Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Forever Valentine

Tribute to my sweet Munro on Valentines Day 2013

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Great Murdock Trek to Paradise


Munro and I have had a goal to move to Hawaii ever since we left there in 2003. It's always been this pie in the sky dream, but behind it was a real desire and intention to make it happen. After prayer, planning, hundreds of hours of hard work and labor and plenty of little miracles, our dream finally came true. This is story of our Trek to Paradise.

On July19th we said our final goodbyes to our home and Uda family in Pleasant Grove Utah and began our 10 day trek to our new home in Hawaii.  On the first leg of our journey, we drove to Cedar City Utah then up the mountain about 45 minutes to the Duck Creek cabin Munro’s parents have where they hosted our Murdock Family Reunion. The travel time takes about 4 hours but with all the stops we had to make on our way out of town and once we got to Cedar City, it ended up being 8 hours. We all don’t do well in confined spaces together for longer than a few hours, but we survived with most of our family relationships in tact.
The cabin. George & Mimi rented 2 more cabins for the family to use as well

After the insanity of packing up our house for the past month, it was so refreshing to be up in the beautiful mountains and enjoy some peace and solace and know that there was no packing to do. The kids had so much fun with all their Murdock cousins catching horny toads, building forts, shooting arrows, swinging and best of all, 4-wheeler rides!

Face painting

Big Birthday party for EVERYONE!

Hiking in a pitch black lava tube

There were plenty of these horny toads around for the kids to play with

Pretty awesome fort the kids spent hours in

Malia loves her cousin Alana!

I loved the time spent talking with my amazing sisters in law and just chilling out. It was idealic, it was perfect. I’m so grateful for my amazing in-laws for organizing, paying for, and putting it all together.  On Sunday the entire family of 40+ went to church where we all sang a musical number, “Faith in Every Footstep.” I played the piano and it was so neat to hear all our voices together. Since we’ve been in Hawaii, my kids sing that song all the time!

On July 24th we packed up once again and began the second leg of our journey to Las Vegas where we repacked part of the trailer and loaded it with more of our stuff we’d been carrying around in our van. It was so difficult for me packing our entire home, then packing for a trip that would include three different stops and knowing exactly what I would need and not need. In Las Vegas I concluded that I and brought more stuff then I needed so it went into the trailer.

We spent one whole day at George & Mimi’s house in their pool and had so much fun. The kids discovered the thrill of jumping off the roof into the swimming pool. Munro didn’t think I would do something like that, so of course I had to prove him wrong. I climbed up on the roof, hesitantly checked it out, then jumped. As I entered the water, my feet went up and my bum went straight down and hit the bottom of the pool hard. I felt something crack and pain shot through my lower back.  My tail bone and lower back remained tender for the next two days but once we got to California things got really bad.  
 The first day we spent 14 hours on our feet at Disneyland and I was in tears from the pain shooting down my legs, back and feet. The second day we spent 9 hours and by the end of that day, I could no longer feel my feet.  After we made it to Hawaii, I saw a chiropractor who said I had a compressed disk and was lucky I hadn’t blown it. He asked, “what possessed you to jump off a roof?!” I replied intelligently, “uhhh, everyone else was doing it and it looked fun.” He then went on to lecture me about how lucky we are to survive our youth because of the foolish things we do to which I responded I was past my youth and old enough to know better and that I had learned my lesson. After four visits my back is doing much better and I’m able to walk and stand again without any pain. Blessings!

My amazing father-in-law went with us to California.  He drove the trailer and we drove our van. We made it to the LDS church where we had the shipping container dropped off.  Munro hired 2 guys from Craigslist to help load and the four of them got to work hauling everything from the trailer to the shipping container.  They busted it out in no time.  As soon as it was loaded, George hugged us goodbye, hopped into his truck and left to go back to Vegas.  Tears filled my eyes as he drove away. We are so blessed to have such loving and supportive parents! We waited for a bit till the truck driver showed up to haul off the container.  We cheered as it left knowing we wouldn’t have to deal with it again for 2 more weeks!

After all that work, we felt we had to reward ourselves with more work. So of course we went to Disneyland. Disneyland is interesting. They make it look like a dream come true and the happiest place on earth, but I think it should be re-branded, The Most Exhausting Place on Earth!  The lines are eternally long, its hot and the only time you get to sit down is when you get on a ride, which you waited an hour to get on. My kids got grumpy, hot, tired and irritable. There were times when I wondered, Why the heck did we do this?!  But then there were those fleeting moments of excitement and pure joy that made it all worth it….well, almost.  It didn’t help that I was in so much pain and it was hard to find anywhere to sit down. When I finally just sat on the ground because I couldn’t walk anymore, a “cast member” came up and told me I couldn’t sit there and to keep walking! Slave drivers!  If I ever attempt to go back to Disneyland again, I’ll wait till all my kids are old enough to go on all the rides and go when it isn’t so hot or busy. I also might rent a wheel chair.

Disneyland! The Most Exhausting Place on Earth!

After two days at Disneyland, we spent our last Sunday on the mainland at church, picked up our rental van, and drove around LA checking out Hollywood and Beverly Hills. I’ve never been there before and I was not impressed. It was dirty, crowded and a lot of shady characters. We took the kids to the bathroom at McDonalds and a drug dealer was taking homeless guys in to shoot them up. Alot of scary looking men were way too friendly with Malia. Munro and I didn't stick around long, but held each kid by the hand and walked back to our car as quick as we could.
This lady tricked me into taking a picture of her with my kids and then charged me for it.  

The next day was travel day. We had a full morning before catching our flight to Hawaii. We packed up that morning and left on a few errands, including buying another suitcase to try and keep all our suitcases under 50 lbs, as well as a lock for Munro’s gun case as required by law.  We stopped at the port and dropped off our van to be shipped to Hawaii and got our rental van.  They ran out of minivans like we had reserved and so we ended up with this huge 15 passenger van. It was actually kind of nice because each of our kids got their own row which helped deal with the fighting in the car. With 10 days of traveling and being in close proximity to each other, they’d pretty much had it with one another.

Munro dropped me and the kids off at the airport with all the luggage and he left to return the van. I hauled everyone and everything inside and attempted to check in while Malia ran around the airport screaming and Mason and Maile tried to chase her down. Frazzled, I got our tickets, and started to check our luggage.  I had to declare the gun that was in Munro’s baggage and the airline employee had no idea how that worked. So she called TSA and sent me off to Homeland Security for a separate screening.  We waited a long time for TSA to come, meanwhile Malia was doing her best at being an absolute crazy person. Mason and Maile tried to help but the more they tried to calm her down the louder she screamed and faster she ran. I finally set her car seat on the floor and made her sit in it, but a minute later it tipped over and she hit her head causing her to scream even louder. 

The whole time two airline employees just stood there and stared at me. Finally TSA showed up and asked me for the key to the gun case. I didn’t have it and had specifically asked Munro if I needed it. He had said that TSA would have a key for it. They said they did but it was in another part of the airport. I called Munro who was waiting for a shuttle to bring him back to the airport. Meanwhile TSA went to find a key. We waited, waited, waited…Munro finally showed up, opened up the case, they checked the gun then asked that we lock it back up. Low and behold, the locks would not lock. TSA told us that we could not check our final bag unless the gun was locked, and we couldn’t just leave the gun behind. Our flight was leaving in 30 minutes and we hadn’t even gone through security yet. We all stood there dumbfounded for a moment contemplating the fact that we were going to miss our flight to Hawaii.  Suddenly Munro cried out “Wait!” He dug in his bag and found a different lock and it fit. Everyone sighed with relief. We checked the final bag, grabbed the kids and ran as fast as we could to security. In a panic everything was thrown on the conveyor belt as we ripped all the kids shoes off. As soon as they were off, an employee informed us that they kids could keep their shoes on. 
We got through security thankfully without incident, packed everything up again and went tearing down the terminal. I'm sure we looked like the family on Home Alone. We got to the gate as they were loading the plane. Whew! Then a gate agent started giving us a hard time about the car seat we planned to bring on the plane for Malia to sit in. She also said we had missed our chance to board early with our kids and told us to go to the back of the line. I insisted that we had traveled many times with the car seat and never had an issue and begged to be let on the plane early. She rolled her eyes, insisted our car seat wasn't FAA approved but said the flight attendants could deal with us. There were more issues with our carry on luggage but suffice it to say, we eventually ended up on the plane, in our seats with all the kids strapped in and baggage stowed. 

That had been one of the most stressful hours of my life. As I tried to fight off the tears from an impending nervous breakdown, Munro talked me into taking deep breaths and assured me the worst was behind us. We had made it. Everything we owned was on a ship to Hawaii and we had caught our flight. 

 I’ve concluded that Munro and I are quite an amazing team. We both get stressed out and overwhelmed and sometimes a little bit snappy. But we come together, we work through problems, find solutions and make things happen. In that moment as we started off down the runway, I couldn’t help but feel totally awesome yet humbled at the same time. Is that even possible? Most of all though, I just felt incredibly blessed.

 After all that hard work and stress, we wondered if it would all be worth it. Guess what.....It Was!

To be continued.....

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Family-The Ultimate Team

by Rachel Murdock

Not too long ago, our little family went on a family bike ride on the Provo river trail. It was a gray overcast day. There was a fire burning not too far away and ash was raining down on us. Mason rode in front, followed by me, then Maile, and then Munro with the bike stroller hauling Malia. As Mason biked just ahead of me, we entered a portion of the trail that had an umbrella of trees over us. There were no leaves…it was just an eerie, almost spooky atmosphere. Mason’s head sunk down into his shoulders, then he glanced back at me and said,

“I’m glad I have a family, otherwise I’d be really scared right now.”

Those simple and heartfelt words caused an immediate lump to form in my throat and brought tears to my eyes. Indeed, this life would be a lot scarier if we didn’t have our families.

We had a discussion about families in our Family Home Evening last week. I was explaining to our kids how families are like bricks, and with them we can build a building. If you have a bunch of weak bricks, the building can fall down easily in an earthquake. But if the bricks are strong and the building is built to high standards, then it will stand no matter what opposing forces come against it. The bricks are families, and the building is society.

We have been taught that the family is the most important and basic unit of our society. Satan knows this and has focused his opposition against families. As they crumble or are weakened, society becomes more vulnerable to opposing forces.

I urged my kids to be aware when Satan is "attacking" our family. Little things like quarreling, ingratitude, selfishness, pride and lack of kindness among siblings puts team members at odds with each other. I told them that our family is a team and together we can stand strong and face all the challenges of life. But if we turn against each other and fight with our team members, then it makes our team weaker and vulnerable.

That made a lot of sense to them...for about five minutes, before they started arguing again. Our family is a work in progress. But I will never stop fighting for my family and strengthening our defenses.

As I've grown up, moved on, and started a family of my own, it has been harder to remember that those little brothers and sisters I grew up with are still part of my stewardship. Yes, they have their own life now and their own challenges. But we ARE “our brother’s keeper.” We should look out for one another and give support and help during difficult times. Adulthood is much more challenging and full of tougher obstacles then childhood. If we didn’t have our families, OH, how scary this life would be!

I watch the news every night and am amazed at the natural disasters, political unrest, attacks on our freedom, moral decay and overall wickedness of the world. I worry about the challenges my children, nieces and nephews will and are facing. It’s a different world from just when I was a teenager.

This life is like a maze filled with challenges, danger and choices. If we make a wrong turn, we can find ourselves in a very dark and lonely place. I'm glad we don't have to get through the maze alone. Sometimes (ok, most of time) I have a lot of pride. I feel like I'm completley capable and armed with enough knowledge to find my own way through the course. But that's not how it was meant to be played. We have a loving Heavenly Father who gives us guidance, and best of all a team to help us along.

I'm so grateful for my family, for the love and support they have always given me. I'm grateful for parents and siblings who sometimes told me things I didn't want to hear, but spoke out of love. The warnings and lectures I've received have saved me from so much grief. I love my team and all my team mates!

Amongst so much chaos, confusion and wickedness in the world today, All I can say is repeat the words of my wise son:

"I'm so glad I have a family, otherwise I'd be really scared right now."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Book of Mormon Musical

I've been pretty fascinated with the attention the vulgar musical "The Book of Mormon" has brought to the church. I will never see it because I don't like being exposed to profanity and vulgarity. However, I truly believe what President Hinckley said about any news attention about the church can be good. Here is a copy of an email I received originally sent by Mormon actor, Michael Ballam. At the end, I've included a video of a song from this musical. I actually really like the song "I Believe." There are some funny parts that make fun of Mormons...but it's good to have a sense of humor, and in reality, it's quite moving in some ways. -Rachel

Michael Ballam on the Book of Mormon Broadway Musical

(Michael is an actor, singer and Professor of Music at USU.)

I spent the evening with Hal Prince & Sheldon & Margie Harnick last night as they were honored for their lifetime achievement in the theatre in Manhattan. Hal produced/directed Damn Yankees, Pajama Game, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, Sweeny Todd, Phantom of the Opera, etc etc. Sheldon wrote She Loves Me, Fiorello, Apple Tree, Fiddler on the Roof, etc. Sheldon and Margie were VERY offended by Book of Mormon because they didn't like the depiction that one of the Elders had never read the Book of Mormon before going out into the field. I think I am perhaps the only Mormon they know, but they are VERY protective of me! I assured them, that such a thing is VERY unlikely to happen, but it did make for an interesting dramatic scenario. (Now that I think about it, there may be more out there than we know).

There is a song called "Turn it Off" which implies that Mormons shut down their base impulses. In other words, if they have a pornography or sexuality issue, they just don't think about it, and move on to other more productive things. I know that is rather simplistic, but there is some truth to the fact that we feel in order to overcome our problems we need to block the impulses and move on to better and loftier things. They thought it made us look like unfeeling, simple folk, which we are not. Perhaps I was SO WORRIED about what might take place in that musical, I was pleasantly surprised that they made the church look like good people. I asked him what he thought the message was and he said, "Those Mormons DO believe some peculiar things, BUT they all seem to be nice and happy! So, just because you don't get it don't knock it." I'm ok with that.

The Book of Mormon Musical is such a perplexing issue. We live in a very mocking world. Our humor has degenerated to ridicule and shock value. The irony of this musical is that the information center in Manhattan has been inundated for request for Books of Mormon. Somehow, people who see the musical ask themselves, "What is it about these people that make them happy and loving?" As a result, they want to read the book. One of my friends in NYC is going out and giving away Books of Mormon outside the theatre and requesting to put them (FREE) inside the theatre. If the authors are really sincere when they say they have deep respect for the LDS church, it should not bother them.

I saw it in previews and was stunned beyond belief at how vulgar it was. I never dreamed I would live to hear such vulgarity uttered from a stage. I was numbed within minutes. I focused more attention on the audience than I did the stage trying to assess the response of those present. There were clearly defined groups. There were the South Park, young outrageous kids who were there who guffawed at every shocking obscenity (how long can you shock people before they're unshockable?), then there were the mature, Broadway devotees who had furrowed brows trying to understand WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THIS. Then there was another group I couldn't figure out. They were somewhat restrained in their reactions. At intermission I took out my pad of paper to write down some thoughts when someone from behind me said, "Brother Ballam?" I thought maybe it was the destroying angel who had come to wisk me off to an eternal punishment. It was a sweet lady with her husband who had come from Salt Lake City with 150 other Mormons to do work in the Temple. They came to check things out. During the second act THOSE were the folks I watched.

Act II is QUITE different than Act I, and the tables turn about the influence of those courageous Elders and the impact they have on the people of Uganda.

There is a baptismal scene that is riveting and the audience became VERY quiet as those dark black actors whose behavior had changed from anger and hostility to peace and joy as they came onto the stage dressed in white... it was something to see. The final statement of the musical as I read it was: Yes, some people believe some crazy things (like Jesus coming to the Americas after his crucifixion and ancient Jews leaving Jerusalem in 600 BC and crossing the sea... both ideas get a chuckle, you can tell it makes the audience think (Captain Cook...white god??? Ancient temples in meso-America, etc), but there is SOMETHING about these people that is good. They are happy and loving and forgiving. There has to be something to it. I thought it was a subtle love letter to Mormons, BUT it is in the midst of a vulgar show that could NEVER play before our audience.

The next night I sat at the opening night party of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS next to the widow of Jule Styne (who wrote FUNNY GIRL). She knows the boys who wrote B of M and said I should contact them and explain that I think it could play before an LDS audience (of which there are 14M worldwide) if it weren't vulgar. She thinks they might re-write it. We'll see. I didn't get the message that religious people are out of touch with reality, I got the message that those WONDERFUL, COURAGEOUS, CLEAN-CUT youngsters who dedicate AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE, two years of service in parts of the world for which they have no experience or tools, MATURE very quickly and develop deep love for the people they serve. I think that is the take most people had leaving the theatre.

Of course, I felt like going home and washing my mouth and ears out with soap. It has generated HUGE interest in the Mormons in Manhattan and in a positive way. The "Mormon Jokes" in it are the kind you would hear given at ward parties. We do have a sense of humor about ourselves, and yes, we are a PECULIAR people and intend to remain so. I think the church has reacted EXACTLY the right way by not protesting or showing offense. We have been good sports about it, which I think will prove important in the perception the world has for us. We ADMIT that our story is unlike any other and we make no apologies for that.

Who knows, maybe were it not for the over the top vulgarity and profanity that has come to be the hallmark of our entertainment world, that segment of the populace would never have had ANY contact with what Mormons believe or who they are. If that group goes away knowing nothing more than the fact that Mormons are all over the world trying to help and serve and hold to their unusual beliefs it might do some good.

In the meantime, we have to take the higher road and realize the power of the Book of Mormon has lasted for 2600 years and will endure for eternity...the musical will not.

Michael Ballam

"I Believe" from the Book of Mormon Musical

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Big Fat Murdock Wedding

Munro's brother, Bentley, is getting married to Michelle and had his pre-reception at the good ol' Murdock Mansion which is now owned by UVU as their Alumni Center. It was good to be back there and see all the amazing updates UVU has done to the home and relive lots of great memories.

All the Murdock kids got a great picture with Aunt Sande (Michael, Mckay, Bentley, Marriott, Munro, Melynne, Morgan, Marshall)

Beautiful Murdock nieces. Can't believe these girls around my kids ages when I met them. My how they've grown! (Emily, Lauren, Kayley)

Mason goofing off with his Murdock cousins

Classic Murdock funny face pose

So obviously it's rare to get all 9 kids with spouses and 26 grandchildren all together in one place. So naturally we had to do a big family picture which was a feat in itself just to get everyone in the right place and even trickier to get everyone to smile at the same time. I can't wait to see the finished portraits!

Cousins waiting patiently to have their pictures taken

Maile and cousin Haylee

Maile with cousin Hunter

Mosiah, Mason, Jefferson, Kainoa and Nixon

Our family pic

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Canton City Dinner Party With Bent 'n' Michelle

(post by Munro Murdock)

All the Murdock adults (that could make it) converged upon the good ol' town of Heber City for some food, fun and celebration with Bentley Murdock and Michelle Clark, Bent's fiance, the day before their Orem, Utah pre-wedding reception. Papa G & Mama Mimi reserved the semi-private party room at Canton City for our large group.

It was great to see everyone and to liven things up in the restaurant a little bit....or a lot. Bentley and Michelle entertained us with some music that they have recently recorded together, which was really cool to hear.

What is probably most impressive is that Michelle survived 20 Questions, literally, as we went around the table and each of us read our Chinese fortune and then asked Michelle any question that we wanted to. It was a great way to get to know her better and helped us all to see how lucky Bentley is.

We are excited to welcome you into the cwazy Nerdock family Michelle!