Monday, May 8, 2017
Friday, November 20, 2015
A few weeks ago (mid-October to be exact) I flew to Springfield Missouri on a completely full Allegiant Airlines flight. I packed my clothes into a little bag that sat at my feet and sat my fat butt into a seat that had been occupied by so many people of similar size that the cushion was not. It was an uncomfortable flight. After landing about 9pm, I rented a car and headed north towards the little town of Fulton Missouri, home of Westminster College about 2 1/2 hours away. I arrived in Fulton somewhere around midnight and rested my rear for 15-20 minutes and discussed with Jake the pros and cons of driving to Michigan that night 600+ miles further north. We decided to forget the sleep and head towards Michigan. Michigan is where these two Shill boys became men. I had not been in Michigan for about 34 years, Jake about 30 less than me. We were both a little excited to go.
What added to our excitement was that we were fulfilling a dream. That dream was to go together to a Michigan State vs. University of Michigan Football Game. You see both Jakob and I serve our missions in Michigan, Me in the Lansing Mission and Jake in the Detroit Mission. Michiganders are passionate about their football. Even in a large town like the Detroit Metro area you can feel the buzz about this game. When we started looking at this year to attend The Game, it was just going to be another MSU vs U of M game, which is big, but as the season went on it became bigger and bigger. The return of Jim Harbaugh (rumor is that they are renaming the town Ann Harbaugh, instead of Ann Arbor), MSU was undefeated and the Wolverines were playing some very good football after their one loss at the beginning of the year. It was getting big...and exciting, and expensive. Tickets had shot up in price and I had been just planning to scalp some. In the last few days before I departed I broke down and bought some on-line. They weren't going to be great seats, but hey....we were going to the Big House. The Big House is the nick name give to Michigan Stadium. It is the largest stadium in the free world (only North Korea has one bigger) and seats 110,000+. The excitement was building!
We arrive in Detroit in the morning and started driving around some of Jake's old mission stomping grounds. He showed me places where he lived, and where he taught. We pulled into a vacant lot/field next to a baseball backstop and he told me of a lesson that he and his companion taught there to a homeless man. He showed me some pretty rough neighborhoods where the shops were boarded up and many homes had been gutted by fire and he told me that the area had improved significantly from just a few years ago. We also went to his favorite Mexican food restaurant, Camino Real. It was really good and that is a change from my days in Michigan.
I needed some MSU attire. - DONE
We needed a place to stay so we started the search for a hotel. - DONE, or so I thought. I used Hotwire to find a decent hotel and it worked great. However, when we arrive at the hotel and needed a room for 2 beds, there were none. (Lesson - when using hotwire call immediately after booking to make sure you get the type of room you need)
I needed an air mattress - DONE (6'5" vs. 6' so we know who was sleeping on the floor)
After a good night sleep, we were ready to go. Conversations with strangers took no effort to start with Jake wearing Maze and Blue and me in Green. I felt a little like a Sun Devil in Tucson. We found our way to the park and ride where we met up with some incredibly nice people. Some in Green, but most in Maze and Blue. (and it is MAZE, not Yellow) Whatever they were wearing they were all really good people.
As we approached the stadium I noticed a high school across the road. Every square foot of the school property was covered with cars, RV's and E Z Up's for a very big tailgate party. The bus stopped right at Michigan Stadium. We were at the Big House! Ya it's big and talk about a fan base.....the jumbotron posted a stat. This was the 263rd consecutive game at Michigan Stadium with 100,000 in attendance. Wow. I told you, football is different in Michigan. I was loving the experience, it was cold (for an Arizona boy), the leaves were beautiful, and I was at a Michigan/Michigan State game with my Michiganary son. Nice....very nice!
As we exited the stadium and waited for the bus, Jake was busy trying to get his ESPN app to show the final score. He could not believe what had just happened and needed independent proof beyond what his eyes had just witnessed.
We arrived back at the car exhausted, but we knew that we just had to start driving again. We got as far as Kalamazoo and figured to just find a cheap motel and crash. We tried a Motel 6, but walked in and walked out for a refund. Once we found a decent hotel (with 2 beds) we crashed.
The next morning was Sunday, so we found the nearby ward and went to Sacrament Meeting. I enjoyed this time very much. This was in an area where I served. The last area of my mission. There was a great feeling of peace and love there. I felt home. I am sure that it was because I was in Kalamazoo, but is was probably more so that I was in Sacrament Meeting and the church works in Michigan just like it does in Lehi.
Soon we were back on the road and driving, and driving. When we reached Fulton, Sarah (Jakes loverly wife) had dinner waiting for us. It was great to relax for a while, but soon I was back on the road solo toward Springfield and another crowded flight to Phoenix. We put about 1800 miles on the poor rental car over the course of 3 days and fulfilled a dream. One day I will go back to Michigan and stay for a while. I would love to serve another mission there with Marci.
What a great trip!!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Jordan aka “Anziano Shill” has moved from Verona to Reggio, Italy. He LLLLOVES the food and is growing up (from his pictures he is not growing out, but staying in good shape). He loves being a missionary and we love the blessings of him being a missionary. He is having some success and learning to depend upon the Lord for everything.
Jake had a motorcycle accident on one of the roads near Brian Head and broke his collarbone. He has had surgery and is recovering. He knows that the doctor is just telling him to keep his arm in a sling and take it easy just because they want to control him and that they all sit around and laugh when someone (someone not as smart as Jake) does what they say. He has them figured out and is going on with normal life to show them that they cannot tell him what to do. He will be attending MCC this fall and is planning to join his brother in the mission field sometime next summer.
McKayla just got back from girls camp where she loved being in the estrogen rich atmosphere of Camp Lo Mia. David and I stopped by for a bit and you could see the words running through her eyes like a Time Square Marquee “What are you doing here? This is GIRLS’ camp and my time away from my little brother…when are you leaving!!” She had a blast with the girls, her mother included.
Marci, of course, was also at girls’ camp and came home with many great experiences and memories and bug bites. The bugs realize that she is the sweetest thing around and take every opportunity to gorge themselves on her sweetness. Marci is so giving in that way!!!
David and I went to Pine while McKayla and Marci were at girls’ camp. We spent one of the days geo-caching and found some beautiful scenic vistas where others had placed a geo-cache. My favorite was one that overlooks the Pine Strawberry area. We could see Grandma Toots house from there and all of Pine. We also took a tour of the Pine Historical Museum and I showed David all the pictures of his ancestors. He said as we left that he thought it was very cool that his ancestors founded a town.
As we looked at the old pictures and relics, I reminisced about the old Pine I knew growing up. Visiting the creek, sliding down the stairs in the Pine House, visiting Uncle Orley at his house or the Ponderosa Market, Playing in the small ditch in front of the Pine House and enjoying visits and food with Grandma. I hope that our children do not lose the heritage we have in Pine.
Sssssseeeeee ya, Ro
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I have spent the past 3 Saturdays building a chicken coop. I am modeling it after the one that I remember at my boyhood home. I thought that this would be as easy as pie (although I must admit I don’t make pie and have no clue how hard it would be) and have found otherwise. First off, I think that I was wise to not choose a career as a framer! My first clue was that David, my 10 year old was truly HELPING me. It was great to have him around to do all the mathematical calculations. Secondly, I thought that I would just be using some scrap lumber that was around the house and badda boom badda bing…I have chicken coop. NOPE. My third thought on this (after my second $100 trip to Home Depot) was . . . . . How many dozen eggs can I buy with the cost of a chicken coop? I know that there are other reasons for working towards self sufficiency so that is what I am hanging my hat on, since there is no financial justification here.
Over the past few weeks we have been the puppy pushers. Marci and McKayla have been walking around town in trench coats, approaching strangers in dark parking lots, and with puppies hanging from the liners of their coats, saying “Psssst, hey wanna buy a puppy?” Naw not really, just an ad and some phone calls, and the Puppies are gone. They are wonderful about caring for them and I appreciate their efforts.
McKayla is playing Volleyball and frequently you will see her serving to the volleyball ghosts in the yard. So far they have not been able to return a single one!
Since I am very involved with the Young Men in our ward I must give a little print to them. Priest Quorum Basketball is over. It started out very painful, but there was some great improvement. I think that the Lehi Second Ward had one of the most talented group of ball players in the stake. They just don’t play ball much and did not play as a team. The tremendous improvement seen over the short 4-6 game season is clear evidence of this. We are going to try to change that in the next year with some practice. We have a quorum of diverse interests, sand dunes, rodeo, running, swimming, pole vault, band, guitar, video games (arghh!) and of course school and girls all take time away from the very important pursuit of Basketball excellence. (IMHO)
Jake has been acquiring guitars and guitar equipment. He currently has 5 guitars and just got a “half stack” (no…that is not IHOP terminology) that will literally rock the house.. He seems to have been playing some more blues type music, which is definitely OK with his father, but don’t tell him Dad likes it because then he won’t want to play it anymore. He has a great talent for playing guitar and has written some music too. Jake has earned his Bronze palm in Scouting and made the regional choir. Good job Jake!
We got to talk with Anziano Shill in Salt Lake, a tiny bit in Chicago and again in Frankfurt. The Frankfurt conversation was a bit short too. He was very tired and it was about 11:30pm in Arizona and we were awakened from our slumber for the call. Jordan is now in Verona Italy. Of course, we have done the google earth thing and found where he lives and that he is in a very beautiful place. They have some baptisms scheduled for later this month and possibly some next month. His companion is Elder Aillon from Gilbert, Arizona, so hopefully he has made a friend that he can continue to associate with in the post mission life. Mission Trainers are forever your big brother!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
What would you do if you decided to make 2009 the best year of your life? It must be things within your own control…..so while winning the lottery or hitting the jackpot at the casino would be nice it is not in my control. Besides, you can’t win if you don’t play! It is starting out to be a good year. The Cardinals are going to the Superbowl, (huh???) my son is on a mission, my family is healthy, I have a job, a great family, a home, and interest rates are down. Most of these previously mentioned things I have little control over, but none of them are exclusively in my control. So….what will I do to make 2009 the best year of my life. Here are a few thoughts.
- Go to the temple each week
- Read my scriptures every day
- Spend more time with my children
- Spend more time with Marci
- Put more energy into my church calling
- Give up the bad habits that have been hanging on too long
I was able to go to the Supercross races with my 2 younger kids, McKayla and David. The high flying, bar banging, dirt digging, mud, mud, mud was fun and we got to see some good racing courtesy of Josh Grant, Chad Reed and James Stewart.
With all the focus on the economy and watching my 401k become a 201k our family has a renewed interest in becoming more self reliant. A garden, chickens, and trees and bushes that bear fruit have become frequent topics of conversation and are all in the planning stages.
Jordan reports that his Italian is coming along well. You can read his letters through a link on this page. We are blessed that he is serving and are looking forward to taking with him when he leaves for Italy on the 27th of January. He had the opportunity to meet and shake hands with Elder David A. Bednar at a conference on Christmas Eve and was pretty excited about that. Then on Christmas Elder Holland spoke with them also. What an experience that was for him, to be in the same room and taught by 2 Apostles of the Lord.
Jakob was asked to speak in Stake Conference today, a surprise to us all. He was called up out of the audience to bear his testimony. You should have seen the look on his face. He was terrified. He did a great job speaking about prayer and the importance of good friends. He was able to sit on the stand with Elder David A. Bednar and also speak with him afterwards.
McKayla continues to be cute and great. She has enjoyed the patch of puppies at our house. She is so cute with them and she loves being the other mom to them. She is also selling "goodies" to earn money to go to EFY this summer. So give us a call if you need some treats for......well, just about anything.
David rode the XR100 (motorcycle) for the first time. Dad wasn’t even on the back. He did great and is looking forward to more rides. Next time we will get out of first gear. He ALSO got to meet and speak with Elder Bednar after Stake conference. So all three of my boys met Elder Bednar in the last Month....what a great experience it was for each of them.