Drew earned his wolf rank!

Drew went into scouts back in January. He absolutely loves scouts. He is always asking what he can work on to earn his next achievement. He is a bit of an overachiever. Well thanks to his leader, Marnie Jones, and Drew’s determination, he earned his wolf badge this week.

He was pretty excited to have to dig through the whip cream (no hands!) to get his badge. We are proud of our new wolf!

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Young Women’s 5K Chalk Run

This is our second annual Young Women’s color run. They have chalk stations all along the way, each color representing the values in the young woman program in our church. As you get to the station they throw chalk.

None of my girls trained for the 5K so there was a lot of walking and running involved but we all had a great time running up to the temple (a good ending even it was uphill!).

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Drew’s Baptism

Drew was baptized on February 6, 2016 at 10:30 am. He made the decision to be baptized a few months before and had been reading all about this ordinance and purpose behind it. He was excited and ready for his special day. (Thanks to my friend Hannah Stayner for snapping these photos for me.)

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Unfortunately we got a text early in the morning tell us his Grandpa Mike wasn’t feeling well and was unable to make it. We missed him. Stuart Wright conducted the meeting. The service began with an opening prayer by Grandma Jan Johnson. Emily Rowberry gave a sweet talk on baptism. Then Seth, Drew’s dad, performed the baptism and Jesse Johnson and Greg Rowberry served as witnesses. After the baptism, Beau Hunter, our home teacher, gave a great talk on receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, after which Drew was confirmed and received it by his dad, Seth. Grandpa Walt, Uncle Jesse, Uncle Greg, Beau Hunter and Stuart Wright were all in the circle. Grandpa Walter Cryer gave the closing prayer.

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Drew & Seth in front of the baptismal font.

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Our everything…all eight of us!

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Grandma Jan & Drew

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Great Grandpa Walt and Gran Mary
Most of that paragraph was for memories sake and so we have it documented. I asked Drew what his thoughts were about his special day. He said he loved the way he felt all day. He could just tell he was a better person.

As the parent watching from the outside, I can agree. This day could only make a great boy greater. It was tender and spiritual. I didn’t quite make it without shedding a few tears along the way. My heart just melted as I watched Seth perform these ordinances for Drew. It was one of the days I will not soon forget. I am so proud of Drew for wanting to be baptized and grow closer to his Father in Heaven and his Son, Jesus Christ.

Ponderize iPhone Lock Screens

Like a lot of other folks, our family really liked Devin Durrant’s talk at the October 2015 LDS General Conference.

Even though we liked the idea, we still stumbled a few times trying to put his advice into practice. We tried starting a group chat, and everyone coming up with their own scripture. But that didn’t work to well. We created memes and shared them via direct message on Instagram with each other. But, some of us aren’t very creative and didn’t participate fully. Plus, some of us aren’t using Instagram direct message every hour of every day, and so that conversation just kinda died.

But, we finally landed on something that works for us. Each week we create a new lock screen background which we all use on our individual devices. The lock screen is an easy setting to change (go to Settings > Wallpaper). Plus, as the lock screen background we see the thought/quote/scripture of the week multiple times every single day.

Here is the breakdown of how this actually gets put into practice: On Sunday, one of the kids prepares an FHE lesson for Monday night. They find out the scripture of the week and tell me what it is. I add some text over the top of a cool background image. Then, we share it out via our iMessage group. All of us put it as the lock screen for our devices.

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This process seems to work pretty well for our family. We like having it on our lock screens because it means we see it several times per day. How many times per day do you unlock your phone? Probably a lot. Hopefully some of those good messages are getting burned into our brains enough that it will eventually make us good people.

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Feel free to try these out and see if it works for you. We will be creating more of these, so let us know if you want to be added to our iMessage group to receive them on a weekly basis.

Scoutmaster Emeritus

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On a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I drove the scouts down to the airport so they could work on their Aviation merit badge. The boys each took a solo flight in a small Cessna 150m, even taking the controls for a few minutes. By all accounts, it was a great experience for each young man — something they will remember for the rest of their lives.

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On the drive home I was having a great chat with the merit badge counselor, Jim Olsen. Jim is one of my neighbors and a long-time scouter. Jim has done it all in scouting — an Eagle scout as a young man, then on staff at summer camp as a youth; he’s been a scoutmaster, been to Woodbadge (with my Grandpa Cryer, even), and he’s been a professional scouter and been a big part of the Utah National Parks Council. He asked me how I was doing as a scoutmaster.

I told him that I was loving it. That after four-and-a-half years I was finally getting comfortable in my role. I explained that I loved having an excuse to go camping, backpacking, or hiking one weekend each month. I said I’d much rather be spending my volunteer hours being outdoors and having great experiences than stuck in a series of coordination meetings. I told him about the cool places we’ve been as a scout troop and about the physical and emotional growth that I get to witness in the young men who go out and do hard things. I told him that I love seeing the young men develop leadership skills and go on to do great things. I talked about how rewarding it was to interact with other guys like Jim who come work with the young men on a merit badge and I get to learn right along side them. I went on and on about how awesome it was to be the scoutmaster in our troop because of the other leaders I have around me to clear the way so I can simply go out and have fun with the scouts. I gushed.

Jim said that he’d talk to our bishop and tell him how great it was that he’s left me in there long enough to get to that point. Jim said that too often, scoutmasters aren’t in there long enough to become fully trained, much less get their programs to a point where it becomes fun.

The very next day, our bishop asked Manina and I to come talk to him. I thought it was just a check-in meeting — you know, just to see how things were going. He’s done it before just about every year to make sure we’re not getting burned out. Which I wasn’t. I was ready to tell the bishop the same things that I had just told my neighbor Jim.

But, I didn’t even get the chance. After sitting down the bishop started off with, “Well, it’s time to make a change in our scouting program and we feel it’s time to release you as a scoutmaster.” He told me I had done an excellent job, but it was time for a change.

I’m not criticizing how the bishop communicated this to me, because he did it as well as he possibly could have. But it was still a shock. I didn’t quite know what to say. I was not – still am not – ready to be done.

I’ve been in scouting for a very long time. I spent about 6 years as an assistant scoutmaster, and then I’ve been serving as the scoutmaster for the last 4.5 years. That’s over 10 years of scouting experience. Every Wednesday night, every Sunday, one weekend a month, one full week of scout camp each summer. That’s a lot of time.

I recently learned that my friend Mitch Ogden is taking over my role as scoutmaster. Mitch has been the assistant scoutmaster for a couple years and I’m confident he will do a great job. So, that will make the transition a little easier knowing the young men are in good hands.

But, I’m still not too happy about not being involved. Bittersweet is a pretty good word to describe how I feel about this change, but it’s not a perfect description. Definitely more on the bitter side than the sweet. I’ll miss it.