Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gratitude: Being Thankful for All That We Receive

Gratitude: Being Thankful for All That We Receive
Darrel L. Hammon 

Another Thanksgiving approaches us, a time to give thanks for all that we have, especially those things that have happened to us this year.

First and foremost, I am thankful for Joanne! She is a stalwart and very forgiving. We now have been married for over 36 years, and I am thank each and every day for her. She is the most incredible woman I know who does everything for me and for our family—and always has.

I am thankful for my two daughters, Anna Rose 

and Hailey! 

They are incredible young women with incredible talents, which they received for the most part—thankfully—from their mother. But Joanne and I both know they were blessed from on High with these gifts and talents. We are proud of them. Thanks to Christiaan and Joseph for being good  husbands to our daughters and good fathers to our grandchildren.

I am thankful for my grandchildren! Our four are the cutest and the most intelligent of all grandchildren. We watched Emiline start first grade... 

and William 

William at Grandma/Grandpa Hammon's house
 and Clark in preschools this year. 

Clark ready to go to his first day of preschool
What they are all learning transcends my own early education. I didn’t even go to kindergarten, and here are William and Clark in preschool at age three, and this is William’s second year.

Avonlea, Darrel, and Joanne in Concordia, Kansas
We are thankful for technology! With Hailey and Joseph with Clark and Avonlea living 14 hours away, we utilize one of God’s greatest gift to grandparents—Skype—a lot. We can have incredible conversations with them. Plus, with our i-Phones, we can send them videos and talk to all of them. We enjoy sending video clips of ourselves singing happy birthday or just saying hello to all of our children and grandchildren.

I am thankful for modern medicine! During this past year, I have broken my ankle and had a couple of medical procedures done. I am so thankful I live where we do and have competent medical people.

Abby, Frederico, Frederico's Mother, Darrel in the DR at the ADR
We are thankful we can volunteer at the Volunteer Care Clinic in south Provo! Where else can you work with medical personnel and students who spend almost four hours each Thursday in helping those who are most in need?

Joanne taking blood from a patient at the Volunteer Care Clinic

I am thankful for my job at Utah Valley University (UVU)! I am having a good time being an educational entrepreneur once again. There is something to be said for helping people, including business and industry, find what they want educationally and then helping them to achieve their goals. More importantly, I work with the best people.

William with grapes
I am thankful I can read and write! Each time I sit down and read a book or write an essay or even in my journal, I thank all those elementary teachers—Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Poole, Miss Bowman, Mrs. Jeppsen, Mrs. Parks, Mrs. Eames, and others who taught me the fundamentals of reading and writing. 

My first children's book
I am thankful I can speak Spanish! My experiences on the potato farm, in Chile, in the Dominican Republic, and in every job I have ever had have aided my Spanish. When I speak it, most people understand me. This is definitely a gift from my Heavenly Father, and I need to use it every single day.

Missionaries from the Chile Concepción and Osorno missions

Another Thanksgiving approaches us, a time to give thanks for all that we have, especially those things that have happened to us this year.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Nebo Loop: Fall Leaves

Nebo Loop: Fall Leaves
Darrel L. Hammon

Joanne and I finally completed the entire Nebo Loop on Saturday. We attempted the trip last year between Conference sessions but didn't quite make it, primarily because we--actually mostly me--had stopped so many times to take pictures, we didn’t make it too far. 

Joanne had to work at the BYU Health Clinic in the a.m.; so, we didn't get off until the afternoon. After having a delicious lunch from the leftover steak we had BBQ'ed last night, we headed for Nebo Loop Road. So, this year, we decided to take our time and take lots of pictures along the way.

The irony is this: We probably should have done the look much earlier. Many of the leaves had already fallen. Up higher, though, the leaves were still very bright yellow and some green 

There is something about autumn and its turning of colors. We who live in a climate where we have the changing of the seasons--spring to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter, winter to spring--feel blessed. Yes, we sometimes don't like the snow, mostly because of the cold it brings and the treacherous driving conditions, but we like what it does to the landscape. It paints the old and the ugly with a whiteness that creates a purity that goes beyond the imagination. 

Enough of the metaphor...let's continue the ride.

Not too far up the road, we stopped to look at the creek that runs down the canyon. For me, water running through and over rocks and then through beautiful Quaken Aspen (a.k.a. "Quakies) creates a sense of calmness. 

We stopped at the Beaver Dam Overlook. How beautiful and vast! 

Joanne and I took a selfie when we stopped at the Beaver Dam Overlook. We aren’t the best  "selfie" takers....but, alas, here it is.

We stopped along the way to see various parts. We loved the overlook that looked out to Utah Lake and beyond.

Just before you get to the turn off that leads to Nephi, there are several outcroppings of different rocks. 

Most of them are white. Beautiful! I told Joanne we needed to come back and hike to some of them to see them up close.

 It took us over four hours to drive the Nebo Loop, but it was well worth it! 

I suspect had we stopped along the way even more than we did, we probably would still be up there. Many pullouts were for trail heads. Many cars and trucks were parked, now empty because people were probably were sauntering all over those mountains and hills, enjoying the yellows, golds, reds, greens, and other fall colors. 

We loved the trip and cannot wait until next year to see more colors that God has in His palette. When one looks across the valleys and the overlooks and the incredible vistas, how can one say there is no God? This stuff doesn't just happen! It has to be created, and many thanks to a loving Heaven Father whose creations are incredible!