows the artist to capture the natural light in the environment. Most artists will paint on a smaller canvas for about three hours in the open air creating essentially a snap shot of what they saw. They will then take this "snap shot" back to their studio and transfer it to a larger canvas to be displayed or sold in a gallery. Sally also taught us what to look for in a quality painting. She helped us compare different paintings in the gallery and told us which ones would likely maintain or even improve their value over time. She is an artist/architect herself. She went on to explain to us the difference between museum quality art, gallery art, and prints. It was so very interesting. I will post a picture of her below. Thank you Sally from Chanhassen Minnesota - right down the road from Minnetonka where we lived for almost four years. She was the typical Minnesotan - "Minnesota Nice" they call it!
Blaine and I finally made it to the trail. We were only able to hike down to the mile and a half rest house because it was going to be dark soon. It was a breathtaking hike, but my favorite part was meeting the other hikers along the trail. Some were going down and others were on their way back up. Some had descended the trail three miles, six miles, and even hiked to the bottom and camped over night. There were hikers from all over the world, but interestingly enough we met some more Minnesotans. We also met hikers from Miami, Japan, Costa Rica, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. I love meeting new people and listening to their stories - some are more eager to share than others of course.
Our final day of being there was Monday. That morning I decided to go for a walk/jog along the rim. It was again gorgeous. Even though I was up over 7,000 feet I found myself energized by the coolness of the air and the majestic beauty. Upon reaching my desired destination and turn around point I paused to look out over the vastness of the canyon and to say a silent prayer of gratitude for the beauties of the earth that the Lord has given us. Surely this is one of His greatest masterpieces. As I thanked our Heavenly Father for this masterpiece His voice clearly came into my mind and said, "No Natalie, you are my greatest masterpiece. My children are my masterpiece. This is something I created for you - for your enjoyment, and is one of the ways I show my love for you. Please help all of my children understand that they are my masterpiece." My heart soared! Of course I knew this was true, and as I ran back down the trail to the lodge I noticed the different people, particularly families as they looked out over the canyon in awe. I thought to myself, "do they really know who they are? Do they realize that they are the Lord's greatest masterpiece?" From that moment on I have determined to try and view everyone I meet as the Lord's greatest masterpiece. What reverence and respect that elicits.
Finally, Dallin, while you are in Sweden and forever more,I want you to remember that you are the Lord's masterpiece. You are also my and your dad's masterpiece. You are amazing. And also remember that all those you encounter are His masterpieces as well. Treat them accordingly and miracles will take sway in your labors. Love you Dallin!! Have a fabulous week!
This Week's Email from Home:
Greetings from the grand canyon. Dad and I enjoyed a day of hiking and just came from having a nice dinner. We will be leaving for home in the morning. It has been a wonderful and relaxing weekend celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary. It sure is beautiful here. We are at about 7000 ft. It has been a mild winter with no snow in sight. I will post pictures and details on the blog. It has been a lot of fun meeting different people here from all over.
Anyhow, how are you this week? As always we pray you are happy and well. How has the week gone? Did you get a chance to see the doctor? This week has flown by like all the others. As you read on the blog we have sold the house. We will start moving things in a little at a time and be completely out by February 26th. We are putting in new closets and cabinets this week and uncle Gary is going to help add on a patio or maybe even another bathroom and master closet. We have been hauling in compost and manure to get ready to plant our garden. I'll be excited to make some beet jelly again.
Carter's team won both their games this week. Carter played well. Ty's team won as well. Dad is getting excited for baseball and is making big plans for his jv team. Aunt Julie hasn't had her baby yet, and I'm doing a lot of writing. Not much else is new.
Last winter was one of the coldest on record in st George and this year is one of the warmest. It is supposed to be 70 degrees on Monday. I'm certainly not complaining. Seventy degrees is the ideal temperature.
I'm so excited to hear all about your weekend. Carter spoke in church today. We were sad to miss it. I'm sure he did great. Wes moei's missionary farewell was today. I was also released today from young women's.
My missionary advice this week is from 2 Nephi 32. The words of Christ will tell you all things that you should do and the holy ghost will show you all things which you should do. I believe this with all my heart.
Take care of yourself dal. I hope you are healthy and your needs are being met. Love you to the moon and back!
This Week's Email From Dallin:
Sounds like you guys are having a blast over there in the big grand canyon. I'm jealous. I miss seeing those red rocks. But hey before I say anything else, you guys sold the house! Haha I couldn't believe my eyes when I read the blog the other day. Wow it sounds like things are getting real. I'm honestly pretty sad that I won't be able to come back to that house. It sure was nice living there in Washington fields. But I'm excited to see what will happen in the future. Just know that I support whatever happens 100%. And that'll sounds like a fun little project with the old house putting in some new stuff and getting that garden going. And you'll have to post some grand canyon pics on the blog. I'd like to see that.
I guess I've had my own little vacation too these last couple days. And by vacation I mean laying in bed. Remember last week how I said that not once have I had to stay in from working because of being sick? Yeah well I had to stay in yesterday haha. On Saturday I had a headache that was bothering me most of the day and by the evening my head was spinning. We were at a members house at the time so I just poker faced a healthy and happy missionary but after we left we went straight home. I woke up Sunday not feeling great either. We went to sacrament meeting but I just rested the rest of the day. That was nice, I'm feeling good today. And I have an appointment tomorrow to go get a blood test. The rest of the week was pretty good though. Did a lot of finding and met with a lot of members. I went on splits with the elders in Utby and that was a lot of fun. That's my favorite part of being DL is being able to go on splits with everyone in the district. We have the biggest district in the mission too which is good because that means more exchanges for me. It has actually snowed quite a bit lately as well. When we were out on the country side this week visiting less actives it was so beautiful out in the trees and up on the hills. It made me really happy to be in Sweden. But like usual, the snow is melting again and now its just wet and rainy again. It was cool while it lasted. Sounds like its great in St. George right now though with the 70 degree weather. You are right 70-75 is perfect. I'm sure that's how it is in heaven haha.
But yeah we are doing well. Elder Olsen is a bro but I think he is ready to dip out of Kungsbacka. He has been here quite awhile. But we are having a good time anyways. The members are very impressive here. Every sacrament meeting has been really high quailty with the talks and stuff. I'm hoping that they ask me to speak soon. I've started to really like speaking in church actually.
Take care everyone
This Week's Pictures From Dallin:
Brrr..... That looks cold indeed!
Winter is beautiful
Selfie with Elder Olsen
King of the Hill
Pictures from the Grand Canyon (the entire time we were wishing that Aunt Kim was with us to take all the pictures... Cell phone cameras just don't cut it):
You have to take at least one selfie!
Still handsome after 21years!
The 1.5 mile rest house
One of our favorite paintings
This is the gift shop and art gallery at the Bright Angel trail head
Another favorite painting
That's the gallery
Our new friend Sally from Minnesota
While there, Blaine and I (mostly Blaine) formulated our own theory on the formation of Grand Canyon. Geologists have concluded that the Colorado River is responsible for the carving out of the canyon however, there are pieces to this conclusion they are still trying to put together. They don't understand why the river turned at this particular point to slice through the plateau, whereas in other areas the river went there is nothing like this. Blaine determined that the best explanation would be a massive earthquake. I agreed with him especially since I had just finished reading from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon about the great destruction that took place upon this continent at the time of Christ's crucifixion. Particularly in verse 12 Nephi points out that "there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth." Mainstream geologists would not have this information. But we do. Although we revere the Book of Mormon as scripture - the words of Christ, it is also a historical record of the ancient Americas and it inhabitants. We know that Christ visited the people here as well as those in Jerusalem and other parts of the world after his resurrection because we have this record, but we also know so much more about these inhabitants because of this amazing book. Just food for thought!