Friday, October 17, 2008

Are You Rude?

President Hinckley's encouragement "to stand a little taller, be a little kinder, be a little better, each of us, than we have been..." sticks out in my mind as I take this quiz:

Are You Rude?

1. Are you chronically late?

2. Have you ever typed an email while talking on the phone?

3. Have you ever interrupted a face-to-face conversation to take a non-urgent cell phone call?
4. Have you gone through a supermarket express lane for 10 items or less when you've had more than 10 items?

5. Have you let your dog relieve him/herself on your neighbor's lawn?

6. Have you ever stolen someone's parking spot?

7. Have you ever gossiped?

8. Have you ever taken someone else's food or drink from the office refrigerator?

Brigham Young:“… seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom"
Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues that Will Heal our Hearts and Homes by Gordon B. Hinckley
Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni

Monday, October 13, 2008

Life, Faith, & Family Video

This was forwarded to me by email, and I thought it was so neat that I wanted to post it on my blog. (Just click on the picture to the right of this post.) Enjoy!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Salt Lake Temple

Today, Jason and I attended the temple sealing of Raul and Rosa Hernandez. Raul is one of Jason's crew members for Intermountain Plantings. The couple is from Puebla, Mexico. They have three children, but were only sealed to the youngest today because the other two are with their grandma in Mexico. Because of the expense, they couldn't afford to bring the entire family to the States for their sealing. Since their youngest is two, he lives here with his parents. When they go back down to Mexico, they will be sealed to their other two children. All these reasons were why Raul invited Jason and I to attend the ceremony. Even though it was all in Spanish, the spirit was strong ... and I think I bawled as much as Rosa did! :) I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a special experience in their lives.

First Snow!

Okay, so most people we've asked when to expect the snow have told us that the first snow usually comes the week of Halloween. Then snow doesn't start sticking until around Thanksgiving.

Imagine our surprise when we woke up this morning to the first snow fall ... on October 11th ... that's 3 weeks early! We all ran out onto our porch and watched it come down, all the while Laci is screaming, "Sled, sled, sled!" (That's all she remembers about snow from our visit to my grandma's house in Spanish Fork, UT this March.) We had to explain to her that there isn't enough snow to go sledding, yet. It wasn't enough to stick or anything, but tomorrow forecasters are predicting up to 6 inches!!!

We Arizonans aren't ready for this stark change in weather ... um, I cut up my only pair of jeans into shorts last winter when I was pregnant with Jacob! Looks like we're going to have to do some serious shopping, and soon!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Trujillo, Peru

Jason had his mission reunion Friday night. Oh, it was so great to finally get faces to names - some actually looked the way I had pictured them! We swapped stories, sang songs in Spanish, and ate Peruvian food. President Jensen and his wife were wonderful!

Everyone brought their kids. Laci immediately became best friends with one sweet little girl. They hid under the food table ... with Jacob following close behind. Laci was officially the candy hoarder. You would have thought one of two things: 1) she's addicted to candy because we always give it to her, or 2) we never give her any candy, so she's taking every opportunity to get her fill. Neither, of course, are true.

We had a great night! It's making me look forward for the next one, and the possibility of serving our own missions together.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Icing On The Cake

Just some background info, so this story will make sense.... When I was about 9 or 10 years old, a high school girl came to live at our house. She was a new convert to the Church, and needed somewhere to live. My parents had a couple of extra bedrooms in the basement, and offered her a place to stay. She stayed rent-free, and truly became a part of our family. I was barely 12 when she got married, but she wanted me to be one of her brides maids. Over the years, we've really only been able to see each other once or twice a year.

Well, at the beginning of the summer, she and her husband announced that they would be moving to Eagle Mountain, Utah. Since the name was unfamiliar to me, it kind of went in one ear and out the other. Then Jason mentioned the name after coming up for his first interview, and the light bulb in my head turned on, and I said, "I think that's where Scott and Jennie are moving to! Let's try to find a house there."

After moving into this house, I felt really lucky to at least be in the same city as Jennie. But, it's about the same size as Gilbert - maybe a little smaller - so she could still have been 20 or 30 minutes away. After we moved into our house, I called her up and told her where we lived; she said,

"Tif, we're right across the street! We're in the subdivision across from you!"

We're on the first street in our neighborhood, and they are on the first street in their neighborhood. I can literally walk there in less than 5 minutes! It has been so fun; we get together about once a week.

What are the odds?!

Friday, October 3, 2008


Up until the last couple of weeks, I really haven't been homesick. Oddly enough, it's kind of felt like we've been on vacation. But now that we've been here long enough to settle in, I've been missing our families in Arizona. I used to go over to my parents' house once a week to teach my brothers piano. We would see Jason's family just about as often. Now with the holiday season quickly approaching, and trying to make plans without our families around, it has felt like pouring lemon juice in an open soar!

I've been really sad not being able to see my brothers. In fact, I left a message with my family on Saturday to let them know I would be calling Monday night, and to pick up the phone even though it is family home evening. It was so wonderful talking to my brothers, and hearing about their classes, sports, and music activities!

Then my Grandma Tew, who lives about 45 minutes away from us, came to visit us Tuesday afternoon. Were gas prices not so high, I'm sure our visits would be more often, but 45 minutes eats up quite a bit of gas! Laci especially loved seeing GG (short for "Grandma Great").

On Thursday, Laci, Jacob, and I went to play at Jennie's house. Because of our busy schedules, we hadn't gotten together for a few weeks. Her house always feels like home to me. Sure, she's a familiar face; but as second of 10, I think it's really the hustle and bustle of seven kids running around!

Also on Thursday, Grandma Solomon - Jason's grandma - came up to Salt Lake City for a missionary reunion. (She returned from her mission to Sidney, Australia in February.) We had such a wonderful evening with her.

And, today, I (Laci and Jacob, too) spent the entire afternoon with my two sisters, Heather and Ashlee! Heather drove down from BYU Idaho for the Conference weekend; she will be staying with GG. Ashlee lives in Springville with husband, Chase, and is attending BYU Provo; even though she lives so close, she's a busy student and newlywed (as of August!). So, as much as I would love to spend time with her, I understand she has a busy schedule and hubby that get first priority. You can imagine, though, my excitement getting to see them both in one afternoon! (Our fun would have been complete if my mom was with us...we'll all be together for Christmas.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

We're in Utah!

So, now that we're a state away, I thought this would be a good time to join the blog world. It's quite an amazing story that brought us here, but one that I would never want to relive.

Anyone in the construction industry will tell you that there is a natural slump in work every year from the end of October till mid-February. The holiday season is probably the main factor. After four years of being in the business, we had the foresight to plan ahead with a budget and savings. In November of last year, Jason took on a partner who brought in concrete and painting in addition to Jason's stucco, landscape, and general contracting. We changed the company name to Denham-Jagger Construction. Jason and Dean split up the work: Jason ran the crews and checked the job sights while Dean bid upcoming jobs and took care of the books. With our fifth year in business coming up, we thought 2008 looked promising. Nothing prepared us, however, for the slow down in real estate. Add to that the immigration issues in Arizona, and work has almost come to a complete stand-still.

When we weren't awarded any work by the end of February, Jason started looking for a temporary part-time job around Casa Grande. By March, he was submitting resumes for full-time positions. Come June, Jason had submitted 800+ resumes and still no job (not to mention nearly $20 million in unawarded bids); we were feeling rather desperate. Another sickening blow came when 3 companies we had already done work for - and still owed us money -notified us that they were filing for bankruptcy.

Around this time, a friend of ours called Jason up and offered him employment in Utah. He wanted to start a new company there, and hire Jason as general contractor. After a priesthood blessing from his dad, Jason scheduled an interview for the following week. Jason's brother, Spencer, happened to be moving to Utah that same weekend, and offered Jason a ride. So, Saturday morning, bright and early, we met at my in-law's to see Jason and Spencer off. Um, to describe my feelings at this point: sick, hopeful, anxious, sick, desperate, and, yes, sick! Did I mention the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach? I watched Jason step into Spencer's truck with our last $100 in our pocket - to help pay for gas, hotel, and food - thinking, what are we going to do? Jason needs a way back to Arizona. By Monday, Jacob will need diapers, and I haven't been grocery shopping in almost four weeks! I felt like I was on the verge of breaking down. I asked my father-in-law for a blessing, and was comforted. Then the miracles started pouring...

Jason arrived for his interview. Since we've been around the block two or three times at starting a company, we know that profit doesn't come right away. So, he opted to find a job and work the general contracting business on the side until the profit started rolling. Our friend provided Jason with a couple numbers: one to a stucco company; the other to a landscaping company. Jason gave them both a call, and was offered a job with the stucco company over the phone to start as soon as we were able to move to Utah. He then scheduled an interivew with the landscaping company for two weeks ahead. Our friend also paid for Jason's flight home Tuesday night.

We found renters for our house in Arizona within the week.

Upon preparing to move, Jason reserved a 12x6-foot trailor. (We gave most of our furniture away to his cousin, since she would be getting married in August. Our dining table, hutch, dresser and night stands (family heirlooms), entertainment center, piano, fake plants, and more. Our $8 DI couch finally found its way to a dumpster. The piano was hard to let go; but it is extremely old, and it would have been ruined had we moved it so far a distance. Jason's cousin is a wonderful pianist, so it's heartwarming to know that the piano has found a good home. So, after getting rid of all that stuff, we thought, Sure, we can fit everything else into a 12x6-foot trailor. (Until we started, our whole years' supply would have filled the trailor!)

So, when Jason went to pick up the trailor, it had already been rented out. A disgruntled customer had come in the day before and demanded it; so of course, he got it. The rental company offered us a 17-foot truck for the same price of the trailor. (We're talking a $600 savings, folks!) When we loaded everything into that truck, you couldn't have slipped anything larger than a centimeter between our stuff and the door!

We packed our house in 1 week!

We left a couple of days before Jason's scheduled interview with the landscaping company, spent one night in a hotel on the way up, and another night in a hotel once we arrived in Utah. Between gas and the $50/night hotels, we were out of money the day Jason interviewed ... which meant we needed to find a house, so that we would have a place to sleep that night.

Jason went to the interview while I waited in the truck with the kids. Two hours later, Jason comes walking out of the building. The company wasn't hiring. However, due to his credentials, they wanted him to start on Saturday. Since it was Thursday, he asked if he could start Monday, so that we could move into our house over the weekend. (The house we still hadn't found!)

That afternoon we started driving around the Eagle Mountain area. When Jason had come up a week before, he had stayed at Spencer's friend's house, and really liked the area. So, prior to our move, we had looked on craigslist for rental homes in the area and had narrowed it down to three. We figured, from what was listed, we would be able to drive around and see a lot of rental signs up and pretty much choose a house we wanted. During our search, we recieved a phone call from Spencer. His friend - whose house he and Jason had stayed in the week before - would be moving to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks, and was willing to rent his house to us. Since he and his wife were away on vacation, we could move in that night. We could stay there rent-free until they could pack up their stuff. We moved all our stuff into their garage that afternoon.

We were given a job and a house all in the same day!

Our understanding has deepened in the Lord's promise: "ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" (Ether 12:7). Looking back, this is quite an amazing story. In the middle of it, we really didn't have time to think about what we were doing; we just knew we were putting one foot in front of the other. Now that all is said and done, we feel truly blessed.

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