The Taggart Family -- Life, Family and Friends

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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

This blog is a record of events in the life of Joseph Taggart and his family since his spinal cord injury while body surfing in Guatemala in January 2006.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Family, Reunions and Fun

Weekend Together
The long weekend was a time spent in Summer Fun together as a family. We really enjoyed Pioneer Day. Elizabeth and the kids were here while Denny was camping in the Windriver Mountains with friends. We went to the movies and played with the kids. Friday, while Elizabeth went out to lunch with a girl friend, we all went to Thanksgiving Point. Tim and Gloria have a Grandparent Pass that makes it economical and fun to take the grandkids anytime. The kids love the dinosaurs and Joseph and Grandma and Grandpa love the kids. We even saw the Sea Monsters in 3D IMAX movie. We all enjoyed it. Ethan and Cheyenne love everything, especially digging up dinosaur bones.

Tour of the SL Valley
After the museum while Grandma took the kids home, Joseph and Tim took a tour of the new developments in the valley. First they drove through Saratoga Springs, Utah along the west side of Utah Lake. It is amazing the new development with hundreds of homes. They then drove by Eagle Mountain, ( and out to Herriman. The southwest portion of the valley is filling up with new homes and thousands of residents. The Oriquirr Mountain Temple is coming right along. It now has the Angel Moroni on the spire. After that we drove over to see how the Draper Temple was coming.

Dad had never driven up above the temple to the new Suncrest subdivison ( above the Draper Temple. It is one of the most spectacular subdivisions in memory. It is hard to imagine the millions it cost to build the roads up to the top of the mountain between the Salt Lake and Utah valleys. It is only about 15 minutes from the freeway and unbelieveable. Tim shot a SL panorama from the top. It is interesting to look down on the Draper Temple under construction.

The Draper Temple
Afterwards they drove down to the Draper temple site. The Angel Moroni is on the spire and most of the exterior is complete. They are doing landscaping and finishing work on the exterior of the spire.

Shaffer Family Reunion
Friday night and Saturday was the Dick and Dora Shaffer Family Reunion in Logan. Gloria's grandparents had 11 children who in turn had bunches of kids. It is delightful to see everyone annually. There is always good food and great company. We have it at Willow Park in Logan each year. It is great for those who like to camp overnight in tents or trailers. The Logan River runs through it and the kids love to play in the clear water.

Logan High School Class of '68 40th Reunion
Saturday was also Gloria's 40th high school reunion. (Tim's Sky View one is is a couple of weeks). Gloria managed to split her time between the family and class reunions, hitting the Ladies Tea at the Logan Reunion and lunch at the Shaffers.

Gloria was the lead in the musical "Mr. President" as a senior. She and Paul Larsen did a duet for the reunion from the Irving Berlin Score: "Empty Pockets but a Heart Full of Love".

It was fun for Gloria to sit by Debbie (Nazar) Roper and Lana (Thurston) Burr and other friends. Tim managed to enjoy it as well. Herm Olsen (the Class President) did a great media presentation to end the evening.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Real Pioneers 2008

Pioneer Day
In Utah today is a State Holiday Pioneer Day (Utah) commemorating the date when Brigham Young entered the Salt Lake Valley with the main company of Mormon Pioneers in 1847. As Latter-day Saints in Utah on Pioneer Day we think of our ancestors who were converted to the Church in it's infancy and came West with the Saints by wagon, handcart or with the Mormon Battalion march. Joseph's ancestors, including the Taggart, Lambert, Pratt, Cannon, Leavitt, Woods, Rawlins, West and other lines joined the Church in it's infancy. A couple of ancestors joined the Church only two generations ago.

This holiday we wanted to remember a few of Today's Pioneers. The ones leading their own future generations into the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We could have selected many who are our dear friends but here are three:

Sunil, Bangalore India
Sunil is the pioneer in his family, leading the way into the Gospel. He is the Material Management Supervisor for India and oversees audiovisual production in the Tamil, Telagu, and Hindi languages for India and now Urdu for Pakistan. Sunil may be the first generation in the Church but more will follow. He is highly educated, extremly intelligent, socially graceful and spiritually in tune. His impact will be felt by all the dynamic second generation of Church members in India: missionaries, seminary and institure students, YM YW and Primary children.

Kim Sang, Phnom Phen, Cambodia
Kim Sang grew up in South Vietnam and lived there until after high school. His father was imprisoned for over two years for political reasons. When he was released the family left for Cambodia. Kim Sang was selling coconuts on the streets of Phnom Phen when he met the LDS missionaries for the first time in April 1997. He was baptised that December. He was the first missionary ever called from Cambodia, serving in country from February 1999-2001. He is now employed by the Church as Materials Management Supervisor with responsibilities over Church production and distribution. He has been our audiovisual producer in Cambodia for several years. He has completed his university training, is married with three beautiful children and enjoys investing in real estate on the side.

Spiritual, warm, engaging and highly competant, he is an example of everything good that is happening in Cambodia in the last decade and a half. Both the Church and the country are in good hands with individuals like Kim Sang. The Church is growing by 25% a year in Cambodia thanks to his efforts and the other pioneers in Cambodia.

Soyolmaa, Ulaan Bataar Mongolia
Soyolmaa is the Materials Management Supervisor for Mongolia. Not only was she the first convert in her family, she was also the first missionary to serve from Mongolia. Her mission in the Utah Provo Mission had a great impact on her and she was an awesome missionary. She is a dynamic and powerful leader with responsibility for Public Affairs in addition to distribution and production of Church Materials. The audiovisual products she is responsible for are some of the finest language productions in the Church (watch Legacy in Mongolian some day, you will see). She and her husband Enkbold are a dynamic force for good in this country that is growing powerful Latter-day Saints (over 40 missionaries are currently serving from Mongolia).

Great Leaders, Saints and Pioneers
If you took any of these three out of their native land and sent them to another place or brought them here, they would still compete with the best. Their God-given gifts and talents are magnified by the Gift of the Holy Ghost and accompanied by hard work, self discipline and commitment. They are intelligent, spiritual and a lot of fun to be with. They could succeed in any area of the world.
Like those pioneer converts of early America and Europe, they have felt the Spirit and at great personal sacrifice have come to Zion. They are establishing Zion in three different areas of Asia that will see future growth like Latin America has the last couple of decades. None of these countries has a Stake or a Temple yet. But because of the efforts of these individuals and others like them the day will come, as surely as daylight breaks in the East.

It is our blessing to know these pioneers personally. Those of us in the established areas of the Church have a need to remember these great people as well as their families and the Church in their lands. We must continually pay our tithes and offerings and prepare our children and ourselves for future missions, because pioneering must continue through our generation and the generatons ahead.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Update from Utah: May 'till Now

It occurs to us that there haven't been many updates or photos on what has been happening on the home front since Joseph and Tim left for Asia on May 2nd. Also what has been happening since their return. Here's the update:

Family Scrapbook Festival
Elizabeth along with Gloria and her nieces Natalie and Jennifer and extended family met together the first week of May in an annual scrapbook getaway in Park City. It was fun and frolic for all. It included scrapbooking, karaoke, more scrapbooking, games, scrapbooking and shopping. It didn't necessarily include much sleeping.

Other Family Gatherings
The Shaffer gathering for Mother's Day was a blast at nephew Eric and Natalie's house in Roy. Gloria's family celebrated together in style with food, fun and frolic.

Elizabeth and Denny had a wedding in his family. The kids were certainly cute all dressed up. In fact the whole family looked pretty great.

Elizabeth and the grandkids helped out cleaning up the basement from the flood remodeling. We appreciate all the help from everyone. We still have most of the stuff in the garage but the basement looks wonderful.

The best part of being home for Gloria and one of the best parts of coming home for Tim and Joseph was Ethan. Cheyenne, and Gavin. They are such a delight. The celebration of Uncle Joe being home for them was having him twirl them around on his wheelchair. Gavin started crawling since we returned home. . . AWESOME. They enjoyed using Uncle Joe's giant shower while he was gone too.

Since the Traveller's Return:
Tim spent most of the 4th of July weekend continuing the fixup on the basement. He was delighted to notice how excited he was to return to work (you always wonder when you are away for so long). Lots of changes continue to happen as the Church AV Department prepares for future growth.

Wheelchair Tune-up
One of the important first stops for Joseph was taking his wheelchair in for a tune-up. He put over 600 miles on it, but the real distress was turning over to the Airlines 3 times going to Qingdao and 5 times coming home. We fried the wheelchair battery charger in China and had to have Mom order a new one, we had a loaner waiting for us when we got home. The IHC Homecare folks are great (photo right), they enjoyed Joseph's tales of wheelchair adventures in China.

Grace Idaho and Cache Valley
Last week-end Tim and Gloria went up to see Arlen Mickelson (photo on Left) in Grace Idaho. During the summers when Tim taught Seminary in Grace he worked on the farm for Arlen's father Riley and his Uncle Lawrence. Lawrence died of cancer earlier this year. While Tim was in China, Riley had an accident on the farm and was killed. Arlen and the family are doing well because of their knowledge of the Plan of Happiness. It was great to be with them. The name of the farm is the "Superview Dairy" you can see why.

On the way back we stopped in to see Gloria's parents. It was wonderful to visit with Don and Barta and her daughters Diane, and her husband Dean Kohler from Bend OR, and Marlyne and her husband Bruce Lyman from Farmington UT. It is always a treat to visit with family.

Friday: Scrapbooks, License Plates and the Frontrunner:
This weekend Gloria had the annual conference with Heartstrings Designs ( the company she sells scrapbook materials for. While she was gone on Friday Tim escaped from work and played tourist with Joseph. It was good to look around downtown SLC and see the progress on the Downtown Rising Project (the photo is of the block where the Crossroads Mall used to be)

License Plate Convention
The first event was the national convention for the Americal License Plate Collector's Assn (ALPCA or the UT chapter Joseph has been collecting for several years as mentioned in previous blogs. They had a blast at the Salt Palace gathering. There were terrific collections (note Tim's photo composite of the complete Utah collection, left) Joseph's collections include international plates (on his bedroom wall) all states for the year 1981 (his birthyear. . . he is missing several) and a collection of handicapped plates (about half the states so far). Also a pretty good collection of specialty Utah plates. Joseph found some good ones (photo on right) including Japan (1957) The Isle of Man for Dad (ancestors from there), Czech Republic, Switzerland and an awesome Air Force plate from Indonesia with brass insignia and numbers.

Chinese Lunch
We jumped on TRAX and met Tim's AV section for lunch. They were celebrating Dee Francke's birthday (their wonderful Church Service Missionary, photo on left) at a new and excellent Chinese restaurant (Hong Kong Tea House & Restaurant ). David Morris brought along his family's guest visiting from Colombia, Sofia Robinson (photo on right). She was a young child when David and his companion taught and baptized her family. Their conversion is a great story of a Colombian mother praying the missionaries to her grown sons and their families.
The Train, The Train
After lunch Joseph and Tim took TRAX the new rail hub to ride the new UTA Frontrunner. Their trip was delightful. They met a group of nearly twenty Senior Citizens from Ogden who rode the train to SLC, took TRAX to The Gateway for lunch and were returning to Ogden. This game of tourist in your own backyard is great. The Frontrunner lives up to all the positive hype, smooth comfortable and reasonably priced. It was a fun outing. We never supposed you could see a horse stable in downtown SLC with the Capitol Building and the Church Office Building in the background.

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