Tuesday, September 30, 2014


On a beautiful October morning eleven years ago I sat by an open window smelling the rain and waiting for my mother's shallow breathing to stop. I had been her care-giver for the last fourteen months of her life and she and I were alone when she left. 

It was sad, but there was sweetness in the last few hours we spent together. I discovered that helping someone into the next world was as amazing as bringing my children into this one.

Those last few months were hard, sometimes poignant and often absolutely hilarious. My children will concur that Grandma was quite the character.  She named her walker "Jack"  short for jack-ass and insisted on having Mrs. Cavanaughs chocolates on her bed table. She was convinced a little piece of candy in the middle of the night would put her right back to sleep.  Who could fight with that!

For her last birthday, her 89th, I telephoned everyone in her directory and asked them to stop by and say hello. " No presents please, just come on over and have a piece of cake."  

We heard the first knock about 8:30 and a steady stream of people were in and out all day long. That night she turned to me and said... "I didn't know so many people knew it was my birthday." She never suspected I had anything to do with it.

As I was planning her funeral I found this poem by Henry Van Dyke (1852 - 1933) a respected Presbyterian clergyman from Pennsylvania. I love his perspective on dying.  Its just the next step...

Gone From My Sight

by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone."

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"


Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Heber Valley Girls Camp is amazing!

When Gordon B Hinckley was the prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 1995 - 2008 (the Mormons) he had a vision for the young women of the church. He wanted a place for them to go where they could be out in nature and feel the spirit. Heber Valley Camp is the realization of his desire for these young girls.

OUR YURT... it sleeps 16
His vision was a camp that would have all the amenities, showers, plumbing, electricity, cabins, beds and activities, so the girls would be comfortable. He wanted them to be able to have a spiritual experience without worrying about learning to cook over a fire, building latrines and staying clean.

His "people" scouted out the mountain above Heber Valley and concluded that a nice camp could be built there. President Hinckley, however, had a larger vision. He said, "Buy the whole mountain." It is a huge area, about 8,000 acres, which is roughly 10 square miles. The church and various donors built a state of the art highway for almost 8 million dollars which leads to cabins, yurts, pavilions, cooking facilities, volleyball, obstacle courses, the lake with canoes and more.

The Young Women use the facilities on Monday through Thursday all summer long and families rent the cabins and yurts on the weekends. It is truly a beautiful place, an homage to how President Hinckley felt about the women in the church.

When we arrived it was delightfully cool and by bedtime there was a torrential downpour. What fun to sleep in a "yurt" and listen to the rain.  The smell was heavenly.

Canoeing on the lake...

Our Little Campers...

Have a beautiful Sunday

Thursday, September 25, 2014

a quick overnight camping trip!

Everyone talks about the beautiful Heber Valley.  This will be my first time camping there. So excited. 

My gear is packed, including my new air matress. My camera is charged and I'm excited to take in the fall colors and hopefully see a moose.  

FALL is my favorite season! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Downton Abbey season 5 airs Sunday
September 21st. 

For us, here in the United States, it will be a bit later. But... there's good news. I have found this amazing website  "Simply June" I'm not sure how she manages it but she posts the episodes the day after they are shown abroad. I'm including the link to her website.

Meanwhile enjoy this delightful interview with a few cast members as they talk about season 4

Monday, September 1, 2014

Spending the day at... 
outside Torrey, Utah

Capital Reef is known as the best kept secret in Utah. It is a three hour drive from my home south of Salt Lake City and has breathtakingly beautiful rock formations. These pictures can't even begin to capture the power of the landscape.

The back of Chimney Rock. Because this national park is so pristine and remote the air quality comes very close to perfect.

Don't want to be there when this giant rock breaks and rolls.

When we came around the corner on the trail we all squealed... it looks like a crocodile!

Early settlers carved their names on the rock wall

It was a magical day!