Back in September I had the opportunity to gather with my mom and sisters in southern Utah.
Oh how I love these ladies, as well as the ones who couldn’t come (this kind of last-minute gathering was a little more conducive to those who live in the West…not so much for those spread out far and wide, but I think they could feel the love we were sending out to them oozing out from that little gathering).
I always learn so much from the wise women in my life, and realize I’m the luckiest to get to be related to so many of them.  Together with these four other women (my mom, Saren and Saydi, and my sister-in-law Kristi), we got to take in a lot of different kinds of beauty.  
That first night we were together, we went to go see a play at Tuacahn.  And I figured I may as well talk about that grand place for just a minute here, because they seem to have gotten it right.  They do such a fabulous job, and you honestly cannot beat a venue tucked in between all this beauty:

Here are my mom and Saydi with some lovely red lights lighting them up from the back of a car:

Ok, here’s a better look at those lovely ladies below:

…but I’m keeping the first ones because it gives you a better idea about the mountains surrounding that spot.
We saw The Prince of Egypt, and it was quite a production, made even more awesome by that red-rock backdrop that you can’t see in these pictures, and the stars twinkling above.
That was quite an amazing production filled with so much talent!
That place never disappoints and although we’ve only been in the summer, I know they have lots of things going pretty much year-round.  More information on that show, and what other shows are coming up there if you click HERE.
We took in the beauty of those surroundings any way we could get it:

 We saw a couple shows in Cedar City at the Shakespeare Festival:

(they were so good!)
…and we checked out this awesome art exhibit:

I talked about my favorite piece from this exhibit (“Glory in Now”) back HERE, but I think this might have been my first runner-up:

It’s titled “She is Again”…made me think about how we keep making {hopefully} better versions of ourselves as we move forward in life, as we tweak our thoughts and actions and become “again” renewed and more aware.

This one was cool too:


Makes you think, right?

(This exhibit is at the Southern Utah Museum of Art and the artist is James Surls…more about him HERE.)

We drove to Cedar Breaks where I had never been before.  The road to get there was gorgeous in and of itself:

And then we got here:


 We went to church on Sunday…

…and then headed on up to Provo.

There is nothing like long car rides to talk about the world.  Everything from women in the gospel to family reunions to parenting, to goals and dreams to sorrows and worries mixed with excitement and joy.

I was pretty excited to get to Provo and hang with Max and Abby who were getting pretty serious about their relationship status at this point.  Of course, Kristi and Noah invited us all over for Sunday dinner even though Noah had been out of the country on business for a while and Kristi had been gone and they finally got to be back together.  Those two have hearts as big as can be, and it was so fun to be there with all those people I love so much, Abby right there just fitting in so beautifully.  Noah, Kristi and my mom had met her before, but Saren and Saydi hadn’t.

(and they loved her, of course, because she’s just the type of person that you fall right in love with ๐Ÿ˜‰

Before I left to come back home, Saren, Saydi and I snuck in a hike (we wished Kristi and my mom could make it, but they had prior commitments).  I have to bask in Fall somehow since we don’t get it the same way here in the desert, and Utah can show it off pretty beautifully I tell you!

So I followed these girls up through some pretty breathtaking beauty:

(This was a hike to Lake Blanche and I would highly recommend it.)

I’m going to go ahead and warn you right now that there are way too many pictures below, but I can’t help posting them…it was just too beautiful, and for some reason taking pictures makes me feel like I’m somehow appreciating it more. 

But I digress…here we go:

I love that most of these pictures show these sisters of mine ahead of me, leading the way…

…because I feel like that’s how a lot of life is.  Saren who is older and has always set a path for me, and Saydi, even though she’s younger, I feel like she’s guiding me always as well.

 …in all kinds of terrain.

I guess another reason they are ahead of me in every picture is because I was kind of huffing and puffing to keep up.  Was it the altitude up there in Utah compared to the desert?  Let’s go ahead and blame that ๐Ÿ™‚

Here we are arriving at the top:

 Man alive.

It took my breath away….this time because of the sheer gorgeousness of it all, not that I couldn’t keep up.

One of the coolest things?  We ran into these guys en route to the top:

Why is that so cool?  You might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you:


I don’t get to run into Romanians very much, so it’s SO EXCITING when I do.  I had been trying to figure out if I should finagle meeting my parents there who are giving a speech in Bucuresti in November.  I had been looking for a steal-of-a-deal flights, and I figured meeting those guys there on that trail that day was a sign that I really should make it happen…

…until Max and Abby got engaged.

And then I think that was a sign to stay home.  Ha!

But man, I sure hope I get back to that land I love so much some day!!  Loved that those guys gave me such a great opportunity to realize once again how much Romanian I have forgotten…and how much I adore that place and it’s people.

It was a beauty day, followed by a quick dinner with my parents before I had to get to the airport.

Loved having those two all to myself for a little bit.  Love them forever.
Welp, I came here to write about Tuacahn and ended up spilling the whole trip out.  But there you go: a quick weekend gathering with some people I love.  And a whole bunch of serious beauty mixed in unfolding in all kinds of ways.

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  1. Congratulations on Max's engagement! That is so exciting. These photos of your hike are just gorgeous! Makes me want to go into the mountains. . .:)

    I'm a long-time reader of your wonderful blog (probably about 10 years?), and want to thank you for your uplifting, courageous writing. My children are about a year younger than yours, and it has really helped me through these years to see your example and ideas. Also it has helped me with the mom-emotions to read your thoughts about the growing up and missions and college and now the next big step — a daughter-in-law! Thank you so much!

    We've adopted several of your family traditions, but one of my favorites is the leaves on the thankful tree for writing what we're grateful for!

    This year I found a lovely kit for doing this, which is fantastic because it saves cutting out all the leaves and we can put all our energy into writing on them! ๐Ÿ™‚ It comes with a high-quality plastic tree poster (watercolor done by an actual artist), and a marker and a pack of 100 sticky note leaves and even the foam strips to hang it to your wall or door.

    Are you interested in trying this out and then sharing on your blog what you thought? I emailed you at your sepphotography address, if you'd like more details.

    Thank you again for all your beautiful work and making this uplifting space on the web!


  2. Definitely try to get back to Romania! The mountains, as you know, are truly breathtaking and make wonderful photos. Wizz air flies into many Romanian cities from other European cities (we are close to Brussels) and gives great service. It will be much more than just a trip.

  3. Oh man I miss southern Utah this time of year! I got my masters at suu and worked at the festival. Weโ€™re trying to figure out when we can get my nature living six year old out there!

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