Diamond Valley

March 31, 2010

Dearest Children,
A few days ago we met up with our dear friends, the Gunns (Danika, Abe, Lia, Hazel & Olive) in Diamond Valley, UT.  We spent our time hiking, picnicking, watching movies, reading books, jumping on the trampoline, trying to catch fish in the pond, and relaxing. I think I may have found my dream home. 

Too bad Danika’s sister already owns it.  Perfect size (5 bed 3 1/2 bath), perfect location (nestled up to BLM land), perfect backyard (large garden, small orchard, grass area, small pond, fire pit, sunken trampoline), perfect neighbors (a falconer, horse owners, four wheeler-ers, master gardeners, goat raising-chess playing kids), perfect lay out (a mud room, large kitchen, an office, a library, and a large upstairs bonus room) perfect, perfect, perfect.  Oh sorry, where was I? Ah, yes, the letter…

Jonas, you managed to fall into the pond within hours of our arrival (way to make a first impression) and Lia fell in just minutes before we were leaving out the door (way to go out with a splash).  Ha, ha I crack myself up.  All of the kids enjoyed the hike to the white sand dunes the most.  You spent hours climbing up the steep dunes and then running, sliding and often times, tumbling down.  The girls loved pretending the fine white sand was pixie dust, while the rambunctious boys held races to see who could make it down the fastest.  The diversity in the scenery was absolutely amazing.  We began our hike along a trail littered with lava rocks as black as coal.  Soon, the trail stopped and we made our way up the face of a red sandstone mountain.  As we neared the summit of the red sandstone, it suddenly turned white.  There was a small trickling stream that we followed until we came to the white dunes.  It was gorgeous and I loved watching you all play while I basked in the sun and Atticus ate sand.

The purpose of this letter is not to tell you how lovely our trip was, it is to teach a lesson.  Yippee for you!  As we were packing to leave, Danika and I were discussing possibly flying kites or doing one last hike on our way out of town.  After some contemplation, we decided against either one, as it was very windy and overcast outside.  I told her that we would be stopping at the temple on our way out of town and asked if they wanted to join us.  Jonas, my dear, apparently you didn’t like that idea.  You let out a load groan and said, “Ugh, why can’t we do something FUN?  The temple is the most boring place on earth!”  I ignored your comment and we packed the car and said our fond farewells because they declined my invitation.  On our way to the temple I told you how sad I was that you said what you did and the even though the temple may seem boring, it’s one of the most special places on Earth and we should respect it.  You apologized, but I could tell you would still much rather go somewhere to play than be reverent and walk around the temple.  Completely understandable because, after all, you’re only seven.

As soon as we drove up to the temple my heart did a little flutter.  I love the way the St. George temple shimmers in the sun and it always amazes me how they keep it so white.  It’s truly stunning.  We began to walk the temple grounds and you all trekked to the top of the steps that are in front of the temple and I took your picture.  We descended the steps and walked along the path circling the temple, admiring the spring flowers blooming with their luscious scents and colors. 

As we rounded a corner of the temple a large, gnarly tree caught my eye.  At the tip of every knotty branch was a bright bud of green, waiting to burst open.  I stopped and looked at it for a moment and then began a speech that went something along the lines of, “You know, Easter sure is a fun time with Easter eggs, a magic bunny and candy… but that’s not what Easter is really about.  Easter is a celebration of when Jesus was resurrected.  All the new growth in the Springtime reminds us that Jesus conquered death and is alive again.  When you see things blooming like this tree you can think of the real reason for Easter.” 

When I stopped talking Clara looked at me and put her little hand in mine.  “I just heard the Holy Ghost whispering to me”, she said. 
Smiling, I asked, “Oh really, what did he say to you?”  
“Well, when you were talking I just kept hearing, “YES. YES. YES, Clara!” then I knew what you were telling me was true.” 

How sweet is that?!  When we were done walking the temple grounds we walked to the visitors center and quietly sat and looked at the Christus Statue for as long as Atticus would allow.  There was a special exhibit of Greg Olsen’s artwork on display for Easter so we walked around, admiring his pieces and talking about the life of Jesus.  When it was time to go Jonas asked me, “Ah mom, do we have to leave already?”  I was immensely pleased, knowing you had felt the spirit and enjoyed being at the temple.  At least I’m hoping that’s why you wanted to stay and not simply because you were dreading the car ride home.  Either way, at least the temple wasn’t the most boring place on Earth after all.

Love, Mama

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