Saturday, December 31, 2011


On this last day of 2011, I've been doing some thinking and a bit of reminiscing...

A friend asked me awhile back if I was happy living where I am. I answered that I was content. After thinking about it, I don't know that content was the right word.

I enjoy the association with coworkers and friends that I never would have known without this experience. I am grateful for all that living and working here has brought me over the past decade and a half.  But as I thought back over that word - content - I realized there are different meanings that can be drawn simply by it's context.  It dawned on me that merely being content isn't good enough if it keeps one stuck in a rut, tied firmly and inextricably to the status quo. I guess maybe I should have said that I am not unhappy with my life as it currently is.

Still, like anyone, I do not know what the future holds in store for me. Perhaps what it holds is more of the same - staying where I am and continuing on. But, if what is on the horizon is something different, something new, then I hope that I am never just willing to settle for something I know simply because it is comfortable or familiar rather than taking a risk on something that is better for me.

I hope I have the courage to go wherever I am meant to go and do whatever I am meant to do.

Thinking back, it feels some days that I have lived a lot of my life playing things safe, willing to sit on the sidelines, blending into the background.  I'm not sure that's much of a way to live life. And - while that doesn't mean I'll be taking up bungee jumping or sky-diving anytime soon - it does mean that perhaps I need to be willing to go out on a limb more... Maybe the time has come to stop "sitting and puttering"... 

Here's to a 2012 filled with all the wonders a new year can hold...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Nativity story... family style...

As part of our family party this Christmas the grandkids took part in a re-enactment of the story of the first Christmas...

Winter Wonderland.... December 2011 edition

This is the winter wonderland my parents put up every year. I hope you enjoy it. 
The music is: That Spirit of Christmas - Dustin Christensen

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Life Through My Lens - Solitary wishes....

Somewhere along a dusty road in the vast desert expanse sits a lone tree...

I can't remember the first time I noticed this tree along the side of Highway 6, but nearly every year without fail it appears. I have no idea who provides it or why this desolate spot was chosen. I don't know if other travelers passing by feel the same sense of gratitude for the mysterious benefactor who brightens up this long stretch of highway. I do know that it never fails to leave me with a smile.

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Christmas day has come once again and with it comes thoughts of home and family and friends. Memories of Christmases past mingle with the present as the day passes on. Memories of joys shared, burdens of grief lifted, and bonds of family and friendship renewed. Earlier this month I mentioned in a post that there are times when the Christmas spirit can prove elusive. There are moments I still feel that way. Still, how grateful I am for the reason we celebrate the season. That the birth of one little child more than two millenia ago paved the way for all of us to come and live our lives, imperfect though they are. I have indeed been blessed with many gifts this Christmas... the gift of family... the gift of friendship... the gift of time shared... and so many more.

A friend recently introduced me to the book A Return to Christmas by Chris Heimerdinger. As I was finishing preparing for church this morning I put the audio of the book on to play. I had only a few chapters left, and I wanted to finish it today, on Christmas. It is a story that encompasses so many of the things I've addressed in this post, how sometimes the true meaning of Christmas can be lost, through tragedy or grief, through ingratitude and taking for granted things we are blessed with. And how, sometimes, circumstances can bring us back to a realization of what this day is truly about - love, unrestrained from our Father and Elder Brother - for ALL of us, through everything we may pass.

May this Christmas be one of peace and comfort to you as we remember the ultimate gift of Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas poems...

For the last several years I have written poems for Christmas and given them to family and friends. They are not fancy or particularly fine, but some people seem to like them, so I thought I might share a few here. If you like them and want to share them, great... if not, that's okay too... :-) As I find a few more I'll share them as well....

 (If you do like or share them, feel free to leave a comment... yeah... guess I'm kind of needy that way... lol)

It’s the time of the year when we all gather ‘round
To sing well-known carols with a sweet, joyful sound

We give to our families, our neighbors, our friends
It’s the one time of year that we hope never ends

We hear stories of reindeer and elves and a sleigh
With a jolly old man who gives gifts away

But the story that makes the whole season so dear
Is the story of a child who would help conquer fear

It’s the story of angels and shepherds on a night
When a star in the heavens shone oh so bright

With a manger and stable and swaddling bands
The child was held in Mary’s gentle hands

With Joseph at watch through the night dark and deep
The child slumbered calmly in Heavenly peace

And that’s what is special about that long ago night
When Heaven came to Earth - what a glorious sight  

At this Holiday time comes my wish for us all
For a world full of love, peace, and  kindness for all

 - Melinda Durrant
   December 2009

We know that gifts aren't only found
Wrapped beneath a tree
There are things we give each other
The world just cannot see

Like the gift of time that's given
Through a visit to a friend
Or the sense that someone cares
As a listening ear we lend

There are gifts of home and family
That money cannot buy
And we know that if we need a hand
On our friends we can rely

There are gifts of hope and comfort
Given freely from the heart
It's these gifts we give each other
That set us all apart

So thank you all for sharing
Your homes and families, too
A hope for peace and happiness
Is our special wish for you

           Melinda L. Durrant
                 December 2008

It’s Christmas

When Mary, fair, brings forth her newborn child
When Joseph watches humble, meek and mild
It’s Christmas

When a new star shines its light upon the earth
When shepherds keeping watch rejoice His birth
It’s Christmas

When with joy the heavenly choirs of angels sing
When Wise Men gifts of priceless value bring
It’s Christmas

When a stranger stops to lend a helping hand
When goodwill to all is spread throughout the land
It’s Christmas

When the sound of children’s laughter fills the air
When the world is filled with joy and not despair
It’s Christmas

When we gather with our friends and family near
When we share our love and hope for the new year
It’s Christmas

For Christmas comes this once a year to show
The love our Father sends so all will know
It’s Christmas

By: Melinda L. Durrant
December 2008

We celebrate the Savior's birth
Born with men to live on Earth

Our Heavenly Father's gift of love
Sent to Earth from Heaven above

The greatest gift that we can do
Is serve our neighbors - me and  you

The Light of Christmas shines so bright
Through gifts of service day and night

That special feeling in the air
That shows each person that we care

May Christmas fill your heart with peace
May love and goodwill never cease

Melinda L. Durrant
December 2006

Santa Claus is on his way
With all his reindeer and his sleigh

The elves have worked so hard all year
To bring each child some Christmas cheer

The list was checked – first once…then twice
To see who’s naughty and who’s nice

He’s loaded up his magic sack
With dolls and trucks and trains on tracks

A whistle to his four-legged crew
Begins his yearly trip anew

To spread the smiles and love and joy
With every little girl and boy

Melinda L. Durrant
December 2006

Christmas time has come again
With hopes for peace among all men

Little ones hurry with holiday glee
As they gather to sit on Santa Claus' knee

The sweet sound of carols ring through the street
As loved ones and neighbors and friends gladly meet

Exchanging best wishes and holiday cheer
Remembering fondly the fast fading year

Reflecting again on the ultimate reason
We join together to honor the season

For one baby born long ago, far away
Changed the whole world on that First Christmas Day

Mary and Joseph held the child so dear
While Angels and Shepherds and Wise Men were near

As the Father sent down his Gift from above
Bringing Hope to the world through his Infinite Love

Melinda Durrant
December 2005

T h i s   t i m e   o f   y e a r 
 S e e m s   t o   b r i n g 
 A   m a g i c   t o u c h 
 T o   e v e r y t h i n g 

 T h e   f r o s t y   a i r 
 T h e   f r o z e n   t o e s 
 T h e   f i r e ' s   w a r m t h 
 T h e   c a n d l e s '   g l o w 

 W i t h   q u i e t   a c t s 
 O f   k i n d n e s s   s h o w n 
 O u r   h e a r t s   a r e   c h e e r e d 
 O u r   h o p e s   h a v e   g r o w n 

 G o o d   f r i e n d s   a n d   f a m i l y 
 G a t h e r i n g   ' r o u n d 
 V o i c e s   r a i s e 
 I n   j o y f u l   s o u n d 

 W e   c e l e b r a t e 
 T h e   I n f a n t ' s   b i r t h 
 T h e   S o n   o f   G o d 
 C o m e   t o   E a r t h 

   -   M e l i n d a   L .   D u r r a n t 
 D e c e m b e r   2 0 0 3

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Life Through My Lens - Not forgotten...

On Saturday I had the chance to attend The Forgotten Carols with some very good friends.

For those who are unfamiliar with the story I'll share the general idea behind the Carols. The premise, according to the show's creator, was to think of the Christmas story from the perspective of those who may have missed out on the wondrous event. People like the innkeeper who turned the Holy Family away, a sleeping shepherd who missed the herald angels, an angel who could not sing in the heavenly choir, and so on. What are their carols?

While there are powerful messages in many of the "forgotten" carols there are a couple that never cease to move me. I Cannot Find My Way is one of them. This song puts into words the feelings that so many of us have felt at one time or another, perhaps may still be feeling. With so many different choices and voices, how can we know which is the right one? On stage there is powerful imagery as one by one the choir stands and faces different directions as if they truly are lost and trying to "find their way..." until the entire choir is standing and pleading, "Lord, help us find our way back home..." 

It also got me to wondering what my carol would be?

Toward the end of the performance, after the actors have left the stage and we are left with the creator of The Forgotten Carols, Michael McLean, who sits down at a piano and simply starts playing Together, Forever a song that reminds us that though we may be far from those we love through distance or hardship or even death, there is hope of seeing them once again - someday.  What better time to remind us than at Christmas, when He who passed below all things was born.

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Village....

Everyone has traditions around this time of year. One of the traditions in my family is a Christmas village that begins to take shape the day after Thanksgiving. It has grown from a tiny village placed underneath the Christmas tree to a metropolis that takes up nearly two rooms in my parent's home. I thought I'd share a little preview with you...
If you happen to be in the neighborhood this year, they'd love to have you drop by and share in our holiday tradition. 

(It changes and grows a little every year though, so what you see may be a little different... but still pretty darn impressive. )

(This is from last year's village... :-) Haven't had a chance to update it for this year yet... )

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Secret of Christmas...

A friend recently wrote an entry on his blog that struck a cord with me. It is a gentle reminder of what this time of year is truly about.

I must admit that - though I love Christmas - this year it has been hard to feel the Spirit of the Season.  In all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season sometimes it is easy to forget that the greatest gift of all was not bought at Walmart or Macy's or even Sak's Fifth Avenue but was delivered in a humble stable. It didn't come wrapped in ribbons and paper, but in swaddling clothes instead. It was not placed in layers of velvet or silk, but in a manger filled with hay.

When I was younger, I remember learning a song for a Christmas program that expresses so succinctly much of what I feel about this time of year.

"The secret of Christmas is not the things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do all year through...."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Life Through My Lens - Shadow and light...

I've noticed that life is a lot like the image I captured in these photos, full of shadow and light. Some days it seems as though the shadows will overpower what little light there is. And yet, there are days when the opposite is true, when the world seems full of optimism and hope. I guess the key is knowing that it is the balance of light and shadow that create the mosaic that is life.

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living

And don't forget to check out :


Both are great sites by a master teacher, brilliant photographer, and good friend.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Life Through My Lens - Traveling...

Let me be a free man - free to travel, free to stop, free to work. - Chief Joseph

It seems that lately I have been on the road quite a bit traveling from one meeting or conference to another. Sadly, no exotic locations have surfaced as spots for these meetings - no grand cities or breathtaking forests. Still, I see an awesome sort of grandeur in many of my surroundings as I travel...

Maybe someday I'll make it to those exotic places... but for now... this is enough....

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living

Thursday, November 24, 2011


At this time of year there are so many things I am thankful for...

A loving family...

Wonderful friends... both old and new...

A rewarding career working with great people and children filled with boundless potential...

A ruggedly beautiful place I call home...

It's the small and simple things that mean so very much.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Today I was stunned and saddened to hear that my cousin Brady had passed away. It is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that someone so vibrant, so full of life, love, and good cheer is suddenly gone. I remember family parties where he would crack jokes, tease, and make sure everyone had a smile on their face before the celebration was through. He was in so many ways his father's son. Uncle Darvel had that same talent for making you feel happy, involved, loved.

I remember sitting at ball games while I was attending college in Logan listening to my uncle Darvel and my Grandpa Durrant cheer (and sometimes harangue... lol) Brady and the other cousins and friends who played on their teams. (Though it must be said, many of my uncle and grandpa's diatribes were against officials who couldn't seem to make the right calls when it came to "the boys"... lol)

As time passed and circumstances changed, my association with my cousin faded to the occasional family party or activity. I am sad to say that I did not know Brady as well as I would have liked to in the past few years. That doesn't change the fact that I love my cousin Brady and will miss his smile and laugh.

I don't know why he was taken with so much of his life ahead of him. I cannot claim to understand the reasoning why some are left to linger and others not. I believe in my heart that when he left this mortal sphere his dad, grandparents, niece and nephew, and countless others were there to welcome him home.

It is now, we, those who remain, who must pick up the pieces, finding meaning and purpose and go on.

These things I know:
Life is precious.
Time is fleeting.
Love is eternal.

A few of "Sharon's Boys"
Curtis Hendricks, Tony LeFevre, Brady Durrant
Sharon Durrant

Monday, November 21, 2011

Life Through My Lens - Mighty mountaineers....

The spirit of adventure seems to start young and stay with us as we grow older. I captured these shots on an outing with family. The day was perfect for exploring...

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living