Sunday, September 30, 2012

Transfers. . . . .

       What a fun week I have had, busy, busy, busy but so much fun.  As I said in last weeks letter I was being transferred up to Silver Spring.. my new companion is Sister Wege, she is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This is her second mission, she served a mission in the England London South Mission in the mission office.  She is the mom of 2 girls and 1 son and the grandmother of 5. She is a fantastic sister and I know I am going to have a great time serving with her these last 5 months. 

         This week on Monday we drove down to Calvert ward and visited with Tracey, she is the relief society president in that ward and I wanted to let her know I was being transferred and thank her for all her help while we were serving in the Calvert Ward.  It was my last chance to see the Chesapeake Bay, before moving to my new area.  Tracey is such an awesome RS president. She is so caring and concerned about each sister in her ward and keeps up to date on each one. I love visiting with her and seeing the excitement and love in her eyes and voice as she talks about the sisters.

          We then drove to Leonard Town in the Patuxent Ward and visited with Colleen, who is the RS President of that ward. Like Tracey, she has her eyes and ears out regarding all the sisters in her care. She is such a joy to be around and I just love to spend time with her and share our love and concern with those sisters we served while we were there. We asked about several of the sisters to see how they were doing.. happy to know most are doing great.  The travel for the day was over 100 miles but such a fun day.  I will really miss both of these wonderful sisters.. They are both wonderful examples of how to serve with compassion and love.

       I was packing and trying to get everything done Tuesday, since Weds. we are at the temple all day and I wouldn't really have any time when I get home in the evening and the missionaries were coming over Thursday morning at 8:30 to load me up for my move. 

        We had been invited to a goodbye lunch at Cafe Rio and it was fun to see some friend for the last time.. Lunch and conversation and laughter and friends... what could be better.
 Bonnie Ramon, Sister Brown, Norma Goode & me

 Everyone the same except Kristi Hoefferle

     That evening we were invited over to Bishop Vance's home for dessert and one last goodbye.  What a wonderful family they are. They really have adopted  us and mad us each feel so special and loved.  Each of the kids gave me many hugs and even Sarah, their 2 year old finally made up to me and we had a fun time together. 

     Our day at the temple was wonderful as usual.. I met two sisters from Arizona, who were there for the day at the temple. One of the young women is an aide for Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and flies to DC once a month for meeting and her sister came with her this time and has spent the days seeing the sights in DC.. Always fun to talk to someone from home.
My moving crew. . .

    Thursday I had all my belongings ready to go and the elders showed up at exactly 8:30 and had the cars loaded in 30 minutes.. Wow I am so glad we had their help, otherwise it would have taken us hours, up and down those 3 flights of stairs.. We headed north, both Sister Brown and I had my things packed in our cars and she was picking up Sister Larsen when we dropped my things off at the new apartment.. Just switching out my things for hers.  Sister Wege and Sister Larsen had a grocery cart that they borrowed and a flat bed cart and another small cart and it really didn't take too long to get all my things up to the 10th floor.  Then Sisters Brown and Larsen were off , back to Southern Maryland.  I am pretty well settled in and realize just how much stuff I have.. I do tend to always over pack and I really did, now that I had to pack it all up to make the transfer.  I am going to have to have a car top carrier to get it all home..
 Our Apartment Complex
 Our View

We are on the 10th floor on the right.
       Thursday afternoon we (Sister Wege) and I visited with Barbara. She is in an assisted living facility and cannot walk. She loves to have us over, we visit her every Thursday. She loves diet pepsi and gumdrops, so that was a little treat that Sister Wege had for her. She has severe health issues and in confined to a wheelchair. We met her in the main lobby area on the center for our visit. She loves to have us read some scriptures to her and always has questions.. Such a sweet lady.


     Eva was our next visit and she had invited us to dinner. She works at the temple on Weds. and Saturday.. When we arrived she said, "hey I have seen you before.. so maybe at the temple".  Her shift was the one just before mine.. It was fun talking to her as she finished dinner and then we asked if there was anything we could do to help her and she said "yes, you could help me get all those things laying all over the back yard into the shed.  The elders had come over in the morning and helped her clear it out so she could clean it and organize it.. So we helped put everything back into the shed.  A great visit.
                       Friday we visited with 4 sisters and tried to visit 3 others, who were not home. 
      Our first visit was with Cheryl, what a sweetheart. She is so enthusiastic  about the scriptures and we had a wonderful visit with her. She is single, and dating a nice gentleman who she hopes to marry.  He is somewhat interested in the church and she is working hard to get him to come to church more often. She went back to school as an adult and got her degree and now she is starting a new job as a college counselor at the local high school. What a fun visit.


        Next we visited Iris.  She is handicapped and lives in an assisted living complex. She was really fun to talk to and loved to tell us stories. She is from Jamaica and has a very strong accent, so I had a little trouble sometimes understanding what she was saying.  She was on her way to the laundry room and so we helped her get her laundry started and then helped make her bed when the linens were dry. She loves Broadway Musicals and showed me her mug from the Phantom of the Opera.  She said she likes where she is living and they take very good care of her. She gave us big hugs and told us how much she loved us.

     Elsie is the manager of a large apartment complex and has been since the 70's. She started with her husband and since his passing she manages the complex alone.  There are 76 apartments and she has to be there 24/7. So she doesn't get a chance to come to church. She has warmed up to visits Sister Wege said and today she was very pleasant and welcoming.

       Our last visit was with Nola.. What a joy she was. She is going back to school to get her GED, so she can start training to get her CNA.. She is such a happy go lucky person and was so much fun to visit with.  She is active and loves attending church..

 Nola with me
& Sister Wege

     Saturday we attended the temple. We picked up Darlene to go with us. She loves to go and we had a wonderful time with her. She has 2 masters degrees one in Sociology and one in Adult Education and her PHD in Sociology, and has worked in many areas of the government. She also taught school for many years.  When we were leaving the temple I wanted to get a picture of the 3 of us and asked a cute girl if she would.  Her mom came over and saw my name tag and said that her maiden name was Harper  and asked where I was originally from.. after a minute of discussion we discovered that her dad and my father in law were brothers.  It was Kent's uncle Vern's daughter, by his second marriage.  We had never met her and I just cried.. what an awesome thing to have happen today at the temple.  We exchanged names and e-mails and promised to keep in touch..

 Ssiter Wege, Darlene & me
 Gayle Harper & me

     I had a meeting with President Swinton, the temple president.. I told him that since my transfer I would be working in the Family History Center instead of the temple on Weds. but in November I could work again on the Wednesday mid day shift, while I am assigned to work in the Visitors Center.. He said he didn't want to release me and to please come work whenever I could.. Loved that answer...

     Saturday evening was the "Women's Broadcast" from SLC.  We attended at the stake center, where they had an ice cream social before the broadcast.. What a wonderful evening, meeting so many new people and then being able to listen to such wonderful talks by the General Relief Society Board and the final message by President Eyring..  A long but very great day....

       Sunday we attended church in the College Park Ward.  This ward is filled with students who are here getting their education and their advanced degrees.. Met many more people today.. I know I am going to love the ward.  We also serve in the White Oaks Ward and the Laurel Ward.. So we are very busy..

        Sunday evening we attended the production of "The Atonement: An Oratorio".. It is an award winning oratorio  (a mix of opera and a musical) by a local composer, Michael Turnblom, it tells the story of the Savoir and His appearance to His disciples following his resurrection. This was their premier performance.

      Looking forward to next week and more adventures. . . . .

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Changes in the wind. . . .

We started out our day under bright blue skies heading north to Bowie for three visits. This was the first time we got to go to this area for visits and we loved the views as we drove.  Each area we serve in has beautiful and different things to see. 

Bowie Town Center Fountain
      Gwen was our first visit.. She had given a talk in church a couple weeks ago and blew me away.. Such a wonderful vision she has of the gospel and serving others.  She joined the church 5 months ago. She said she was raised in a family that attended church each Sunday and that her parents were so involved in their church and she loved it. Gwen is one of eleven children and had just returned from Illinois where she attended a family reunion.. She has two children Eric who is 17 and Erin who is 13.  Her husband is a I.T. tech for banks and is currently working in North Carolina. He also serves in the ministry of a local church.  Gwen has the most amazing spirit about her and we loved being able to spend the time with her.  She said that even though she was raised in a bible church in her later years she had been searching for something more and when the missionaries appeared on her door and were able to fill in the gaps in her spiritual quest and answered the questions she had.  She is so involved in the church and loves the structure of the emphasis on family and service that she was searching for.  She is such a delight and I loved the time I got to spend with her.  I told her that even her voice mail message is so uplifting and if anyone was ever down they just needed to call and listen to her message.. What a joyful hour......

 Gwen with Erin & Eric
        Ginny is just finishing a series of chemo treatments for breast cancer.  Even though she is going through radiation and chemo she has such a fun and positive attitude about her life and life in general. She is always laughing and was very excited to have us visit and spend some time with her. She is a very talented quilter and shared some of the beautiful quilts she is working on. She said it is her passion and she can lose track of time as she works on the piecing of beautiful fabrics together in the intricate patterns. She and her current husband were married in 2007 after many, many years of being single. She had told her children that she would never get married again unless they (her children) approved of the man.  Funny thing is that her daughter introduced them and set up their first date.. She has four children and her husband had 6 children and they have 14 grandchildren together. Both Ginny and her husband sing in the Washington DC Mormon Choir.  She even had brownies baking in the oven for our visit and we enjoyed them as we talked and she shared stories with us. It was a wonderful visit.. Such a strong woman..

       Our last visit of the day was with Shirley. She is in her mid 80's and was born and raised in Maryland.  She and her husband moved to their home in Bowie in 1966 and her husband died 18 months later when he was just 39.  Shirley in her younger years worked for the US Postal Dept. in DC.. She was so cute when we complimented her on her beautiful yard.. She said that she didn't get the cooking, or crafting gene but does love to work in her yard, and it is beautiful.  She has 2 daughters and 1 grandson and 1 great grandaughter.  She is a very shy quite little lady and always sits in the back row of the chapel at church and wasn't quite sure about having us visit, but I know we made a real friend through the time we spent with her.

        Tuesday we had appointments set and then had to cancel due to severe weather in our area. Strong winds and tornado warnings and heavy rains.  We didn't want to get caught that far away from home in a bad storm.. So we will reschedule for next week with each sister.

       Wednesday was a wonderful day in the temple and the drive up was under clear blue skies.. It was such a switch from the day before.. I got to spend an hour working in the office at the temple and I really love it.. I want to work in the office of the new North Phoenix Temple when it opens, so the sisters in the office here are giving me lots different assignments so I can get some experience in all the different duties of the office.   I met a cute sister from Sierra Vista, AZ.  It was really fun to talk to her.. We have a Sister Blades who comes every Weds. to the temple.  I was talking to her this week and she said that her son is serving a mission in Uganda and she promised him that she would come to the temple every week that he was gone.. and she hasn't missed a week..What dedication, and love.

        Thursday was our zone conference and I really do love them.  We get to interact with all the other missionaries in our zone and meet those who are new and say goodbye to those leaving.  We also receive counsel from President & Sister Matsumori.  We get to have a one on one interview with our mission president.  When I met with President Matsumori he said that he was thinking of switching up the companionships.. He asked what I thought of the idea and I said I thought it was a great idea.  It would give us each an opportunity to serve with another sister and in a different area..  He said that he wouldn't switch Sister Brown, due to her doctors all being down here where we live.  We had a wonderful conversation and he said that he was pleased with the work that was being accomplished through our mission. He said that he still had to talk to the other set of sisters and also the mission department in SLC.. I was excited and nervous and couldn't wait to hear back from him in a few days. 
Sister Matsumori
       Friday our first visit was with Tanya, she moved to Virginia when she was 16 from Laos.. ( I talked about our visit to her sister a couple weeks ago).  Tanya has 3 children and works as an interpreter for the courts and hospitals.  They spent several weeks this summer in Laos, Thailand and Japan. Tanya's husband is from Japan and the only member of his family living in the US. He is an IT consultant for IBM.  He was on a conference call while we were visiting, but managed to fix a great pizza for us, empty the trash, take out the mail.. I don't know when I have seen anyone move so fast and doing so many things at one time..& all the time on his cell phone. It was a very fun visit..

      Danielle is a very busy mom of 3, a little girl and 2 boys.. She is a cub scout den mother, volunteers at her boys school, helps her husband coach their boys soccer team. She met her husband while on her mission here in the Washington DC North Mission.  She said that she kept trying to talk him into serving a mission and he resisted and so she tried even harder..until at the end of her mission he proposed.. He has a construction company with his brother.. cute family and really fun to visit.
Danielle & Gisselle
        Courtney and her family just moved to Bowie.. She is a surgical nurse and works 3 evenings a week.. and her husband works for the NSA.  She served a mission in South Carolina and is from Rexburg, Idaho.  They have 2 children, Corbin is 4 and Ayla is 2.  They really were fun to be with and so very busy.. Courtney and her family love the ward and are starting to get involved..

Courtney with Corbin & Ayla
        We received our phone call from President when we were at Courtney's so I told him we would call him back.. my stomach was a flutter and I was anxious and nervous to hear what the decision was.  Since there are just the 4 of us serving this mission in DC, I knew that I would be serving with one of the other two sisters. He said that I would be transferring up to Silver Spring, which is just northeast of DC.. and Sister Brown would stay in our apartment in Waldorf.  Sister Larsen will be moving down here to serve with her.  My new companion is Sister Wege from Louisiana.  When I first got my mission call I was told that my companion was from Louisiana and then it was discovered that she couldn't come on her mission  until October, so they assigned Sister Brown as my companion.  I will be going from the country to the city.. I will be living in a tall apartment complex in the city on the 10th floor.  One of my new assignments will be working a the Washington DC Temple Visitors Center for the months of November and December.. I am really looking forward to that.  I hear that the Silver Spring area is very pretty and has a lot to offer.. I can't wait to share my new experience with all of you. 

      Sunday we went to the White Plains 1st and 2nd wards so I could tell everyone goodbye.. It was so hard.. we have lived here for a year and I have grown so close to so many and have some great friends here.  I sang with a relief society choir in 1st ward, we sang, "As Sisters in Zion", oh let's say I made it through the first verse, but cried through the second.. Then I went to 2nd ward alone, sister Brown was in bed with a headache.  I was doing great sitting listening to the speakers and then right before the closing prayer, they asked me to come up and say goodbye.. Well.. that was sooooo hard.  I made it almost all the way through my comments before I started crying, along with many in the congregation.. It was just a year ago that I was asked to come up and introduce us since we had arrived on Sept. 22nd, 2012.   I know that change is a good thing and that I will grow a lot from this change, but it was still hard saying goodbye.. I got lots of hugs and well wishes and told them all I would be back to visit on February 24, 2013.. The Sunday after my release.. to really say goodbye. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Twelve Months Down.... Six to go

      Twelve months down and six months to go.. Wow the time is flying by so fast and I know that the next 6 months will go by really fast..

        Bowie is about an hour plus drive north.. It is a straight shot up highway 301.. The Bowie ward is one of the smaller wards area wise in the stake. We seem to be driving down the same streets all the time as we go to our visits, once we get up north.. The area is filled with beautiful single living homes and lots of town homes too.

       We had great hopes last week of a lot of return phone calls to set up appointments..but alas they never came.. So this Monday morning as Sister Brown was at the eye doctor I started to call sisters.. I made 28 calls and booked two days appointments and hopes of many more.

       The weather is so nice and I wanted to get back to walking now that the humidity was gone and the evenings were cool.  I called Suz to see if she was ready to start walking again and she was agreeable to get going.. So I drove over to her house and we had a wonderful walk. 

       Our visit with : Angie is the mom of 4 daughters ages 15, 13, 11 & 7 and one son age "almost 5" he states.. We had a wonderful visit with her as she prepped her dinner.. her husband is a doctor stationed at Ft. Meade, Maryland.  Teaching is his specialty on the base.. We were also invited to dinner after church on Sunday.. Got to meet the entire family and what a great family they are.. The elders came to dinner also.. Angie and her family fixed their version of "Cafe Rio", and it was delicious.. they had it down perfect.. We were treated to raspberry chocolate cake for dessert.. A great time..

 Angie and family

            Julie's husband is deployed and left last week.  He is a pilot for the Navy and is training on a new plane in Virginia. He will be stationed there for several months and gets to come home every once in a while and then next spring he leaves for long term deployment to Afghanistan.  They moved back to the states from Italy this last June and are just getting settled. They have two little girls and 5 and 2. The 2 year old was really having a hard time with her daddy leaving. Julie is doing great and is a great military wife and mom..


            Susan is a single sister that is very lonely.  She was very glad that we came to visit her and talked for 1 1/2 hours non stop. When we first got there her mood was very down and she really didn't have anything good to say about anything, she hates living here and everything about it. But we asked about the picture we saw on her end table, who was her son we found out.  She told us so many stories about him.  He is in the military and stationed in Guam with his wife & new baby.  When we told her we had to go because we had another appointment she was sad and said, " but I haven't told you about me yet".  So we assured her we would be back and she could finish her story.

         Kathy is such a sweet sister. She has one daughter at home who is 5 and what a whiz kid.. she plays the violin and can read and write like a 3rd or 4th grader.. She played a couple pieces for us. The bishop said Kathy is going through some tough times and we wanted to make sure she knew we were there to help in any way we could.  This is her second marriage and her two youngest sons from her previous marriage just left to return to live with their father out west.  She was very sad.. Her husband works a lot and she is very lonesome.. We hope she can be looked after and we talked to her visiting teacher who is also concerned about her. She said she would keep an eye on Kathy.. thank heavens for visiting teachers.

 Portrait of Kayla playing for her favorite stuffed friends

            Our day at the temple was wonderful as usual.. sad that many of our friends that we have made there are getting to the end of their missions and will be leaving soon.  I am so happy for them and will miss each one..

        On Friday Sister Brown was down in bed with a headache so I headed north to Bowie on my own. My first appointment was with Laura.. a young mom of two boys, 2 and 7 months.  She grew up in Bowie about 2 blocks from where she and her husband and boys live now.. She loves being close to her parents who still live in the house she was raised in.  She has a sister and a brother who are serving missions from the Bowie ward.  She loves to scrapbook and create cards.. It was really fun visiting with her and her boys..
 Laura & Cullen

 Crosby & Cullen

            My next appointment was with Karim , when I got to her apartment, I knocked on the door and waited then knocked again then her neighbor came out of her door and said in broken English "she not home"..  so I left one of our "sorry we missed you cards", and left.  My next appointment wasn't for an 1 1/2 hours & Karim's apartment was right across the road from a brand new shopping center that has great restaurants and stores in it.. So I grabbed a bite to eat and then got a flu shot and spent some time looking around.  Then I called Courtney my next appointment to see if I could come by a little early and she had forgotten our appointment and was at a play date with her children.. So we re-scheduled for next Friday.. I told her I would call in the morning on that day.. Since that was my last appointment of the day I headed south & ran some errands on the way home..

        We were invited to dinner at Bishop & Suz Martins home on Friday evening and then Suz and I planned on walking after dinner.  Sister Brown still wasn't feeling well, so I went alone. 

       Since we have only 6 months left we are trying to make sure that we go to all the special places in and around DC that we want to see.. So we decided to go to Mt. Vernon on Saturday.. It was a beautiful day out and Mt. Vernon is about 1 1/4 hours from our apartment in Virginia.. My GPS thought we wanted the tourist route I guess and it took us through DC.. so it took us over 2 hours to get there.. but so worth it.. We were hungry so the first order of business was having lunch in the quaint restaurant.. I loved that everyone is dressed in period costumes that works there.. We then toured the grounds and the home of George Washington.  It was a wonderful day and I loved being there.. Lots of walking and lots to see and we walked down each path and saw almost everything there was to see.. I love being in such a wonderful part of our country that is rich in the history of our nation.
 George Washington's Mansion
 The Gardens
 Pictorial in stained glass
The beautiful garden

 The view from the mansion
 George Washington
 The Farm

 George & Family

            At church today we were given a few minutes in Relief Society to explain our mission and introduce ourselves.. We were able to set a few appointments for this week. This coming week is our zone conference and I always love the counsel we receive and the interaction with all the missionaries in our 2 areas..
                                                         I can feel Fall in the air and I love it !

Sunday, September 9, 2012

On to the Bowie Ward

       On Labor Day we decided to stay close to home and just relax.  I pulled up Family Search and was looking at my family tree chart and pulling up the individual information on the ancestors on my mother's side.. When I got back to 1763, I was excited to discover that from 1625 until 1763 my ancestors lived in Maryland.. I found one family that lived in Calvert, the area we just finished serving in and 2 families that lived in Ann Arundel County, where we would be serving starting on Tuesday.. I also found several that lived in Prince Georges County, Maryland.. My 9th Great-grandfather James O'Dell was christened on July 12, 1731 at St. Barnabas Church in Upper Marlboro.. Which is about 20 minutes north of us.  The church is still serving its congregation today.  I am so very excited to be able to research and find out more about the ancestors who lived right here in Maryland.. Sister Brown and I have a field trip to go on for sure. 

St. Barnabas Church

        Since Monday was a holiday and we really didn't feel right calling people for appointments in the middle of their bar-b-cues and such.. we called on Tuesday morning.  Since we don't have the highlighted ward directory from the relief society president yet, we just started calling the leaders and the leaders wives to set up appointments.  We called 28 names and got three appointments for Thursday.. We left messages on all the others and were hoping that we would get some return phone calls.. Since we didn't have any appointments for Tuesday, we decided to call two of our older senior sisters that we have loved visiting and see if they were up for a visit.. Sure enough..both Sue and Ethyl said they would love a visit from us.. We headed south first to visit Sue.  She is the lady that lives in an assisted living apartment and is the artist... We love to listen to her southern drawl as she shares her life stories with us.. She was so excited to show us pictures of her grandchildren that her daughter finally sent her.  Sue has been asking for some pictures for almost a year.. It is so sad that her daughter and grandchildren are missing out on spending time with this amazing woman.  She hasn't ever seen her grandchildren and hasn't seen her daughter in several years.. She is the sweetest person and always wants to give us food to take home.. We assure her that we are doing fine.  I am so glad we called her and were able to visit with her..She invited us to attend a special yearly picnic celebration coming up next month.. We said we would be honored to come as her guests.

 Sweet Sue
       We then drove back to visit Ethyl, who lives close to us and she is such a hoot.  When I called her and asked her how she was doing and she said not good since "they" took us away to another area to serve. We love her dry sense of humor.  She has so many wonderful stories to share with us about everything from her time as a high school chemistry & calculus teacher to the time she served a mission as a senior missionary in Bolivia.  She spent an hour and a half sharing her fun stories.. What a fun day we had with these two wonderful sisters.

 Ethyl & me
      At the temple on Wednesday I got to see the Rivera family again, I told you all about meeting them a few weeks ago when they came to the baptistery.  Elder Rivera enters the MTC on Sept. 12th and then arrives in "Arizona" the first part of October. He is so excited to start his mission and he told me yesterday that he was so excited to meet my family.. His dad was just beaming as I talked to them.. So everyone is Arizona keep an eye out for Elder Rivera and let me know if he shows up in your ward. 

       We were excited to start our visits to the sisters in the Bowie ward this week.   Bowie a little over an hour north of us, so we will be driving a lot each day again. Our first visit was with Pakayvanh. She is the Primary President in the ward and such a special lady. She was born in Laos and her family moved to Virginia when she was 12 years old. She and her husband have 7 children, 2 in college, 2 in high school and 3 in elementary school.  Her husband works for a non profit agency that fosters relations with Asian nations.  What a joy she was to visit.. We were invited to their house for dinner on Sunday after church.. This is a well tuned family... everyone pitches in to get it all done.. The two older girls were such a help in the kitchen and knew how to do all the tasks they were asked to do to get dinner ready.  It was a very fun afternoon with a wonderful family.


       Sharon was our next visit. She was serving in the stake young women until February when her husband was put in as the wards bishop. She is now serving in the nursery and said she loves it..she gets to play with the kids and then their parents take them home.. They have one daughter who is 15.  Sharon loves to play the piano and teaches piano. It is always so nice to get to know those in a new ward and Sharon was a wonderful one to have on our first day.

      Our last visit of the day was with Kathy.  She serves as the secretary in the primary. She has 6 children.. All are out of the house except the last two. Two of their sons are married and she has 4 grandchildren.  Her oldest daughter is getting married in December and she loved sharing with us all the things they have been doing to get ready for the wedding.  It was a fun day filled with great visits.. It is always hard when we start a new area to get the sisters involved in our program.. once they get to know us it is easier to make appointments to visit.


     While we were driving this week I saw an American Eagle flying right over us.  He was amazing and I was so excited to finally say I saw one.  Everyone says that the area not to far from our apartment that has a lot of eagles.. I have seen birds flying but couldn't for sure say they were eagles until this week.. Such magnificent birds..

     Maria is the mom of 4 and what a fun visit. We met with her and her two youngest children. She is a Geologist and works on water and land erosion on land along the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers at flow nearby.   She showed a project that she is working on now.. re-building a bridge over a river that the entire span goes up and down  not just a draw bridge.. Her daughter Addie is 4 and is a whiz kid and read to us from the scriptures and was counting up into the 60's.. Her youngest little one is Asher and he is one year old, he was such a sweetheart. Maria's husband is in the bishopric and works for the department in DC that reviews the expenditures of the government.
 Maria and kids


     Saturday we had our final district outing with the Noels who leave for home on Monday. It has been such a pleasure to work with them for the year they have been out.  They served as our District Leaders. We met the Noels and the other two sisters who are in our district at the temple for a session and then went to lunch together.  We ate at the Macaroni Grill in Silver Springs.. We were joined by Erin, who served her mission in North Carolina when the Noels served there as Mission President. It was such a fun day and one to remember.  Storms were threatening and we thought we might make it home before they hit.. but no luck.. The skies grew black and the winds blew and then the rain hit.. and did it rain..OH IT RAINED SO HARD.. On the weather map when we got home we were in the orange and red area of the storm.. So glad to be safe and warm in our apartment.
 Our district at lunch

 Sister Noel & Erin

     It was so nice to see a few faces that we recognized at church today. We had a meeting with the Relief Society President and also one with the Bishop to discuss the needs of the sisters in the Bowie Ward. So now we have a great list of sisters to visit and get to know.

 I heard this today and loved it:  "Give the Lord a chance".. I do agree

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Life is good. . . .

      This was our last week to serve in the Calvert ward.. gee I hate to move on just when we get to know people.. this truly was a wonderful place to be for the last two months and I will miss not only the fantastic friends we have made, but I will also miss the Chesapeake Bay on a daily basis.. Yes we can come back and visit, but we won't see the beautiful view each day.. but as they say; with change come great things.. so I know that we will find new treasures in the Bowie Ward. 

 The Chesapeake Bay

         We had our usual Monday morning phone marathon, calling to set up appointments. We called over 28 sisters and made 5 appointments and had hopes for many call backs and more bookings..  We headed out in the afternoon to visit with two of our favorite people.  Both Lynn and Victoria live at Tate's Place.  Lynn and her husband have lived there for about a year and Victoria has lived with the Tate's for over 30 years.  Lynn suffers from major headaches and Sister Brown had gotten a book for her that her doctor recommended because of her headaches. She and her husband live in a cute little bungalow on the Tate's property.  Her husband is the caretaker of the property and Lynn helps out both her husband and Sister Tate.  It was great to sit down with her and get to know her a little better.  Victoria joined us over at Lynn's.. and she is such a darling.  She is originally from Liberia and still after being in the US for many years has very broken English.. She told us how she came to the states when she was a young woman.  A family was leaving Liberia and wanted to bring Victoria with them and they asked her mother.. Her mother said Victoria was hard worker, loved children and very honest, so the rest is history and she has lived her every since.  After the children in that family grew up, she joined the Tate's and have been with them ever since. 
Lynn, Me & Victoria
 I was down and out for a couple days with a bladder infection and really hate to miss going out..but I felt awful. So I stayed in and recuperated..

        We had visited Peg before, but felt inspired to visit again while we were still serving in Calvert.  She is really fun to visit.. we learned some great new things about her on this visit.. She is a baseball fanatic.. She loves the Baltimore Orioles.. She played slow pitch soft ball for 30 years and has been a season ticket holder for the Orioles for years.  She also creates the most beautiful baskets, is a member of the Red Hat Society.. and has a great time in everything she does.  She had a beautiful big flowering bush just outside her front door that she said was a butterfly bush and it was a flutter with butterflies.. They are all over the area right now..
 The butterfly bush at Peg's house.  Full of beautiful butterflies
 Some of the beautiful baskets made by Peg

        We were wondering where we should have lunch and it is always a good idea to ask the locals their favorites and Peg had a couple of great ideas.  We decided to go to the "Lunch Box".. restaurant and we were so happy we did.. It is in an old house that has been refurbished and the food was fantastic.. She also shared some of her other favorites and we will try them later.. one is very close to our apartment..
 Beautiful old house restored into the "Lunch Box" restaurant
        We were excited to be visiting with Amy, since she and her family had been gone all summer to her home town of Tremonton, Utah.  She has had 2 brain 5 years ago and another in March of this year.. She said she had to learn a lot of things over and I said that you would never know.. She is the mom of 4 and her youngest Isaac who is 3, looked out the window when we arrived and said "hey mom, they look just like they do in church".. He stayed with him mom while we visited with her.  Her husband is a high school Spanish teacher. He has a wonderful singing voice and has sung with the National Choir and would love to have it for a full time job..

       We visited with our Amish friend Magadelina Stoltzfus, who owns the quilt shop and I had decided to purchase one of her beautiful quilts.  I fell in love with it the first time we visited her shop.. When we arrived there were about 12 of her darling grandchildren playing in the yard.  The girls all had their hair styled into a very classic bun in the back and the boys all sported cute dutch bobs, with the exception of one adorable little towhead that had a head full of curls.. they were so cute and came into the shop when we went in and loved to play hide n' seek and I would find them and they would all giggle and all dash to a new hiding place.. until their Grama had had enough and had them all go outside to play.  Magadelina has 14 children and "107" grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.. She is such a sweet lady that we have grown so fond of.. I am thankful she will let me pay a little each month on my quilt...
         Saturday was our monthly event for the senior missionaries.. We were all invited to President and Sister Matsumories home for a bar-b-cue.  It is about 2 hours north of us.  It was a special day for a lot of reasons.. It was the last time we would be able to see some of the friends we have made that will be going home in a week or so.. and we got to meet several of the new missionary couples who have just arrived.  There were about 45 of us there and we had each helped with the lunch, by bringing different things to add.  I brought veggies and dip and Sister Brown brought watermelon.  The table was laid out with anything and everything you could ever want to eat..  Each of the missionary couples who were going home shared a moment with us and what their mission meant to them.  We also heard that the missionary department in SLC has decided to continue the "Women's Auxiliary Specialist" mission in the Washington DC North Mission, they will be sending replacements here for Sister Brown and I when we leave to go home.. We are so excited for this wonderful news.. and so happy we could be a part of this amazing new program.

        It is deer mating season back here and so the deer are out everywhere.. I makes driving a little precarious..they just jump out in front of cars and they are everywhere, not just in the country, but also in the city as well.. Today when we were driving we saw a couple.. just standing by the road.. So now when we head out we are so very careful to keep a sharp eye out as we drive. 

We are excited that on Monday Calvert Ward is having their annual Labor Day Picnic.. So it will one more opportunity to spend some time with all our friends from there..

 Have a wonderful holiday and stay cool back there in Arizona..