Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's Christmas Week. . . .

With Christmas approaching this past week the visitors center was very busy. Sunday evening the visitors center had an all time record number of people visit. 7,460 people came through the doors. That is not counting all the hundreds that were outside to see the beautiful lights.. There was a line up of cars waiting to turn in to the grounds to see the 650,000 lights. 

 Christmas Eve morning I was able to stay in and get presents wrapped before we left for the visitors center at 2:30.  It had started to snow and you know how excited I get when I see it start to snow.. well it didn't last long, but we did have some big flakes for a while. The visitors center was very busy that evening, everyone coming to look at the beautiful lights and come inside and see the 92 nativity sets and the beautiful trees and the wonderful performance.  The missionaries that were helping with the parking that evening were from the Washington DC South mission. I told them all about a "new sister" missionary that was coming to their mission very soon from my home ward in Arizona. They are all excited to have Sister McCormick serve with them and told me they would make sure she is well taken care of.. I really hope I get to see her while I am still here.. The missionaries get to come to the visitors center as often as they want if they bring an investigator with them. Some of the missionaries said they come several times a month.. So I hope I get to see her.  It would be so special.

 I have met many of the young men missionaries from Arizona, Idaho & also from all over the US and the world when I am serving them dinner,  . It is so fun to talk to them about things and especially those from AZ. & Idaho to see what we have in common and who we might both know.. One group of 4 sat down the other evening and I asked where they were from and one said "Arizona", I said "hey, I live in Arizona". The next one said "Meridian, Idaho", and I said "well I grew up right there", the next one was from Kaysville, Utah and I said "there is a great pie shop in Kaysville", and the 4th one said he was from Payson, Utah and I said "well I have driven through Payson".. They are so entertaining to talk to and get to know..

 Elders Eatnshaw & Wilson
 Christmas Eve evening, the last two missionaries I served dinner were Elder Earnshaw from New Jersey and Elder Wilson from Anaheim, California. Elder Wilson asked if he could sing me a song for my Christmas present, in thanks for serving them dinner.. I said "sure", he asked me what my favorite carol was and I said he could sing whatever he wanted and he said "no" what is you favorite.. So I said well how about "The First Noel".. He started to sing and I was in awe, his voice was amazing and he sang so beautiful.. He is a voice major and wow could he sing.. I was so touched that he would do that for me..

 On Christmas morning we had our mission Christmas party. We all met at the VC in the auditorium first to have a group picture taken. It was the 180 missionaries serving in the DC North mission. The young elders and sisters and the senior couples.. The photographer comes from SLC. to take our picture, I can't wait to see it.. We then got to hear President and Sister Matsumori share some thoughts and stories with us and then we watched the movie "Elf".. It is so fun to watch it with all the missionaries.. they laughed and laughed and loved it.. so did I. We then presented the gifts to President and Sister Matsumori from all of us.  The young missionaries gave them scripture covers and a book with pictures and thoughts from each of them. Then we gave them the Picture we had made for them and the basket of all the goodies we had gotten for them from the senior missionaries.. They loved it all and were so appreciative.

The picture I made for President and Sister Matsumori
that we had triple matted and framed.
Sister Brown from Mesa
 Sister Avalar
 Sister Wong, Lin & Tuft
Sisters Bowman & Aldridge 
We then went to the church building next door for a Christmas luncheon of turkey, dressing and all the works.  During lunch the young missionaries had a talent show and performed..I love how they can let their hair down and have so much fun. We even had a group from Tonga that taught a group of elders to do the Kailao dance. They dance in a fierce manner that emulates fighting, all to the accompaniment of a beaten drum, which sets the tempo. Unlike most other Tongan dances, the kailao is performed without singing. The sequences of movements to be performed by the group are called by the lead dancer, who will give the name of the sequence, then will signal when to do it..
 The Tongan Dance
Sister Kristan Miller
Sisters Brown, Me, Feldman, Clemet & Joost all from AZ.
All the current missionaries from Arizona
 Two of my favorites are a picture of the 4 young sisters and myself all from Arizona and then a group picture of all the missionaries from Arizona. I also got pictures with many of the Elders that I have served with.. I just love them all so much and admire their dedication and service and love of the Lord.
 Elder Peterson & Nielsen
 Elder Sanchez
Elder Rushton

Elder Fisher

Elder Hunt

Elder Epperson

After our Christmas party,  I was able to go back to our apartment and skype with my family and that was so much fun. I was able to see everyone except my grandaughter who is in Chicago going to school and my grandson who is on his mission in South Carolina.  What an awesome family I have. I am so thankful for their support and example to me of love and service.

Weds. morning I was sitting here watching it snow outside our apartment windows.  It is beautiful and since I don't get to see it often, I am loving it.. when it  snowed on Christmas Eve it didn't stick and Wednesday it was covering everything in a beautiful layer of white.  It snowed for about 3 hours and then started to rain.. rats!

 Don't you just love the Christmas season, filled with such a wonderful spirit of love. I have gotten so see several friends this week.. Kim is a friend from Texas that I met in my days as a scrapbook rep. Her son and daughter-in-law live here and they came to be with them for Christmas. It was so fun to see her.. I love to walk around the VC and hear my name called and turn around and see a new friend I have made while serving my mission. I was able to have lunch with my friend Suz from the first ward I served in on Friday. We met for lunch and caught up on all the news.. It is so great to spend time with friends.

 This weeks performances at the VC:

  • Christmas Eve, The sister missionaries: performed in song and instrumentals. They are all so talented and the music was so beautiful. Many have multiple talents; piano, cello, voice, flute and violin. My favorite song that they sang was "Breath of Heaven".  It is such a joy to see the amazing talent in these beautiful young women.
Such beautiful music from this group of sisters
 Sisters Welch, Wong, Gtos & Miller
 Sister Wong
Sister Wankier

  • Voices 4 Contemporary Vocal Quartet: this group is comprised of Justin & Heather Hart, Merilee Spencer & Devin Toma. Members of Voices 4: have performed across the globe in solo and ensemble performances from Broadway to classical concerts, from summer stock stages to the recording studio. For this special event, these four fantastic voices are coming together for an evening of entertaining and stirring music featuring well-loved tunes of the Christmas season. I loved this performance..
  • Harbor City Music Company from Baltimore: Harbor city Music Company Show Chorus is an award winning women's chorus comprised of 65 members from the surrounding Maryland counties. Members of the chorus range in age from the mid twenties to mid eighties. A very fun performance to watch..
  • Pickwick Players - Vocal Ensemble: The Pickwick Players is a double-quartet of singers and actors who sing in a variety of styles, and accompany their music with  readings and stories that help the audience appreciate the settings and background of their selections
  • Feliz Navidad: Feliz Navidad is a group of 18 musicians from different Latin American countries who performed Holiday music traditional to Latin America. The entire program was done in Spanish. It was fantastic.. I Loved it..
  • Trifecta- Holiday jazz trio: Trifecta is a trio of musicians from the US Army Band "Pershing's Own" and the US Air Force Band who play saxophone, bass and piano. This will be the third year in a row that they have performed at the Festival of Lights, and they have become a huge audience favorite. Bishop Vance from my White Plains 2nd Ward played the saxophone.. What a fun evening, they were fantastic and the theater was packed.

Bishop Vance
  • Follow your dreams singers - "Scrooge, the musical": this group of gifted singers based in Northern Virginia performed excerpts from "Scrooge, the Musical," a Holiday treat for the entire family. This talented troupe of performers produced the musical Les Miserables earlier in 2012, and in 2013 will be producing the musical Fiddler On the Roof.
The time is getting short back here in Maryland.. only 54 days until my release.. I am having mixed feelings about leaving.. I have made so many wonderful friends here and hate to leave them, but so very anxious to be back with my family in Arizona. I have been seeing quite a few friends at the VC in the last month from areas that I have served, and it brings varied emotions as I say goodbye to them.. some I know I probably will never see again and others I might.. I have been truly blessed meeting such wonderful people who have touched my life in so many ways. They are like my family away from home.

 "The better part of one's life consists of his friendships".
Abraham Lincoln

 "The message of this season that is applicable throughout the year lies not in the receiving of earthly presents and treasures but in the forsaking of selfishness and greed and in going forward, seeking and enjoying the gifts of the Spirit, which Paul said are 'love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." James E. Faust

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas . . .

Twenty five days down and ten more to go at the Festival of Lights. What a joy it has been to be a part of this beautiful tradition at the Visitors Center. It is such a amazing feeling to spend the days surrounded by so much happiness. Everyone who walks through the doors is in the holiday spirit and so much fun to be with. Every day is different; a different crowd, a different performance, but each day is so special and wonderful.
The Visitors Center
Every once in a while I get one of those killer headaches and that happened last Sunday. I woke up with it and stayed in bed and finally got over it around noon and got ready and headed for the VC for my shift. I was feeling wiped out, but my headache was pretty much gone. Sister Olsen, the director's wife told me to go home and I really didn't want to.. She insisted and walked me out to my car and told me to go home and rest, so that I would feel better the next day.  Well I came home and watched a Christmas movie on TV and was bored... I really wanted to be at the VC.  But I did as I was told and rested and on Monday I was up and running again.

Tuesday the three of us ( Sister Wege, her sister & me) picked up Sharon and we all went to visit Mary Turner and Princess McCurdy. Sharon is their visiting teacher and we wanted to go with her. Sharon is feeling much better, but she still struggles with major health issues, she has had lupus since she was 19, and has many issues due to that. Her spirit is so strong and her wanting to help and be of service to the sisters in the ward is amazing.  When we went to Mary's she wasn't home, Princess didn't feel up to a visit. So we took Sharon to lunch at 5 Guys.. When we were sitting there a group of "8" of our missionaries showed up for lunch too.. It is so cool to see them, since I get to feed them at the VC and visit with them each night, I know most of them.  They are such a valiant group of young men.
 I found out today that the very first sister we visited when I arrived on my mission passed away. Ethyl was such a fantastic woman that I always loved to visit. She was such an influence to so many people and was so generous and gave service to everyone. She taught high school chemistry & calculus until she retired, she also taught seminary for 14 years and  then she served a mission for the church in Bolivia, when she retired from teaching. When she returned from her mission after extending for "3" years she was called to serve in the Spanish ward as the Relief Society President. She loved the Spanish people. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was such a joy to be with. She will be missed here, but I know that there is a party in heaven with her in the middle of it.. Goodbye were truly loved.  

 Friday I attended the memorial service for Ethyl. I went south to Waldorf alone, since Sister Wege didn't know Ethyl. Ethyl had given explicit instructions for her service. It was to be bi-lingual with an interpreter so that the Spanish people who attended would understand also. The service was so Ethyl, and the stories shared by those who spoke were great. Her last request was that she wanted to go out in a pine box aboard a beat up red pickup truck with the windows down and Spanish music playing as they drove to the cemetery.. So that is what she got, ( although it wasn't a pine box, but a beautiful wooden casket). (picture on my blog). Ethyl was one special lady.. and will be missed by so many, but I am sure she is organizing things in heaven..


Sister Wege and her sister Marrianne and I took Tigi to lunch on Weds. She really looks forward to it and so do we. We then know she is getting some good food and there are always at least 2 to go boxes for her to take home for later. I just love her and can't wait for her to be able to move to a facility that will take care of her so that her health can improve. Her only desire is to get a kidney transplant so that she can do the many things she has on her to do list.. She is such joy to be with and I love being able to spend time with her.

With Marrianne outside the VC

When we visited Barbara this week, she surprised us by saying that she not only read the two chapters we were going to read together and talk about, but she read the next one also and she loved it so much that she read it several times. It was about the 10 commandments and she said it was very inspiring to her and she loved reading it. She also told us all about her visit to the VC and how much she loved it all. The lady that took her last week is going to take Barbara again on the 29th and she is so excited to go again.

 The performances this week at the VC have been wonderful.

  • Voices of Triumph choir from the Alfred Baptist Church.: The Alfred Street Baptist Church is one of the DC-area’s oldest and most prestigious Protestant churches, and its choirs are among the most talented and sought-after. The Voices of Triumph Choir, also known in the church as the Early Morning Choir. It was such a fun concert, they really had the audience involved. 
Voices of Triumph Choir
  •  Paul Cardall: Award wining musician, author & lecturer. Paul Cardall had been living with congenital heart disease for over thirty years. He was born with only a single functioning ventricle or half-heart. In August 2008, with his heart failure, Cardall was listed for a heart transplant. After waiting 385 days, he received a donated heart via transplant on September 9, 2009. He is so inspirational and loves the Lord and just wants to give back by performing his beautiful music. His concert was so marvelous, I just love to listen to him play the piano.

  • Shenandoah Jr. Strings: is a group of 30 student-musicians, ranging in age from 5 to 15, who play violin, viola and cello. The program was founded 15 years ago by Nadine Moehlenkamp, a much-respected children's violin instructor in Northern Virginia. Such a talented group of musicians..Very talented
  • A musical nativity featuring the Antoniak Sisters: The performers in this group were from our area and the wards we serve in. The choir sang songs depicting the birth of Jesus.
  • Jessica & Katelyn Lyons - Violinists : They were Amazing ! 17 year old Jessica Lyons and 14 year old Katelyn Lyons are two of the DC-area's most talented young musicians. Each has studied violin with some of the world's great teachers and performers. They both have won numerous prestigious awards and competitions, and performed in some of the worlds' great music venues. Their beautiful treatment of Christmas music was so inspiring.. Loved it so much, I think they were better than Jenny Oaks Baker..
  •  Todd Thatcher : Todd Thatcher, one of the most gifted vocalists to perform at the Visitors' Center, returned for his 15th yearly performance to the Festival of Lights by popular demand. His wonderful interpretation of Christmas standards have become a tradition to which people from throughout this area look forward with much anticipation. His accompanist was amazing and I wish he would have a performance all by himself.
Todd Thatcher
  •  Pacheco Family: From Northern Virginia, is arguably one of the Country's most talented musical families. their beautiful singing voices, and their ability to artfully play musical instruments, puts them in high demand for performances throughout the year.

 May each of you have a wonderful Christmas & cherish the love that is felt this time of year. May your life overflow with blessings that are prosperous and eternal. It is my prayer that we might each have these feelings of love and compassion through out the coming year and that every path may lead to peace.

  * * * * *

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”
Norman Vincent Peale

 Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Holiday Season in DC

The beautiful lights at the Temple
Sister Bullock with one of the beautiful trees at the VC

I told you last week about my car, that it wouldn't start.. So before I called AAA to come tow it to the garage I thought I would just try once more to start it.  First I said a prayer that I could get it started and not have to have it towed. Since I park in the lower level of a parking garage, it wouldn't be an easy thing to get a tow truck in and my car out.  It was a tough start, but it did start, so I could drive it to the garage myself. I had talked to the mechanic on the phone and he knew my problem. They said they would check it all over, but didn't want to just start replacing un-needed parts..which I thanked him for.  They kept it over night and it started right up every time they tried.. He called on Tuesday morning and said they can't find anything wrong with it.. can you say BLESSINGS....

 Being assigned to work in the kitchen and get the meals out for the missionaries and workers at the visitors center each day has been so much fun.  The meals that are being provided for us are amazing and the wards bring so much food .I have had enough to share.  We were having sloppy Joe's and the ward had provided 2 huge pans of sloppy Joe mixture and buns and salad and dessert. We try to feed the young missionaries and the men who help with the parking if we have enough food left each evening and so far it has been going great.. That night I counted the buns and there were 44... we serve 40 in the two shifts of sister missionaries and senior couples each evening.. I had Sister Hardy count the buns just make sure my count was right..she agreed 44.  I told Elder Hardy who is in charge of the parking that we wouldn't have enough to feed the elders that he said he would give them hot chocolate and cookies.  Well the girls loved the dinner and everyone had a bun with with sloppy Joe meat on it and so did the seniors.. when everyone had finished I looked at the rolls and we had 12 left.. I contacted Elder Hardy and told him to send in the young men missionaries and we could feed them.  After they all ate I still had 4 buns left.. It was the miracle just like the loaves and fishes in our kitchen that night..

 Our mission had a mission conference on Thursday. Elder Allan F. Packer of the seventy and his wife were the special guests for the conference.  We got to meet with Sister Packer before the meeting started and she shared some insight to just the sisters.  During the conference we were privileged to hear from Sister and President Matsumori as well as the Packers. Each gave us words of wisdom and inspiration and counsel.

  • President Matsumori shared thoughts on member retention and re-activation through fellowship, friendship and working with the active members of the wards to help bring those back who have strayed.
  • Sister Matsumori talked about how to be a more powerful missionary by being in tune with the spirit, every day.
  • The Assistants to the President had a training session
  • Sister Packer shared thoughts on how to have and keep the spirit with us by being worthy through daily scripture study, prayer and keeping the commandments.
  • Elder Packer shared with us many of the things that the leaders in Salt Lake City do each week to serve. He said that there will be an additional 20,000 to 30,000 missionaries in the field soon.  He said that the trainers are the most important position in a mission. They train the new missionaries when they first arrive in the mission and set the example for them. 
I love to visit with the young missionaries when they come in from the parking lot on break to eat.  I was talking to a couple the other night from Idaho. Since I grew up in Idaho we had fun talking about the great places there. One was from Boise and the other from Idaho Falls.  I asked Elder Dillon what he was going to do after his mission and he said he was going back to school.. I said " the University of Idaho".. he said "yes how did you know".  We talked about Moscow, Idaho and how much I love going there to visit my sister and her family.  We have missionaries from all over the world serving in DC and it is really fun getting to know them. We have 4  young sisters serving from Arizona, so we have the "Zonies".  I was talking to a young elder from Australia the other night and he told me that he has lost his accent since coming on his mission.. I just laughed and said I don't know who told you that but you still have a wonderful Aussie accent.... It is really fun to talk to the missionaries each evening and get to know them each a little better.

 The darling sister missionaries at the VC
I was asked to come meet a young man who had something he wanted to make for the sisters. When I came out I met Jovino Barrientos, he is from Lima, Peru and brought Peruvian hot chocolate and Panetone for the sisters. I shared with him about my grandson Dylan who has just returned from his mission in Lima and we talked for a few minutes. He is the only member of his family living in the US. He came here to go to school and work. He doesn't have a car and walked to the VC with the ingredients for the special treat in his backpack. What a special act of service..
                                                               Javino and me
 Sister Wege's sister Mary Ann came for a visit on Friday and will be here until next Wednesday. She came last year during the Festival of Lights and wanted to come again this year, since she had so much fun. We have been having a great time with Mary Ann.

One of the couples who work in the temple are the Cardall's.. their son Paul Cardall is performing next Tuesday at the VC.  He and his daughter arrived in DC a few days ago to spend some time with the Cardall's.  There is a room next to the kitchen that has a grand piano and Paul has been practicing in there and it is so magnificent.. A real perk to have a International recording artist playing at the center and I get to hear him practice.  He has recorded 6 albums of beautiful piano music. 

 Paul Cardall & me

Sister Wege and I have been working on a book of remembrance for Joyce Hall.. Sister Wege wrote and typed the story of Joyce's life and I created the book. We took it over to her on Saturday along with the Dickey's. She is such a special lady and the Dickey's are very involved with Joyce and bring her to many activities and are being such a wonderful support to her.
 Joyce and the Dickey's and us
 A few of the pages of her book

After we left Joyce's on Saturday we drove over to see a house that one of the members of our ward was working on that is for rent. As we walked into the back yard we saw 2 deer, a doe and an 6 point buck.  They were just standing there looking at us.  I went to get my camera and I missed the doe but got this picture of the buck as he stared at us.


Saturday we had over 6,000 people come into the VC.  Both performances by the DC Mormon Choir were packed with great admirers.  The main floor of the center was so packed and I was sent on searches to find certain people and it was almost impossible.. We had bus loads of people come from all over the area.  Our friend Barbara that we visit every Thursday was able to come with Linda (the receptionist)  from the assisted living facility. Linda had gotten Barbara a new dress and she had a beautiful scarf on and looked so pretty. Barbara was so excited to be able to come and loved every minute of it. We were so happy that Linda brought her for the evening. Such a wonderful act of service and love.  I got to see several of my friends from Southern Maryland on Saturday evening and it was such a delight to reconnect.. 

 The theater when it is empty.. we have 550 seats and they all fill up

 Our performances this week were fantastic:

  • Monday: The Olney Big Band is back at the visitors center by popular demand.The award winning group of volunteer musicians has performed in Europe as well as across the US. The bands festival performance consisted of Christmas music played with swing, jazz and dance beats. It was so much fun to listen to and I couldn't help tapping my feet through their performance.

Olney Big Band
  •  Tuesday: The Young Colombians Glee club:   They were amazing and the show could have been on Broadway for sure. They sang songs from the 20's, 30's, and each decade and had costume changes and dances to go with each one.. It was one of my favorite performances so far. The voices of these young people who ranged in age from 10 to 17 were incredible many could be recording artists.
  •  Friday night we heard from the "Singing Sensations Youth Choir" : The Singing Sensations Youth Choir was founded with the expectation of exposing youth in the Baltimore Metropolitan area to the diverse and multifaceted aspects of the performing arts. There are about 60 of them, chasing a dream. They range from age 6 to 18. They are from all over Baltimore. They come from broken homes, have ADHD, victims of led poison, experience seizures, but they want and love to sing. We provide a myriad of performing opportunities to students, ages 5-18, exposing them to other people, cultures and musical experiences in Maryland and throughout the country.
                                                  The Singing Sensations

·       Saturday we had the Mormon Choir of Washington DC.. Founded in 1980, the choir is composed of singers and musicians selected by audition with a current membership of 80 from approximately 50 congregations in the Maryland and Virginia regions. They are the spirit of Christmas thru song. What a wonderful show they put on. I know 4 of the sisters that sing in the choir, so it is really fun to see them. 
  • Sunday was the Mormon Orchestra of Washington DC.. This is a group of some of the finest LDS instrumentalists in the Washington Metro Area. Originating from the Suitland Maryland Stake Orchestra, (started by Haleigh Vance, of White Plains 2nd ward)..  it has grown to include musicians from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The orchestra has performed numerous times at the Washington DC Temple Visitors' Center and at various stake firesides around the area. The members give freely of their time and talents and enjoy opportunities to praise the Lord through music.
    Wishing everyone a wonderful week and a blessed Christmas season..

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What a marvelous week, we are at the visitors center every day and it has been wonderful. We see many tender mercies and feel such a wonderful spirit as we serve there.  We served at the family history center on Weds. morning and were able to get many errands accomplished this week and also finish our assignment of the Christmas gifts all the senior missionaries went together to get for President and Sister Matsumori. 

The Visitors Center was a bustle of activity as so many people came to celebrate with us. The Nativity room is always a popular site and all of the new interactive displays are very popular as well.

 This week at the visitors center we had these performances: Each group performs at 7:00 & 8:00 and if needed they will perform at 9:00 also.

  • A triple performance by Jenny Oaks Baker.  She always has a packed house.
  • The Brass of the Potomac. The Brass of the Potomac is comprised of over 30 professional musicians from around the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area pulling its talent from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. BOTP is an all-volunteer group based in Northern Virginia, performing full-scale concerts
Brass of the Potomac
  • Rockville Swing Band: The Big Band is Back. Under the musical direction of Rob Putt, the Rockville Swing Band brings together a unique group of talented musicians of all ages from the greater Washington D.C. Community who play together during weekly rehearsals and performances. This exciting mix of musical talent performs contemporary jazz big band arrangements as well as traditional swing charts from the Golden Era.
  • Rockville Swing Band
  • McDonough High School - Madrigal Lords and Ladies:  Dressed as Lords and Ladies, singing beautiful Christmas music.. they had a wonderful time as they performed, both song and verse. 
Madrigal Choir

  • Capitol Carillion (bell choir) The 15 members of the Capital Carillon handbell choir have professional careers in design, education, business, technology, banking, government, science, and the private sector. All are experienced musicians who are auditioned annually by the director. Many of the members play additional instruments, including organ, piano, flute, recorder, trumpet, and violin.
  • Suzuki Assoc. of the Greater Washington DC Area - flute Ensemble - This is a group of 100 talented youth from 4 to 18 years of age.. They played beautiful Christmas music and it was so fun to watch each of them, from the littlest to the older ones.
  • Gene Summers and Rebecca Takemoto (vocalists) Tonight as I sat down to watch the concert, I looked on the stage at Gene Summers and thought "I know him".. I asked someone if he was from Calvert Ward and they said yes and then I knew that it was the same man that I had heard sing a couple times before when I was serving down in Southern Maryland. He has the most amazing voice and I have told him before that if he had a CD I would buy it.  I found out that he and Rebecca both attended the same college and were in the music dept. and sang together there and have performed for many years since.. They were wonderful. 
Every night for the last 25 years of the Festival of Lights, Chris Brewer has been the greeter outside at the top of the steps as people come up to the Visitors Center. He hasn't missed a night in the 25 years, cold, rain, snow he is still out there from 5:00 to 10:00 every night. Some people he has talked to every year for many years. He has so many wonderful touching stories to share with us each day in our prayer meeting that is held just before we all start our shift.  This week he shared a story about a young woman who had been coming to the festival of lights for many years.. this year she brought her boyfriend and she was so excited to introduce him to Brother Brewer. When they came out of the visitors center, her boyfriend asked if he would take a picture of them and as they got all posed and Brother Brewer was ready to snap the picture the young man got down on one knee and proposed and of course the young woman said YES.. they asked Brother Brewer if he would be a witness at their wedding.. It had us all in tears as he told us the story.. He has young families come up to him and tell him that they used to come and talk to him when they were kids and now they are bringing their families.. He is truly a wonderful blessing to all those who come to visit the festival with his smile and beautiful spirit..
Chris Brewer
 We went out on Saturday morning to head over to the College Park ward to participate in a service project and my car wouldn't start.  I had one of the men in our apartment building Elder Dickey come take a look and he couldn't figure it out.. so I called Midas and have an appointment for Monday.. then I called AAA to get them to tow me to the garage.. keep your fingers crossed it isn't too $$$$$..

 This week I learned that one of my favorite uncles passed away.. I received Albert Choules as my uncle when I married Kent, but I feel like he is my uncle and not just by marriage. He was such an important part of our lives from the time we got married and moved to Phoenix, as a young couple and then as a young family. He and Aunt Rosemary were like our folks away from home.  He served as Scottsdale Stake President, an area Seventy, New York Mission President and Mesa Arizona Temple President.  He will be missed by so many, but what a wonderful reunion there must have been in heaven with his beloved Rosemary and his older brother Tom and his parents..

 It was a very good week and we are 1/3 of the way through Festival..

"Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect. 'This is the day which the Lord hath made … ,' the Psalmist wrote. 'Rejoice and be glad in it.'  No matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it." --President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Have a wonderful week..