Saturday, December 6, 2008

Harvest Cup--Irvine, California November 26 to December 1, 2008

Here we are ready to leave for Irvine, California to watch William and his soccer team, Sparta United, play in the Harvest Cup. We left Wednesday, November 26. I vowed we would never drive our van (almost 200,000 miles) out of the Wasatch Front. It is easier to be resued if we are within 50 miles radius. But for some reason Enterprise car rental gave our reserved car away and we had no option but to drive our van. Dave went at 6:30 in the morning and got new tires on our car as the ones that were on there were bald. The car has been running fairly well but it tends to overheat, a problem that we have been dealing with for years. But with a prayer and lots of hope we were off. We had a great ride down to Las Vegas where we spent the night.

We arrived in Las Vegas at 3:00pm. We stayed at the Venetian. After dinner we walked all the way down to the Luxor (quite a walk, but beautiful weather) to see the Human Body Exhibit (VERY NEAT!)

We left Las Vegas on Thursday morning (Thanksgiving) at 9:30am. Lizzy drove and all was well until we reached 80 miles outside of Vegas (35 miles from Baker). She said to me, "Do you hear a strange noise with the car". Yup, I did! I looked over and the temp gauge was beyond HOT! She pulled over and smoke was coming out from under the hood. NOT A GOOD SIGN! My first thought was that we had to have William down to Irvine by 6:00pm that night. Panic set in. Dave said, "WOW, what are we going to do?" From the far back seat came the response from our faithful 11 year old, William. He said, "Dad we need to say a prayer". To which Dave responded, "you are right William and he preceded to say a very sweet and powerful prayer. There was a very tangible feeling of peace and that somehow things would work out. Dave walked to the nearest "Call Box" to get our exact location and then he called AAA to come and tow us. I got out of the car so that I could call Williams coach and explain our situation, he did not answer. I looked over and saw that William had also gotten out of the car and was on his cell phone. I wondered who in the world he would be calling. He called his friend Bridger Hansen's dads cell phone. When Art Hansen answered the phone, Will, said, "Hi Art, this is Will. Do you have any room in your car for me?" No explaination, just the question. Art said, "Well, no, not really Will. We are on our way to California. Why do you ask?" William said that we were also on our way to California and our car broke down. At that VERY moment, Art looks over and says to a car full of soccer players, "Is that the DeSantis' car?" Then he saw William on the phone with him. Art immediately pulled over and I thought I was seeing a mirage! I could not believe my eyes. I ran over to Arts car. We both were laughing that at the very second he was about to pass us William just happened to call. His car only seated 5. He had 4 other of Will's teammates, but Art said, "Get Williams stuff and lets put it in the trunk and we will double buckle the boys." He said, "Don't worry about William, I will take care of him. You just get your car fixed." And off down I-15 they headed. Art could have been anywhere on that 800 mile stretch from Salt Lake to Irvine. William could have called someone else on his team. What were the chances that Art was right there at that very second? Coincidence?, I don't believe so. God does hear and answer prayers of faithful little boys! I believe that we witnessed a Thanksgiving miracle, to which we were all very THANKFUL!
Here is our car at the ONLY repair shop in Baker, CA. The mechanic (another thing we were grateful for, a mechanic open on Thanksgiving) looked under the hood and said, you have a broken waterpump. He said that he does not stock that part and he will have to order it from Barstow on Friday morning. He said to all of us, "Welcome to Baker. You are spending Thanksgiving with us!" He went on to invite us to a community Thanksgiving dinner at a deserted old gas station parking lot. As tempting as the offer sounded we opted to eat at Bob's Bun Boy. No turkey on the menu so we had hamburgers, fries, & chocolate malts. They did, however, have pumpkin pie so we all split a piece.

Here we are walking to our motel. If you can even call it a motel.

Above picture is Dave checking us in to the Bun Boy Motel. This lovely motel lobby is actually a Mobile Gas Station. We were all laughing so hard. We asked Dave to ask them if they have a Bell Hop to help us with our luggage and if they had room service. Dave did not seem to be humored by our sarcasm but we all thought we were extremely funny!

In the above picture you can see everyone laughing, all except Annie. She did not find this funny at first. But she eventually warmed up to our situation and she was the one that kept us laughing. We are laughing because the man who checked Dave in said, through broken English, "That we had exactly 15 minutes to check out the room. If we did not like it, he would refund our money". It only took 15 seconds to see that no one in there right mind would stay there if they had any other option!!!

This was a sign on the back of the motel door. Notice that it says "snake spotted", just ONE snake??? Now we are laughing so hard we have tears running down our face.
We are still waiting for our car to be fixed.
Still waiting.
STILL WAITING!!!!!!!!!!!
In the words of Katie DeSantis--"While we were WAITING for our car to be finished, we did everything and anything to keep us entertained. Then, thats when we saw it. The most glorious sight any of us had ever seen. Our golden van shimmering in the sunlight, driving straight towards us. WE WERE SAVED! Soooo, 28 hours (acutually felt like 28 days, long days), $475 and lots of hearts and spade games later, we were back on the road to good old Newport Beach, California!!! Ironically, we stopped about 60 minutes later to personally thank Barstow for so graciously supplying our new water pump and of course get a bite to eat at In-and-Out Burger! YUMMY, TASTY!!!


This is William during the Harvest Cup Soccer Tournament going up for a block. If you enlarge the picture and look at the top, just right of center you will see the black and white soccer ball.

After the Harvest Cup soccer tournament we all spent the day at Downtown Disney. We shopped, ate lunch, and saw "Twilight" (3rd time for Annie and Katie, 2nd time for Lizzy and the 1st time for me).

After a full day of swimming at Newport Beach we had dinner at the Crab Cooker, our favorite restaurant! I can't help but think of my good friend, Carrie Lambert (BOY I MISS HER!) every time I eat there. The first time that I went to the Crab Cooker was when Carrie and Mark lived in Southern Cal. That was about 23 years ago.

Katie kissing a bird. Lizzy, Katie, & Annie at the beach.

This is William and his soccer teammate and friend Colby Morf.

William and Colby swimming the ocean. It was a beautiful, sunny Nov. 30. Temperature was 78.

William and Colby were cracking open clams and feeding them to the seaguls and pelicans. Will has acquired a taste for sushi. YUMMY!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Palmyra, New York

The last leg of our Pinehurst, NC / Niagara Falls trip was to visit Palmyra, New York. Since being baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1989, I have longed to visit the sacred historic sights of the Restoration. There are not words to relay the deep feelings and impressions of my heart of this profound experience. I will only say at this time that my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith increased a thousand fold! How I love that great Prophet and I am so grateful for his sacrifice in restoring the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ back to the Earth ending the long period of darkness.

The first stop in Palmyra was the Hill Cumorah and the visitor center there.

This is a statue of the "First Vision" in the visitor center on the Smith Family Farm.

This is the "Frame Home" of the Smith family. This home is 85-95% original. In November of 1822, Alvin, the oldest son of Joesph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith began construction of this home for his future family and for the comfort of his parents in their advancing years. On November 19, 1823 Alvin unexpectedly dies at the young age of 26 years. At the time of his death the home is not complete. In the fall of 1825 the Smith family moves into the Frame Home although the interior is largely unfinished. They finish the home and in December with only one payment left they lose ownership of the farm.
This is the kitchen of the Frame Home.

This is a bedroom in the Frame Home.

This is a bedroom/birthing room where Joseph Smith, Jr. youngest sister Lucy was born July 18, 1821. The wall on the far side is the original whitewash.

Dave and me standing in the kitchen of the Frame Home.

The Smith Family moves from Norwich, Vermont, to Palmyra, New York with their six sons and two daughters. They build this Log Home in 1818-1819.
This is the kitchen in the Log Home (The Log Home is reconstructed by hand and dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley on March 27, 1998).
This is one of two bedrooms upstairs in the Log Home where the sons and daughters of Joseph and Lucy slept. This is where the Angel Moroni visited Joseph, Jr. three times on the night of September 21, 1823.

This is one of my favorite pictures. It is taken just outside the Log Home looking towards the Sacred Grove.

I love this picture also. It is the trial leading into the Sacred Grove. The next three pictures are taken inside the Sacred Grove. We spent about two hours in the peaceful and beautiful grove of trees. Once again the Spirit that is felt cannot be described with words.

This historic building was constructed in 1823 upon the completion of the Erie Canal. It is here that E.B. Grandin directed the printing of the 5,000 copies of the first edition of the Book of Mormon. Typesetting from the printer's manuscript began in August 1829, and the project was completed in March 1830.

This is the printing press. I have a new appreciation for the painstaking process of the translation and printing of the sacred record called the Book of Mormon. I think that no truer words were said than that of John Taylor, "that the Book of Mormon...cost the best blood of the nineteenth century..." D&C 135:6

These three pictures are of the Palmyra Temple. The temple is built on the original Smith Farm. It was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley on April 6, 2000. Dave and I attended the 6pm session just before heading back to our hotel at the airport in Buffalo. We had to leave the next morning, Oct. 25, to head back to Salt Lake.

This is my testimony, that "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it...He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord's anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood"--D&C 135:3