Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays

What a wonderful Holiday season so far!

For the month of December we have attended:

  • the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert at the Conference Center

  • Hale Theater's production of "A Christmas Carol"

  • the annual Paulsen Norwegian Christmas Eve celebration at the Roberts' (featuring a visit from Santa)

  • the annual Riggs breakfast at Grandpa Riggs', (featuring a visit from the Hesses)

  • food and games at the Cholodowskis

This will soon be followed by outdoor fun in the snow (1 foot so far in Sandy!), games, movies, and more food.

But the greatest moments of all have come when we have been gathered as family and how we have seen our children embrace the spirit of our Savior Jesus Christ by reaching out in love and service to all those around them. Thanks to all who have made this season so great so far.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dean Gull

Orland Dean Gull passed away on November 28 in St. George. He was the husband of Helen Judd Gull, Cleo Judd Riggs' late sister. (Cleo is Robin's mother). He had been battling cancer. Trish and Robin went to the funeral last Wednesday in St. George. Dean and Helen had 11 children and Robin got re-acquainted with a lot of cousins.
It was a wonderful service, full of stories of faith and fun. The stories were mostly about the Gulls growing up in St. George and surrounding areas. Theirs is a family of well-grounded Latter-day Saints, who love to gather as a family (they had an annual family reunion at which they mostly camped out), love to deer hunt, love their Church, and love each other.
Here's the link to Dean's obituary in the St. George Spectrum:

Monday, December 1, 2008

There Is Still Time, Dad!

Trish and I sent Dad Riggs a copy of an article from the Church News about a 114-year-old woman who was baptized in Ghana at the age of 108! She went to the temple at the age of 110!

There's still time, Dad!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Trish was published in Church News last week!

Our beloved wife and mother, Patricia, was published in the LDS Church News last Saturday. She wrote a small piece for the weekly feature called "Living by the Scriptures." The scripture she wrote about is 1 Peter 4:12-13, which reads: "Beloved, think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." The full text of her article is here:,1721,505006992,00.html

I love how Trish always leads by example. I am grateful for her love and faith, but especially that she loves her Heavenly Father more than anything. I am blessed to be part of her life!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Legal Rights for Gays and Lesbians in Utah?

The gay marriage issue has taken a decidedly different tone here in Utah, at least in one aspect. The leaders of the pro gay marriage group here, called "Equality Utah," has taken statements made by LDS Church leaders at face value: that the church is not anti gay and has no real problem with legal protections for gay men and lesbians who are together without being married. So, the group has asked the LDS Church here to help pass a series of bills that would expand legal rights for gay and lesbian couples in Utah. The speculation on the political inside is that this could go either way. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

From Cumorah's Hill

This past week, on Thursday October 23 and twice yesterday, the 25th, our stake youth performed Steven Kapp Perry's "From Cumorah's Hill." It is a wonderful and inspirational testament to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and its message to the people of our day. Our youth had been working on this production for well over two months. Rehearsals were first held weekly at each Mutual night. As the performance dates approached, rehearsals were added on Saturdays. Then this past week they were held each night.

The performances were held at the Bountiful Regional Center of the Church (the former Valley Music Hall). Ironically, we had to hold it there because the other venues in Sandy were either booked or too expensive. The work is a mix of music and the spoken word with a little dance thrown in. The costumes were first rate and came from the official pageant properties of the Church in Salt Lake.

We were particularly proud of our Peter, who had a small solo singing part toward the end of the performance. Peter and Parry were both also in the chorus. Our nephew Chandler Paulsen also had a role and got to wear a cool costume for it.

All the local Paulsens attended one or more of the performances. Dad Riggs was also in attendance on Saturday night. We thank you all for coming! It was a very spiritual and touching event.

Click on the heading of this entry to go to a website to download the music. My favorite song from "From Cumorah's Hill" is "Great Things and Small Things." I got to sing it with our ward youth in Sacrament meeting on Sunday in a combined youth and adult choir. It was wonderful!

After having seen our youth at their best, I have a lot fewer worries about the future of our country.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dancing with the Stars

I knew this election was getting weird, but this is ridiculous . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Straight Talk on the Economic Crisis

Orson Scott Card, famous award-winning science fiction writer and Mormon, has written a very insightful and to-the-point article about the fundamental failure of our media to get the story of the economic crisis correct. I believe he is spot on. Click on the heading of this entry to link to his article.

BTW, he is a life long Democrat, lest anyone think he is writing as a Republican political hack.

Haunted Village

Continuing our Halloween theme over UEA weekend, we went to the Haunted Village up at This is the Place Heritage Park last Saturday night. It was very well done! It was so scary that while we started with Erik and Lenice and their family, after just the first encounter Ellie and all the Paulsens except Lenice and Chandler left and went home with Erik - it was just too intense for them.

The whole thing is like an outdoor spook alley. You start at Brigham Young's home then wander on marked trails through stands of trees and cornfields and through most of the pioneer-era buidings. It takes about 45 minutes to walk through it all. In every venue there is a very scary character who says strange and scary things and/or jumps out at you or approaches you on the trail. Most of the characters wore the obligatory white death-like makeup and played like they were dead or zombies or something like it. At one point we got some comic relief from a character dressed up to look like and who talked like Beetlejuice, from the movie of the same name. Other comic relief came from Parry, who carried on a running commentary throughout, mainly to keep himself from being too scared, kind of like whistling in a graveyard. It may have helped some get through it but it was mostly annoying.

Anyway, we highly recommend it to anyone who likes being scared. Be warned: there is no blood or gore but a lot of startling jumping out by scary looking characters. Not for anyone under 12.

Friday, October 17, 2008


The family attended a great little dinner / musical theater event last night called "Witch-a-Palooza" at the Gardner Village in Midvale. What a treat! The entertainment was a great little band of witches and warlocks, including my good friend and Sterling Singers leader, Kelly DeHaan, on piano, Merrilee Webb on keyboards, and Clive Romney (of Enoch Train) on guitar. The plot (such as it is) involves a lovelorn warlock (played by Kelly) reliving in flashback mode all his prior loves. The time travel journey features music from prior decades: the 60's all the way through today. There are a lot of witches who wander through the audience getting patrons to get up and dance. Trish and Ellie both actively participated in this part of the fun while the menfolk stayed seated at the table. It was all a lot of fun. I would recommend it to anyone.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Slippery Slope of Gay "Marriage"

In the efforts of the LDS Church to fight for passage of Proposition 8 in California I note a greater sense of urgency than just taking a political stand. As soon as we begin to allow the government to define a religious ordinance (such as marriage), then we are on a slippery slope to allowing the government to continue to place restrictions on other ordinances and practices. Before you know it, the tax exempt status of the LDS Church will be forfeit the first time an LDS bishop refuses to perform a gay marriage.

Remember, marriage was a religious ritual long before it was subject to state licensure. If we allow marriage to be nothing more significant than a license to sell real estate, then we are not far from having the government tell us what we can and cannot do within the walls of our own chapels, what we can and cannot teach in Sunday School, and what marriages we can and cannot perform within the walls of our temples.

Think about that.

Some great thoughts on the matter were posted by my nephew, Clayton Hess, on his blog yesterday, here:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ruby & Annie's Halloween

We are coming up on Ruby and Annie's first Halloween where they will understand candy, even if they don't know the reason for dress up. JP and Peter found these fun lion costumes for the girls at the Deseret Industries(!)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

General Conference w/ the Riggses and Hesses

What a wonderful conference we just had!

We got tickets to attend the Saturday morning session at the Conference Center and just as we were walking in I heard a voice yell, "Robin!" I turned and it was Jayson Hess with his lovely wife Celeste, sitting there with Zachary Hess, a couple of rows away from our seats. We chatted a while and then invited Zach to attend the priesthood session with Robin and his Riggs nephews, Micah and Matthew, that night down in Utah County. He agreed.

Conference started off with a bang, of course, when President Monson announced five new temples! The crowd "ooohed" when he announced the one for Rome (I am not sure why). I was more interested in the one slated for Kansas City, which is Clay County, Jackson County, Liberty, and Independence, Missouri. I was also pleased to hear about the one in Philly. I am convinced that the growth of the Chucrh is really going to get moving again in the big eastern cities and in Europe. The Lord has said many times that gathering occurs in stages. For example, the British Isles in the early days of the Church provided the foundational populations for the growth of the Church, followed by more immigrants from Europe. After a few generations of strengthening those peoples, then came the Latin American nations. After that, Africa. Then I think we will see Asia, and then a second round of growth in Europe.

The rest of the Saturday conference talks were magnificent. Elder Perry's reference to Thoreau and Walden Pond were a perfect way to emphasize the importance of simplifying our lives. Being a ward mission leader I was particularly thrilled by Sister Allred's emphasis on missionary work. I loved Elder Andersen's talk about knowdelge and whether it "is enough." Elder Oaks was superb, as usual, in his discussion about the Sacrament. That afternoon we vowed to follow Elder Wirthlin's counsel and fill our lives with more laughter. Elder Bednar's talk on prayer was hugely insightful. I also loved President Uchtdorf's remarks on hope and then on service at the priesthood session ("lift where you stand").

After priesthood we gathered at Micah and Amanda's for ice cream and then took Zach back to Jayson's apartment, where he was stayig the rest of the weekend.

Sunday's conference was every bit as good as Saturday's. We especially enjoyed President Eyring, Elder Ballard, Sister Dalton, Elder Nelson, President Packer, Brother Oswald, and Elder Cook.

It was a great conference weekend.

Blind Faith

Obama asks the nation to take on faith that he will somehow become something completely different than the machine pol he has been throughout his brief political career. Meanwhile, he also asks voters to take on faith that John McCain will somehow become a carbon copy of George Bush despite a decades-long history of fighting wasteful spending. He wants Americans to take on faith that he has the superior judgment to solve our financial crisis, to lead us in time of war. At the same time, he asks them to forget that some of the same people who drove Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae into the ground were advising him on his campaign and that John McCain got the surge right and he got it completely wrong.

You decide.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sarah Palin

There is a definite buzz about the new Vice Presidential nominee for the Republican Party – Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska. I had first heard of her some months ago through my “insider” Republican contacts. After looking at her record and her political principles, I have become more and more impressed. She is real. As Trish says, she seems to be like one of us: a hard-working parent who loves her country and wants to make life better for her kids and her neighbors. I have never been this energized by a VP pick – ever! It is an amazing political turn of events that I had not anticipated this year. Now I will definitely vote for the McCain-Palin ticket without hesitation. But is she ready to be President if McCain dies? Absolutely yes! She has the character, the principled convictions, the intelligence, and the work ethic to be successful. Furthermore, I believe that a short-term governor (Palin has been governor for about two years) is a better fit for the office than a short-term senator (Obama has been in the Senate for about four years) who only has 140 working days to his credit in that body. For those who believe that you need more “experience” I respond that I would rather have someone with true character and a principled outlook than somebody who has been part of the Washington problem for over 30 years (like Biden).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cabo, the Freedom Festival, the Sound of Music, and Service

A lot has gone on since we last posted.

We spent the week of June 14 thru 21 in Cabo San Lucas. It was a blast!

We left the little ones at home with friends and family but took our older kids. We participated in a lot of things – beach, three swimming pools at our resort:

They had great restaurants at the resort and in town, parasailing, snorkeling, boating, big waves on the Pacific side, watching Tiger in that incredible U.S. Open and the Lakers get beat by the Celtics on the big screen in the hotel lounge, hangin’ with Aunt Andrea, swimming with the dolphins, timeshare presentations (three!), and buying stone figures, pewter, blown glass, and all sorts of trinkets. Everyone really enjoyed themselves.

The weather was perfect and the scenery was breathless. The famous Cabo Arch featured in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films is there.

Next time, though, I want to go deep-sea fishing, one thing for which Cabo is famous.

Great hospitality great people, great accommodations. It was all fantastic! I would recommend Cabo to anyone.

I golfed four times in a three week period: the Salt Lake Chamber Tournament at the Salt Lake Country Club, the DAI Tournament at Talons Cove, with the local full-time missionaries at the Old Mill (on their P-Day, of course), and at the Orrin Hatch Tournament at Wasatch. I love my job!

For the Fourth of July Trish and her friend Georgia Fairbanks attended the Freedom Festival Fireside at BYU’s Marriott Center the Sunday before the holiday. It featured Glenn Beck and Michael Ballam. She really enjoyed it. On the Fourth, and after a wonderful swim party at the Roberts’ home, Trish and I went to the Freedom Festival itself. After nearly two hours in traffic only a mile away from Cougar Stadium, we finally got in. Then, surrounded by thousands of screaming 10-year-old girls, we were witness to the phenomenon known as Miley Cyrus. I must always remember: she is a popstar, not a singer! The tribute to patriots and heroes was very nice and the fireworks were great. Blue Man Group was also good. The best moment, however, was during a live satellite feed between three Utah National Guard members stationed in Iraq and their families at the stadium. At the end, the last soldier said that he wanted to pay tribute to the fans there in Provo and then proceeded to hold up a Utah Utes basketball jersey for the camera. Priceless!

Last week we witnessed the debut of our own Lars Paulsen on the Herriman stage as Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.” And Ana Paulsen played the part of Gretl. They were both wonderful!! I still don’t get why Lars and the lead actress playing Maria never kissed on stage.

There has been a lot more we could talk about - a hike at Snowbird with Annie and Ruby, Aunt Christine’s 80th birthday party, "The Curious Savage" at Hale Theater, Peter at Scout Camp at Bear Lake Aquatics all week, our ward high priests social, the Brockbanks over for a BBQ at our house, Youth Conference this week for Parry, Peter speaking in Church yesterday, our family providing the Sacrament services at the Sunrise Assisted Living Center – but there just isn’t time. As you can see, life is busy at the Riggs household!

One thing more - we are going to incorporate a lot more service into our family schedules. So any suggestions for good family service projects wouldbe greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


It has been a while since we last posted here. Here are some updates.

Ellie just finished her dance season with two wonderful recitals last week. She is really an elegant and creative dancer. The instructor lets the girls choreograph some of their own dances and Ellie's dances were magnificent! We are so proud of her!

Peter had his final choir concert at Eastmont Middle School last week. It was very well done. Peter is a very talented singer and actor and wants to audition for some plays this summer and next year. He has already been in "Music Man Jr.," "Seussical," and "High School Musical Jr." We take him as often as we can to see his cousins perform, too. We saw one cousin, Abby Paulsen, in the just-finished run of "Annie Get Your Gun" at the Hale Theatre. We also saw her in the Olympus High School version of "Sound of Music earlier this year. And we can't wait to take Peter to any Young Ambassador performances we can find, since another cousin, Zachary Hess, just became a member as an incoming freshman at BYU. We think Peter will love will love this summer.

Parry got straight A's the last quarter! He had been struggling with his heavy academic load this year but he really came through in the clutch at the end. Way to go, J.P!

Trish and I went down to BYU to see the Minerva Teichert exhibit. What a wonderful artist! Her paintings are so expressive. They present a different perspective on LDS culture and history that we really enjoyed. Whenever you get a chance go see her paintings.

School is over on Wednesday and we are hosting the annual neighborhood party for all the elementary school kids in our area. We will be having a water slide, and big bouncing rubber animal of some kind, our trampoline and swing set, plus hot dogs. All the neighbor kids look forward to it every year.

During the past month I have begun writing a book with a friend of mine from the Leavitt days, Greg Jarrard. It is historical fiction set during the Utah War and purports to uncover a conspiracy by the extreme Manifest Destiny crowd to use the so-called "Mormon rebellion" as a pretense for pushing the Latter-day Saints out of Utah as part of a giant grab for the gold and precious metals in abundance here. It will star some fictional chracters but also include historical figures such as Brigham Young, Parley Pratt, Porter Rockwell, John D. Lee, John C. Fremont, and Thomas Hart Benton (the Senator, not the artist).

Trish and I like to entertain and we have had four families over for barbecues during the past month. We have a trampoline in the backyard, a basketball standard in the driveway, a swing set, and a ping pong table and home theater downstairs - plenty to keep guests of all ages happy and occupied.

My back surgery almost three years ago was a miracle. It alleviated all pain, pain which I had experienced off and on for almost 30 years since I injured my back just before my mission. Nevertheless, eventually I will need full fusion surgery because my two lower discs are slowly deteriorating. To my chagrin, this past month I had a recurrence of some that old pain. So, I returned to one of my back doctors for a re-examination. Happily, he said that we could postpone surgery for another 10 to 15 years if I followed a new and rigorous physical therapy and medication program. I have been on it for about three weeks now and I am happy to report that it is working very well. My new pain has dissipated almost entirely.

I am working on a big real estate deal with one of my oldest and best friends, Milt Shipp. He was the East High School Senior Class President and I was his Vice President. We have always wanted to do a deal together and we finally found one. If it works out I will be able to buy that fancy new Hi Fi set I have had my eye on!

Another good friend, Ruland Gill just retired from Questar. I attended two different farwell events for him. At one of them I got to roast him with a fun "Top Ten Reasons Ruland is Really Retiring." His son David also got married that same week.

This year we celebrated Memorial Day on both Sunday and Monday. On Monday we placed flowers on the gravesites of Trish's brother Leif Paulsen, her grandmother Mor, and her Stewart grandparents. We also placed flowers on the gravesites of my Judd grandparents. On Monday we placed flowers on the gravesites of my brother Randy, my mother Cleo, and my sister Valerie. On those days we had dinner at Charles and Marie Roberts' home, Charlotte Paulsen's home, and visited my dad Al. It was a wonderful and spiritual feast for us those two days as we remembered our dead kin with the knowledge that we would all see them again, thanks to the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wood Badge

I just spent the past two weekends immersed in the Boy Scout leadership training known as Wood Badge. It was a fabulous experience. I met some wonderful new friends, learned some new leadership skills, and got re-acquainted with a tent! There is a lot of lore associated with the Boy Scouts. It has a very rich culture all its own, and I found myself wanting more of it. There is something about the uniform (I am now the proud owner of my first Scout uniform since I last owned one at age14), the games, the silly songs, the campfire skits, the badges. It is all about teaching young men citizenship and character and learning to love the outdoors. It is common sense training packaged in khakis and a neckerchief. And the training is not just about teaching young men how to be leaders. It teaches unity and teamwork and love of life and reverence for God. It helps in all aspects of life - work, home, and family. I remember sitting there one day thinking to myself that corporate executives would pay thousands of dollars for this kind of leadership training. Yet there we were, sitting in this country lodge, being taught true principles on a shoestring budget. We had a campfire program every night, flag ceremonies night and morning, two interfaith services, and days filled with songs and cheers and games (all with insightful purpose). I would recommend it to anyone, whether you are involved in the Boy Socuts or not. By the way, they train you using the "patrol" method (that is, you do eveything as a team, learning that you can get much more done together than you can by yourself). I was in the Fox Patrol. Go Foxes!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day - Trish's Home Run

I can't tell you how happy and proud I am right now. I just returned from taking our Harrison children back to their dad's house after having them spend a couple of hours with us for a special Mother's Day celebration. (The regular schedule calls for them to be over there this weekend). We had a nice lunch together (hambugers on the BBQ grill) along with Trish's Mom & Dad, Carl and Carol Jean Paulsen. But before lunch we participated in a very special Sacrament Meeting. Trish was the final speaker and her topic was the Family. She spoke primarily from the Declaration on the Family. In all honesty, it was as good a talk as I have ever heard from any pulpit on the issue! To use a baseball metaphor, she just knocked the ball out of the park! I love and respect her sooooo much. But that wasn't all. Immediately preceding her talk, the Harrison kids, Trish, and I sang "A House Becomes a Home" for the Sacrament meeting special musical number. Carol Jean accompanied us. It was a lot of fun. It also set the stage for Trish's wonderful address. It has been a fantastic day so far, filled with the spirit of family and love. But there is more to come. There's a Paulsen Mother's Day celebration in Draper later today. Stay tuned.

Keaton's Blessing

We attended little Keaton Al Riggs' blessing last week in Lehi. He is such a cute little boy! Dad Micah did a great job with the blessing. Keaton's blessing was one of six (!) blessings in that ward, leaving about 15 minutes total for testimonies. Delicious refreshments were to be had afterwards at the Micah & Amanda Riggs home. The Lord continues to bless our extended family!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Riggs Reunion

The First Annual Al & Cleo Riggs Reunion was a smashing success! Held at the humble abode of Robin & Trish on May 3, it was notable for the great attendance. We had 100% representation from all families (even Val, who was there in spirit!). In fact, as far as we could tell, there were only 5 extended family members NOT there. The food was good, there was a lot of love and re-bonding, and the famous Riggs Home Theater was well used. But most importantly, we remembered Al & Cleo through shared stories and testimonies of their love for us and for each other. Thank you all for making this event so successful!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Iron Man Rocks!

J.P. and I just came from seeing the new Marvel Comics superhero movie "Iron Man." It was very good! Having grown up on Marvel Comics, I can honestly say that this is the best adaptation of a Marvel hero since the first Spider-man movie. Iron Man is a perfect summer movie, full of action, superhero fun, and, by the way, great acting. Robert Downey, Jr. is perfect as Tony Stark. And if you go, stay until after the credits. There is another scene. 'Nuff said!

Delta Merger

As part of my role at the Salt Lake Chamber I was involved to some extent with the Delta / Northwest merger. When the Delta CEO came to SLC two weeks ago his advance man asked Lane Beattie and I whether or not he should meet with the LDS Church's First Presidency while he was here. We said that not only should he meet with them, but that the Second Counselor was a former airline pilot. It turns out that at the meeting with the Church leaders, the Delta CEO offered President Dieter Uchtdorf a chance to fly some of the Delta flight simulators the next time President Uchtdorf was in Atlanta. Watch the news the next time President Uchtdorf has an assignment in Atlanta!

Rob n' Trish Riggs Start-up Blog

Hi everyone!

Trish and I have boldly entered the 21st Century by starting our own Riggs family blog. We are calling it Rob 'n Trish's blog. (Original, n'est-ce pas?)
We hope that you will all be able and willing to forgive our initial mistakes in creating this. We will post family news, photos, videos, interests - you know, the usual stuff. I may also use this as an opportunity to talk public policy, politics, Utah, the LDS Church, sports, and a whole host of other things.
In any event, we hope you have some fun with us.