25 February 2008

Nútíma Vík (Modern-day Vík)

A friend sent me this modern-day picture of Vík recently. It was taken in June of 2006. In one of my early posts I posted a picture that I had taken of Vík twenty years earlier in 1986 from a different vantage point. I love this newer picture, again because it was taken from a spot where few people photograph the town with the church on the hill. I love the shadows in the foreground with the cloudy top part of the photo being fully half of the shot. I could have a summer home there and never get tired of it. The quiet with the waves and black sand beach and the endless individual flights of the birds in the cliffs off to the right and out of the picture.

There is a lot to be said for small þórps like Vík.

22 February 2008

Skeljar (sea shells)

I don't recall ever seeing seashells while I was a missionary in Iceland back in the mid eighties. I went to the beach with my companions a few times, but it was never to get in the water, of course. We weren't supposed to get into the water. It was too cold anyway, so that was okay. But then in 2004 when I went the second time to Iceland, I spent a little time walking along the shores of the Westmann Islands off the southern coast of Iceland. The main island isn't that big so there weren't a whole lot of places to stop and see the sea, so to speak. One of the beaches had a bunch of little shells strewn all over it like in this picture. I got this picture from a missionary couple who lived in Reykjavík there in 2006 and took the picture sometime while serving there for 18 months. I don't know what beach it was from though. To me it looks just like the one I walked along when I was there in 2004.

I spent part of my early years growing up in Florida. We would go to the beaches on occasion and see lots of different kinds of shells. But they were never like these. If you look closely at these, you will notice that most look "thick". I brought a few home and added them to the aquariums I had who's occupants lived in much warmer waters than these shells came from. It made sense to me that these shells would have to be thicker in Icelandic waters to keep out the cold when compared to the Florida water shells which often seemed so delicate and thin.

After having collected a number of these shells to take home, I began to think of how similar most Icelanders had been to these shells. Most had a pretty thick shell and were trying to keep warm in a land that had been cold spiritually for a very long time. Trying to break through those shells was hard when the people had spent so much time growing them so thickly. But on occasion, one or more would come out of their shells on their own and gladly feed on the spiritual food that was being provided. Those were the people and the experiences which kept us warm as missionaries as well.

20 February 2008

Sandurinn Minn (My sand)

I spent all of my really formative years in St. George, Utah. I went through junior high and high school there--and liked it. I grew up with these kinds of white, yellow and red sandstone rocks. On the west and east sides of the city there are mountains which are covered in black lava boulders. The north of the city has the orange and red type of sandstone.

That was my kind of countryside. We would go to the Snow Canyon Sand Dunes, before the whole place was declared a national park and you had to pay to get in, and play in the sand dunes and hike on the wild rock formations. There were a few extinct volcano craters not to far out of town and to the northwest. No matter where I go in the world now, these dark red sandstone cliffs make me feel like I'm home.

I never saw anything in St. George anything like these next few pictures.
I can't imagine playing in black sand dunes....

Kross Beach.

09 February 2008


Ég verð að segja að ég er meira en dálítinn spenntur við að geta farið aftur til Íslands á fyrsta mars. Ég hef aðeins getað farið til baka einu sinni síðan ég kom heim í fyrsta sinn frá trúboði mínu í 1986. Nú fæ ég að fara til baka í 2008. Fyrst hugsaði ég bara um að sjá meira af landinu og taka margar fleiri myndir. En nú, eftir að hafa haft meiri tíma til að hugsa um ferðina, vil ég bara hjálpa trúboðunum, ef þeir vilja fá hjálp mína. Ég man eftir tíma þegar ég var trúboði þar þegar maður einn kom til Íslands sem hafði verið trúboði áður. Við vissum ekki hvernig að haga okkur meðan hann var hjá okkur. Við vissum ekki hvort hann ætlaði að koma til okkar til að segja okkur hvað við áttum að vera að gera í verkið. Kannski eru trúboðarnir að hugsa að ég ætla að koma til þeirra og gera það sama. Nei. Ég vil bara gera það sem mun hjálpa þeim gera verk sitt þar. Ég hef ekki verið kallaður (núna) til að prédika eða stjórna verkið. Ég mun hlusta fyrst of fremst, og hjálpa ef ég get á eftir.

07 February 2008

Ég er í raun að fara aftur! (I'm really going again!)

I am really going again! I bought a plane ticket today. On March 1st I fly from Salt Lake City to Boston, and then from there straight to the Keflavík airport in Iceland. I arrive early on Sunday, the 2nd, just in time to clean up and go to church in Reykjavík with the Icelanders. I expect the view could look something like this first picture, but likely with a little less snow over the whole island--and not from so high up. We'll be staying the first night at the Sunna Guesthouse--inexpensive and clean. I haven't stayed there before, but the senior couple there now, the Wohlgemuths, use it for all the guests and church members who come to visit.

I hope to spend some time with each of the six missionaries who are there right now. Their names are Elders Teodoro, Lyon, Redford, Brockmann, Higgins and Soelberg. This is a picture of the six of them with the Wohlgemuths who help to lead them while there. They are all standing in the same apartment that all the senior couples have used since almost the beginning with the first couple, the Geslisons. I stood in this same room many times over twenty years ago.

Church with the members. A fireside that night put on by my traveling companion, Fred Woods. Lecture at the University of Iceland the next day. Visit with the missionaries. Travel around the hringbraut to take pictures and record oral interviews with people along the way about what they know about the Mormons. Good weather hopefully. Mun vera afar ágæt til að ganga um göturnar og landið þar aftur!

04 February 2008

Reykjavík frá loftinu (Reykjavik from the air)

Reykjavík from the air. Recently I was surfing the net trying to find some photos of Reykjavík and other places in Iceland that were not the normal, everyday pictures that seem to pop up when the average tourist shows you their pictures from their one and only trip to the island. Most of the time you will see shots like the shots taken from each of the four sides of the bell tower in Hallgrímskirkja. I get tired of seeing those whenever I see a collection of shots from a trip there.
This first picture was taken from the air--as were all of the photos in this particular blog entry--and shows downtown Reykjavík with tjörnin, part of Esja and a good deal of area 101. The apartment I lived in for four months or so of my time in Iceland back in 1985 is in this photo and just behind fríkirkjan to the right of the pond.
Another nice shot, which I am betting was taken in July. No tourist would come home with this shot. I don't think I every realized before seeing this picture how much of a landmark Hallgrímskirkja truly is. This picture seems to show how fully it dominates the landscape in all directions.

This is one of those ubiquitous shots that I must admit came from my camera in the bell tower of Hallgrímskirkja.
But I redeem myself with this one, from a similar spot in the air as the previous air shot, but in winter. Still quite beautiful....No matter how you look at it, Reykjavík is a city of unique and breathtaking beauty.

Seeing the city from this perspective helps a person to appreciate it in ways that are not possible from the ground. My dad would employ an "eagle vs. duck" example about now and he would be right. I'll let you think about that one.

02 February 2008

Úr bygging minni (Outside my building)

Outside my building. In the last year and a half since I've gotten a digital camera I've been taking pictures everywhere. The freedom to take pictures of anything and everything I want did not exist when I was in Iceland in 1985. I still took tons of photos, but was always conscious of how much it was going to cost to develop the film and had to factor that cost in. I am glad to have seen the day where digital cameras are available to almost anyone.

This first picture is what you see right when you come out of my office and into the parking lot of the administration building at BYU. Some late February 2007 shots as the trees are just starting to bud with the bell tower in the left of the picture. The next few shots were taken looking further to the right down thisWasatch Mountain Range. This is what the students see as they go from class to class during the year. We have very unique and memorable mountains.

If you look out the second floor conference room window during a summer rain storm, this next picture is what you would see.
If you look the opposite direction out the back doors of the administration building into the heart of campus at BYU on a rainy summer day, this is what you would see. Definitely not a depressing environment to work in.