Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Dad

I just went and visited my family in New York. My Dad is in Hospice at St. John's Hospital in Rochester. Last May he was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, brain cancer. It was inoperable and he underwent chemotherapy all summer. It looked like it was working because in September the MRI showed the tumor had shrunk. We were so excited for him! Then he developed blood clots in his lungs and legs and they had to stop treatment. Unfortunately his body is too weak to continue treatment and last month he was given 4-8 weeks to live. How sad we all are. I had a great opportunity to go and say good-bye to him. I cannot begin to describe the touching memories I will hold forever so dear in my heart. I know my Dad will soon be free from this awful illness and will see my brother, Craig again.

My sisters, Ashley and Kari, and me with my Dad, Gary DeRue.

The Sacred Grove

I had the opportunity to visit the Sacred Grove in Palmyra while I was home visiting my family. This is such a special place to me, not only spiritually but I have a lot of wonderful memories walking through the trees in the Grove. For those of you who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I would like to explain the Sacred Grove. We believe in the Spring of 1820, Joseph Smith Jr. knelt in this grove of trees and offered a prayer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He wanted to know which church was true and which he should join. God and His Son appeared to Joseph Smith and answered his prayer, saying that he should join none of the church's and that he would help to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Earth. I believe this. I know that Heavenly Father appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and that he did restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Earth today. I have gone to this grove to pray and find answers to my questions. One of my favorite times at the Grove was when I walked through it on a cold wintry day in a freshly fallen snow, I was the only one in the Grove. I sang at the top of my lungs and I felt peace. I felt hope. I knew I could keep going though my trials. I love visiting this special place!

On this particular visit it was a sunny, 70 degree morning and I walked through the leaves and enjoyed the warm air and sun!

This is the Log Home restored to look like it did when Joseph was raised there

This the path you walk down to get to the Sacred Grove. It used to be a road but the town re-routed the road so it didn't go through the main area of the Church Sites. The road is off to the left.

So scenic!

Here is the Palmyra Temple. It over-looks the Grove from the hill. When I was a Senior in high school I helped a crew remove the trees so that you could look into the Grove from the Temple pane-glass windows.

More of the path with a view of the barn and shed off to the right and the Frame Home, the Smith's second home off to the left.

The Smith's Frame Home

The view of the Sacred Grove as you are walking in

My new favorite picture of the Grove!

As I was walking out of the Grove I ran into some old friends, Bill and Kathy Sherwood. Bill is the Palmyra Temple President now. I had a great afternoon visiting with them in their home right next door to the temple.

Halloween at the State Fair!

We asked the kids a couple of years ago if they would like to go trick-or-treating on Halloween or go to the State Fair. To our surprise they said the State Fair. We have been going for 3 years now and LOVE IT!!!! Here are our pictures from our latest visit to the State Fair on Halloween...


Scoping out the rides and food when we first arrived

John couldn't wait to go on the Ferris Wheel

The favorite ride of the night was the bumpy car ride! Here are Emma and Annie (Annie is Emma's BFF) riding with their arms up- you're hot stuff when you are 7!

Here are John and Claire, Annie's sister and John's BFF, riding on the bumpy car ride. Look at the smile on John's face!

And look at the smile on this face! Grace had just finished one of the many fried foods offered at the State Fair- a whole potato cut into curly french fries, fried and drizzled with salt and ketchup... YUM!

John felt like Super Man on this ride where you rode on your belly!

Everyone loved the swings!

Once Grace warmed up to the goats at the Petting Zoo she loved it! They loved her too... she was a little over-whelmed at first when she was at their level and they would come right up to her. This one was safe though because it was laying down!

Not quite sure what to think of each other!!!

Grace was too little for a lot of the rides. So she waited...

...and waited...

...and waited...

until it was her turn!!! She got ride the little train and loved it!!!

This is the "spokesperson" for the State Fair. (In case you can't tell... it's John's face!)

And here's Emma!

Claire was not shy when she announced to us a couple months ago that she thought John was cute and that she was going to marry him some day. I totally approve... I LOVE CLAIRE!!!

Johnny likes fast rides and I DO NOT! So, Liz and Steve (Annie and Claire's parents) went with Johnny while he rode this crazy, cheating death ride. You started off going really slow in a circle and speeding up until it starts rocking side to side and you are basically flying over the whole State Fair! (I know it's an exaggeration but WOW that makes me queezy just thinking about it!)

After they cheated death...

We enjoyed the State Fair and we'll be back again next year!