Dan, Emily, and Scott Kearl live on the edge of a wild ravine on the outskirts of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. A path runs alongside the brink, and they often walk there with their parents and their dog, Joey. Here they come now—would you like to meet them?
Scott, age 8
One of Scott’s schoolteachers calls him “liquid sunshine” because he’s usually in motion and almost always happy. He is a natural comedian who loves to see people laugh. He’s also a peacemaker and wants everybody to be as happy as he is. He is thrilled to have started Cub Scouts and has already earned a badge. He’s delighted that he now reads well enough to take a full part in family scripture study.
Scott plays goalie on a soccer team and likes going to professional hockey games with Dad. He wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. He likes to play with his virtual pet, play video games, ice-skate, and go sledding. His favorite food is cheese pizza.
Emily, age 11
Emily is a hard-working girl who does her best at everything she does. She turns in her school assignments early and then helps others with theirs.
Emily is known as the “dominoes queen” of the family because she often wins at dominoes. She likes gym at school and is the top dodgeball player. Her greatest goals are to be married in the Cardston Alberta Temple and be a good mom. Emily likes to scrapbook while listening to music. She skates on shoes that have wheels built into them. Sometimes Joey tows her along the path on those shoes.
Dan, age 14
Dan was born too early and had to fight for his life. As a result, he is a little shorter than other young men his age. But his determination is gigantic, and so is his sense of humor. When the family watches a funny movie, he laughs so hard that everyone else has to join in. He is faithful in his Aaronic Priesthood duties and is an avid Scouter. He has earned his Chief Scout Award and plans to earn his Queen’s Venturer Award before he turns 16.
Dan is good at art and wants to draw Japanese comics for a living. He is a computer whiz and often helps his mom. He shares the gospel with his friends and loves to do baptisms for the dead in the Cardston Alberta Temple. He likes to skateboard and play basketball and soccer.
As fun as they are individually, the Kearl children are even more fun together. They like to play fetch and keep-away with Joey, bounce on their trampoline, and roast marshmallows for s’mores. They also like to play with their many cousins. Above all, they enjoy camping out. The Canadian Rockies rise from the Great Plains in a wall of snow-capped peaks just 40 miles (64 km) west of Calgary. The Kearls take full advantage of the breathtaking scenery and endless camping sites the Rockies offer. Brother Kearl’s 95-year-old grandfather owns a homestead in a remote area at the foot of Old Chief Mountain near the United States border. The Kearls often join him there. It’s pitch-black at night, and the stars are a burning river in the sky.
The Kearls enjoy being phantoms. This means leaving a treat and a poem on someone’s doorstep and running away. In spite of close calls, not one of them has yet been caught in the act. Each Christmas they choose two families and become super-phantoms by doing the Twelve Days of Christmas for both.
The Kearls’ home almost seems to have magic doors. Step out the front door and you’re in the city. Exit the back door and you’re in the countryside by the ravine. But step back inside through either door and you find the best magic of all—the peace and safety of a loving home.