Just Right Riding Conditions

This morning was cool, but not too cool.  The humidity was lower than it has been, and there was no wind.  The conditions were just right for my morning ride.

As I was zipping down Stafford Road, I passed Sister Sherwood on her morning walk.  Not sure if she recognized me in my bicyling garb, but she responded when I said, “Good morning Sister Sherwood.”

I was making good time as I rounded the bend behind the temple.  I had just start up the slight incline when I ran into Elder Hales.  I stopped and talked to him for a few minutes, and asked him to snap a photo with my iPhone.

Stafford Road

I do wish I had more time in the morning to ride further.  But at least it is exercise.

Studio This Morning (iPhone)

Housing Missionaries

Elizabethe and I really love being able to provide housing to some of our temple missionaries. Tonight as we were finishing dinner, Sister Steward came downstairs to put some ice cream in the freezer.  She said some of the other missionaries would be coming by for strawberries and ice cream and invited us to join them.

We had a nice visit with about a half-dozen couples.  They are all here serving on temple missions.  In fact, one couple, the Townes, are from Brentwood, California, and I knew them from when we lived in Pittsburg!  It also pleases Elizabethe and I when our missionaries put our home to good use.

Pagent guests will start arriving in two days.  After that, life will be quite busy until Pageant is complete.

 

Thunder!

I was in my office and heard a loud clap of thunder.  A few minutes later, I heard the rain pouring down.   The air conditioning was on and I thought, ‘I’ll open the door to get some cool fresh air.’

Was I wrong!

I opened the door and it was about 80 and muggy outside even though the rain was pouring down.

I guess I still have some things to learn about the weather here.

Your Face Shows It

As a photographer I spend a lot of time studying faces.  I often become quite intimately familiar with a client’s face when I’m doing retouching.  I notice little things like freckles, eye alignment, nose shape, “smile” lines, and more.  The one thing that really stands out is the story the eyes tell.  It’s not the iris and pupil that tell the story, it is when the eyes are placed in position with the rest of the face that tells the story.

If you have ever lost weight, you probably notice the numbers on your scale, and not the view in the mirror.  Then, one day, someone walks up to you and says, “You’ve lost weight!”  This is often followed by, “Yeah, I can see it in your face.”

We often don’t see the changes that righteous living brings to our face.  And, when that change is gradual, we sometimes miss it in others.   Elder James E. Faust said, ” A sacred light comes to our eyes and countenances when we have a personal bond with our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, our Savior and Redeemer.”

It is a wonderful thing; your face shows it.

Sunday Naps

I commented to the sisters that Elizabethe and I took a nap this afternoon.  They commented about how nice a nap sounds.  That took me back to the late 70s when I was a missionary.  I can remember so vividly a summer in Garden City, Kansas, and coming home at lunch, and only wanting to take a nap.  I knew that day I needed some nourishment, so I just ate a PB&J sandwich and then laid down on the couch and slept for about 25 minutes.  (That’s all the time we had for lunch that day.)  So, yes, I can relate to their schedule and hard work and lack of time for taking a nap.

I’m thankful I can occasionally take a Sunday afternoon nap.

Tiffany came to our ward for the first time today.  Everyone was so excited to meet her.  I found it very interesting that so many people came up and asked me, “Was that your daughter at church today?”   A couple commented she looks like she is.  I take that as a compliment.  Tiffany is a wonderful part of Elizabethe’s and my life.

The choir practiced the songs for the Pageant Sundays.  It was a good practice and it is hard to believe pageant is only a couple of weeks away.

Back to the sisters…

Sister Trujillo had a birthday last week, so we fed the sisters and then broke out a cake and sang Happy Birthday to her and had some cake and ice cream.  I fixed some chicken and bok choi, chicken soup, rice and snow peas for dinner.  (Oh, we ate dinner before the cake and ice cream.)  Tiffany was to have joined us, but wasn’t feeling well so she went home to go to bed.

About the time they were getting ready to leave, Bishop and Sister Taylor came over to home teach us.  We had a nice visit with the bishop and his wife.

Thank goodness for Sunday naps.

Artisan Works with Tiffany

I enjoy art.  I am a very visual person and can be totally captivated by anything that is well crafted or beautiful.  My business tag-line, Capturing Beauty, is what I like to do with my camera.  So, imagine what sensory-overload I feel when in an art gallery.  Imagine how that is multiplied when doing a photo shoot.  Yeah, the ADHD in me takes over.

We wandered around Artisan Works looking for areas, objects of art, and lighting for taking pictures of Tiffany.  She too was captivated by much of the art.

Tiffany in Front of a Painting

 

For example, the above photo was taking in front of an abstract art piece.  Cool background, eh?

And, if you’ve never been to Artisan Works, let’s just say it is cram-packed with stuff.  They even have an old Corvair.  Yes, I consider Corvairs to be art.  Don’t you?  (And, if you don’t… tisk… we call can’t have an eye for art I guess.)

Tiffany Outside Artisan Works

Even the outside of the building (above) made a cool back drop for our shoot.

By the way, let those Class of 2012 High School seniors know about my studio.  Summer is here, and I am ready to schedule senior high school senior portrait sessions.  Send them to my web site www.dbwalton.com and suggest they call me.  I do have a limit to how many I can do between now and the yearbook deadlines, so have them call me SOON.

Mack Dub and the MoTab

The sisters contacted me shortly before I left work today asking if I would pick them up from the Grandin Building and take them and Tiffany down to Hill Cumorah Visitor’s Center so Tiffany could hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing.  (Yes, they were here in Palmyra yesterday!)

My boss was kind enough to let me leave a little early, so when Tiffany arrived, we picked up the sisters, and headed to the Hill.  We got there, and were informed the bus had a flat tire so the choir would not be singing there – that it would only be at the Smith Farm.  We were also informed, they would be late.  The sisters took that opportunity to tour Tiffany around the visitor’s center, and teach her there.

Sister Trujillo, Tiffany, Sister Barrus

We then all headed over the Smith Farm.  To my surprise, there were cars all over the place.  The word must have got out that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was in town.  We parked off the shoulder of the road at the far south end of the farm, and for a moment, I thought the sisters were going to have to figure out how to climb over the fence in their dresses – not good.  Fortunately, someone left the gate unlocked.

While we were waiting, I took Tiffany around and introduced her to my wonderful friends.  She met temple missionaries, FM missionaries, ward members, other stake members, and even a family from Idaho.  She also met the elder serving in the YSA branch, as well as the mission president and some other sisters who served in Palmyra.  It was so wonderful to see the fellowship that exists among the saints.  Everyone embraced her and congratulated her on her decision.  In fact, one sister who met her for the first time invited her to come stay with her in Utah if she ever wants to go there to go to General Conference.

Also, while we were waiting, Brother Mack Wilberg walked by us.  I pointed out to Tiffany that he was the director of the choir and that she will probably see him during General Conference next fall.

The choir started by singing (a capella) Oh, How Lovely Was the Morning.  What an appropriate song for that location.  The spirit was strong and the music was heavenly.  They then sang, God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again.

It was short and sweet, but to be able to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing as we stood just outside the Sacred Grove was a once-in-a-lifetime treat.  One I do not think Tiffany fully grasps yet, but someday will look back and say, “I was there.”

Sister Trujillo, Tiffany, Sister Barrus

The sisters had a dinner appointment, and Tiffany and I returned to the house.  I fixed French dip sandwiches while Tiffany and Elizabethe talked in the sitting room.  We then watched the rest of The Other Side of Heaven.

Another wonderful day here in Palmyra.

Tender Mercies

A friend of mine once told me the sign of a really good friend is someone who inspires you to greatness.  It works both ways.  You cannot have a good friend if that relationship is lopsided.  So, it stands to reason that you will inspire your good friends to greatness, too.   Our Savior has said, “Remember the worth of the soul is great in the sight of God.”    I think true friends will help each other realize their potential and help each other in their journey back to our Heavenly Father.

My Heavenly Father has blessed me so much lately and has shown to me His tender mercies.    Through the intricacies of life, I have seen how several lives have been touched through a simply plea to our Heavenly Father in prayer.

I’ve watched as a friend has embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The change in her countenance has been remarkable.  Yes, you can actually see the change for good in her expressions, and hear it in her voice.  At the same time, seeing this change in her has renewed my faith and motivated me to do better and work harder to keep the commandments.

I wish I could go through all of the events of the last couple of months that have led to this point.  However, they are too sacred and personal for a public forum.  And, for those friends and family who read my blog, perhaps some day in person or on the phone, I will share with you the details.  It is sufficient to say in this forum that I know our Heavenly Father is mindful of all of His children.  He hears our prayers.  He answers them.

There is no such thing as a coincidence.  The Lord has said, “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.”  I think that is pretty clear that “His hand” in involved in “all things”.  It has been humbling tonight as I lay on my back musing about these events that have led to today.  It started with a simple prayer and plea.   The rest was not coincidence.  It was a chain of events so intertwined that it boggles my mind to think about it.  Yet, there are those who would say, “What a coincidence.”

Elizabethe and I felt our Heavenly Father wanted us to move to Palmyra.  We still do.  I thought it might be years before we fully understood and realized why we are here.  Today, two years to the day from when I came here to stay I know one of the reasons I’m here, and if it turns out to be the sole reason, that’s fine with me because it is worth it.

Symbiosis

Webster’s defines symbiosis as a cooperative relationship.  However, I think when we typically use the word, we mean more than just cooperation.

I watched a show about symbiotic relationships of some insects and flowers.  Did you know there are some flowers that cannot survive without a specific insect?  And, in some cases, that insect cannot survive without that flower?

I often wonder how we, humans, would survive without friends and family.  There is a great symbiosis there.

Have you ever been in a jam where you just thought you couldn’t do something?  Then, a friend stops by the house.  You ask them to help you on your task.  The two of you complete the task with easy and you say, “I couldn’t have done this without you.”

An overly simplified example, but it illustrates my point.  We need each other.  We need to be kind to each other – especially our family members.  And, we need to help each other.

Maybe it is because I’m getting older, but I’ve noticing more and more the symbiosis that exists in society.  It’s always been there, but I’ve noticed it more among friends lately.  A friend gets injured.  People step in to help.  The injured friend is cared for in ways she and her family cannot care for themselves right now.  And, at the same time, the people helping are getting something out of it too.

Yes, it is more than just cooperation.  It is necessary, healthy and good.

Summer 2011 Is Here

Summer official starts today.  Today is the longest daylight of the year.  The sumer solstice.

I took a walk down to the Port of Palmyra this morning with my camera and took a few pictures.  (I’ve posted them on my Facebook page, and don’t have them on my laptop else I’d post some here too.)

Met a guy on my walk who told me all about his plans to move to Aspen, Colorado.  I ran into some of our missionaries out walking, too.  (A couple of them were Elder and Sister Steward.)  It was a nice day to walk.

Work was crazy.  But then, when is it not lately?

I got to the temple and as always, enjoyed my service there.