Category Archives: Travel

Ireland Miracle #3

Sorry I realize that I never finished my Ireland miracles. I’ll just schedule these stories in once in a while. Better late than never right?

For the first month in Ireland, we solely relied on public transportation which was mainly double decker busses and the Dart which is a fast train. Dallin studied at the University College Dublin and we lived in Dun Laoghaire. It was about 45 minutes by bus but only a 15 minute drive. The bus system was fantastic and there really wasn’t much to complain about except for the fact that Dallin took 1.5 to 2 hours or more commuting everyday depending on traffic.

We felt like the Spirit was telling us we should buy a car. We researched it out and miraculously found an old Nissan Almera (aka Nissan Centra in the USA) for 1000 euros. We registered it and bought insurance from Liberty Mutual Insurance which was the cheapest insurance we found. Buying a car was easier than we thought it would be and it eventually ended up saving us money even though the gas tax in Ireland is like 50%.

Driving in Dublin, Ireland is super fun… well kinda. So you drive on the left hand side of the road and the roads are very narrow. Parking is pretty much just parallel parking. You have to get really good at parallel parking. You can use your native driver license for one year before you need to get an Irish license.

We took this old cheap car to every shore of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We drove this car from Dublin to Giants Cosway in Northern Ireland. Then to Cork, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle and the Ring of Kerry. Fortunately the only problem we had with the car was the windshield wipers and a mechanic in Cork fixed it for 10 euro.

On one of our last adventures in Ireland, we were driving to the Blarney Castle in Cork. A local guy rear ended our car and made a dent in the back bumper. The insurance company said that the car was totaled. They let us keep the dented car and gave us 1000 Euro. So in essence we got this car for free. This is what the bumper looked like and if you look around on the streets of Ireland…everyone has the same dent in their car because the roads are so narrow!

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We thought purchasing this car was a tender mercy of the Lord. We drove this car everywhere. We drove it to church and drove the Dublin area missionaries to their visits. Dallin used this car to go home teaching and we used this car to drive to the hospital when we had the baby. We ended up giving the car away to a friend and then he was able to use the car for a few weeks while his car was broken. After that he ended up selling it for 200 euro. We thought we got our money’s worth out of that car. What a blessing!

Writing about Ireland again brings tears to my eyes because I miss Ireland so much!

Star Effect Photography on Religious Architecture

Alright, I’m going to continue our virtual temple tour with the St. George Utah LDS Temple. There wasn’t very good lighting that day because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! So here’s a photography tip, to get good LDS Temple pictures you need diffused lighting which is either: a cloudy day, sunrise, sunset, or twilight.  Well, because I didn’t have any of those, I decided to just play around with the “star effect” also known as the “starburst effect“.

To get the star effect you need to point your camera right into a light source. So an obvious light source is the sun. Other light sources could be head lights on a car or a lamp post.

Next, you need to crank up your F number on your camera to create a small aperture. Aperture is measure by F/# so the bigger the F number the smaller the aperture. You can do this by being in the Av mode which is the aperture priority mode on your digital SLR camera. You don’t need a nice lens or anything you can just use the lens that comes with the camera.

These two pictures below were taken at F/22.

If you can get a small light source you can use a smaller F number. This picture was taking at F/8.

On a side note, we believe in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormon or LDS) that these temples are “Beacon[s] to the World.” A beacon as define in Merriam-Webster online dictionary is: “a strong light that can be seen from far away and that is used to help guide ships, airplanes, etc.” If you have every seen one of these LDS Temples at night, you would know that these temples glow. You can see these temples from far away. We believe that temples are beacons because temples draw people nearer to God and Jesus Christ.

Anyways… if you want to learn more about LDS Temples please visit my other posts about temples!

BTW you don’t have to be a member of our church to take pictures of our temples. So, please come take pictures of our temples! Have you ever taken pictures of LDS Temples? Please share!

San Diego Temple dubbed “Mormon Disneyland”

My husband had to go to San Diego, California recently for a conference trip. He never likes leaving the family at home so we all went with him. While we were planning the trip, the question came up: “Should we go to Disneyland?” We went back and forth on the decision but we finally decided that we didn’t want to take our kids to Disneyland yet because they are too young (2 years, 3 months). We had planned on driving from Salt Lake City to San Diego; so as an alternative to Disneyland, we decided to stop at every temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) along the way.

Micah, our two year old, loved our temple trip! He said “TEMPLE! TEMPLE!” every time we arrived at one. Traveling with kids can be very stressful, especially when they get restless and start crying. Stopping at the temples was the perfect rest stop because we could feel the Spirit instantly as we stepped foot on the temple grounds. When we got to the temples, we strolled around and took pictures of each temple.

I decided I’m going to blog about the San Diego La Jolla Temple first because it is by far the most unique temple I have ever been too and I’ve been to quite a few. As you drive south towards downtown San Diego on the freeway I-5, you suddenly see this magnificent castle on the left hand side of the road.  This temple gets random visitors, who get off the freeway, just to see what kind of building it is. I love all temples but the San Diego temple is exceptionally beautiful! We heard multiple times on the trip that the San Diego temple is nicknamed “Mormon Disneyland.” Even customer reviews on Google say stuff like “I’m not Mormon, but it’s a spectacular view from the freeway, reminds me of Disneyland.”

While some people spend lots of money getting married in the Disneyland castle. There are far greater sacrifices to get married in a LDS Temple. First, we have to be a member of the LDS Church and have a testimony of the Godhead, atonement, and restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, we have to be worthy to enter the temple by obeying all the commandments of God the best we can. Some of these commandments include tithing, law of chastity, the 10 commandments, and word of wisdom. Finally, we have to witness to our bishop that we believe we are worthy to attend the temple during a temple recommend interview. I know what you’re thinking “Nobody is perfect enough to go to the temple!” Well, because we are imperfect people, we can repent to become worthy to go to the temple. When we repent, we are cleansed through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Now you’re probably thinking  “Holy cow! That’s a lot of work!” Getting married in a LDS Temple is worth all the sacrifice because marriages in the temple are sealed up for time and all eternity and not just “till death due us part.” These temples are literally “the happiest place[s] on earth.”  But not only that, Temples are where we can go to learn more about God’s plan for us. Members of the LDS Church, whether single or married, starting at the age of 12, can attend and re-attend the temples regularly to pray and learn more about the Plan of Happiness. If you’re already married, you and your current spouse can prepare yourselves to go to the temple to get sealed. We don’t have to be perfect people to attend the temple but constantly attending the temple will help us become perfect.

I can’t express in words how happy, wonderful and peaceful I feel to be inside a temple. It doesn’t matter how many problems I have that day, if I can make it to the temple, I will feel peace. My problems don’t go away but I receive strength and comfort from God when I attend the temple. I can also more easily gather my thoughts when I’m at the temple, especially when I am confused about something in my life.

I invite everyone to attend or prepare themselves to attend the temple so you can witness for yourself the peace and serenity of being inside the House of the Lord. I invite you to the temple to receive eternal blessings of salvation and eternal families. I invite you to visit one of our temples even if you can’t go in. They are spectacular and you may even be greeted with a free tour guide. Some of the LDS Temples have visitor centers where you can learn more about what we do inside a temple. To find you local temple please visit the LDS Temple website.

What is your favorite LDS Temple?

Ireland Miracle #2

Now that we’ve had some time to ponder about our time in Ireland. I’m going to do a series of stories about miracles that happened on our adventure in Ireland. We feel like our trip to Ireland was one big miracle made up of a bunch of small miracles. The first miracle I blogged about happened within hours of our arrival in Ireland. You can read it here.

This post is about one of the final miracles that happened in Ireland and I’ll fill in the rest later. I felt like it was a miracle to have little Quentin in Ireland. He has been our favorite and best souvenir. You can see his newborn pictures here.

We initially didn’t plan on having the baby in Ireland. We thought we would just fly home during my last month of pregnancy…. but Irish airlines wouldn’t let pregnant women fly internationally after 28 weeks. That was a problem. Dallin wasn’t finish with his research assignment in Ireland when I was 28 weeks pregnant so we decided to stay. We changed our airplane tickets to July 25 which is one month after the guess “birthday” of the new baby. We thought since my first baby was 2 weeks early that it wouldn’t be a problem to fly home on July 25. Well, things didn’t go as plan and the baby didn’t arrive until July 4th which is 9 days after my “due date”.

At first we didn’t realize how much paper work and processing time it was going to take to get the baby home to the USA:

  • First we needed to get an Irish birth certificate (processing time 4 to 6 weeks)
  • Then we needed to schedule an interview with the US embassy (booking 4 weeks in advance)
  • We needed to take the Irish birth certificate to the US embassy interview to get a US birth certificate abroad and a US passport (processing time 6 weeks)
  • Lastly, we had to wait for the passport to come in the mail

The total estimated time to get the baby’s passport was 10 weeks after birthday which would’ve put us to Sept 12th! We didn’t want to pay more money to change our flights and we really wanted to get back to Utah. So we prayed and I got a priesthood blessing. My husband and I both felt at peace that the Lord’s timing is always right.

We acted on faith after the baby finally arrived. We miraculous got an US embassy interview for July 11 (14 days before our flight date) but we still needed an Irish birth certificate. So we called and requested an emergency Irish birth certificate. The hospital faxed our information over to the government offices instead of waiting for the information to process in the system. We managed to get a copy of the baby’s Irish birth certificate on July 8th. We went to the interview and told the people at the US embassy that we want to fly on July 25 so they marked our application as “urgent” but they didn’t guarantee that it would happen by then. Our faith was indeed tested while we waited for the passport to arrive in the mail. I checked the mail everyday hoping that the passport have come.

I was in distress because we needed to change our flights at least 24 hours in advance! Well to make the story short, the passport arrived within 48 hours of our flight and we flew home on July 25th when our baby was shy of 3 weeks old.

Yep we made it home with a toddler and a newborn infant alive. How in the world did I just give birth and get on a plane to move our family across the ocean? I have no idea except that I felt the grace of God helping us every step of the way.

Well that’s it for now. We have many more miracles to post about!

Donut Falls

We hiked to donut falls. It’s a really easy hike if you start at the Donut Falls Trail Head. It’s only .75 miles until you get to the waterfall. Then you have to climb the waterfall to to see the donut. I highly recommend the hike for little kids. We went with a 7, 5, 3, 2, 1, 0 year old kids and we seem to all make it to at least the waterfall. Then we left most of the smaller kids with grandma and grandpa so we can make it up to see the donut. Don’t forget to bring the donuts!

This is the the waterfall you have to climb to see the donut:

 

Feeling Grateful

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Ah… some peace and quiet! I fell in love all over again. Despite the prodromal labor, this is much easier the second time around! It may have been the amazing midwife I had but labor was relatively low impact compared to my first (and I thought I had a good first birth)! This time labor was only 40 minutes (18 min pushing), no tearing and I was home in 6 hours. I’m recovering really fast and I feel good. I’m super grateful for my Ireland birth experience. Although US maternity care is fine… they just do things a little different in Ireland!