While in Utah for Fall break we made our way around I tell you! Thankfully for everyone else’s sake I just wasn’t left to just stare at fall leaves…although there was still lots of that. There are so many people and places I love in Utah!

First, a word about mixing sorrow and gratitude

Before I begin talking about them, I want to include part of what I said in the comments in my last post. They are thoughts about what is going on in the world right now. I was at a conference this week where someone read a poem. I had to write down one phrase: “there are days we live as if death were nowhere.” I wrote it down because it was such a contrast to what is happening in the world. Sometimes when something tragic happens (and continues to happen), it feels as if the world should stand still. How can we even go on when there is so much suffering? And when death is not “nowhere.” Rather, it seems to be everywhere.

But I think sometimes the best thing we can do to combat evil is to love who is in front of us better. To “show up” for those who need comfort. To seek out and befriend someone who has different views than we do, and try to understand where they are coming from. And to focus on the good. Yes, even if that “good” is something as seemingly trivial as visiting “Rowley’s Red Barn” in the Fall with people we love. People we don’t get to see as much as we wish we did, and not taking that goodness for granted. I’m trying to do that here. But it doesn’t mean another part of my heart is not grappling with this terror happening in the world. So many prayers and thoughts and love are going out to those in the midst of so much darkness right now.

Rowley’s Red Barn

One of the favorites we visited this time around, submerged in the gray skies of Utah fall was Rowley’s Red Barn. I hope this picture can convey the excitement of Lucy to be at that spot, with some of her favorite-ever people, enveloped in her favorite season of the year:

Yep, she was excited.

Lucy with cousins in Utah

I was pretty excited to be with these good sisters of mine too:

Shawni with sisters in Utah

We did apple picking and pumpkin patching, zip lines, a corn maze, and hay bales.

High school girlfriends reunite

I was so glad I got to gather with so many of my dear friends from high school. I am so grateful for any time I can get with these ladies, who helped form who I am from all those years ago, and who are good to the core.

High school friends in Utah

Sara, our friend who just returned from three years of being a mission president with her husband, hosted us and I love that we got to talk and catch up for hours.

Leaf gazing

More leaf drinking-in at Deer Valley:

And just from the road everywhere we went.

The fall leaves in Utah

Family visiting

We got to go see Dave’s sister Julie and her family. Missing one of Lucy’s cute cousins in this picture who had just left, but boy, we sure love these guys.

visiting Dave's sister and her family in Utah

Julie is one of my favorite people ever. She has been the best example to me as we’ve raised kids together all these years. Ok, Seth too 😉

I already talked about my side of the family we got to see for Lucy’s birthday. But there is more coming about them. Because we rounded off Fall Break with an MFME gathering at a pretty inspiring conference.

For now, let’s just think about how along with Fall, comes winter. And it showed it’s face while we were in Utah too!

The cycles of the earth fascinate me.

My sisters and I also got in a good hike in the midst of some good podcast recording sessions. More on that coming soon.

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