Saturday, July 7, 2012

I'm proud to be an American

      We started out our week with a bang.. Monday morning we called 24 sisters to set appointments and left many messages but were able to set several appointments for this week and next.  We felt really good about the number of visits we have on our schedule and were ready to head out and get to know these sisters better. 
         Monday we were invited to the Tate's for dinner and Family Home Evening.. They live right on the water and their property is beautiful.  They have lived there for 17 years and love sailing and being right on the water.. They have a live in housekeeper Victoria that has been with them for 30 years.. She is a darling sister from Liberia.  Brother Tate is an attorney and his office is in Virginia, so he has quite a drive each way. There were 5 of us for a wonderful dinner, with a couple dishes made with vegetables from their garden and a yummy dessert that had home grown raspberries in it.  We then gathered in the living room for a very fun FHE.. Sister Tate had asked each of us to share something from the previous week, either funny or spititual or memorable. I shared the funny phone call from the sister who wouldn't give me her name. Then Sister Tate asked us to share what our mission was all about and some of the experiences we have had while serving here.   A lovely evening and wonderful way to start our service in the Calvert Ward.
The back yard of the Tate home,,
Their boats
Sister Tate and group finishing dinner
Dining room
Living Room
Our senior mission group is going to go on a sailing outing & crab boil later this month with the Tate's and the Talbot's, another family in the ward. I was so sad that I would be gone for that very fun day, but then discovered that the missionaries that serve in the temple are going in August after I return from Arizona.. so I am going with them. 

           Tuesday we met with Elaine, a darling sister who we sat in front of at church on Sunday and thought it would be really fun to visit her.  For those who know Carolyn Neil, I just kept looking at Elaine and thought wow Elaine could be her sister, she looks a whole lot like Carolyn.. Elaine suffers from MS and has had it since she was 26.  She doesn't let it get her down though. She is very active, she jokes and say's that she can do anything it just takes her a long time, since she moves so slow.. Her husband was an officer in the Air Force and flew fighter planes and now is a private contractor for the Navy.  They have 2 children, a daughter who is 21 and in college in Vermont and a 17 year old son in HS.  She was so much fun to visit and we can't wait to visit her again.
  Melody approached us on Sunday and asked us to visit her.  When we arrived she was so excited to have us there.  She serves in the Young Women in the ward and is a very vivacious person.  She told us that she was inspired to have us visit her when she heard our testimonies on Sunday. She said as she looked at us standing up at the podium she felt the desire to talk to us and knew that we would be able to help her.  She is struggling with severe communication issues with her husband.  He gets stressed out easily over finances and other things and won't talk to her about it.  She was in tears as she shared these personal issues with us.. We listened and offered advice and when we were ready to leave, she said she knew that our visit was inspired and that she felt so much better, just being able to talk out her problems with someone.. The spirit was so strong as we were talking to her we all had tears in our eyes.. Such a wonderful sister.. she served a mission in Italy in her youth.  She loved hearing about our mission and said that she hopes it is rolled out church wide..what an awesome opportunity for single sisters to serve..

         Tuesday evening we went into DC to watch the dress rehearsal of the Capitol 4th concert.. We were invited to join Bishop Martin & family in their July 4th celebrations.  We sat on the steps of the capitol and the huge stage was set up in front of us on the west lawn. We were among the thousands there to see the awesome entertainment.. Tom Bergeron was the host and some of those performing included: bands from all branches of the military as well as;  
  •   “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips
  • Acclaimed Broadway and television star Megan Hilty of NBC’s show "Smash"
  • Two-time Tony Award winner Matthew Broderick
  • Country music star Josh Turner
  • R&B superstars Kool & The Gang
  • Actress and singer Amber Riley from "Glee"
  • Eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Anton Ohno  hosted a tribute to Team USA, honoring the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams, featuring five-time Academy Award-winner, composer John Williams conducting his “Olympic Fanfare.”
PBS tapes the rehearsal in case the weather is stormy on the 4th and they can still have a concert to show.. But the storm hit on the 3rd instead.. We saw about 2/3 of the show and then left, because we overheard security say that they were evacuating the venue because of oncoming lightening and storm.. We made it to our car just as the rain hit.. Even though we didn't get to see the entire show it still was a fun evening..

The view of the stage from our seats
Me, Sabrina, Emily, Sis. Brown & Suz

  On the 4th we joined the Martins for a bar-b-cue and then made our way into DC for the fireworks show.  We parked at the Pentagon and walked about 3/4 a mile to sit on the bridge that goes over the Potomac River between Arlington Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial..They close the bridge and it is the perfect place to watch the fireworks.. I thought the bridge would be packed, but there weren't that many people there, so we set up our chairs and enjoyed the beautiful evening watching the people and the boats while we waited for the fireworks to start... and what an awesome show.. I am so happy that I am getting to be a part of so many wonderful events in the nation's capitol that will be a once in a lifetime experience for me.. The Martins are such a special family to include us in their family celebrations.. We love spending the time with them..
Some of the many boats on the Potomac waiting for the fireworks
Our excellent location on the bridge

The fireworks were fired between the two monuments right over our head

          I have started walking in the evenings with Suz Martin.. I really am glad that she is willing to walk, since Sister Brown cannot and I really did want to get some exercise.  We walk about 3 miles in the evening 3 or 4 days a week.. We start around 8:00 since it is so HOT here now and it is a little cooler then.  I make sure I have lots of water and that I really drink before I go out. 

        Thursday we started out visits with Heather. She serves in the RS presidency and such a sweetheart.  Her husband is a JAG lawyer was just deployed to Afghanistan.. They have 6 children, one of their sons is in the MTC prepping for his mission to daughter just got married and is living in Utah and the other 4 kids are at home.  They have lived all over the states and just moved here last June from their 2 year assignment in England.. She is such a delight to visit with and has everything under control.. We always like to keep a close contact with those families whose husbands are deployed to make sure they are doing fine and to be there if we are needed in any way.

 Another Heather was our next visit.. she is the Primary President in the ward and the mother of 3.. They are having their youngest son Benjamin blessed this Sunday, so they were getting ready to pick grandparents up from the airport.  Their 4 year old Madi was darling and she and her little brother Frankie entertained us the entire visit.  Heather's husband was home so we also got to meet him and get to know more about him.. He plays tuba in the Air Force band, so his schedule is varied and gets to spend more time at home.. Heather is a digital scrapbooker and shared some of her books with us.  We always like to get to know the leaders of the wards we work in, so this first week we were getting that opportunity.

Heather with her family
       Kathy serves as 2nd counselor in the young women and had  just returned from girls camp. She is an identical twin & is the mother of 5. She loves spending time with her family and when she has time she likes to read self help books.  She has her BS is Sociology.  Her husband is a Lt. Colonel & a pilot in the Air Force and is part of the Presidential pre-ops group and fly's the vice president and other leaders like Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton.   They also have lived all over the world while serving in the military and really like living in Maryland. 

        Denise was our next visit.. We had met her at church and arranged for the visit. She is such a wonderful sister. She and her husband are the parents of 9.  Their 4 oldest children are married and the other 5 are in high school or older.. Denise is an avid tennis player and loves to read and she said all of her other time is spent with her family.. her husband is an Army Officer and also a pilot and fly's an Air Stream Jet for US dignitaries and the powers of DC.. He is the second one this week who has that job that we met.  Denise  and her family are host family to Iris, a foreign exchange student from  Germany. Their family has lived all over the world and the US.. We got to meet her daughter Whitney who is home from college and their son Jesse who is the 5th oldest and still at home.  The others were all getting ready to go for a swim after their tennis games that morning.. Such a fun visit..

Iris, Whitney, Denise & Jesse

Their beautiful home

                                                   Some of the flowers around their home

          One of the perks of serving in the Calvert ward is the Chesapeake Bay and we got to spend some time walking along a long pier in-between visits on Thursday.  The town of Chesapeake Beach is such a quite little town that lives up to my idea of what a small beach front town would be like.  There are a couple of roads that lead right to the bay and it is such a beautiful site to see the little homes along the street and then at the end of the street the bay.  On Friday we had a couple hours between visits and decided to have lunch at Sweet Sue's, a darling little sandwich shop right near the beach with great food and wonderful service.

Chesapeake Beach

Sue's Sweets Sandwich Shop

            We had a meeting with Bonnie the Stake RS president this week. She has been out of town for a couple weeks and we wanted to touch base with her and bring her up to speed on our activities.

         In all we called 46 sisters this week trying to set appointments & left lots of messages to call us back.. tough week getting through, being the 4th holiday and the beginning of summer vacations.. We did get 7 appointments set for next week.. and are looking forward to those visits and will call and see if we can fill up the week.  Next Friday Sister Brown has another epidural injection in her back.  I certainly hope it will help ease the intense pain she has each day. 

      Our drives are so beautiful as we go to our appointments each day.. The roadsides are robed in thick green foliage. It amazes me every day, just how beautiful it is.. So I wanted to share it with all of you.
                                                        Thick foliage along every road

                                                  Beautiful roads we travel on every day

         Several of those we visited with this week commented on the testimonies we shared last Sunday.. I am so glad that we were able to touch the hearts of some of those in the ward, as we shared those things we are so thankful for as we serve on our mission..

A Choice Land
Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.  Ether 2:12

"I marvel at the miracle of America, the land which the God of Heaven long ago declared to be a land of choice above all other lands. I love America for her great and brawny strength, I love her for her generous heart. I love her for  her tremendous spiritual strengths. She is unique among the nations of the earth -- in her discovery, in her birth as a nation, in the amalgamation of the races that have come to her shores, in the strength of her government, in the goodness of  her people. God bless America, for she is His creation"..   President Gordon B Hinckley

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