Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Six months home and loving it. . . . .

Six months home and it has flown by. . . . .
I have been keeping so busy with many wonderful things in my daily life..
  • I started working at the Phoenix Children's Museum, and love it. I work in the exhibit department and love the folks I get to work with and love the projects I have been given to complete. My major assignment is to prepare the hundreds of children's books that the museum owns to go out into the various areas of the museum.  The museum buys over $10,000.00 in books each year for the enjoyment of the children that come visit the museum.. I bind the back of the books, reinforce the corners and round the corners of the inside of the book. Then I put library tape in-between every page of the book to make it strong.. they need to withstand the abuse of hundreds of little ones using the books, not only for reading, but also for surf boards and frizbee's but all sorts of activities that children can think of.  I also helped create paper flowers that were used for centerpieces at a luncheon put on at the Phoenix Country Club for investors of the museum..
  • I am teaching the Sunbeams at church each Sunday, they are 3 and 4 years old and so sweet.. They are a very busy group.. Until last week we had 12 in our class, which was overwhelming and they divided the class and now I have 8, which is much easier..I really love this age.. they are so loving and so much fun.. I have one little girl, Lily who always wants to sit on my yap..I usually have at least 2 kids on my lap during the opening exercises each Sunday.
  • I attend  3 C's group each Weds. It is Cards, Chocolate and Conversation.  There are 10 of us that meet and share ideas on cards and other fun crafts. They are a great group of gals and I really do enjoy sharing my Wednesday mornings with them. 
  • My grandchildren have been keeping me busy attending baseball games, football games, concerts, plays and musicals that they are involved in.  The productions of Peter Pan, Music Man and Beauty & the Beast.. which my grandchildren performed in..
  • Going to lunch with friends, movies and shopping are always on my to do list..
  • Family parties and activities are so special to me.. I am so blessed to live close to my family and be a part of their lives.  
  •  I got to go to St. George, Utah with Steve, Ali and Kelly to watch the St. George Marathon. This was the 15th year that Steve ran in this race. He along with Kelly and 5 other friends from Phoenix were running.. We left on Thursday and drove up.. We got to stay in my friend Kathy Brown's home. She was my first companion on my mission.  She was on a trip to Jerusalem.. It was so nice to have a home to spend time in rather than a hotel.  We had a fun filled weekend with many traditions that the guys have established over the years.. They all ran a great race and all of us gals were a great cheering section.  So fun to spend time with family.
  • I start working in the Mesa Arizona Temple on Dec. 6th.. I have been assigned to work in the baptistery.. I am so very excited, because I have such wonderful memories of working in the baptistery in the DC temple as well as the Mesa temple in the past.. It is one of my favorite assignments.  I meet so many wonderful people and get to feel the special spirit there.. so many tender mercies as those who come are touched as they perform the proxy baptisms, for those who have passed on and didn't have the opportunity to be baptized themselves.
  • I love the holiday season, it really is my favorite time of year... the love we feel for each other and the true spirit of the season in each of our lives is so very special to me.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It's all about Family and Friends

     The month of June was a busy one indeed.. Lots of time with my wonderful family and some very special friends. 
     The month started with a fun luncheon with my friend Billie. I have known her for many years and have known her husband since both of our kids were young.. they were married a few years ago and I was their wedding planner.. so Billie and I go way back. She is so much fun to spend time with we talk and laugh and share memories.
     My favorite fellow Casey, is so much fun around the house, he can beat me into the bathroom sink for a drink. Sleeps at the foot of my bed and doesn't move until he sees me move and then he is right next to my head with a "meow", wanting me to get up and feed him.. He follows me around the house and loves to sleep on the top of one of my big chairs.. so I added a blanket to it for him to keep the fur on the blanket and not the chair..

     My job at the Phoenix Children's Museum is taking care of the children's books.  I get the new books ready to be placed in the various areas of the museum  and repair the ones that have been damaged and are shop worn.. I really love my job and the people I work with are so much fun.  It is really a joy to be there two days a week..
     The group of ladies I meet with each week that are dedicated to creating cards and conversation had a wonderful summer luncheon at Kathleen's beautiful home.  We each brought a dish to add to the meal. I made Gazpacho and it was so good. Everyone had a fun day and we created some very fun projects.  We also as a group like to take field trips every couple months and in June we  had a field trip to IKEA.  I found a wonderful red rug for my living room on sale for $12.99..what a steal.. Looks great in my room.

 My good friends Bonnie and Gary Ramon came for a visit from Maryland. I became friends with them while I was on my mission. They really adopted us and made us part of their family. We were included for holidays and special days along with just hanging out together.. Bonnie's brother lives in Phoenix and was getting married, so I got to have her spend some time with me while they were here. So much fun.. taking her to all my favorite places and showing off my town to her..
Bonnie, Gary &me

  • Also attended the dance recital of my granddaughter Alli.. It was held downtown at the Orpheum Theater.. A beautiful production.. So proud of Alli.
  • I get to take my g-granddaughter Malorie to her swim lessons.

  • We celebrated 3 of my grandson's birthdays in June.. Dylan was 22, Coleton was 16 and Logan was 14.. That is always a big deal in our family. 
  • Went to see several movies last month and loved every one..From Man of Steel to Despicable Me 2 and several in-between..
  • Went to the production of "The Drowsy Chaperone", with my granddaughter Taylor.
  • Summer means baseball and my grandson Logan is participating in the juniors All Star tournament.. So we are at the ball field several nights to see him play..
  • I started taking the digital scrapbooking classes again produced by Memory Mixer and taught by my daughter Kristan. 
  • Got to go to a Arizona Diamondbacks game with Steve and Kelly.. Steve had special seats in a suite, so that was really fun.. and they won!  
  • I get to teach my adorable 3 year olds in church each Sunday and do love them so much.. I have 10 in my class and they are so cute and we have a great time each week.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summertime is here

Since my return from my mission I have been getting re-acclimated to living in my surroundings again. I love being home and spending quality time with family and friends, but must admit that I really do miss all those friends back in Maryland and DC..

Some of the things that have been keeping me busy are:

·       A visit from my sister Judy.. shopping, movies and eating out..three of our favorite things to do.. Always love to have her here.

·       Adopted a new cat. Casey is a Tabby that is 3 years old. He is such a gentle and loving pet.. He is a lot of company and is so good.

·       Attended the production of Sound of Music, that my grandaughter's Taylor and Madi were performing in. They were amazing and I got to see it 3 times..

·       Choir concerts for my grandson Zach.. He is really starting to come out of his own in music. He plays cello, guitar and sings..

·       Choir concerts for Taylor and Madi.. wonderful music and choreography.. Volunteered to help at the door for 2 nights .

·       Started working at the Phoenix Children's Museum as a volunteer in the exhibits department. My current job is binding the books that will go out in the various exhibits.. I really do love working there.  Such a great group of people. I work there 2 days a week.. so much fun..

·       Each week on Weds. I meet with the card group I belong to. There are 8 of us and we visit, share ideas, go out to lunch and create cards. One of the charities that we contribute cards to is Hospice. Last year we donated over 1,200 cards.

·       I hosted a luncheon for the empty nesters in my ward. It was very fun.. Love having friends over.

·       Going out to lunch with friends & my daughters and grandaughter

·       Drove up to Flagstaff with Kristan to deliver a car to Karleigh.. She is living up there and getting ready to start school and needed a car.

·       Visited scrapbook stores with Kristan, she is a sales rep and calls on the stores in the valley and I tag along and work while she is having her meetings with the owners. 

·       Baseball games are a very important part of our spring and summer here in Arizona and I have loved attending games since my boys played ball when they were young.  Now I attend the games of my grandson Logan.. Great player, and he loves baseball.

·       Dinner at my kids homes, love spending time with my kids and grandkids and being invited over to their homes for an evening of fun.

·       Family parties.. love these so much..when we all get together each month to celebrate the birthday's for that month.. All "22" of us have so much fun together.

·       Movies, lots of movies.. going with family or friends or even by myself.. Just love to go to the movies.

·       Teaching the "3" year olds at church.. I have 11 of the cutest kids in my class and we have a wonderful time each Sunday.

·       Attended the high school graduation of my grandaughter Taylor. It was held at the Peoria Sports Complex. There were over 750 graduates in her class and it was a wonderful evening.

 These are just a few of the things I have been keeping busy with since I came home.. It seems that every day on my calendar is filled and that is the way I love it.  The weeks have flown by and summer is upon us here in the southwest..HOT...HOT. Today it is going to be 109 degrees.. I am meeting my friend Billie for lunch.. love spending time with her.. We have been friends since the early 90's..

On Wednesday our card group is having a luncheon and I am taking Gazpacho as my dish.  We are each sharing an old idea that we have updated.. I have struggled coming up with an idea and finally just yesterday I completed my project , nothing special..still waiting for my mojo in crafting to come back.. I feel non-creative these days and really want to get back to creating  projects.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My homecoming talk. . . March 24

President Spencer W. Kimball said " God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other".

I am so very thankful for the calling I was given to serve as a Women's Auxiliary Specialist in the Washington DC North Mission. Whenever I talked to people about my mission , everyone was so excited about this new calling and wishing their wards all had sisters who were serving a mission like ours in their ward. I have loved my mission and the hundreds of wonderful sisters that I have gotten to know and serve and help. It was such an honor to be a part of this pilot program and be one of the 10 sisters who were called to launch this new program for the missionary dept of the church.

I started out my mission in the southern third of Maryland, from the Chesapeake Bay to the Potomac river.  Since this was a brand new calling and had no guidelines yet we met with the leaders of the Stake and the Bishopric and RS President of the 2 wards we would be serving in and shared with them what we thought we wanted to accomplish during our mission and they also shared ideas with us..as we  reviewed the ward directories for both wards, they each highlighted those sisters that they felt could use a little TLC or special attention for one reason or another. 

Our main purpose was to help re-activate, help with retention and help Rescue those who have gone astray.

President Thomas S. Monson
 “I pray that we will have the courage to extend the hand of fellowship, the tenacity to try and try again, and the humility needed to seek guidance from our Father as we fulfill our mandate to share the gospel.”

 Shirley was a sister that we would see at church off and on and when we asked the RS president about her, we found out,  she is a very special sister who is suffering from severe pulmonary hypertension and was often very sick and not able to come to church. We called her or dropped by her home every week , most often she was not feeling well enough for visitors, but we kept coming and calling every week for several months. Then in March when we called she said she would love for us to visit. We had a wonderful visit and learned that she was taking the temple prep classes. . . and but she told us that she wasn't sure she was worthy to go to the temple.. ( we had talked to the Bishop  about her before our visit and he said she was so ready). We encouraged her during our visit and told her that when she went through the temple we wanted to be there.  We were transferred to another ward soon after that, but we got a text about a month later inviting us to join her at the temple.. What a blessing and a joy it was to see her in the temple and to be able to be a part of such a special day in her life.  She will always have a special place in my heart.  She was soon called to be the RS secretary and she is so happy. 

Sue is a sister who cannot walk and lives in an assisted living apartment. When we first called her to see if we could come visit her she was so excited. My companion was ill that day, so I went to visit Sue alone. When I arrived at her apartment.. she greeted me at the door in her motorized wheelchair..and promptly told me she had prepared lunch for us.  She had pizza all ready.. We talked for over an hour about her past and her family. She had joined the church many years before and was the only member in her family. She has one daughter and said that her daughter doesn't call her or send her pictures of her two grandchildren, but she knew they were very busy. Even so she hadn't heard from them in over a year.. I felt so sad and vowed to make her a regular visit. Each time we called she was excited to have us over.. She loved having the missionaries visit. What a joy she was and so much fun to visit with. She was a true southern lady and had so many wonderful stories. When we came around Easter, she was so happy, she had gotten pictures of her grandchildren and couldn't wait to share them with us.. What a choice daughter of God.. all alone with only those in the ward to really call her family..

We were asked by the RS president to go see Ada. She was a sister who was the primary care giver for her 50 year old son who suffered with many neurological disorders.  We arrived at her home and she sat very quite and answered our questions with one word answers never looking at us.. As we stood to leave I asked if I could give her a hug and she said "I wouldn't have traded this visit for a million $$$$".. We visited her many times and she was warm and welcoming and shared so many things with us.. What a joy.. to see such a change, in a wonderful sister.

An additional blessing was getting to work in the Washington DC temple every Wednesday as an ordinance worker. I served in the baptistery and also as the initiatory director..  I met so many wonderful people.. One family that I met in the baptistery was the Rivera family. President Rivera is a branch president of one of the Spanish branches in DC. He was there with his wife and three children and his father in law. As I talked to them I learned that his oldest son had just gotten his mission call to the Mesa Arizona Mission. I said "that's where I am from". They were originally from Peru and I shared with him that my grandson had just returned from his mission in Peru.  They were at the temple to do several family names and had waited until their youngest son turned 12 so he could be a part of this special day. I was so touched as brother Rivera baptized each of his children and would explain to them quietly who they were being baptized for.. a great grampa or an aunt.. The spirit was so strong that we all cried. It was such an honor to be a part of such a special moment for their family.  I had many special events like this when I was serving in the temple.

After 7 1/2 months of us serving in only the White Plains 1st & 2nd wards, President Matsumori our mission president and our Stake President decided that they wanted us to branch out and serve in all the wards in the Suitland Stake. So that the sisters could get  a feel for our mission and encourage other senior sisters to see the wonderful opportunities senior sisters have to serve missions.   We would serve for 2 months in each of the other 5 ward buildings. (some buildings had one ward and some had 2 wards). 

 We fell in love with the sisters we served in each ward and served them in so many various ways.

 Some of the things we did:

·    visit those sisters who couldn't get out

·    take sisters to doctors or dentist appointments or run errands with them

·    sit with a sister who was in the hospital.

·    help pack a family that was getting ready to move

·    help clean a house for a moving family

·    encourage sisters to take those steps necessary to get to the temple

·    be a support to single moms and to those whose husbands were deployed

·    grocery shop for those who couldn't get out

·    be a listening ear to a sister who was struggling with personal issues

·    we helped a sister decorate her house for Christmas

·    we took sisters to special events at the church or visitors center

·    we took sisters with us to the temple

·    we sat and read the scriptures with sisters

·    we followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost to visit a sister who we hadn't planned on visiting that day, and always she asked how we knew that she needed a visit or that she was hoping that we would come by.

We recommended any special needs to the bishop or RS president when we found them as we visited the sisters.

Someone asked me what my mission was and I told them " We are like full time visiting teachers on steroids". 

Twelve months into my mission, President Matsumori decided to switch up the  two companionships, so I was transferred from Southern Maryland up to the DC area.

In the Silver Spring Stake we were assigned to serve in 3 wards. There were some sisters that we called on each week and  several sisters we called on every month and many that we are trying to find that were on the rolls of the wards. We also called on sisters whose names we received from the RS president or bishop or ward missionaries each week. We spent most of our days visiting sisters all day, some weeks we called on 85 to 100 sisters.. Hoping to find some home and those we did find at home were always such choice visits.

We had standing appointments for visits with several sisters each week.
Two of those we met each week are:

Barbara who lives in an assisted living facility and is in a wheelchair and cannot walk or get out to church. We met with her each Thursday and read the Book of Mormon with her. We covered 2 chapters each week.  Barbara would read it during the week and then we read it together and would discuss it when we got there. She always had wonderful thoughts about the scriptures she has read. She looked forward to our visits as much as we did. She is such a devoted sister. I loved her conversion story. She was setting on a bench waiting for the bus and 2 elders were talking to the lady next to her about the church and that lady was not interested, so Barbara leaned over and told the elders that she was interested and asked if they would share what they knew with her.. She is so dedicated to the gospel and such a joy to visit.  I loved to see the smile on her face as we would arrive.. She told me, she knew my walk and could hear me when I walked down the hall.  

One of my very favorite sisters on my mission was Tigadunka Bangura or Tigi, a 36 year old young woman from Sierra Leone, Africa. Her family moved to the US when she was 14. She graduated from BYU with a nursing degree. Tigi suffers from  diabetes , she has a heart problem and had a stroke 3 years ago, so she has limited use of her left hand & foot. Her kidneys are failing so she has dialysis 3 days a week. Her living conditions are extremely poor, so when we visited we would take her fruit and sometimes cooked rice and hard boiled eggs and protein bars, so that we knew she had a little something good to eat. She has such a strong faith in her Father in Heaven and knows that he will heal her and help her get a kidney transplant. We started taking Tigi to breakfast each Monday to make sure she had a good start to the week. I loved to visit her, she has touched my heart and helped me to have greater compassion for those who are suffering. She is truly an inspiration to me of her strong faith and has helped my testimony grow.

One of the joys of my mission has been the interaction with the 28 young sister missionaries, we got to work with at the Washington DC Temple Visitors Center. They are such strong young women in the gospel. Each one was an example to me.  We got to work at the visitors center for the Festival of Lights every day 3:00 to 10:00 from Thanksgiving until New Years Day. I loved the wonderful spirit I felt when I was there.

During the Festival I was put in charge of getting the meals out and served for the sisters and the senior couples who work at the VC. Then if there was enough left, I was able to feed the elders who helped with the parking. Each day the complete meals were provided by a ward. On one particular day a ward brought all the fixings for sloppy Joes.  I was getting it all heated and ready to serve and I counted the rolls, there were only 38 and we always served at least 40 each day, not including the elders.. I was a little concerned and so I said a quick prayer that it would all work out.  As the sisters and the seniors finished I looked at the basket with the rolls and noticed that there were 4 left, I knew that every sister had taken a roll, because I had put meat on each one. So I told Elder Hardy who was in charge of the elders and the parking that I would only have half a roll for each elder, but that we would make it work, with the other things I had to go with it. To my surprise, by the time the last 2 elders came in to eat I still had 4 rolls left.. So it truly was a blessing like the loves and fishes.

When I moved up to the DC area, I was assigned to work in the Family History Center every Weds. morning instead of working in the temple.  I have grown to love family history and since we got to attend the temple once a week I have been able to do the work for many of my ancestors that I found while serving at the FHC.  Which was a blessing and a wonderful opportunity to serve those of my ancestors who have passed on and also to support the temple.  We often took different sisters from the wards to the temple with us, which was an added joy.

M. Russell Ballard:
"The Savior's words are simple, yet their meaning is profound and deeply significant. We are to love God and to love and care for our neighbors as ourselves. Imagine what good we can do in the world if we all join together united as followers of Christ, anxiously and busily responding to the needs of others and serving those around us -- our families, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens.   As the Epistle of James notes; service is the very definition of pure religion.

There are so many stories of the wonderful sisters that I have had the honor to serve and be a part of their lives and I could go on for hours to share the blessings of serving a mission. Each day my heart was touched by a visit, or by an event or a tender mercy that helped my testimony to grow. As we would leave a home after a visit,  I always turned to my companion and smiled and said " isn't she wonderful".  Each sisters story was different and they all lived in different conditions and under different circumstances but the one thing that was the same no matter what home or apartment we stepped into & that was the love we felt from these wonderful sisters. They were warm and welcoming and eager to share their stories with us and let us share the gospel with them.

 President Monson has taught that in many instances Heavenly Father answers another person's prayer through us... through you and me...through our kind words and deeds, through our simple acts of service and love. 

One simple practice is in your morning prayers each day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of his precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart filled with love.
At the end of each day, may we all be able to say yes to the question. "Have I done any good in the world today?" "Have I helped anyone in need?"

As we come unto our Savior Jesus Christ, and serve each other we will be blessed, of this I testify in the name of our beloved savior Jesus Christ ..Amen

Monday, March 4, 2013

Home in Arizona. . . . .

"God be with you til we meet again". . . .  As we sang this song in church today..I thought of those of you in my mission and those of you here out west that I am beginning to see gradually.. The best of both worlds..

Steve and I left North Carolina on our way to South Carolina bright and early Monday morning.. It was overcast, but not raining and we had a great drive to "Boiling Springs", South Carolina.  This is the first area that my grandson Elder Kelly Harper served in on his mission in South Carolina.  We drove through the small town that reminded us of Prescott, Arizona.  We found the apartment that he lived in and the shops that he shopped at and I found my first "Sonic", since I left Arizona.. so we  were both happy.. Diet cherry limeade is my favorite and it was sooooo good.  We took lots of pictures and then headed west toward Jackson, Mississippi.. We thought we might miss the huge storm that was wrecking havoc in the mid-west but as nightfall came so did the rain.. it was pouring and strong winds and very dark and the lines on the roads in Mississippi were non existent.. I felt so sorry for Steve, he was white knuckled as he drove through the torrential rain, not really being able to see the road ahead, more than 10 feet in front of us, for 3 hours.. We finally got to Jackson and found our hotel and a great dinner right next door..

Boiling Springs, South Carolina.. my grandsons first area.

 Steve at Elder Kelly Harper's first apartment on his mission
 SONIC. .  My first diet cherry limeade in 18 months
Fireworks stores everywhere. . . 

We awoke on Tuesday to sunshine and were so happy.. It would probably be our longest day as we crossed the rest of Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.. Loved it when we hit Alabama, the landscape was wide open and really pretty.. Loved being able to see beyond the sides of the road.. Steve was giving me a tutorial in roadside billboards.. Since he is in the field of marketing, he was showing me the good ones and those that were to hard to read as you drove by at 75 mph.  As we crossed the border into Texas, I was surprised  at how green it was and that it wasn't completely flat. We saw an ostrich walking down the road and long horn cattle..which were both really fun to see.. We smelled the oil fields  when we got close to them.. the smell of sulfur is so strong.. It was dark by the time we neared Odessa, where we were staying that night and we could see hundreds of red lights in the distance surrounding us as we drove. We couldn't figure out what they were, so when we stopped for gas we asked and found out they were the oil derricks in the oil fields.  We ate and settled in for the night and I was so tired, I didn't even read that night..
 This is what I call a fully packed car
a packed car top carrier

 We saw lots of trailers bringing their race cars to Phoenix for the upcoming race
 Oil fields all over west Texas
 Our Mascot "Dash".. Steve got him for Alli at the Good Will in Boiling Springs
Getting closer to home.. I see yucca plants
Wednesday would be our last day of  driving.. Our GPS said we would arrive at my home at 7:00.. We still had a little of Texas to go through then New Mexico and finally Arizona.. As we neared New Mexico the road runs right along the border and we could see Mexico and  parts of it looked like the part of Peru my grandson served on his mission.. In Las Cruces we ate at another favorite of the food network chef  Rick Baily.. Chicos Tacos.. rolled tacos served in a spicy sauce.. very good but definitely different.  Then we were on our way home..

 My family all met me at my condo when we arrived and had my car and car top carrier unpacked in a matter of minutes.. So good to see everyone and get my hugs from everyone.  It was really good to be home and really weird too.. As a senior missionary, we did things on our own, so being alone wasn't the problem.. it was just unreal being here in Arizona.. like I didn't belong here..

 Thursday I met with my stake president, President Rizley to have my exit interview and be released from my mission.  I didn't think that I would be emotional, but when he said that I could take off my missionary badge, I did tear up..

I have been cleaning and organizing and unpacking and getting thing back in order.. I heard there were a couple of the huge haboob dust storms while I was gone and they left a fine layer of dust on everything.. so I am constantly cleaning and wiping things down.  It is starting to look like home again. 

Saturday I had my first outing since getting home.. I went to the Phoenix Marathon to see my son Steve race.. He did a great job and it was a very fun event.. thousands of people and lots of booths and interactive things to do.  A tradition with Steve and marathons is to go to Cafe Rio after the race..so off we went.  A great day..  
 Steve & Scott Brady running in the Phoenix Marathon
 The finish line
Lots of booths and fun interactive things to do

It was very fun to see everyone today at church.. so many hugs and many told me of some of their favorite things from my letters.. The ward had really grown and there were so many new people, that I didn't know. But so many I did know and was happy to see again. 

Sunday evening we had our monthly family get together and dinner.. I just love these evenings when we all get together and spend some quality family time, to catch up and share what is going on in each of our lives

This will be my last letter, so I'll say "Until we meet again"......

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Countdown. . . . .

This week started out with a gloomy Monday.. rainy, gray skies, but that didn't stop us from calling on 18 sisters.. The area we were in was filled with a lot of townhouses.. we found 4 sisters home and so we had some great visits..

 Tuesday was a beautiful day, sunny and 58 degrees out. We had our district meeting in the morning and it was my last one.. The 4 young elders and 2 young sister missionaries who are in our district are so amazing.. I just love to spend time with them. Sisters Holt and Smith had asked to have lunch with them since I am going home, so we took them to Quedoba and had a very fun lunch.  The visits in our area on Tuesday were single homes and so walking around was wonderful in this gorgeous weather.. We called on 11 sisters and had 3 visits..
 Elder Gillispe, getting ready to "die" by firing squad
He went home on Weds.. so he had to die..
 The firing squad!
 Our district
Sister Holt and Smith
In the evening we were asked to help out at the visitors center, so I got to work the front desk, which I love.. You get to see everyone who comes in the door and I love to talk to everyone.. It was a special evening of Music and Inspiration in the theater, so we had lots of people attend.. I saw many old friends and people I knew, and was so excited when through the door walked Sister Madison McCormick of my home ward in Phoenix.. I saw her the minute she walked in and was so happy that I got to see her before I went home. She is serving in the Washington DC South Mission and arrived in that mission 2 weeks ago.  She looks amazing and said she is so happy and doing great.. I had to get her dad on the phone right away and let him know I just hugged this darling missionary from Phoenix.. Such a great night..

Sister McCormick & Me

 Weds was a gloomy rainy day but since this was our usual day at the family history center, it didn't matter because we would be inside all day. The man that I helped last week came in again and I was able to be of some help to him again in getting names corrected on his family tree.. I am learning as I help him, so this is a win, win for both of us. I found the original application for a military grave stone for my Grandpa Terry that was filed by my Uncle Melvin, my dads brother. I love searching and finding things each week.

 It was also transfer day for all the young missionaries and there were lots of transfers and moves and everyone was excited for their new companions and new areas.. With the influx of new arrivals, President Matsumori has added a new zone and added an additional set of missionaries to some areas.. We received 12 new elders and 1 new sister this week to our mission.  Next transfer they said we will receive about twice as many and the one after that about 3 times.. Lots going on out here in DC.
Sister Lawrence and her new trainee Sister Graff
Wednesday afternoon Dorothy called and asked if we could go to the grocery store for her, since her surgery she can't get out and we were more than happy to do so.. We went over to her place after we got out of the temple in afternoon and got her list, then went to the store and shopped for her. She was so thankful and very appreciative of our service.. She is a real sweetheart.. When I told her I would be leaving next week, she said "well you can't leave until you come see me next week".. so she is on our list for Weds. 

Thursday was sunny and cold, but at least it was sunny out.. I can do a lot if it is not raining, so I love the sunshine. We had the morning at home to get things done. I was able to get some organizing and packing done.  In the afternoon we first went to see Barbara and spend some time with her. She is such a joy and so much fun to visit.. We then called on 15 sisters from the White Oak Ward. 
 Kady and her adoreable children


 Friday & Saturday we decided we were going to see just how many sisters we could call on .. so on Friday we called on 17 and got to have visits with 4 and on Saturday we called on new sisters who have just moved into our ward. We called on 19 and visited with 5. We found out one of the sisters we went to see had just taken a nasty fall and was in a rehab center so we went to see her. She was very happy to see us.. So for the week we called on 86 sisters.. + all the other things we accomplished!

One really cool thing happened on Saturday.. We were trying to find a sister who lived at 14560 and drove and drove around this complex of townhouses and couldn't find it.. So we decided to try 14506 and when we knocked on the door, a young man answered and we asked if Ashley lived there and he said "I hope so", she came to the door and said,      " we were just talking about coming to church, but don't have our internet yet, so we didn't know where the chapel was".. we only stayed a minute but what a sweet experience.. they know that they are being thought of and felt welcomed.

Sunday I decided to go down to Calvert to church to see the friends I made when I served there.. I loved walking into the chapel and have so many people come up to me and tell me how much they missed me.. The Bishop asked if I couldn't extend and stay longer.. I assured him that my family really does want me to come home.. as much as I love everyone here on my mission, I am ready to see my family and spend some quality time with all of them.. After church they had a "munch and mingle", a huge buffet with all kinds of soup and salads and sides.. So I not only got to see my friends but I got to have lunch to boot.. What a fun day.

 Chris Sanders
 Tracy Shoopack
 Heather Bugg
 Norma Goode
 Munch & Mingle

After I left the church I drove down to the Chesapeake Bay one last time.. I just love it there and would love to have a house right on the Bay.. The water is such a draw to me and so peaceful sitting there.. So worth the drive down south today, friends and the beauty of nature.

Sunday evening we went to a fireside at the visitors center to hear the new directors of the VC, Elder and Sister Eyring. Sister Eyring has played the violin with the Utah Symphony for fifty one seasons. She is the winner of many awards and competitions. She was Miss Utah and was awarded most talented musician in the Miss America pageant. She and Elder Eyring have 5 children and 9 grandchildren. Elder Eyring is the younger brother of President Henry B. Eyring. In Utah he served as the legal support to the State Board of Regent, the governing board for universities and colleges for 38 years.  They are going to be awesome directors.. they have such a love for the gospel and love working with the young sisters.


Starting to pack and get things ready.. We have a busy week planned for the coming week and I am looking forward to it..  I want to thank all of you who let me ramble on and sent me replies.. Since this is the journal of my mission, I know that sometimes it gets lengthy, but I want to remember everything I do while I am here.. On my blog I have had over 6,000 visits.. thanks so much.. you all are the best.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hello from the East Coast. . . . We had another great week..

Monday we picked up Tigi for our regular outing and decided to take her to one of my favorite places for lunch "5 Guys", which became one of her favorites too. We then took her to the SS office to clear up some paper work, it seems there is so much to do to catch her up on all her medical and paperwork.. but we love helping her..   

That afternoon we went to visit Sister Rodriquez who lives in the building next to ours.  What a sweet lady, the only problem was that she only spoke Spanish and we didn't. But she was so excited to have us there and talked a mile a minute and we nodded our heads and smiled a lot.  She is from Guatemala and is gathering items to send down there.. and I told her that I wanted to visit there and she was so excited.. I really don't know how much she understood, but what a precious lady.. We got hugs as we left and a big gracias.  

Tuesday we had our last outing as a district with Sister Brown (my old companion) and Sister Larsen and Elder and Sister Knight.. We all met at the Green Turtle in Bowie and had a wonderful time.. The food was great and the conversation was fun.  The Knights are from Provo, Utah and he used to be professor at BYU.  He has also been a tour guide for many church history tours, so he is really fun to talk to.  After lunch we headed out to try and catch some sisters home and have visits.. We made 3 attempts and had 2 visits, great day.
L-R Sister Brown, Sister Knight, Me, Sister Wege, Elder Knight, Sister Larsen
Weds. was our family history center morning and I got to help a man with his work. He had gone to the cemetery and had names and dates to put in of his family and I really could help him.. He was so happy and so was I. We then went to the temple and had a wonderful session there.  After our temple session we went to Holy Cross Hospital to visit with Shirley, she has been sick for about 2 months and really didn't look very good.. She said she just wanted to go home and sleep.. I sure hope they find out what is causing he illness.

Thursday morning we attended a zone training with the young missionaries.. they had asked us to come so they could say goodbye to me.. They are all so neat and it will be hard to say my final goodbyes to them.  I assured them I would see them at a couple of the events at the visitors center that are coming up..

We then picked up Sharon and went to visit Barbara our favorite Thursday lady. We took birthday treats and cards to celebrate her birthday with her. We then made a couple more visits.. One which was very strange.  Mary is very paranoid and suffers from schizophrenia and is sure that the government is trying to spy on her, so she has all her windows covered in tin foil and curtains over every window and doorway.. It is really dark in her house so she guided us to places to sit.. She asked us all to hold hands and to feel of each others spirit while we were there (can I just say . . .YIKES) Siste Wege was giggling the whole time. At one point she asked me to go over by her bed and get a bag hanging on the wall.. When I gave it to her, she pulled out some musical instruments.. bells and shaker balls and then asked me to go get the gong and mallet also hanging on the other wall.. Well. . . then she said we were all going to play our musical instruments  while we were singing.. we thought Sharon was going to faint.. so we sang I am a child of God and I played the gong and the others had their musical instruments.. Sister Wege couldn't stop giggling.. Mary has a cockatiel named Ashley that danced and bounced it's head as Mary sang.. Ashley poo-pooed .. we were all just in shell shock at this point.. We asked if she would like to say a prayer before we left and she readily agreed and we were out of there.

 Sister Wege spent some time this past weekend with her daughter Jenny and Jenny's boyfriend who were in town for the weekend from Louisiana, so I decided to head down to southern Maryland and visit friends.. What a fun time I had.. Bonnie had invited me to stay with her and Gary and they were such great host's.  On Friday evening we were invited to a birthday dinner for Tom the husband of a friend from Lexington Park, the most southern tip of Maryland.  There were 16 of us at the Olive Garden and what a fun time.. It was fun to see many of the friends I had made when I served down there.. On Saturday, Bonnie had arranged for a group of friends from the Waldorf area to join us for lunch at Cafe Rio.. since I had lived in that area and served in the 2 wards there for 7 1/2 month.  I was so excited to see everyone.. After lunch we drove around some of St. Mary's county, which is Amish territory and I got some pictures of Amish wagons and carts.. I had a fantastic two days and I'm so glad I decided to go down to my old stomping grounds and spend a couple of very special days.
 The birthday dinner on Friday evening,,
 Some of my friends and Me on Saturday..
Amish country
 Bonnie playing on her new piano
Bonnie and Garys home, where I stayed 

We had a wonderful Sunday:

  • Left home at 7:30 for our first meeting
  • Great church meetings
  • Went to a baptism for a cute 8 year old boy
  • Called on 11 sisters.. visited with 3
  • Had a wonderful dinner with Craig (the gourmet chef) and Ann. Since it was my last time at their house along with Elder Gillespe (who leaves this week)..we each got to choose something we wanted for dinner.. so this was the menu.
    • Chicken Picata (my favorite)
    • Pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy (Elder Gillespe's favorite
    • Carrots and broccoli
    • Spaghetti squash
    • Chicken with a citrus sauce
    • Collared greens
    • Rolls
    • Carrot cake for dessert           
  • What a feast.. Such an awesome couple, who have us all over for dinner every month.. 4 young elders and 4 senior missionaries..
We have a busy week planned for the coming week with lots going on.. Have a wonderful week and I'll drop in next Sunday again.. Only 2 more weeks here in DC..

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Great month. . . .

We started out our Monday going to pick up Tigi from a doctors appointment and then taking her to lunch.. She is so much fun and I just love that girl so much.. We ventured to our favorite Wegmans again.. then we took Tigi to her dialysis appointment. 

In the evening we visited with 3 sisters and then had family home evening with the Hickman's. Annecia and her two daughters are so enjoyable to spend time with. The girls are 11 & 6 and just love to have us over.  We had a short lesson on honesty then gave them a page to color of a little girl saying her prayers. Sister Wege had made dessert for the evening..  A great day. 
 The Hickmans

Tuesday we were out the door at 7:00 to drive over to pick Tigi up for some more appointments.  She was having an x-ray, cat scan and MRI. We then went to lunch, since she hadn't eaten since lunch on Monday. Then off to her cardiologist to pick up some paper work and then to her primary care physician to drop it off. Our next stop was the social security office to help get her Medicare straightened out. So it was a full day of appointments and stops, but so worth it to help her get these things all taken care of and it was, get this 71 degrees.. that's right we were warmer than Phoenix..

Tuesday evening we took one of the sisters from College Park ward to the visitors center. She is getting baptized in 2 weeks and wanted to have a teaching tour of the VC. She had never been there and really enjoyed seeing all the wonderful things it has to offer. 

 Wednesday was Family History Center and I even helped one of the patrons find some information.. I told her I love Ancestry.com and just keep putting in names and pushing the buttons and I find all kinds of information.  Found more today. . . my grandfathers military registration card.. signed by him.. what a fun day. 

We then headed out for visits and had a wonderful one with a sister from Globe, Arizona who is visiting her daughter for the winter. And then the weather hit hard and started to rain so we headed home..  No fun walking around in the pouring rain..

Thursday, it was sunny and so we headed out.. Man was it cold.. and windy.. which made it even colder.. It was 20 degrees with a wind chill I'm sure it was "0".. probably not quite, but I was sure it must be. We went to visit several sisters and some we had to walk quite a ways to get to their house or apartment, because of restricted parking.. and the wind was blowing and jeepers it was cold.. So when we found someone home we loved it and had wonderful visits.. We visited a new mom, who has been going through some major struggles, but seemed to be doing fine.  We also visited a sister who lives in a very nice group home. She has some mental disabilities that prevent her from coming out to church, we had a very nice visit with her & she was so happy we came by to see her. Our last visit was with a sister who is recovering from a very serious surgery. We had been to see her before we started working full time at the visitors center and we were anxious to see her. She was so pleased that we came by to see her. What a wonderful lady she is and so happy she is no longer in pain.

 Two of the sisters we visited on Thursday

Friday morning when we woke up everything was covered in a blanket of white. Sister Wege had PT for her shoulder and when she got home we picked up Darlene and took her to the temple.. She is really loving it and so are we.

Saturday was going to be another record breaking cold day, so we decided to take a personal day and stay in and get some things done here at our apartment. We were having 7 over for dinner on Sunday after church, so we were able to get a lot of the prep finished. It is a birthday dinner for two of the senior missionaries we serve with, Sister Dickey and Elder Sieg..

L.to R: Alison, Sister Dickey, Me, Elder Dickey, Elder and Sister Sieg

January was a great month for visits, we knocked on 111 doors and visited with so many wonderful sisters.. each one a joy to spend time with.  That was even with me being down for a week with the
Below are some of the places that we visit

It has been such a thrill to serve in this mission and I truly will miss it when I leave in three weeks. It has been such a amazing opportunity on so many levels.

·       To meet so many wonderful people and make so many friends

·       To be of help to the sisters we serve in so many different ways

·       To be in the nations capital and see so many historic sites & events

·       To serve with all the fantastic young sisters and elders

·       To serve in "10" different wards (congregations)

·       To meet and be counseled by these general authorities of our church:

·                   Elder David A. Bednar

·                   Elder Kearon & Sister Kearon

·                   Elder Allen E. Packer & Sister Packer

·                   Elder Quentin L. Cook & Sister Cook

·                   Elder Russell M. Nelson

·                   Elder Steven E. Snow

·       To meet the Ambassador of the Ukraine

·       To work as an ordinance worker in the Washington DC Temple       

·       To work in the Visitors Center during the Festival of Lights

·       To serve under our extraordinary Mission President Matsumori and Sister Matsumori

·       To be companions with two wonderful women

·       To work in the Family History Center and learn to love genealogy

·       To see the wonders of the seasons here in Maryland

I have also learned a few things about being a Marylander...

·       You must honk your horn at the car in front of you the second the light turns green, even if you are 6 cars back.

·       You have to have x-ray night vision, because they do not believe in street lights on any of the streets off the main roads.

·       Speed limit signs are just for looks, for if you go the speed limit you are left in the dust.

·       Maps are deceiving, they have street names on the maps and GPS and on the road signs they have numbers.. It seems every road is both named and numbered.

·       If you pull up behind an Amish cart or buggy you have to follow them, because they have the right of way on the roads in Maryland.

·       You have to bring your own bags to the grocery store, because they charge for bags.
So now, I carry a cute little bag in my purse at all times, just in case, make sure I know the route # I need before I leave home, & know exactly where I need to go at night & never honk at the driver in front of me & only drive a "little" over the speed limit..