First of all, I must say that I have been quite emotional today as I think of the things that transpired 15 years ago and how it changed my perception of the world. When I woke up later than usual that morning I turned the TV on to listen to the news while I got ready and the first image I saw was of the plane hitting the second tower. That image is permanently etched in my mind. As I watched a couple of short videos this morning that showed pictures of some of the people who survived that day and saved many others (mostly first responders and firemen, the tears rolled down my cheeks as I contemplated their bravery and sacrifice and how we as Americans all pulled together......then I thought of the turmoil of today and can hardly believe we have digressed so far from out feelings of that day. I am grateful to have a knowledge of who/what ultimately wins this war of terror and evil and hope my choices and actions will always keep me on the "winning team"!
As you know, we have been in the throes of a major remodeling project and I have felt like that project would NEVER end. I'm happy to report that we are very close to the finish line and it feels just great, but more about that later.
We are coming close to the magical time of year here in Phoenix - and while some of you might think that I am speaking of Christmas - I am only speaking of the time of year when the temperature does not reach 100 degrees for several days in a row and the night time temperature lows are in the 80's. I can feel the cooler weather right around the corner and my body really appreciates that! As we approach that time of year, I am really enjoying the different pictures painted in the skies for me on many days of the week. The following pictures have occurred as we returned home from the office during the last two weeks.
I don't know that I remember ever seeing clouds look like handwriting in the sky before!
A couple of nights later I arrived home about 7:30 after running a couple of errands and saw that the sun was just slipping behind the homes across the street and tinting the higher clouds a beautiful shade of pink.
On Thursday, September 1st we had an Elder return to the mission. He went home about six months ago to have some pretty invasive cancer surgery and has come back now with the doctors saying there is no more cancer in his body. I've been really impressed with his positive attitude! To prepare for his coming I needed to go to Target and pick up a pillow to make a bedding packet for him. As I drove up to the store (about 3 miles from the mission office) I knew I would need to be fast because there was a dust storm blowing in from the southeast and I didn't want to get caught in the worst part of it. Note the trees bending in the wind and the dust in the air.
Coming home from the grocery store on Saturday I noticed this fluffy big cloud that looked like a bunch of miniature marshmallows piled up in the sky :) ... maybe that was because I had just purchased miniature marshmallows at the store.
We have a very tall Eucalyptus tree in our back yard....and some of the top branches died while we were serving in Virginia. We have been so busy working on our house that we have not done much in the yard yet and as I walked in the house I could see the white breast of a bird high in the bare branches of the tree and started to get really excited thinking maybe it was an Eagle up there......but alas, I was disappointed to find it was only a couple of doves with the sun glinting off the white feathers of their breasts. Still kind of an interesting picture......
A few days prior to zone conference when they were going to get their cars inspected, some of the missionaries came into the office to ask Elder Ashton about the stuff they could just spray on their car ----wash and wax combined. He grabbed his bottle of the cleaner and his hat and headed out the door. I called to him to turn around so I could take a picture and this is what I got :) He LOVES what he does in the mission!
Cars lined up following inspection at Zone Conference. Note the ones with trunks still open....when I asked Elder Ashton about that he said they had too much junk in them and they had to take all the junk out to check the spare tire so he was going to "let" the missionaries put the junk back in :) Both Elder Ashton and I did a little training at the conferences......plus Elder Ashton handed out 1st through 3rd place cleanest cars in the Zone. It's interesting to see how competitive the missionaries get to win a chocolate bar!
On Saturday, September 3rd we gathered at the Gilbert Temple for the sealing of our daughter Felicia and her husband Dallon. It will be 4 years in October since they got married and it has been quite a long process for them to get their clearance for sealing - so it was a day of celebration for all of us!
Dallon and Felicia emerging from the temple after the ceiling
The happy couple :)
And their cute blended family. Bet you can't tell which kids belong to which.....guess that means they all belong together ;-)
Big brother Curtis who drove all the way from Denver with his wife Merilee to be there for the sealing......makes the final celebratory splash at the after sealing pool party :)
More cars following inspection after the Zone Conference on September 7th....no trunks left open so I guess word traveled around the mission that they needed to clean out their trunks prior to inspection.
Our neighbors across the street have a night blooming cactus and I have been really curious about what the blowers would look like.....in the day they are all closed up as shown here above.
The next morning when I left for the gym at 5:15 I was able to catch them blooming....and I must say the flash on my phone did a pretty good job of capturing the beauty of the flowers.
Here are two right next to each other on the same arm of the cactus.
As I look at this picture I think the flower is pure beauty......a prickly cactus with spines that draw blood, produces this beautiful, delicate flower. Amazing!
A few weeks ago while driving to the office I was thinking about tasks that needed to be completed before the 28 missionaries arrived and not paying close attention to driving until I saw the flashing blue lights behind me.....DARN!
Yesterday and today I learned the consequences of those actions. I had to sit in front of the computer for 4 hours and complete a Defensive Driving course ....... I thought I would go nuts spending all that time but kept reminding myself that choices have consequences. I'll be more careful about watching my speed when I am driving now!
And now the great news......the remodel project is DONE! I think we only have a few boxes left to unpack and the decorating has begun - provided by our private decorator, Felicia Hubbard. It is a joy to watch her pick things out and put them together just so.
Throw pillows for the sectional to bring out the colors in the rug. I especially like the "family" pillow :)
The start of the gallery wall in the family room - I love how this is all coming together around the throw back picture of our kids.
The fan chart set off nicely by wood pieces and.....
This small red table with basket and vase (plus the "grandma rocking chair"). I must say - I am loving how this is all coming together and am so glad it is nearly done!
Happy September from Arizona with our "perfect" weather just around the corner!