Sunday, June 3, 2012

Memorial Week

       Memorial Day in the nations capitol is a major event in so many venues and areas of the city.  I was lucky to be able to attend the Memorial Day Observance at the Arlington National Cemetery.  Bishop Mike Vance of the White Plains 2nd ward asked if I wanted to join Pat and Doug Gourley at the event.  Bishop Vance plays in the United States Army concert band and they were performing there and he would give us a ride.  We arrived at Arlington at 7:30 am and waited in line with thousands of others for the gates to open at 8:00 and then to get on a shuttle to take us up to the amphitheatre.  The Gourleys and I arrived early enough to get great seats.. near the front center.. the amphitheatre is all made of marble so on a hot day it was really HOT.. 90 degrees and 87% humidity..which made the heat index about 101 degrees... The program was slated to start at 11:00..There was a 21 gun salute when President Obama arrived.  The Army band played several stirring patriotic songs and they had a trio sing "Last Full Measure of Devotion".  It was so beautiful and very moving.  There were talks by General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff & Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense.  They were followed by President Obama.  It was attended by many of the high ranking brass of all arms of the military and by many senators and congressmen and their families.  This was such a special event for me, something I will never get to see again..  
Bishop Mike Vance, standing in the middle

Michele Obama
President Obama
           I met with Marsha on Tuesday.. what a sweet lady. She joined the church 3 years ago and has been so happy. She is the mom of 5 and the grandmother of 8 with her first great grandson due in June.  She is an avid gardener and loves to read.  She and her  husband live down at the tip of Maryland, which was a drive for me of 1 1/2 hours, but so worth it. Her health has been in jeopardy for the last year with major heart issues.  She is getting ready to have heart surgery. Replacing a defective valve and also triple bypass.  She was very open and talked about her life in her younger years.. drugs and alcohol addiction. Marsha is so proud to be 12 years sober and has worked as an counselor at a drug and alcohol rehab center for the past 12 years.  Her husband is a retired Navy helicopter pilot and now is a private contractor for the Navy, servicing the helicopters that the US sells to countries all over the world. He travels to many countries including Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia among many others. Always accompanied by 2 secret service and 2 plain clothes body guards. Many times he is the only one most countries will let service their helicopters..  When we were talking I asked Marsha if she would like a blessing before she went for her tests at Walter Reed Hospital on Weds. and she said she would. So I called and talked to the Bishop and got that all arranged.  I called on Friday to find out the results of her tests.  She is having a heart catheter on June 6th and is scheduled for her valve replacement on June 26th.

         Amanda is the mom of 4 year old twin boys.  Anderson and Scott were born very early and weighed 2 lbs. each.  They made friends with me right away and were sharing their favorite things with me.  Amanda and her husband are expecting a baby girl in August. Her husband is a policeman in the district.. She is the daughter of one of the couples I met when we were working in the White Plains 1st ward.. It was a very fun visit.
Scott & Anderson
           Pat was one of the speakers in sacrament meeting last week and I just knew I wanted to spend some time with her and get to know her better.  When I arrived at her home I was overwhelmed at the beautiful lawn and flower gardens that surrounded her home.  She was so warm and welcoming and we had a wonderful long visit. Her two sons and one daughter are all  married and have given them 9 grandchildren.  She and her husband have lived in several states and they lived 10 years in
Saudi Arabia while he worked for a major oil company.
 Pat loves to knit and crochet and read and she showed me several of her beautiful afghans.  I am in the monthly card making club with her daughter-in-law. I had a fantastic time with Pat and can't wait to visit her again.

Their beautiful home

The fantastic yard, so beautifully manicured
 a huge hydrangea bush with gorgeous flowers

Their back patio

      Alicia is a sister that we have tried to visit before and I finally was able to make an appointment for a visit.  She is a counselor in the Patuxtent RS.  On Sunday I noticed she was really stressed out about something and I knew that I wanted to visit with her and see if there was anything I could do to help her.  She was excited that day to be picking up her sister from the airport, so my visit was early and not quite as long as usual.  Alicia served her mission in LA and so did her husband. He is an aeronautical engineer for the Navy.

       I met Rachel Metcalf and her mother-in-law Linda at Olive Garden for lunch.  Linda  works near by and it was convenient to meet there so she could join us.  Rachel has 4 kids and is very involved with the activities of her children.  I hadn't met either Rachel or Linda before and I really enjoyed getting to know them.  Rachel's husband works at Quantico in DC.. Linda told me all about the struggles she had putting her mom in an assisted living center. She knew it was the right thing to do for her mom and that her mom would be able to get the care she needed around the clock, but she was still having a tough time with that decision.  We talked it over and I think she felt a little better after our conversation.. It was a very nice visit.

      I was able to meet with Mary later that day.  She is the mom of 2, a 9 year old son and a daughter 14.  She home schools her son.  Mary is a counselor in the Lex. Park RS. and we had a great visit.  I didn't stay long because there was a "severe storm" headed our way and I wanted to get home before the storm hit. 

       There were tornado warnings predictions and some areas were receiving hail and very strong winds along with torrential rain. I got home about 30 minutes before the first wave of rain hit.  It was calm one minute and the next it was raining BUCKETS sideways.. It lasted about 40 minutes and then stopped.  I had been invited to attend the Blue Crab Baseball game with a group from church and it looked like maybe it would miss hitting us again that evening.. We arrived at the stadium and in about 10 minutes it started to sprinkle and then the rains came... they finally cancelled the game.. they gave us vouchers for another game, so we are going next Saturday..after Sister Brown gets home..
        Saturday the sky was the most beautiful blue and the air was delightful.. in the 70's.  I cleaned the apartment and put together the kits for the card club that I am teaching at next Tuesday.. I created 2 cards for the class.. so it should be fun. Then I was invited to dinner at Bonnie and Gary Ramon's home. Bonnie's sister and brother were in town visiting with their families.  Her brother lives in Phoenix at the 101 and 7th Avenue. So we talked Phoenix and I found out what they liked to do there.  Bonnie's brothers girlfriend works in the medical building at the 101 & Tatum.. so she was telling me all the new things that are going in there.. It was a fun evening.

       I am still an empty nester. Sister Brown will be home on Saturday, June 9th.  I have had a lot of fun this week, visiting and meeting so many new people.  My mission president asked me how I was doing and I said "fine, I have lived alone for over 7 years and it was harder learning to live with someone 24-7".. thank goodness Sister Brown and I hit it off so well.. we really didn't skip a beat and love being together.

        God our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are beings of absolute, perfect, and complete honesty and truth. We are sons and daughters of God. Our destiny is to become like Him. We seek to be perfectly honest and true like our Father and His Son. Honesty describes the character of God, and therefore honesty is at the very heart of our spiritual growth and spiritual gifts.  Honesty, integrity, and truth are eternal principles that significantly shape our experience in mortality and help determine our eternal destiny. For a disciple of Christ, honesty is at the very heart of spirituality."
Neil L. Andersen

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