Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Week. . ..

Our Monday excursion this week was to Annapolis.. What a quaint, delightful town.  All around the water and the home of the US Naval Academy. We drove up with the Larson's and it is only about an hour from where we live. We walked along the streets filled with cute shops. We toured St. Anne's Parish which was originally built in 1696. It was the only church in Annapolis before the Revolution and was well attended and soon had plans to be remodeled and enlarged to accommodate the growing population of the church. Due to the Revolution the church remodel was put on hold.. but was later finished. It is beautiful and the interior has many stained glass windows &  2 of the   windows are by Tiffany glass works. Such a beautiful church..
We asked the locals where to have lunch and they said go to Buddy's Crabs & Ribs.. we were not disappointed. The food was delicious.. I was not told to bring my drivers license so we couldn't get into the US Naval Academy.. Next time.. It was a beautiful day and I loved it and want to go back again.
 The Tiffany Window

 Lunch at Buddy's
 The basket of crabs
Quaint city street
 Beautiful homes
 The Waterfront
 Tuesday was filled with visits to some of our favorite sisters. Six in total.. Each one was a special visit and so meaningful.  That evening we were invited to Ann & Craig Schmoldtz home for dinner to meet her sister Susan and her family in from Mississippi. Her other sister Ilene and her husband Terry were also there.  It was a great dinner and a fun evening getting to know Susan. Both Ann and Ilene are in the College Park Ward. So it was a full day and so rewarding. 

 Wednesday we spent the entire day at the Family History Center.. We both kept busy on our projects.  I started looking at the families of my aunts and uncles and found quite a few of their brothers and sisters.  I really do love working on my genealogy and I am learning more each week.
 Some of the new sisters
On Thursday we visited one of the apartment of the young sister missionaries for their quarterly apartment inspection. They are so cute and all was well with them and the apartment.  We then picked up Sister Larson from the visitors center and went to our regular Thursday visit with Barbara. She was excited that we brought Sister Larson with us today. She is such a joy to visit each week.

For dinner we were invited to join 3 other senior couples for Thanksgiving dinner.  I made my cranberry relish and it was a hit. The apartment that hosted the dinner were the Watson's from Boise, Idaho. So it was fun to talk about the Boise valley.  The other couples were the Anderson's from California and the Larson's from the Tri-Cities in Washington. They had invited two other gentlemen also. We had a feast and since we each contributed to the dinner it wasn't a lot of work for any one person and it was wonderful. 
 Friday, Saturday & Sunday we concentrated on visiting the sisters, since starting next week we will be at the visitors center every day until Jan. 2nd.  So in total we called on 23.. Had some wonderful visits with old friends and met some new sisters. We visited with Naomi who just had a beautiful baby girl, named Olivia. We were treated to a couple of  marvelous piano songs by Linda.  My heart was so touched with the beautiful music she played, it took my breath away with her talent. I just love the sisters that we visit and they are each so special in their own way.
Baby Olivia with our relief society president Rose
Linda playing beautiful music

Friday afternoon we attended the baptism of 8 year old Ebenezer. Such a special family, his two older brothers were so proud of their little brother. His father Daniel is such a wonderful dad and such an inspiration for the boys.

The Asfaw family with Elder Williams & Elder Bott
Saturday evening we picked up Margaret and her son William and took them to the VC to the production of  "The Night Before".. It was a musical centered on the night before and the night Jesus was born. The auditorium was packed and everyone enjoyed it so much.

 We have our tree up and the Sieg's (another senior missionary couple0 brought us each a poinsettia so we are all decorated for Christmas.   

 Panda Bear from the Zoo
 Lighthouse from Chesapeake Beach
Ballerina Mouse from the Kennedy Center

 I have been thinking all week how thankful I am for each of you and your kind words of support.  Have a wonderful week..

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Another Great Week. . . . .

Monday we started out our week by going to the National ZOO.. with the Larsen's.  It was a beautiful day, in the mid 50's and sunny.  It was so fun to walk around the zoo and watch the children as they saw the many animals.. It is a huge facility, but missing so many of the animals that I think of when I think of a zoo. But we did get to see - the pandas, lions, cheetahs, elephant, apes and orangutans, zebras & lots of  animals in the small mammal exhibit.  It is a teaching zoo so we got to see a presentation of the research they are doing with the orangutans. They are studying their habits and behaviors in many areas. We spent 5 hours at the zoo and had a great time. 
 Sister Wege & I

 The Panda's were inside eating
 I felt like he was saying "you looking at me?"
The lion was very cool
We were all caught up working on the nativity display at the VC, so we had several days that we could visit sisters and get a lot of other chores taken care of.


·       We took Darlene to the dentist.

·       Went to Costco to pick up pictures for our Christmas project & some special treats for the missionaries.

·       Visited Joyce to go over the biography we are helping her with.

·       Went to Michaels and picked out a frame and matting for special picture.

·       Went to $$ store and got Christmas bags

·       Went to grocery store and picked up some needed items.

·       Went to "A Night of Music and Inspiration" at the visitors center.


·       We worked at the Family History Center. I was anxious to try some of the things I had learned at the training workshop. Took pictures of all the elders and sisters that were there, e-mailing letters home.. plus some choice ones of the sisters outside.
 Sending those weekly e-mails home

·       Picked up some Festival of Lights schedules from the VC  to hand out while we visited.

·       Went to the distribution center to get some thermal un-mentionables.

·       Visited with Lois. So happy all her tests are coming back cancer free. I saw this quote and it fits Lois.."Some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail bodies" Elder Rasband

·       Had a wonderful dinner and Family Home Evening with Annecia and her daughters, Annona & Aphina. What a delightful evening.. great dinner and charming girls.  Our lesson was on Thanksgiving & the girls had a lot of fun with us talking about things they were thankful for. We gave them a challenge to write something they were thankful for each day until Thanksgiving, on a special sheet we had designed for them.
Annecia & her daughters

·       We visited with Fannie. She had just moved in with her daughter after her apartment was condemned by the health dept.  She is such an upbeat lady with a very positive attitude.  She is looking for another apartment that she and her grandaughter can live in. She is suffering with severe issues with her thyroid and adrenal glands.  She is now retired, but served as a clinical social worker, working with boys 12 -20 who were VERY BAD.. She was so funny and told us so many great stories of her early childhood. We had a wonderful visit with her.

·       Visited with Christine and her husband George. They are a retired couple from England. Christine is quite a talker, not a woman of few words.. So we listened and listened and she told one story after another. A very sweet couple..

·       We then had our wonderful Thursday visit with Barbara. She had told us that her roommate kept taking  her picture of Jesus and putting it on her dresser. So we brought her a new one in a nice frame that she can have and her roommate can keep her old one. She was so excited and pleased that we would do that for her. We then read scriptures and talked. A great day as always.

·       We then took Tigi's glasses to a repair shop to see if we could get them fixed, but the repair was almost as much as new frames would we decided that wasn't a smart thing to do, since Tigi said she needs a new prescription anyway.

·       We had an evening at home to catch up on much needed activities.


·       We worked in the visitors center all day, finishing up the room with the nativity displays..

·       We have 89 nativity sets displayed.

·       We cleared all the totes full of fabric back to the upstairs storage room

·       We broke down tons of boxes and got them to the trash

·       We cleaned and vacuumed and organized and cleaned and vacuumed again.

·       Put up the security rails and the skirts on them to keep little hands off the beautiful nativities.

·       Broke down the tables and put them away..

·       In all we spent a very busy 6 hours finishing up the room !!!!

It is so pretty in there and we had so many people come and ooh and aah over the entire setup.
 Some of the sisters

 Julia, the creative genius for the Nativity display
 getting the security skirting set up
Sister Wege cleaning
 The visitors center has been undergoing a massive renovation and it is really coming along and their goal is to have it completed by Thanksgiving.. Busy bees working everywhere.. Many high tech displays and interactive displays. The huge Christmas trees are starting to be decorated and they are beautiful.. Can't wait to share some pictures with you.

 Big things happening at the visitors center
cannot wait until it is all finished.. Very high tech.


President Matsumori called us a couple weeks ago and gave us the name of a lady he wanted us to contact. She had just moved here from California and he had been contacted and asked that some "senior" missionaries call her. Her name is Faith, and we called her and have been trying to help her. She wanted us to find her a new place to live in Virginia, since she was disowned by her son who lives around DC. So Sister Wege researched and found several places and when she told Faith, she had changed her mind and then wanted us to find a home that she could live in as a "substitute grama", but she couldn't cook, or clean, or do laundry and the floor had to be smooth and on one level. She wanted them to cook for her, but she had very detailed diet and couldn't eat what they would eat. She doesn't drive, so she needs someone to drive her around. She couldn't be expected to watch the children, but would read to them on occasion. We asked if we could come to visit her and she said "oh no, that's not possible". After many, many, many phone calls and her changing her mind every other day on what she wanted us to she said that she found a place to live, an assisted living facility that would take care of her needs. But she still wants to be a part of a community of friends and wanted us to find them for her. We told her the best way to meet friends was to come to church and that is where she would meet the people who lived around her. She said "she wasn't interested in coming to church", that she couldn't be expected to get up and be at a church at 9:00 or 10:00. But we needed to find people who were willing to help her anyway.. We explained about our visiting teachers and home teachers in the church, that reach out to help.  No Way, she says.. that is not for me.. We are at our wits end.. GEEZE.. LOUISE. . . .



·       We picked up Darlene and took her to the temple with us. She is so happy when she is able to go with us.. and we love taking her.

·       We had an "International" Thanksgiving party at church that evening. They asked everyone to bring a main dish or a dessert from the country of their origin. When we arrived it was bustling and packed.. A very long line of tables loaded with food and everyone having a wonderful time.  Many were dressed in their native clothing and I got some fun pictures.

Elder Matahele

Elder Snow & Elder Watts

·       When we got home I finished some picture layouts that I needed to send to Costco to have printed for some of my Christmas projects..


·       We attended the College Park Ward today and left home at 6:45 to get to our first meeting.. I sat by Bella who is from Nigeria. She studied clothing design in London for 3 years and then worked as an apprentice for a manufacturer that sold to Harrods in London.  She said she has several small dress shops in Nigeria that her family is taking care for her. Such a neat lady. 

·       After church we went to visit Sharon in the hospital. She is very sick and we just stayed a few minutes, we could tell she was really tired.  We are so worried about her.. We could tell she is frightened also.

·       This evening we attended the "Holiday Devotional" at the temple. We picked up Eva who works at the temple to go with us.  It was held on the 7th floor in the HUGE beautiful priesthood room. All the temple workers and bishops and stake presidents and senior missionaries are invited. It was so wonderful. They had a choir of about 200 people that were amazing and the music was so beautiful. We heard talks from President and sister Swinton the temple president. Also Elder Lansing and Elder Gerrard of the Seventy. All the talks were so inspirational and I loved each one more than the last. It was so neat to see many of my good friends from the area I served in Southern Maryland for a year .. A great evening.

 I want to wish each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving.. and hope you are able to be with family or friends and will take time this week to count your blessings and remember those things you are thankful for.  I know I am thankful for each of you and your support.


Monday, November 12, 2012

What a great week !

     The first part of the week was Chilly, no let me re-phrase that . . .COLD.. Our nights are in the low 30's and the highs during the days in the mid 40's.. I have gotten out the thermal underwear, for this Arizona girl.  My car is feeling the cold too.. I'm sure it is saying "hey, what have you gotten me into".. So I go out on the days I drive and warm it up for about 10 minutes, before we head out.. The end of the week Saturday and Sunday the weather was beautiful.. short sleeve weather for the natives, but a light jacket or sweater for me.. 

      We worked at the visitors center on Monday getting the rest of the nativity sets we have at this time all set out and arranged. Steamed the fabrics matched them with the sets.. a little like scrapbooking.. when you choose papers to compliment the pictures you are working with. When we had completed setting up we headed to Home depot to get some wood that could be cut into small blocks for us to use in setting up our nativity sets.

     My car had been acting weird when I turned the wheel and making a very loud noise, so I dropped it off at a little station that was recommended and the fellow said it sounded like I needed power steering fluid. So I left it and said I would pick it up later.. He called and said I had a hole in the hose to my power steering and it needed to be replaced, so my car had an overnight at the station waiting for the part.  Got it back the next day and it drives like a dream.. thank goodness..

      Tuesday we had a full day of calling on sisters.. We also visited with Joyce. She contracted MS in 2009. She now lives in an assisted living facility. We are helping her write her history to put into a book for her.  We were manned with questions to help us get the information we need to complete her story.  She was the first person in her family to go to college, and then she got her masters in computer science. She worked for over 20 years at Howard University as a computer programmer and various other assignments such as department head and lead programmer on many projects. She loved the questions and had some wonderful answers for us.  We are going to create a book for her with pictures and give it to her for Christmas. 

 Joyce with our friend Brenda Dickey

Being in Washington DC during an election year has been very interesting.  So different than being in Arizona.  It is exciting to think of the many things that will be going on here in the next few months. The eyes of the world are on DC and the decisions that are being made by the people of this wonderful country we live in.

"America will not fail. Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will not fail...I have faith in America; you and I must have faith in America."
~President Harold B. Lee

      At the family history center this week, I started working on documenting my family tree and checking to see if each member was accurate as far as I knew. My mother's line goes back to the time of keeping records and it is amazing to see where my family came from. My fathers line doesn't go that far back..guess I will have some digging and researching to do to take it back farther.  At the center we have access to all sorts of web sites with  information to use for our research, each week I can't believe that the time goes by so fast and our shift is over. I really look forward each week to finding out more about my family.
Sister Wege working on her family history
Thousands of reference books
Lots of computers for everyone to use

     We were caught up on our work at the visitors center on Wednesday so we decided to spend the day at the temple. We were meeting a young man to help him with some of the work he need to get done for his family at 6:30 so we had a good 3 1/2 hours to  spend there. It was very fun to have the time to re-connect with those friends I made when I was working there every week.. It was a wonderful day.

     Thursday after our shift at the visitors center we went to see Barbara our favorite Thursday afternoon visit. As we entered the center we were talking with Linda the receptionist about the different things that were going to be happening at the visitors center in the month of December. We had a schedule of all the free wonderful musical performances that will take place each evening that we gave to her. She said that her husband loved Jazz and we told her which performance he would like and she circled the date. As we met with our friend Barbara, Linda came in and asked Barbara if she would like to attend one of the special performances at the visitors center in December. She said she would arrange the transportation and take her as a special treat. Barbara said " just me?" and Linda said "yes, just the two of us".. What a special moment that was to see the happiness in Barbara's eyes.  She is so excited to go and we told her we will be there every night, so we will see her too.  It was a very special day as we read the scriptures with her and she had many questions and insights as well.. I just love our Thursdays with Barbara.

      I have been working on some secret projects for Christmas in the mission.. can't share yet, but will when Christmas comes.. They are really fun to do and I do love to create with Memory Mixer..

      We were invited to have dinner at 5 Guys with the Anderson's (another senior couple in our mission) and the 4 young elder missionaries who are serving in our area.  It was fun and the food was great.. then on Sunday evening we were all (8 of us)  invited over to the Schmoldtz house for another of Craig's amazing dinners. He is a fantastic chef and it is always such a treat. It is always a spread fit for a king and we all had a wonderful time. 

Elder Matahela - leaves to go home next week.. what an awesome missionary

On Saturday and Sunday, Sister Wege and I called on 20 sisters between the two days.  Caught a few home and left "sorry we missed you" cards at the rest. Busy days, but really fun to be out in the beautiful weather. One of my favorites is Tigi and my heart goes out to her and the struggle she goes through each week having dialysis every other day.. She is so strong and such an example to me of having faith that she will get her transplant and all will be well..  We visit with her each week and always bring some fruit or rice or anything she tells us she needs.. She is always so thankful for our coming and very thankful for what we bring to her.. I just love her.

 Tigi, just in case you had forgotten her

     On Sunday evening we had a training meeting for the new Family Tree program for genealogy that we will be using at the Family History Center.  It is wonderful and makes family searching so much easier.  A very informative training.. can't wait to get in to the FHC and give it a try on Weds. 

      All in all we had a fantastic week, so very busy and so many different things to do each day.. We are gearing up for our marathon schedule at the Visitors Center starting after Thanksgiving and going to January 2, 2013 for the Festival of Lights.  We will be serving there every afternoon from 3:00 until about 10:00. 

      I have had some very tender moments today as I viewed the video of my grandaughter Madi perform the song Over the Rainbow from the production of  The Wizard of OZ, she is performing in & then the pictures of my family as they sent white balloons up to heaven for Kent.. a wonderful day..

Everyone have a blessed week...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R in DC

      We started out this week waiting on the storm of the century.. Hurricane Sandy was on the path to head right into DC..then a cold front was joining it and also a huge storm from the west.. All officials have said it would be a big storm and one for the record books. We spent the day watching the TV to keep up to date on the time it would hit landfall. We had our overnight bags packed ready to evacuate if necessary and were all stocked up on water, food, flashlights and our cars were filled with gas.  The Governor had advised everyone to stay put and stay off the roads for 24 to 36 hours.  It started raining early in the day and poured rain all day. We received  around 7 to 10 inches of rain during this storm and wind gusts up to 70 mile per hour. When I went to bed on Monday night the wind sounded like a train right outside my window. I kept looking at the clock to see if it was on and that meant we still had power.  Even though we had lots of wind and rain it wasn't nearly as bad here as was predicted.  Huge trees were down and lots of small trees and branches but nothing like they had in New Jersey and New York. I am so thankful.

       This month we started working in the Visitors Center at the Temple.  Every year from Thanksgiving to New Years the VC is decked out in holiday glam, 650,000 lights adorn the trees and bushes outside the building.  It is the Festival of Lights and it is so beautiful.  We are working on setting up the huge room filled with about 85 nativity sets.  The coordinator Julia has it all organized and we are working for her. Wednesday was our first day, due to the storm.. when we arrived they were putting fabric on the walls as a background for the nativities.  The center of the room was filled with crates, boxes, and lots and lots of Christmas trees in all sizes.  We got the tables all set around the room and draped in black cloth and got the trees fluffed and lit and sitting on the tables.  We hung some beautiful pictures of the Nativity around the room also.  
The room when we arrived

 Some of the beautiful pictures we hung

Julia the coordinator this year for the Nativity display

      Each day when we go in Julia lets us know how we can help. On Thursday there were about 8 people there all working hard and we joined in to help.  

      We still work at the Family History Center every Wednesday from 9:30 to 1:00. I am learning more and more each day and love it.  It is so much fun to research my ancestors and see what I can find and who I can find.

      On Thursday we also visited Barbara, our friend in the assisted living facility.  She is always so excited for us to come. She is sitting in the small parlor in her wheel chair waiting for us to arrive. We spend about an hour with her and answer any questions she has and read the scriptures with her. Such a truly wonderful sister.

      Friday we spent the entire day at the VC working on steaming the many different beautiful fabrics that are used under each of the nativity sets. We also unpacked sets and replaced lights that were burnt out on the some of the trees, and helped Julia  in any way she needed us. It was a full day and so fulfilling. Each time someone walked in the room they were so thrilled with all the work we have accomplished so far.
 getting started with the nativity's

      I was asked by the Visitors Center director if I would be in charge of the meals that are brought in each day during the festival of lights to feed the 30 young sister missionaries and 10 adults who serve at the center every day.  The meals are provided each day by the local wards (congregations of the church) and I will make sure they are heated and that they have everything that goes with the meal and then that it is served and then cleaned up each day. Each one of the senior couples choose a day that they provide the meal for a day. Sister Wege and I are providing the meal on December 1st.

      Saturday was a catch up day for us, we stayed in and did chores and caught up. We did go out to Bethesda for lunch, what a neat area. I hadn't been there before and it is really a bustling little part of DC.. We wanted to go to "5 Guys", for lunch and that was the nearest one.. Great burgers and fries..

      Our Sunday started at leaving home about 6:45 a.m. to head to our first meeting of the day.  We had great church services and set up some visits for after church.  We first visited with Jadesola. She is from Nigeria and is in school here in DC. She is getting her degree in  Criminal Justice and then wants to go on and get her Masters in Criminal Forensics or get her Law degree.


Yvonne was our next visit and she was very excited to have us visit. She has a long time friend Nicole living with them now.  When Yvonne came to the US from Africa she lived with a sponsor family and that family had adopted Nicole from an orphanage in Africa. So they have known each other for a long time. Yvonne is now married and working and Nicole (age 20) is coming from New York to live with them so she can go to school & get an education and work. Nicole said her mother home schooled her while she was growing up and in talking to her she is a very smart young woman. We had a wonderful visit with them both. 

 Nicole & Yvonne

      This coming week we have another week filled with nativity sets and trees at the visitors center and are looking forward to it. The visitors center has been going under major renovation and they are working around the clock to get finished by Thanksgiving, when the Festival of Lights begins.  So it is a busy place to be.

Everyone have a wonderful week and drop me a note sometime.. I love to get them from you.