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Mon - Dec 05, 2016 : 11:28 am
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2016 Christmas Adventure
 So..  I thought I'd write down a little bit about what happened to us on Saturday.

I had a recording session Saturday morning while Sarah was doing her monthly stake baptism duties, and we both finished up around noon.

We were going to make our yearly journey to Ephraim, UT to climb the mountain and chop down a Christmas tree for our family.  We've been doing this for at least 8 years now, and every year it's been a great experience - with varying degrees of success as far as the pleasantness of the tree acquired.

We usually leave the house around 10am, and have a great time.

This year, we would pack up the five children, leave around 12:30, and have an uneventful 1.5 hour drive down.

All went well until we hit snow about 3 miles up the canyon.  When we hit the snow, it was as if someone had mysteriously hit the brakes on the rear tires, and we couldn't make it 200 feet up past it before losing momentum and getting stuck.  I went back down, turned off the traction control, got a faster running start and only made it about 20 feet further.   We needed to go about 5 more miles to get to any good trees.

So, I decided to go buy some chains.

It was my first time ever dealing with chains, and after taking *much* longer than I thought to get them installed, we hit the snow, and slowly we made it up past the highest we had been.  After about 100 more feet, and hearing all sorts of not-good-sounding noises coming from the front tires, we stopped, and I had a look.

Both chains had broke off, and were in a steely mess wrapped around the inside of the wheel-well.

I proceeded to take them off with freezing hands, taking much longer than I thought, and actually we ended up getting them back on, though both of them were mildly broken.  It was about 10 degrees up there.  It was cold.

After about 30 minutes of labor installing them back on, I proceeded to let Sarah drive, while I ran by the side of the van, making sure no breakage was happening.  Every 20 feet or so, I would have her stop, while I fixed a part which had come loose, and then have her start again.

We continued like this for about 1/4 mile or so, even getting stuck around a turn, and getting helped by half a dozen well-wishing snow-boarders.

At this point, we were having Collin (10-years-old) hang himself out the window of one side of the van, while I ran on the other side while hanging on to the door.

It was at this point that we saw a ranger coming down the road and he turned his lights on, and signaled for us to stop.  Unfortunately, the point at which he had us stop was at such an incline that we were unable to get started forward again.  We were about 3 miles away from where we usually got the trees in previous years.

Let me pause for a minute here and say that if you don't know me, I'll be the first to tell you that I am not in shape.  At all.  I'm not obese, but I could lose a few pounds.  A few tens of pounds.  Running up a snowy mountain beside a van for 1/4 of a mile might be fun for you, but for me it was darned near impossible.

So,  at this point, I'm grateful the ranger didn't give us a ticket for reckless endangerment of our son (and me), but we were stuck, and when looking around for trees, all I saw was brush that looked dead.

Nevertheless, I decided to hike up the mountain to see what I could find.  The only thing I could find was a 5-foot spruce that could have used more nourishment.  After hiking up as far as I was willing, I turned back around and showed Sarah the tree.  We decided to cut it down.

At this point, Luci and I were the only ones on the mountain.  Everyone else was sledding down the sides of the road.  I turned and asked if anyone had prayed, and Luci raised her hand.  I then asked, "Have you got any inspiration?"  She said, "Nope!", and I said, "Me either."

We dragged the tree down the hill to the car as I was secretly planning to buy a better one when we got back home.

It was at this point that Sarah decided to go searching on her own.  She went up the road, and then down the road.  About an hour later, I heard her shout, "Hey honey!  I found one!"  It was about 500 feet down the road.  So, I went to where she was, and saw a 7-foot tree, which didn't look much better.  She then went up the mountain, and about 5 minutes later, I hear her shout "It's a Christmas miracle!!  Come up here!"  So, I hiked up to where she was, and sure enough, there was a 10-foot beauty.  It was a bit thin, but it would definitely work.

We cut it down as the sun was descending past the mountain, and it was getting really cold.

I got the tree up on the car, tied it up (while everyone was in the idling car getting warm) and we were on our way.

So...

Why am I telling this to you?

Well... It's because of a miracle.  Every hour or so during this whole ordeal, I would pause for a moment and wonder, "Why are you in such a good mood, Jason?"   By all means, it made no sense at all.  While we were getting stuck the first time, I was joking around.  Spending money on crappy chains, I was wishing the teller a Merry Christmas.  Fighting with the chains, trying to figure out how to get them on ... okay, I wasn't joking then, but I wasn't mad either.  Finding out the chains had broken, I actually kind of laughed.  Getting them back on, and running by the side of the car, I think I slipped Sarah a kiss while slipping around on the snow running beside.  While completely out of breath, I was grateful for the snowboarders helping us.

It just made no sense.  I should have been furious.  If not on the outside, I should have been angry on the inside, yet...  I wasn't.  It was a Christmas miracle.

and we found the tree!  It's now up in our living room looking awesome.

Prayer works.  Family is what it's all about, and God love us.

It's true.