Monday, February 28, 2011

Will Someone Please Feed My Son?

"Dear Family,

That’s right, I don’t exactly know how it happened but I have been out six months now. I feel like I should give some great reflection about the mission and the things that I have learned up until this point but I don’t really have one. The things that I have said in past e-mails will just have to suffice. One thing that I learned/realized this week is that in reality, a mission is about saving many souls and that includes mine and those of my family and future family. Also something that have been on my mind more and more as of late is that missions really are to increase our dedication to the Lord and prepare us for a life of church service. I know that in this past six months my dedication to the Lord has increased immensely. I would like to pass this on to Seth, I don’t know why; I just want him to learn to be dedicated to the Lord! I have learned a lot this transfer, being with a Brazilian and speaking Portuguese the whole time has helped me a lot...Oh by the way, I have lost 15 kilos, or about 32 pounds to date but is has slowed down a lot these past few weeks as you can probably see in the attached pictures. They were taken yesterday (the food is something called pastels, they are fried thingies with ground beef inside)...Mom wanted to know a bit more about my city, it is rather urban, more so then my last city. We have been tracting a lot but this week we have changed the way that we have been working a little bit and we have been having a lot more appointments. It is a good change. The work is going well here, no baptisms recently but we are working and finding and teaching some good people..."

Down 32 pounds in six months, wow. He must walk a lot, either that or we fed him too much his whole life!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Another Missionary Farewell

I have been under the weather for a few days and trying to recover. Spring is nearly here however and I so look forward to it.

One of Ian's very best friends had her mission farewell today. Her name is Jessa. She lives down the street from us and she is a beautiful person inside and out. She has been called to serve a mission in Hawaii. She leaves next week and she is very dear to us. She and Ian will return from their missions the same week. They are a good support to each other.

Jessa gave a beautiful talk today. She talked about why she wanted to serve a mission and she exuded such goodness. She quoted a poem that I have heard before. I have always liked it. The authorship is somewhat in dispute but whoever wrote it said some very powerful things. I feel the same way as the author and Jessa.


The Fellowship of the Unashamed
  "I am part of the "Fellowship of the Unashamed."
The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made. I am a disciple of
Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down,
back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present
makes sense, and my future is secure.
I am finished and done with low living, sight walking,
small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams,
chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position,
promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I now live by
presence, lean by faith, love by patience,
lift by prayer, and labor by power. My pace
is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my
road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few,
my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought,
compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back,
diluted, or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the
presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy,
ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander
in the maze of mediocrity.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until
Heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know,
and work until He comes. And when He comes to get
His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.
My banner will be clear. I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed."

"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . " Romans 1:16
 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

An Extra Maybe?

This is part of what was in my inbox this morning:

"Thank you for attending the auditions for the “New Testament” production last month!  We had the privilege to audition 1,138 people in our Utah-based auditions and 1,564 others based elsewhere in the United States, Canada, Europe and South America.

This e-mail is to let you know you have made the FIRST-CUT and are currently being considered as an EXTRA or Featured Extra.  This means:

(1)    You have the physical characteristics we are looking for; but, based on your audition, are not being considered for a speaking role.

#2 was about growing my hair, not sure that's possible actually. I'll have to think about that.

(3)    Even though you have made it through the first cut, this does NOT guarantee you a role as an Extra.  This will depend greatly upon your schedule and our various needs day by day."

Another snippet from the e-mail-  "...As we do not yet know if you have a role, let alone which role it may be..."

Time will tell I guess... :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kyiv Ukraine Temple

Someone sent me this clip today. I was really touched by it. It is wonderful!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WQA2Mc7qqU

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sarah And Gregory: AKA Parents Of My Grandbaby

I was rummaging through some things today looking for something and found some of Sarah and Gregory's engagement pictures. They came to visit today and brought me my grandbaby to play with. :)
Gregory was visiting on Mother's Day a few years ago. We were all in the front of the house taking pictures and he just randomly asked, "How would you all feel if I married Sarah?" That is otherwise known as the 'scream heard around the world.' We all loved Gregory from the minute we met him.
Another engagement picture.
Their wedding photo. 
It was 13 degrees when they had this photo taken.
We were all SO cold!
Sarah was a lovely bride.
The first dance.
I love how they sang to each other 
when they were dancing.

And the money for the wedding...
well worth it because now I have Nathan. :) :)


Monday, February 21, 2011

Sometimes I Miss My Son

I went to a baptism on Saturday. In the hallway of the building where the baptism was, I saw a large picture of two missionaries. The artist drew the missionaries as if they were walking away with their backs turned to the viewer. The setting was a wide open rural lane. I had quite a hard time for about fifteen minutes because it looked liked the kind of setting Ian might be in. I guess mothers of missionary sons have a few moments during the course of a very long mission where reality sets in. There were three missionaries at the baptism and they sat behind me. One very sweet missionary saw that I had tears in my eyes. I said to him, "I'm sorry, seeing that picture made me miss my son." He then got tears in his eyes. He asked how long Ian has been gone. I said, "five months." He said, "that's how long I have been out." That didn't help too much because it made my tears well up more. I said to him, "Elder, do your mother a favor and write her a long letter this week." He said that there isn't really time on P-days to do such things but he was very, very kind when he said it. He proceeded to offer a few words of comfort that were much appreciated.

Here are a few lines from Ian's e-mail today:

Dear Family and Friends,

I wish you all a very happy Presidents Day, the minor holiday that it is, and hope you are all well. I consider this week a good one. We are starting to work harder and more effectively and this week we saw some good results...It has been a good transfer and I have really learned a lot...We are about to start the change into fall and winter here. Yesterday the hours changed and we moved back one hour...It is not quite so hot anymore. :)

Every once in a while on my mission, I get the chance to catch a glimpse of the changes that are happening within me. This is always a great blessing...I am learning a lot though experience, about dedication to the Lord, in our callings, in our lives, and in all things...In losing myself in the service of the Lord, I really am finding out much more about who I really am. Before the mission, I wondered a lot about these things, about who I really was, the way I am and so forth. It is hard to explain but while in the service of the Lord, I am finding more definition to my life, my personality, and who I want to be. These are things that I have always known, but now I am getting a clearer vision of them...I really don’t know where all that came from but these are just some of the thoughts that have been swarming about in my head this week. You think a lot when you are a missionary. I am out of time again. I hope this was a good email for you all. Many times, I really don’t know what to write. We just do the same things all day every day. Write me some questions of stuff you want to know... I leave you with my testimony of the Church that it is true. I know that it is led by prophets and apostles who talk to God and receive revelation for us in our days. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is a precious gift that God has given us. We are so very blessed to have the restored gospel in our lives. I am so very grateful for goodly parents who have taught me so well, I have been so very blessed and I think of your examples very often here. I love you all very much and wish you a good week."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lifting Burdens

Today was a lovely, lovely Sunday. It was certainly a busy day. One of the things I enjoy doing is making visits to members of our ward with my husband who is the Bishop of our ward. Just as you think you are going to try to help ease someone else's burden and offer comfort and support to them, you come home finding out that they lifted you. There are two members of our ward that have cancer. Both of them have had a hard time for a few months now. I pray for them everyday. It was just so nice to visit with them and try to offer a kind word or two. They are wonderful men and their wives are wonderful women.

I found this video clip the other day.  It is so beautiful. It is called "Lifting Burdens." It reminds me of them.
There are several apostles of the Lord who speak on this short clip. I love these men. It is so wonderful to me that God loves me enough that he did not just leave me 'hanging' so to speak on my own in this somewhat crazy and mixed up world to just drift along and try to make sense of it all. I love the fact there there are apostles now in our time just like the apostles who were here on the earth when Christ was here who teach and lift and testify of Christ in ways which bless my life all the time. I always feel bad somehow that there are people who simply discount those whom God has placed here for us to bless us, namely His apostles. As long as I live, I will never be able to understand why some people simply reject the blessings of God. It makes no sense to me. It has never made any sense to me. I can't wrap my mind around it and I can't ever figure it out.

At any rate, it's been a very good day. I love Sundays.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Matching Dresses

When my girls were little I sewed them a lot of matching dresses. Eventually they outgrew them of course and they didn't want me to sew for them anymore. I took advantage of the opportunity to sew for them in their early years and I always enjoyed it. Ian was about four months here.
These were dresses I made for Jim's brother's wedding. 
Time flies as they say.
Easter 1990
Obviously they were trying to pose for the camera.
I love this one of Jim and Elisa taken the same day.
Emma and Sarah

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Random Thoughts


I've always liked this picture. I thought I would write a few random thoughts to try and match up some words to the picture. There is no rhyme nor reason to their order.


  • When you feel down, help someone else. You always feel better for it.
  • It's always darkest before dawn.
  • Spending a lot of time thinking about yourself robs you of how much time you could be thinking about others.
  • People generally always smile back when you smile at them.
  • Most people have a need to be understood. When you try to understand them, you see peace come to their eyes.
  • Why is it that we spend so much time thinking that this life is all about us? What a waste of a life.
  • Kindness begins with me.
  • I hope my kids turn out to be productive members of society who learn how to help others.
  • Normal grief after the death of a loved one takes two years, so don't be afraid to grieve.
  • Forgiving others relieves you of a great burden. 
  • Sometimes you just need a little chocolate.
  • A sunny day is good for the soul.
  • It takes two to fight. If you refuse to fight or argue with someone, there is no argument.
  • Smile and wave at everyone.
  • If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you live differently today?
  • Whipped cream has got to be one of the four basic food groups.
  • If you really love your family, why on earth would you not want to live with them forever?
  • Saying harsh words or giving a harsh look to one of your family members is like squishing a whole bunch of toothpaste out of a toothpaste tube, you can never get it back in.
  • You can always get something on sale if you just wait.
  • If you have nothing else to give, you can always smile.
  • Life is a test. How are you doing?
  • There's always tomorrow to try again.
  • I love the scriptures.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hot Water Anyone?

This morning we woke up to find we had no hot water. Then we found out that the water heater was gushing pretty steadily over the top of the water heater. We have two water heaters actually. So as of a few minutes ago,  I now have a new water heater and that's good because it's no fun being without hot water OR without ANY water for that matter. Which reminds me of a story....

My mission companion and I woke up one day in at the end of December to discover that we had no water. We lived on the fifth floor of an apartment building. The main water pipe to the neighborhood broke and that was the end of the water for everyone in the neighborhood. OK, how hard can it be to fix a water pipe? Apparently it was very hard because we were without water for SIX days!!! Let me tell you, six days without water is a real trial. I learned pretty fast all the things you can't do without water.

You can't brush your teeth without water. You can't wet a rag to wash a spot off your clothes without water. You can't get a glass of water to drink. You can't cook because most things require water to cook. (There were no microwaves then). You can't bathe or wash your clothes without water and perhaps most importantly, you can't use the plumbing.

My companion and I learned how to improvise. We biked way over to the other side of the city (of 3/4 million people at that time) and bathed in another missionary's  apartment. We ate out every meal. We stayed away from our apartment as much as possible because well... if the plumbing is unusable...the air was certainly not as fresh as it could have been.

Everyday we thought the pipe would be fixed. Every night we would return home to discover that we still had no water.

On the sixth night, we returned home to discover that one of the missionaries was there to lug a large container of water up the five flights of stairs for us. There really wasn't bottled water in those days that I remember. That was very comforting for us to have that water and it was a wonderful act of service. Five flights is a long way up to lug water.Well, we got in bed comforted that we had some water for the morning and within about five minutes you could hear the water filling up all the plumbing pipes all over the place. My companion sat up in her bed and with a great big smile said, "好聽!", (hǎo tīng) which means "great to hear." We immediately got up and took advantage of what running water could do.

At any rate, I learned how to live without the luxury of water. We take it so much for granted every day. I can improvise very well now and so I don't get too nervous if there is a water issue.We had two typhoons when I was in Taiwan. I learned that if you have a typhoon coming (or any other water shortage threat), you just fill up your bathtubs and washing machines with water and there's your water storage for a few days. I learned it really doesn't take much water at all to get clean.

For today, I am happy that in about an hour I should have hot water because just the idea of hot water is so nice. And I never take it for granted. :)

Now if we could just do something about the violent wind swirling around my house right now because a cold front and storm are on their way later today, that would be great. It sounds like the roof is going to come off. Maybe I should go fill up the bathtubs. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy I Love You Day

When the kids were little we always told them that Valentine's Day was 'Happy I Love You Day'. Elisa called first thing this morning to say Happy I Love You Day and then she also sent a greeting card in today's mail which said the same thing. I always thought the kids should know that they were loved and hoped they would feel it. On occasion, I bought balloons and chocolate. I think they got Dove chocolate roses for a few years running. Anyway, it's good that they remember and that the memories are good.

Ian is well. Here is a short section from his e-mail today:

"Today is just a normal day here in Brazil. The Brazilian equivalent of Valentines Day: O Dia dos namorados, or day of the boyfriends/girlfriends, is in June. All the same, I am thinking of all of you today and how much I love you. I miss you all but I have an important work to do here! I have truly been blessed with a wonderful family and some great friends. You have all taught me so much, and for that, I am extremely grateful... I love you all, and I hope you have a good Valentines Day!"

Seth went to the sweetheart's dance on Saturday. He's a junior.  It was girl's choice and the girl that asked him was very sweet. I was quite impressed that she matched and coordinated her outfit from head to toe. It turns out that her Mom made her dress. Seth had a good time.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thoughts On Love, Marriage, And Families

Seeing that it is Valentine's Day tomorrow, I thought I would comment on it.

Valentine's Day is an interesting day. I always feel better by Valentine's Day because the sun is out, the inversion has usually cleared up by then, and there are generally signs of spring by then. It always makes me chuckle to go to the grocery store on Valentine's Day, especially in the late afternoon before a lot of men head home from work. I love looking at people and there is no better time than to do that than on Valentine's Day. About four or five o'clock in the afternoon, you can usually spot lines of men with flowers and chocolates in their hands. Some of the men look very happy and somewhat excited that they found something really nice for the person they obviously care about. Some men look a little troubled as if to say, "I hope this works." Some men look a little clueless but look like they they hope they are doing the right thing anyway. I saw a man in a florist shop yesterday who looked absolutely thrilled with his choice of Valentine's roses. Somehow my heart usually goes out to these men. Most of them just look like they want to be doing the right thing and hoping their gift gets accepted well.

Jim is pretty funny on Valentine's Day. Last year, I am pretty sure he went to the store after 11 pm to get me flowers. I think Valentine's Day was on Sunday last year and so he needed to go the night before. The roses were somewhat wilted I remember and it was obvious he didn't have much to choose from at that late hour. They were dead three days later I think. He has over the years gotten me very, very nice flowers for all kinds of occasions and many times, just because... so that was somewhat of an anomaly to get those last year.

I have never seen Jim at the store on the day of Valentine's Day but I think I would know what I would find. He would be one of the "I just hope I am getting this right" kind of people.

He always gets it "right." He doesn't ever even need to go to the store to get me anything. He just gets it right everyday. HE makes me happy... just because.

Jim comes in from work everyday, smiles at me and says, "my queen." Can anyone possibly imagine how that makes me feel? I have more flaws than you can shake a stick at and he calls me his "queen." He means it. I feel it.

Twenty-seven years is a long time to be married to someone. We got married because I loved this man. I still love this man. Twenty-seven years is a long time to be treated so well. I don't know about other women want, but if you treat me with kindness, what else matters? What else do I ever need?

Here are a few reasons why twenty-seven years of marriage has been such an amazing blessing in my life.

This is Jim when he was a missionary in Los Angeles when he was 21. He didn't know me then. Someone took this picture in good humor. But to answer the question, "Why Families? I would say, because that is where the most joy in life can be found.
 Jim loves his children. This was a picture taken in 2000 on the way to a family vacation. We were in the LA airport here. How can you say enough about a man who loves his children like this and is such a good father?
Another family vacation.
This was taken on a bench on Yale campus
where my Mom worked.
1999
How can you say enough about a man 
who looks at his wife as though his whole world 
revolves around her? 
Is it any wonder I smile as much as I do?
1999
Whenever I ask him,
"What can I do for you?"
He says, 
"I just want you to be happy."

Why Families?
Where else could I possibly have found this much joy?

Does he have any flaws?
Maybe...but I have more.

Does it matter to me if I don't get
flowers tomorrow or if they are wilted?
Nope.
Just keep smiling at me when you come in from work. :)

25th Anniversary picture
taken at Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Happy Valentine's Day Jim.
How I love you.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thoughts On Blogging

I wasn't really sure what keeping an almost daily blog would be like when I started this adventure at the end of August. I have discovered that I quite enjoy posting various things. I also have discovered that my posts match my mood a lot. It is weird posting personal thoughts and stories yet being clueless to who is actually reading them except for the few people who comment. I always enjoy reading the comments people make on my blog.

I've decided that I enjoy writing. I can't say I am a particularly good writer, only that writing fills some sort of hole I had that I didn't know was there. It seems to be a good way to process my thoughts and sometimes I learn things about myself as I post. I enjoy writing the stories of my wacky adventures except that sometimes they take me an hour and a half to write. I always enjoy posting something on Sunday because I get to write about things and experiences that are usually deeply meaningful for me. Some of my posts are personal yet I wind up posting them for anyone who happens to stumble across my blog. I always enjoy posting something about Ian on Mondays which are his P-Days.

I enjoy posting pictures of my children when they were small and matching a story to the pictures. I have kept a journal on and off over the years. I think this blog however, is the easiest way to organize everything... pictures and stories. It is sort of like glorified scrap booking. It will be a wonderful keepsake when I am all done.

I wouldn't want to blog for the rest of my life. I will eventually run out of stories and pictures. But for the time being, it seems to be very fulfilling for a lot of reasons.

I also really enjoy posting random pictures I have taken. I've always enjoyed taking pictures.

Another sunset picture from our deck.

A pretty shot of our backyard on a spring afternoon .
I love gardening.

I LOVE tulips.

One I took one evening of the rising moon

Emma won a truck at school
 a few years ago.
This is when she found out she just won.
Emma and Ian and the truck.
Emma works at a bridal shop.
This was the day she helped Sarah
 pick out her wedding dress.

That was a very fun day!
I think this was the one she chose.

Ian at the robot competition 2009.
He's pulling the robot and
wearing the computer controls.
(They made the controls look like Buzz Lightyear,
that's how they transported them).
That was an exciting weekend!!!

Elisa, Emma, Sarah, Ian, and Seth 2009.

Me and my sons. :)

And my very delightful daughters. :):)



Friday, February 11, 2011

A Good Thought For Today

Just because the world is a tough place sometimes, 
here is a good reminder...
 
"Let no one ever come to you 
without leaving better and happier.
Be the living expression of God's kindness:
kindness in your face, 
kindness in your eyes,
kindness in your smile."
Mother Teresa

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Think The Weatherman Actually Listened

This was this morning's weather forecast from the weather broadcast web page, and I quote:

"Outlook: You'll find signs of Spring as you glance at the 7-day forecast...A touch warmer tomorrow afternoon. Sun and 40s for the weekend, and it looks like it will warm to around 50 for Valentine's Day."

He was almost downright perky when he gave the forecast on TV. He mentioned signs of Spring and Valentine's Day in the same breath. See...just like I said. So glad I sent him my suggestions. :)
Is that just a great forecast or what?!

Three cheers for the weatherman. :)

As for me...I'll be lacing up my walking shoes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Elisa's Favorite Story

Elisa always tries to get me to tell this story to various friends who show up with her when she visits. She starts out telling it and then purposely tells it wrong so I finish the story correctly just to get me to tell it. If I post it here, she can't mess up the story anymore!!

One afternoon in August of '06, I went to the grocery store. This grocery store was almost directly south of me but down in the hill quite a ways. I was loading the groceries in my car when I looked up the hill towards my house and saw thick, thick, billowing black smoke right where my house would be. I sort of panicked. I called Sarah on the cell phone. She was home down in the basement. I said, "Sarah, is our house on fire?" She said very quietly, "I don't think so, but I'll go check." Mind you, it looked like the whole neighborhood was on fire and she said, "I don't think so, but I'll go check."

She came back to the phone and very excitedly and with panic in her voice said, Our house isn't on fire but the canyon next to us is!" Well...being the calm, gentle soul that I am (NOT), I raced up the hill. There were several firetrucks in the neighborhood and firemen all over the place. I live very close to a canyon with an empty lot next to me that is mostly dried weeds. In August they make great fire fuel. I ran and checked on the widow who lives very close to me and she was very calmly sitting in her kitchen just watching the firemen on the hill in her backyard. Staying calm during fires is not exactly my specialty.

At any rate, the firemen did what they do best and put out the fire. I did what I do best and worried. The firemen said they would stay for several hours to make sure the hot spots in the dry brush was completely safe and that all would be well. Yeah, right.

The house next to the empty lot next to me was vacant at the time. Their backyard touched the canyon border just next to where the fire was. This house had a great platform ledge that one could stand on and get a great view of the whole canyon. The morning after the fire, being the dutiful worrier that I was, I hurried over to the platform and made sure that everything was fine. It was of course because the firemen did exactly what they said they would. I stood on the perch for a long time surveying everything until I decided there was nothing left to worry about. Yeah right. Then I hurried home.

I noticed a helicopter right overhead but I paid no attention to it. We frequently had helicopters in our neighborhood because there was a helicopter pad on top of the local hospital not far from my house. I gave no heed to this particular helicopter which kept circling around and around and around like he was circling a perimeter. It seemed that my house was the far end of one side of his circle.

I then remembered that President Bush was in town staying at a hotel downtown. He was scheduled to go from his hotel in a motorcade downtown for a meeting that morning. I figured the helicopter must be a secret service helicopter doing a perimeter check of some sort. But my mind was on the canyon fire and making sure all was well there so I didn't give it another thought.

I hurried home as I said before. It was somewhere about 8:20 or so in the morning if I remember correctly. It was a lovely day and I love the morning sunshine. I have six battery operated cellular shades covering my living room windows, three small and three very large ones. If you hit the remote control just right, you can get all six shades to operate at almost exactly the same time. It gives a great blast of morning sunshine. It also makes the secret service people apparently very nervous.

I would have had to pick the EXACT time the helicopter was on my end of the perimeter circle just as President Bush was in his motorcade headed downtown for his meeting which was in the direction of my house to open my shades. Mind you, he was way down the hill. I was far away. But I guess the secret service helicopter people saw the six shades all rise simultaneously and figured who knows what. That was it. The helicopter literally dropped down and turned on its side almost and hovered right close to my house. By this time I was on the deck because it was a beautiful morning and I wanted to sit in the sun. The shades finished opening just as I got out to the deck. I said to myself, "I guess that wasn't the best timing to do that." So I sat there on my bench just looking at this secret service helicopter hovering over me which was obviously looking back at me. I just sat there looking at them and kept smiling. I figured by that time they were probably taking pictures of me to check me out or something or using those really long camera things to look in my windows to make sure I didn't have guns or something pointed at the President. I thought to myself, "Well, at least my hair looks good," because I had just colored it that morning. Silly me, always worried about my hair.

The helicopter was there for at least a full minute or two. That's a really long time when you are starting to wonder if you are somehow in trouble. I guess they saw the crazy lady running between houses, standing on the platform ledge for a long time, running back home, and then the shades open as if on cue. Ooops.

I finally went back in the house because I had dishes to do. I stood at the sink doing my dishes and I could hear the helicopter hovering directly over my house. Were they checking my phone lines? Who knows. So I threw down my dishtowel and went out to the deck. They were indeed directly over the top of my house. I leaned backwards over the deck railing, threw my arms open wide and with a my eyes opened very wide said, "WHAT?!?!" really loudly. With that, they flew away very quickly over the mountains. The President must have made his meeting. :)

EEESH!!!

Lessons learned:
  1. Don't go grocery shopping in August.
  2. Let the firemen do their jobs and trust them.
  3. Don't run between houses when the President is in town.
  4. Especially do not EVER open all the shades at the same time when the President is motorcading towards your end of the valley.
  5. Always make sure your hair looks good when the secret service is taking pictures of you from their helicopter.
  6. Write these kinds of stories down so your kids will tell it correctly. :)
 The shades

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Checking In

    I usually send Ian e-mail on Sunday. Being the typical 'verbal' woman that I am, I usually try to cover the week in some depth. I try to make it interesting. Yesterday, I wrote four questions as follows:

    "How is your companion?

    How is your apartment?

    Is the food still good?

    Did you get the package yet?"


    I spaced them out and wrote them succinctly as if to say, "write something about these things..." This is what I got in response today:

    "Dear Family,

    Another baptism this week, what a blessing. Other than this, not much to report this week. This Wednesday however we will have interviews with the president. I am very much looking forward it. All things are well here...It is not so crazy hot here and about every other day, we get some decent cloud cover or a bit of rain. Some info for mom: Food is still good, companion is good, apartment is fine, a bit dirty, but we are going to give it a good cleaning today, no package yet."

     Notice how he answered the questions. Short, concise, to the point. I was looking for a little bit of a conversation. I had already assumed that the food, companion, and apartment were OK because he hasn't mentioned them yet in regards to his new area. I was hoping for some elaboration on those subjects. Ian being a male, assumed I was asking the question as a matter of survival. Next week I might have to say something like, "I only want to know one thing...Tell me about your companion." We'll have to see if that strategy works.

    He did also write the following as well as a few other things...

    "Recently I have been thinking a lot about my purpose here as a missionary. What the Lord wants of me, what kind of attitude that I should have toward the work, how I teach, how I help people, how I work with companions and so forth...I have no doubt that what I am doing is right, and that it will bless my life and the lives of some others immensely. I know that the Lord loves me and that He is guiding me. I can usually feel it in the moment, but looking back it is always so obvious...I bear my testimony that Jesus Christ is our savior and redeemer, that through His eternal sacrifice we can return to live with our Heavenly Father one day. I bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I love that book. I know it is true. I know that if we read it and study it every day we will be incredibly blessed. I love you all. Sorry for the short email and the relative lack of info, but these are the things I have been thinking about this week. I love you and hope you all have a great week."

    Oh well, I'll just have to wait another week. I'm glad he is doing well.

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Friends

    Many years ago, a dear friend hurt me very badly. The hurt and the pain was intentional on their part. I was devastated by the pain for a long time. I never could figure out how someone could wake up in the morning with any kind of desire to hurt someone else.

    It took a long time to heal from that hurt. Few people ever knew the depth of my pain. I'm not the kind of person that likes to share such personal things so for the most part, only a few people ever knew. But God knew.

    I ran across a quote during that time which read, "Friends...are those people who know the words to the song in your heart and sing them back to you when you have forgotten the words." I have thought of that quote from time to time over the years. I think everybody has times when they need a friend to remind them of who they really are and how much they are truly cared about. Sometimes we just have to help people remember.

    I was at a church meeting this afternoon. We sang the hymn, "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today." It's a fast paced cheery song. There was one phrase of the song that jumped out at me. I've sung that song many times over the years but this is the first time this particular phrase touched me deeply:

    "There is music in my soul today,
    A carol to my King,
    And Jesus, listening, can hear
    The songs I cannot sing."


    I thought about that quote again today, but differently than I have ever thought about it before.

    In John 15:14 it says, "Ye are my friends..." I remembered back to that very bad time in my life. It was the Savior who knew all along the words to the song in my heart. He knew I was so troubled that I needed help. He reminded me ever so gently in countless, kind ways and took care of me until I could sing them again myself.

    There is a song I heard during that particularly troubling time. A woman in my ward who was trained in opera sang it. She didn't sing it in opera fashion that day but she sang it with tremendous conviction and power. It was particularly helpful to me. Here is a different rendition of it that I found on YouTube. It's called "On Eagle's Wings."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rRea9qnjK4

    It is taken from Psalms 91.

    "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday...He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands...Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him...With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation."

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    50 Year Missionary Celebration In Taiwan

    I received an e-mail yesterday with a link of a YouTube video about the 50 year history of the Church in Taiwan. It was very, very touching. This was compiled since the 50 year celebration which was held a few years ago. I watched it a couple of times. It starts out with a little history of the Church in general for a few minutes and then proceeds with the history of the very first missionaries sent to Taiwan. There are a lot of pictures and it goes very fast. I was interested to see the clip of the picture of the ground breaking ceremony of the Temple in Taiwan. At 10:00 minutes exactly into the video, it shows a picture of the meeting for the groundbreaking ceremony. I was there then and I remember sitting in that audience. It was such an amazing time to be a missionary there. There were a lot of pictures of chapels that amazed me. To see the growth that has taken place in Taiwan is truly astounding. At 17:11 in to the video it shows a picture of my first mission president, President Baker and his family. Then at 17:13 (the next picture) it shows my second mission president, President Miner. At 12:24 in, it shows the Taichung chapel where I  served. At 12:59 in it showed the Kaohsiung Chapel where I served and at 13:07 in, the Pingtung chapel where I also served. It was great to see them again.

    I am pleased to say that I could read a majority of the characters written on the pictures. Of course, I don't say all because that's just the way it is with reading characters for me. I take what I can get and I generally understand the gist of what's going on. But I could read a majority, maybe 70-75% or so. The rest I would have to look up.

    I loved seeing the part where it shows the Book of Mormon in Chinese. My Chinese Book of Mormon reading continues to get better all the time. I recently discovered the Gospel Principles manual online with a downloadable matching Chinese audio mp3 file. I downloaded that to my I Pod and I find it very helpful to listen to that while reading the Gospel Principles manual in English. I love the Gospel Principles manual as that was the book I read in its entirety before I joined the Church. It is a great book to learn about the basics of the Church.
    http://lds.org/manual/gospel-principles?lang=eng 
    This is the Chinese language counterpart link to it:
    http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,8865-1-4828-10,00.html
    I suspect that if I keep doing this, my Chinese will improve more. Anyone who studies Chinese will tell you that you just have to keep on going  and keep on going in your language studies. Living in the country is the only way to really become proficient.

    Anyway, the 'Preaching the Gospel in Taiwan' video is just a great YouTube clip. I loved it.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-h-444Cp88

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Happy Birthday Mom

    My mothers turns 74 today. She is still working full time but is actually planning to retire at the end of March. She says she has worked since she was 14 years old. She is a secretary at the University of Utah.
     1984
    My Mom always worked that I remember. I never remember when she didn't work full time when I was growing up. When I was little, she worked as a waitress in Howard Johnson's restaurant. I remember my Dad would bring us there to eat sometimes while she was working and she would serve us dinner or he would take us take us to the ice cream bar portion of the restaurant and she would serve us ice cream cones. My favorite was when she would bring us these little chocolate/vanilla swirl lollipops from the restaurant. She tells the funny story of the weekend that Woodstock 1969 happened. Howard Johnson's restaurant and hotel was only a few miles from that historic event and it was about the only public restaurant for quite a distance. My Mom said they didn't know what was happening that whole weekend but she said a bunch of very dirty people kept coming in to use their rest rooms and they couldn't figure out why there were so many of them. That's a story you just don't hear when you hear of Woodstock. When you look at the classic pictures from that weekend, you can imagine why she described them that way. :) It was a rainy, muddy weekend if I remember correctly. I was only nine years old then.

    Me, Freddie, Bernadette
    outside Howard Johnson's
    Obviously the sun was in our eyes.

    Later on after her waitress days, my Mom became a secretary for the board of education office in our town for a number of years. It was my job in junior high and high school many times to do all of the laundry for our family of seven. That was a lot of laundry. I was also assigned the task of ironing I remember. That was a lot of ironing. When I was in junior high and high school I was assigned to cook dinner or get dinner started many days while my Mom was at work. My Mom would tell me how to cook something over the phone from work. I made a lot of terrible meals. We always ate at 5:00.

    This will be the last working year of my Mom's life. Wow. She did have a slight hiatus two or three years ago to help care for my Dad when his health failed. I remember she had a hard time with the lack of working routine. Hopefully she will find something useful to do in retirement. She has boundless energy and I'm sure that will be no problem.

    What mother doesn't thrill to see the pictures of her children? So in honor of her birthday, I will post a few as a birthday thought.

    Me age 2 perhaps
    Freddie, me, Bernadette.
    My grandmother Caroline (my Dad's Mom)
    me, Bernadette, Freddie, 
    my Aunt Louise (my Mom's only sister),
    and Nanny (my Mom's mom).
    Fred and me on a snowbank.
    Why does the song "Let Us In" come to mind? :)
    My mother always dressed us up for Easter.
    One of my favorites.
    Me age 7 maybe.
    Freddie & Bernadette
    Rob & Sue
    My brother Rob
    Me, Bernadette, Sue, and Fred
    My Mom with Elisa (baby) and 
    Amber age 2 1/2 (Sue's daughter).

    And if they were still with us, I'm sure they would say...

    Happy Birthday Mom
    Love You,
    Rob
    Happy Birthday Ang
    All my love,
    Fred