The day we have been waiting 6 months for has come at last! One of our chickens layed her first egg. It is green, so we are thinking it was from the huge Araucana chick, affectionately called elHeffe. The festivities started this morning when we heard an outburst of clucking,(more like death clucking), along with the happy barking of Mike and Chelsie's dog Rusty. (They all got in late last night and Rusty is a mini pincer, about the size of very small cat.) Somehow, as Rusty charged towards the chicken's enclosed yard, 2 of the birds escaped, perhaps through a loose spot of chicken wire (which is now firmly tacked down) by the hen house. Rusty was in heaven as he chased a Barred Rock around the yard. Dave and I were after the three of them, Dave catching the one chicken while I followed Rusty and the second chicken down the side of the house to the gate where, in a huge flurry of fur and feathers, I grabbed Rusty, Rusty grabbed the chicken, and the chicken dove between my legs towards freedom, leaving behind a very nice mouthful of feathers. Dave had to scoop the chicken out of the pool, which is where she landed after her evasive moves behind me, and got her back into the coop. It was then he spotted the lovely little green egg outside the chicken's door to their yard. The question is; was the egg there before the dog incident or was it scared out by Rusty??? A bedeviling question for your Halloween enjoyment! Omelets anyone?!
This is my mom, and yesterday was her birthday! While she thinks she is getting old, she is still the youngest and prettiest mom I know. What a blessing to have her as a mother. Not only has she directed my life towards the good, she always made me feel like I was the best thing since sliced bread. For example: I had always thought that I was a really good student and must have been pretty close to always having an A+ average by the way I remembered her acting about my report cards. Then, a little while back, I found some of those old report cards and lo and behold, I was pretty much a B student with a few A's thrown in. How did she do that? Since that revelation in my life, I have been trying to be better with my own children and their accomplishments. And while I'm not at my mom's level yet, she still inspires me to do better in all aspects of my life. So thank you, Mom! And happy birthday.
What a great and unusual seminary we had today! As the first drizzles of our rainy day began, Evan and I arrived at the church building to set up and go through the usual routine. Just as the youth were beginning to arrive...zap...all the lights went out. We had a quick return of electricity and then everything went black for the rest of the morning. What a nice thing to have emergency lighting in the building! In the foyer and the hall there are very dim lights that allow you to at least see enough not to step on something, or in our case somebody. What to do?! Everyone gathered in the foyer talking about the lightening they had seen on their way and the stop lights that were not working. The best part was that nobody was sleeping! So Linda and I had a quick conference and thought that we could go over scripture mastery and try to keep them occupied. Seth Olson led the opening song "Shall the Youth of Zion Falter" and everybody sang. It was a bit emotional for me hearing them sing "while the enemy assaileth, shall we shrink or shun the fight?" in the dark, realizing that they live in a world with so much darkness, yet they each are truly such beautiful lights. Erika gave a very nice prayer and Luke did an exceptional job with his devotional, which he volunteered to give. I was so proud of him having a verse from the 4th section of the Doctrine and Covenants memorized. His act of memorization was a great service to all of us, as he brought the spirit of the Savior into our midst. Scripture mastery was put away as we were impressed to highlight the lesson material. Together, Linda and I began to tell about the incredible things that are found in 2 Nephi chapter 2. Lehi, in his final words to his children, recounts the creation, the fall and the atonement; the three pillars of the plan of happiness. As we discussed each thing and shared how they had affected our lives, the students asked wonderful questions and shared their own insights in such a personal and caring way. The question was asked, "What does the Savior offer that is most appealing or important to you?" Happiness, salvation, mercy, forgiveness, eternal life, peace- were a few of the answers. It is a question I need to ask myself more often, because answering it helped me to put things in my life back into perspective. All too soon the time was gone, and Ellis closed our "campfire" with prayer. As the kids left, all were abuzz about how fun that was and that we should do it all the time. Even though I don't think Edison or Zeus will be so obliging again, it was an exceptional experience being with forty of the greatest teens on the earth, in the dark, at 5:50am, building testimonies and faith.
This photo was taken at the top of the trail, overlooking the ocean and Laguna. As you can see the sun is about to set, not just on our day, but also on the beach hikes. (violins are playing in the background) The West Ridge, Lynx, and Cholla trails have now been successfully tickled, and it is a good thing too, as these trails lived up to their rating of "hardest". Let me start at the beginning...
The drive to the Alta Laguna Park was super. I felt like I was back in Magnolia, zooming up the twisting and turning streets. The trail was very wide and well marked, and well used by hikers and bikers. Martine and I noted that the bikers were much friendlier here than at the Morrow Ridge Loop, probably because they didn't have to pay $15 to park. As we traveled the very steep and long trail down the backside of the coastal mountain, we were not too impressed with the area. It was quite barren and overlooked vast housing developments and freeways. The day was another scorcher so the thought of traveling on this wide open path for 5 miles was not very appealing. I will admit that I put out the option of just stepping on the Lynx and Cholla trails (which made the loop part of the hike) and call it good, thus shortening our hike by 2 miles. As we were thinking seriously about this option, we came to a huge water storage tank. (As you can see from the above photo, Martine is continuing her crime streak, this time loitering on government property.) At the end of the West Ridge trail we joined the very rocky, steep, and narrow path of the Cholla trail. Since it hadn't taken us too long to walk to this point, and the hike wasn't all that hard, the decision was made to do the whole trail as planned. Half way down the trail a woman met us who was very obviously struggling in her ascent. Hmmm...I hoped desperately that she was much more out of shape than I was! Once at the bottom of the hill, our surroundings beautifully transformed.
(Please note the photo, with Martine sitting on the fence, not loitering.) We were no longer out in the open, but on a very nice trail which curved under live oaks and shrubbery. Not far away was a little stream, perhaps from Lake Barbara, that gurgled by and huge rocky cliffs jutting out above us. It was shady and quiet and beautiful.The Cholla trail was very rejuvenating, and that is a lucky thing because the Lynx trail was not (rejuvenating or lucky). I will only mention quickly that we missed the marker for the Lynx trail, but only because it was about 3 feet above the trail on a ledge among the shrubs, and I'm sure we were being passed by a wild bike rider as we were walking past it:-).
The good news is that since we are becoming experienced easy trail hikers, we turned around before we had traveled too far down the path. The Lynx trail was up, up, then straight up! Over crags and rocks and not much shade. As the trail curved, you were sure you were at the top, only to be looking a another quarter mile until the next turn. Once we made it back to the West Ridge trail, the climb was, sadly, not over. It was 2 more miles of uphill trekking. Every bit of water was drunk by the time we made it to the top. I felt like Colin in San Salvador, I had sweat through everything! I cannot tell you how much I love air conditioned cars! But we did it!!! and it felt, in the words of BYU football fans, majestic. I'm very grateful that we traveled the whole trail. It just goes to show that the best things in life are the things that take that extra effort and determination. Now, on to the foothills. I can't wait!
I am the seminary teacher of the greatest youth in the world. In our class we study the scriptures, doctrines, and principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Our attendance helps us to put on the "Armor of God" and strengthen our testimony of the Lord, Jesus Christ and our part in Heavenly Father's plan of happiness.