Chickens and cake

On Sunday, after getting officially released by the Stake President, and attending our old ward (it’s a long story: we met our Bishop for the first time…to say hello and goodbye, as we will actually be attending another ward since we will be living with Liz…), we got ready for yet another party over at my son Mike’s house.

It was my birthday, the anniversary of my father’s death in 2011, and the date we were released from what could be our last mission. Quite memorable day!

When arriving at Mike’s I discovered that he had chickens! I guess South Jordan allows you to have 6 chickens. After being introduced, it was time for a great Brazilian dinner and a birthday cake: my favorite– pinapple upsidedown cake.

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Mike with his favorite chicken

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I made a wish for Terri and I– that we can quickly adjust to normal life!

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Salt Lake homecoming

After spending time in PA we finally headed home to Salt Lake. We had a long flight– PA to San Francisco, then to SLC on another airline. We ate lunch with Terri’s parents before we left, knowing we would not get food again that day– we landed about 11:30pm.

The next day we went out to dinner together.

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Today we went to the Stake President’s office and got ‘officially’ released. It was the same time as our church…so we are going to the J’s ward (our old ward) for today, then next week we attend our new ward.

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Temple Dedication

On Sunday we attended the Philly temple dedication. Only temple recommend holders were allowed inside any of the chapels that had closed-circuit TV of the proceedings (Terri’s parents, sister, and brother were able to attend the dedication IN the temple, the rest of us viewed the dedication in the Jarrettown chapel).

John and Nancy will be working the the temple at least one day a week as temple workers. Meg is a temple volunteer once a month.

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The Hopkins home is a beautiful place, filled with all kinds of memories from their lives.

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Seth’s home

We did get a chance to visit with Seth and our grandchildren for a few days. Seth has a great home in the woods and has his own wood shop!

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Porter, one of our newest grandsons took a header off his bike and got a black eye!

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Seth’s shop has a full woodworking shop, and a separate paint room with fans to paint all the things he creates

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Here are a couple of items Seth has made:

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Seth is still young at heart…

img_6355 img_6356 img_6357           img_6369 img_6370 Seth has become a great cook! We ate General Tso’s chicken with them one night…wow! It was better than any Chinese restaurant!

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Seth has a large lot– 7 acres? And has lots of deer, turkeys, and other wild animals roaming through. He even can go deer hunting on his own property!

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They are surrounded by areas set-aside for other purposes… for example, just across the street is a large Boy Scout camp.

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We had a great time, and look forward to being home for a while now so that we can visit them more often.

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PA Visit

The last ten days we spent in PA with our family there. We were met at the train by Terri’s parents, her brother and his family, and our son Seth and his family.

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We then went to a large family dinner where we all shared a family favorite– shells. We also celebrated a birthday!

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They put a cage around the living room and made it into a nursery for all the young children in the family! It worked well.

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We then just had to visit Friendlys– an icecream and sandwich shop in the east, and also had to stop for lunch and get a REAL Philly cheese steak!

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We spent most of our time at Terri’s parents house, as she helped them with their computer problems — they have been given the responsibility to put together a history of the LDS church in the area associated witht the Temple dedication.

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Kevan’s Top Ten

I thought I would share with you my ‘Top Ten’ books of all time. These are books that either had a profound effect on my life, or were simply a good enough read that I have actually read them more than once!

Top Ten books:

The Holy Bible (written by the hand of holy Prophets in ancient Israel)

Reading this book, specifically the New Testament, brought me to an understanding of Jesus Christ. After studying most of the major religions of the world, I was drawn to, and believe in, Jesus Christ.

The Book of Mormon (written by the hand of holy Prophets in ancient America)

Reading this book gave me an understanding of which Christian church was right. This could have been difficult for me—believing in Jesus Christ but not knowing which of the many churches was true—but ended up to be quite simple: the Book of Mormon is proof that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ.

The Doctrine and Covenants (written by the Prophet Joseph Smith)

Reading this book gave me an understanding of the deep and profound doctrines that pertain to God on a universal scale. It is one thing to believe in Jesus Christ, it is quite another to understand the grand scope of existence—from the pre-mortal life to the many kingdoms and worlds that await us after death. This book gave me a more complete understanding of the Plan of Salvation and what is required of every person to be able to live in the Kingdom of God.

The Pearl of Great Price (translated from ancient papyrus of Moses and Abraham)

This book took me back to the beginning—to the creation of the world and the beginning of life on earth, and tied together the beginning of the world to the end of the world, when Christ comes again.

The Law by Frederic Bastiat

This taught me the true meaning of good government vs bad government. Why laws are created, and what constitutes a good law for society:

In brief, no government should create a law that permits a government to do what an individual cannot or should not.

For example: If I go to my neighbor and take something of his without permission, it is wrong. It is called stealing (one of the BIG Ten Commandments), and the act should be punished. However, if a government passes a law that takes from my neighbor without his permission, and gives what was my neighbor’s to me…they call that Socialism or Communism, and it is heralded as good. The intellectual disconnect between what we can and cannot do as individuals, and what we permit government to do as a society is the height of hypocrisy.

Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh

The ability to obtain peace and serenity through seeking and understanding universal truth can be life changing. Having studied Eastern Religions for many years, I have found this book is able to relate the simple and profound concepts better than any other I have read. Buddha, through the universal light of truth that dwells within each of us, was able to develop a way of life, and way of looking at life, that can bring great peace to anyone. It is unfortunate that the followers of Buddha turned his teachings into a religion (something the Buddha himself would not have wanted) that often distorts the truths that he found and was trying to teach others. When asked about God, the Buddha would simply answer truthfully that he did not know about God—he was simply teaching the truths that he was able to obtain through seeking to understand the universal truths he discovered all around him.

The Hobbit / Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

For the pure joy of reading and escaping into a fantasy world, nothing compares to this series.

Dune by Frank Herbert

The joining of fantasy and science fiction has made this series a classic.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This was read to our entire class in 5th grade. Wow!  I can remember to this day the excitement and anticipation of reading another chapter in this wonderful book.

The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov

A great science fiction series of space and exploration

I would be interested to hear from others what their Top Ten would be!

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Going Home to Philly

Terri and I left St Martin early Monday morning– we were up at 5am to get ready for the Zone Leaders to pick us up at about 5:40am to head to the airport. We left about 8 am for Miami and then on to Philly.

Terri’s parents, brother, and our son Seth live in PA– so that would be our first stop on our way home to Utah. We also will be attending the dedication of the Philly Temple on Sunday. Since I served my first mission in Philly, and since so many of our family lived there, it seemed like a good place to come!

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I have been trying to get a picture of this bird for 18 months! Finally, just a couple of days before we leave, during my morning walk, I finally got a picture or two!

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Just some final pics of what was our beautiful home of St Martin!

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Simpson Bay with all the boats– Sandy Ground (French side) in the background

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The road leading to Marigot on the French side where two elders work

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Just over the hill is St Peters and Ebenezer where four of our elders work

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Just to the right of St Peters valley is the Salt Pond leading to Philipsburg

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The Salt Pond is on the left, with the long strip being Philipsburg, and the ocean bay on the right where the large cruise ships come

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Just to the right you can just see the two long piers where the cruise ships come into port. There are no ships in today– it is slow in the summer.

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During our flight to Miami we passed many islands– I was surprised how many we passed!

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We finally came to Miami– had no idea how flat it was! It is pancake flat for as far as you can see!

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They had lots of water and ponds– not sure what they are for, but all we could think about was ‘breeding ground for Zika’ !

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After arriving in Miami we had a short layover, then on to PA. Once at the PA airport we raced to catch the train to Warminster where our family would be meeting us. We had quite the crowd waiting for us! Our son Seth’s children, Eve and Josh had made welcome home signs for us. The people on the train with us were excited too! It was a great welcoming for us. We then all went back to Grandma’s house (Terri’s Parents) for dinner with the whole family; hot dogs and baked beans.

It brought back good memories. When we lived in Conn. way back when, and our children were little, we used to travel to visit the Grandparents on the weekends. They would always have a dinner of hot dogs and beans waiting for us when we arrived.

We will spend about two weeks here visiting–and go to the Temple dedication on Sunday, then travel to Utah for our second ‘homecoming’ with our family there!

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