Friday, November 25, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sweating in a Sweat Lodge

Recipe for how to have fun, sweat and freeze all at the same time

1. A few days before sweat lodge / Finnish Sauna event travel to Utah's black rock desert to gather some black basalt rocks.
2. Make sure to be working with other Young Men leaders who have all of the necessary gear you may not have.
3. Meet at 5:00 and finally depart at 5:30.
4. Bring along four adventuresome, willing-to-work young men.
5. Ignore weather forecasts of snow arriving by 6:00 or 7:00 pm.
6. Pick up two Papa John's deep dish pizzas en route.
7. Drive up Diamond Fork Canyon to pre-selected camp site (tested last year in the first annual Finnish Sauna) that has a big fire pit and abuts a cold stream.
8. Place a dozen basalt rocks in the fire pit then build a big fire on top. Keep fire well fed so that rocks are soon enveloped in hot coals. 
9. Light the charcoal and once hot start cooking the pizzas in a dutch oven.
10. Send the young men creek side to build the dome shaped sweat lodge out of three long PVC pipe and 6 re-bar stakes which are covered by an assortment of tarps tied together.
11. Stand around the fire eating cookie dough (from Papa John's) while tending the fire and waiting for the pizza.
12. Eat the pizza--the first just right, the second with a burnt bottom (it gives it that extra tang).
13. Change (in the cold dark) into swimsuits and water shoes.
14. Pull the red (literally) hot rocks out of the fire, put into a large galvanized steel tub and carefully carry the tub down to the lodge.
15. Pack three leaders and four boys into the lodge. Sit on buckets or stools. Use water bottles to squirt water on to the hot rocks.
16. Watch hot steam rise from the rocks filling the tent and fogging up glasses.
17. Stand up to feel the greatest heat.
18. After about five minutes (we were not trying for any records or for any heat induced religious trances) of heat and extreme sweating, all run out of the lodge and go lay down in icy Diamond Fork River. Screaming is allowed.
19. Run back into the lodge and warm up in the steam.
20. Repeat steps 15-19 two more times.
21. Return to the fire to warm up and change clothes.
22. Dowse the rocks in the river for five minutes thinking they are now cooled only to have them continue to steam once placed in the back on my Subaru.Transfer the rocks to the back of David Lange's truck so that I can see to drive.
23. Take down the lodge and clean up camp.
24. Load up cars at about 10:00 pm just as the first flakes of snow start to fall.
25. Drive very slowly down Spanish Fork Canyon in two inches of fresh snow and big white flakes blowing steadily and blindingly into your windshields.
26. Keep drinking lots of water to re-hydrate after all of the sweating. 
27. Shower and climb into bed feeling amazingly alive and happy for new adventures


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Volcanic Utah

Tuesday I didn't have a class to teach until late afternoon and so Maire and I decided to do some geography field work. The Young Men of the Spring Creek 18th ward are planning a sweat lodge (aka Finnish Sauna) for this Friday night. They did it last year and the rocks they used would burst and shatter when sprayed with cold water to make the steam. Apparently volcanic rock (basalt in particular) does no burst as readily and it holds heat better. So, when a call went out from my fellow YM leaders for basalt, I decided to see what I could do. Little did I know that 90 miles southwest of Springville, just ten miles west of Fillmore (the one time capital of the Utah Territory) is Utah's Black Rock Desert. It has plenty of black rock basalt. it also has some great volcanic landscapes.

We climbed to the top of Tabernacle Hill.
An ancient volcanic cone (I believe) in the distance.

From the top of Tabernacle Hill looking south you look down on a collapsed volcanic crater with new cone in the center. 
Looking NE across the rugged, lava flow terrain toward Fillmore at the foot of the mountain range
The Subaru Outback did a great job negotiating the rough road. Marie only got a little nervous.

Ball games

Will is a happy player in the municipal junior Jazz basketball program.

Few rules exist for this age group. It is OK to travel, double dribble, make fake jump shots, etc.

Will loves to block shots.
Leaning back to make sure his shot goes in. It did!

Sarah helping the Young Women of the Spring Creek 18th win their first round in the regional volleyball tournament.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sarah in the SJHS newsletter

Student’s Create a Periodic Table of the Elements

Mr. Dahl’s fifth-period class in front of the periodic table the students created. 
Attributions: Cassidy Bowers, SJHS Staff Writer 
In Mr. Sam Dahl’s science class at SJHS, the eighth-grade students made a periodic table of the elements.  Mr. Dahl assigned elements from the periodic table to the students, and the students went to a computer lab to research their assigned element.  Darien Karren, a student in Mr. Dahl’s class, said, “The funnest part was getting to draw and getting to color the element cards we made.”  The students were also able to make more element cards for extra credit.

Mr. Dahl said, “I don’t have a periodic table in the classroom besides in the text books.  Then I thought why not just have the students make one?  It seemed like a fun way to learn more about the periodic table.”  The periodic table in Mr. Dahl’s classroom is on a big bulletin board. The element cards that the students made are a half a sheet of paper folded in half. On the front of the paper it has the atomic number, the atomic mass, which state of matter it is in, and of course the name of the element.

Mr. Dahl said, “The most difficult part was doing the research to find the uses of each of the elements and some of their properties. The rest was easy.”

The periodic table the eighth graders created was very successful. According to Mr. Dahl, it turned out great! The students did a really good job making the cards, and he plans on doing it each year from now on. Creating the table was a good experience for the students to more about the periodic table and the elements.

Making Quilts for Primary Children’s Hospital

Allyson Smith, SJHS Staff Writer 
Sarah Emmett and Kelty Cope, eighth graders at Springville Junior High School, are making fleece quilts for Primary Children’s Hospital.  Primary Children's is a hospital that specializes in helping really sick children.
According to Mrs. Adrienne Murray, service learning teacher, Sarah Emmett and Kelty Cope are in charge of the quilt making for Primary Children’s Hospital.

Sarah Emmett said, “When the children from Primary Children’s Hospital come out of surgery, they have a blanket, and they will feel special, and think that someone made this blanket just for me.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

Memories of Cambodians

Another Home
By Chad Emmett

               The smell of the stairwells was familiar, but not pleasant. The penetrating aroma of spices and filth reminded me of mission days in Indonesia. This, however, was not Asia, but rather a crowded apartment complex in the Washington D.C. suburb of Chillum. I had just been called to serve as the assistant coordinator for the Southeast Asian members of the College Park LDS Ward and it was my first night visiting the members. As I followed the missionaries that rainy February 1983 night from one apartment to another they just smiled as my senses adjusted to the unfamiliar surroundings.

               Chillum was the first home in America for many of the Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese refugee families arriving in the Washington area. It seemed as if each of the many three story buildings in the complex housed at least one apartment full of Asians—usually two or three families or up to ten people per two bedroom apartment. The apartments were cheaper than most and therefore attracted a mixed assortment of residents, mostly refugees, immigrants and low income families all struggling for a start. The crime rate was high necessitating double patrols of county police, the swimming pool had not been filled for years and liter and broken glass covered the remnants of lawn turned to dust by the pounding feet of countless playing children. I could see that Chillum was not a place I would want to call home.
               I had recently moved from home and schooling in Utah (I was 27 years old and had recently graduated from BYU with a MA in International Relations) to a suburban Maryland apartment complex which was much nicer and about 25 minutes from Chillum. I was just getting settled in the singles ward when I was called to serve in the rapidly growing and understaffed Asian Program.
               Driving was to be my first and never-ending assignment. Few of the members in Chillum or other similar neighborhoods had cars. Public transportation was limited and also expensive for the large families on low incomes so ward members would take turns helping transport the Asian members and investigators to church meetings and activities. Each Sunday morning, cars and highly prized vans would pull into Chillum’s central parking lot while the missionaries would round up the growing flock. Cars were viewed not by make, but how many Asian members they could carry. When necessary my tiny Toyota Tercel could carry six Asian adults or up to ten children.
               During the ten minute drive from Chillum to the chapel I would try to teach a little English, learn a few Cambodian or Laotian words, practice a primary song with the children, visit with those who spoke enough English, or just try to learn names. One Saturday, while driving the Im family to their Baptism, I was proud to be able to learn the names of five daughters – Rom, Ry, Ran, Run, and Rith. Matching the names with the faces, however, was a continual challenge.
               Another assignment was to organize summer activity nights in the park and winter volleyball nights—complete with two nets running from hoop to hoop  in the cultural hall. The Chillum children and youth were delighted to get out for an evening and enjoyed sharing that fun with their non-member and recent immigrant friends. Members from the singles ward would often help drive on activity nights. They patiently endured driving multiple trips to and from the mob of children waiting in Chillum’s parking lot. When finished even the most hesitant of drivers would smile contently, with many asking when the next activity night was so they could help again.
               Baptisms were help almost weekly and soon the ward was unable to sufficiently meet the needs of the Asian member so a separate branch was formed. I was called to be the second counselor.
               As membership grew so did the needs. About half of the branch members lived in Chillum which had a constant influx of refugees coming from the camps in Thailand. Many nights after work were spent gathering and distributing clothing and furniture to members and their recently arrived friends.
               One night a good brother, who owned one of the few pick-up trucks in the stake, helped deliver donated beds and furniture to the bare apartment of a recent immigrant family. While resting I motioned for him to peek in at the four children sleeping peacefully on a blanket spread across the hardwood floor of an otherwise empty room. Obviously touched by the experience, the owner of the truck volunteered its use for what was to be many future hauls.
               There were many different reasons for visiting the members in Chillum; providing transportation to Sunday meetings, activity nights, branch parties and baptisms; teaching English to adults and tutoring youth; delivering furniture; home teaching; visiting members; or walking the young women to their apartments after late night stake dances.
               When I returned home to Utah for Christmas vacation I had been serving with the Asians for eleven months. It had been a busy time and I was looking forward to seeing my family, skiing and resting. The two week absence and the comforts of home made me almost forget Chillum.
               A few days after my return to Maryland I set out for Chillum to help one brother prepare a talk and a sister to prepare a prayer for sacrament meeting. As I turned on to familiar Chillum Heights Drive, I unconsciously began to smile. I had recently visited my childhood home and then returned back to my comfortable apartment, but driving into Chillum that day, almost one year after my memorable first visit, felt more like coming home than the two previous homecomings. I was amazed at the feelings which had developed. I started to laugh as I drove into the central parking lot thinking I must be crazy to find joy in returning to run-down, impoverished, crime-ridden, pungent Chillum.
               Then I reflected on all the experiences, both good and bad, which I had had serving and associating with the Asian member in Chillum. I had relished eating food similar to that enjoyed in Indonesia. I had laughed at the crazy Kung Fu movies the kids loved to watch. I had found beauty in the walls decorated year round with Christmas tinsel, plastic flowers, pictures of the temple and the Savior, and paintings of their homelands. I had delighted when slides of fruits common to Indonesia and Cambodia formed an unspoken bond between non-English speaking parents and me, all of whom knew how delicious the tropical fruits were. I had smiled when grandmothers acknowledged my bow and formal Cambodian greeting (jimbripsua) with a bow and a smile. I had felt proud when mothers mastered basic English skills. I had sorrowed for the extreme suffering they had all experienced in Southeast Asia and for the struggles they were now encountering in a new country. I had feared for the members knowing that there had been recent murders, rapes and robberies in the neighborhood.
I had beamed when a widowed mother of three darling girls said her first prayer in English at church following an evening of coaching from her daughters and me. I had nearly laughed out loud when the front row of eight year old Chillum boys spontaneously broke into applause, followed by the rest of the congregation, at the conclusion of a beautiful Sacrament meeting musical number by the visiting High Councilman and his family.

I had also chuckled when, after months of trying to get the Priests to wear ties to church, one Priest finally came out to the car wearing a tie for a Saturday youth hike in the mountains. I had enjoyed the often chaotic volleyball nights and ward parties. I had felt satisfaction in knowing families had sufficient clothing and household furnishings. I had known sadness in hearing unkind remarks about the new Asian members from non-Asian members and I had felt frustration in recognizing so many spiritual and temporal needs with insufficient resources to draw upon.
               Through the months I had given what little I had—time, interest, love and a small car—and in return I had reaped great joy. Chillum and the crowded apartments full of brothers and sisters I had come to love had become another home to me.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Joel as a reprise from Jerusalem as a Rubik's cube, Sarah as a character from Percy Jackson--her favorite book series, Will as Manchester United soccer star Wayne Rooney, whose name is on the back of his jersey that he got in London. Sarah decided she was too old to trick-or-treat this year so she stayed home to hand out candy. Joel and his friends willingly let Will tag along with them.
 Will's design--fangs and a scar over his eye.
 Sarah installed the braces

Sarah's eight grade social studies project. The creative daughter of a geographer.

Below is my Saturday and after school project--digging up globe willow roots. I bought my first axe to hack through the many big roots. Last Saturday I planted a new October Glory maple tree with bright red leaves near the stump. Next Saturday I hope to rent a stump grinder to finish off the globe willow.

Notch Peak

A few weeks ago the Teachers, Priests and their leaders in our ward drove out to the western desert past Delta for hike up to Notch Peak. This was the sunrise from our camping spot.
Notch Peak is far behind and above this sun-lit peak.
Three young men/scouts and three leaders went. I was worried that I might not be in good enough shape to make it to the top but there was no need to worry. From the beginning it was evident that one of the young men was not up to the whole climb so two of us leaders let him set the pace. We made it about 2/3rds of the way before having to turn around so we would have enough time to get back to Springville by dinner and evening work time. The other three made it all the way up and down in six hours.
I used the slow pace to find pine nuts (most had already fallen out of the cones and been consumed on the ground by rodents and insects) on the way up and to harvest a few dozen sticky cones for future eating on the way done.
One of the larger pinion pines along the way. We have a pinion pine in our front yard. Each year it produces cones with nuts, but with no meat inside. I have since found out that pinion pines need to be at a higher elevation to be able to produce non-hollow nuts.
The view of Sevier Lake to the east. This is as high as I got. I missed seeing the bristle-comb pines near the summit.
The hike was up through this shaded, pine covered canyon.
Wonder what snapped this big tree in half? It was a beautiful day and a great hike. I think I may like my new calling working with the Venture Scouts.