Sunday, January 27, 2013

The first of the "LASTS"

Since my time is getting shorter I am starting to experience the "lasts".. the last zone conference, the last time I will attend certain monthly events or activities.. the last time I will see a certain person.. I am having a hard time with this.. I cry easy and it seems the tears are starting to flow more and more..
Wegmans at Lorton Town Center
Our week started out with our regular lunch date with Tigi.. She said today that this is the highlight of her week. She loves going to lunch with us and we love going with her.  We love Wegmans because of the wide variety of ready to eat food you can get there.. for those in Arizona, Wegmans is like a Whole Foods expanded 3 times.. So each week we try something new in the many different take out booths they have in the store.  I tried the nacho's yesterday and I think they need a lesson from Arizona on that item. 

Tuesday was my last zone conference of my mission. It was so good. We had mini classes on keeping healthy, defensive driving and creative ways to keep thoughts or quotes or special scriptures so you know where to find them when you want to use them.  We always have a slide show that Sister Matsumori prepares with pictures of the missionaries and all their activities and it was so fun. (tears) The Assistants to the President put on a class and the video before it was hilarious..

The sisters and the seniors at lunch at zone conference
Some of us at our class with Sister Matsumori
 There is a senior couple in our mission that put on a puppet show on the dangers of drinking and smoking. They present this show at schools and other venues to children and teenagers to help them know the dangers of these things. Elder Oaks is a retired professor from BYU and they have been given the assignment to produce these shows to educate children and teens on the adverse effects of alcohol and tobacco on their bodies. These are not church based but health based shows. Elder Oaks has presented these shows in many countries of the world. He was sharing it with us so that if we knew of any teachers or principals they could contact them and present it in their schools.
 Elder Oaks
Smoke stick, tar and addiction puppets

At the end of the conference we sang our mission song, I was very misty.and could't even get through the song. I really can't believe that my mission is coming to a close.

 I had a wonderful interview with President Matsumori and shared some of my most treasured experiences with him.  He is very pleased with the program and so happy that it is continuing in the DC area.  I love the time I get to spend one on one with him. He is such an inspired man with so much love for the Washington DC North Mission and all the missionaries.  He really is fun to talk to also & has a great sense of humor. Since this was to be my last interview with him, he wanted to know if I was ready to leave and I told him, I was anxious to see my family but so very sad to leave all the people I have met here. 

Weds. I was at the Family History center again. Wow I am really loving working on my family history. I have been working on finding information about my fathers side of the family. His brothers and sister and their families and today I hit the jackpot and found so much information.. I was so excited to have pictures of gravestones and family that I could print. The wedding picture of my grandparents. The high school year book picture of one of my cousins, and so much more.. I just love it.  We then went to the temple for a session.. Always love to go to the temple.. Saw many of the friends that I made when I was working there each Weds.

On Thursday we had to empty all of our cupboards and counter tops and table in the kitchen and bathrooms out completely so that the apartment people could come in and spray for pests. We don't have any, but they do the entire building twice a year and it was this Thursday. A great way to get everything really clean.

We stayed in and hunkered down on Thursday, because it snowed and then was 19 degrees with a wind chill of 10 degrees out so there was a great danger of black ice.. We are having some record breaking cold.. and so I was happy to stay in and read and putz. 

Friday morning the snow was gone from the roads for the most part so we decided to head out for some visits. It was so COLD.. oh my heck... I love cold weather but this is beyond COLD...It was in the very low 20's and windy.. so the wind chill made it into the low teens.  We were able to visit with 3 sisters and that was great. We found another couple who had moved and a couple who were not home.  Just as we finished out last visit it started to snow again.. We have a white blanket of snow on everything and it will stay, since the weather is in the low 20's.. and the teens during the night.  I do love to snuggle under the cozy blankets on my bed at night..
 The view from our apartment of the snow

Saturday we picked up Wanda and took her to the temple. On our way there we decided to stop at the bookstore.  Well I saw that the driveway into the back parking lot was snow covered and slick and I thought for a minute, "that doesn't look like a good idea", but I kept going and when I got back there I got stuck and was really worried as I started slipping sideways.. This Arizona gal really doesn't know how to drive in snow.. Sister Wege went to the store and got their snow shovel and cleared a path for me to drive to a spot to park.. Then when we were leaving I was going soooo slow and started to slide toward two cars.. I started praying " Oh, Heavenly Father, help me not hit those cars".. my car stopped about 2" from them and then I was able to slowly get going and get out of the parking lot.. Whew. I guess I like snow to look at not drive in......

 On Sunday it was my last time attending the White Oak Ward. So everyone was giving me hugs and telling me goodbye and saying such nice things.. I really do hate leaving all these wonderful people.  After church we went to the hospital to visit with Lois who is 86.  She had pancreatic cancer a year ago and had a revolutionary new surgecial procedure that left her cancer free.. but she just found out it is back and she said the pain was horrible. She is such a trooper and always has such a wonderful smile on her face. We visited for about 1 1/2 hours and she shared some wonderful stories with us.. She was so happy with our visit.
The elders at dinner

 Brother Smoltz getting dinner ready
Beef & noodles, Chicken with cous cous and ham

Sunday evening we had our monthly dinner with the Smoltz's. They have us and the 4 young elders who serve in College Park Ward and one other senior missionary couple for dinner each month.  It is always a gourmet feast.. and a very fun evening.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's Flu season. . . . .

Just so you know, this FLU is NO FUN... In case you were wondering.. After 5 days I was still down on Monday. On Tuesday I was able to sit up and walk around a little, so I knew that it was winding down..Thank heavens..

Wednesday I felt well enough to go to the Family History Center and sit and work on a computer all  morning.  I have been searching for more information about my fathers side of the family, his sister and brother and their families.  I was so lucky and found so much information thru census records and death records.. Slowly I am getting the information pieced together and can't wait until I can lay it all out on the table at home and work on it more than one morning a week.  In the afternoon Sister Wege went to do some work at the temple and I really was wiped out so I went to the visitors center and visited with the sisters in the office for awhile.  It was a good day and I was so happy that I finally got outside the apartment for the first time in a week. 

Thursday we had splits; Sister Wege headed one direction to pick up a sister and take her to  our regular Thursday.. visit with Barbara.. I headed the other direction to take Darlene to the dentist. She is such a fun lady.. Always dressed to the "nines" (I believe the term is).  Her beige pant suit, gold blouse and shoes to match and then topped with a black fun pill box hat and black fur jacket.. One styling lady. She is having to have her teeth pulled one at a time for false teeth....  She is a very smart lady and we were talking as we drove along. She has a Masters degree from the University of Maryland and then a  PHD from The University of Wahington DC. She worked for the defense dept. as their education liaison, to the local universities and government agencies and the military.  I said "wow, Darlene, you were pretty high up".. to which she answered "yes mam, if my boss was out I was the one in charge".. It was a good visit and she felt so much better after her dr. visit.

 Friday we had scheduled "19" sisters to call on.. that's right I said "19".  Sister Wege said she was taking it easy since I had been sick... When we left our apartment at 10:00 it was 26 degrees.... COLD.  We were working in the Laurel area and the drive out was so nice.. Most of the ladies on the list lived in apartments, so we got plenty of exercise as we went to each door and knocked.. We found "1" sister home and had a wonderful visit with her.
We leave a "Sorry we missed you " card with our names and phone number on it, at the doors of those who do not answer..  It was a very fulfilling day and even though we only had one visit it was worth it..because it was such a great visit.
some of the houses in Laurel


Saturday we only had "18" names on our schedule to visit.. It wasn't as cold and the sun was out and it turned out to be 48 degrees.. It was a fun day..we talked to 3 sisters and a couple of husbands.. So a great day.. So all in all this weekend has been a very productive one..

Our daily schedule... 

Sunday started with our 7:30 meeting and then church.. We had told Darlene we would pick her up for church.. She was ready and waiting for us.. After church we had scheduled 13 sisters to visit and we got to see 3 sisters..for a total of 53 doors we knocked on for our visits this week. 

Sunday evening we went to the visitors center for a special "why I believe" fireside. It featured Debbie Bibley, who is a trained archeologist who worked for the State of Utah as a state archeologist in their antiquities division for several years.. Her stories were fantastic and it was inspiring to hear of her adventures. I saw several friends from southern Maryland, which was great.   

We are in full swing again and I am loving it so much. Very mixed feelings about the next month.. 

 Have a wonderful week and may you all be blessed. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

The new year rang in as I was sleeping, I'm sorry to say.  We had finished our shift at the visitors center and headed home and I was in bed reading by 9:30.. This was the next to last night of our assignment at the VC and it is sad. We had been there every night for 44 nights. We really had our assignments down and loved what we were doing.  For the festival they had a total of 88,000 people come through the doors. Many nights there were so many people it was very hard to navigate your way through the crowds.  It is one of those moments, where we were ready for festival to be over, but didn't want to not be with all our friends there. It was so neat to be with the 28 young sister missionaries every night, and the 4 senior couples, plus the young elders that I got to serve dinner to and those others who were attending performances each evening. 

This week was transfers and 6 of the young sisters that I had grown so close to went home.. I was so excited for them and yet will really miss them.  Several of the senior couples start leaving this next week and it seems that someone is leaving every week.  What wonderful friendships I have made during my mission. Working with the 4 couples every day at the VC was amazing and I just love them all..

The missionaries who were returning home this transfer.. just love them all.
The Performances for New Years Eve and New Years evening were:
  • Washington Guzheng Society- (Chinese Instrumentalists) It was founded in 2000 by a group of Guzheng musicians and enthusiasts. The        goal of the group is to introduce Chinese culture to all audiences through guzheng       music. The group is actively involved in community performances and public       service programs. We have held a variety of performances in the Baltimore       Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the U.S. National Arboretum , the University of Maryland, the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Olney Concert Band- a volunteer community band made up of 55 fun loving members who have been entertaining local audiences for over 27 years. The range from high school students to retired musicians.
Wednesday we started our day at the Family History Center and I must say I am loving learning how to use the new Family Tree for my searching.. I am such a novice and learn a little something each week.. I am going to love being able to spend time on this when I get home and can spread it out on the table and pull it all together.  I am back in the 1600's and wishing I knew each of their stories as I read their names and where they are from.

 After we left the FHC we went over to the visitors center to help dis-mantle the nativity displays and clear out the room. We worked hard and helped Julia (the coordinator) and her crew get everything packed up and put away.  It took a couple weeks to set up and just a few hours to take it all down.. We said goodbye to all our friends at the VC and headed home, and were amazed it was still light out side..

We are ready to get back to our regular visits to the sisters and help them in any way we can.  
Thursday we started out our day with our weekly visit to Barbara. What a joy she is.. she is always sitting in the little parlor area of the center waiting for us and gets a huge smile the minute she hears us walk in.  It is so fun to know that we will see her each week, and she will always be there and happy to see us..

We then called on 3 other sisters, two didn't answer the door and we didn't think that the 3rd was going to answer, but as we walked down the hall she called after us. She has just moved here and said that she is probably moving to Florida in the next couple weeks. She has a daughter who is almost nine and wasn't in school.. (they said it was because they were moving?)  She also has a very active 2 year old little girl.. Kind of a sad situation, she moved in so that she and her current husband can try and work things out. There are also 2 other men living there. She is also in a custody battle with her x-husband over the custody of her son, who lives with his dad.

 Friday we had a day off.. got lots accomplished around the apartment.. never left the building.. all I can say is yahoo!  I started to organize and box things I know I won't need before I leave for home and sorted through papers and things I have collected while I was here.. I got all my receipts sorted for tax prep.  It was a good day.

 Saturday Sister Wege and I were asked if we wanted to go with the Dickeys (another senior couple) into DC to the Martin Luther King library to hear a lecture on  "The Emancipation Proclamation".  Sister Wege loves that sort of thing, so she went and I decided to go down south and pick up my quilt, that I bought from my Amish friend Magdalena Stoltzfus.. She lives a little over an hour and a half from our apartment.. I love the drive down, and it was fun to see what things have changed since I moved up to Silver Springs. When I pulled into the driveway of her home, I saw a "closed" sign on the quilt shop, but I did see Magdalena standing in her house, so I knocked and asked if I could pick up my quilt. She is such a sweet lady.  I am so happy I have gotten to know her. I love my quilt. When I saw it in her shop, I knew I just had to have it.. She let me make monthly payments.. I am so happy that I know who cut out the pieces and stitched it all together and quilted it all by hand.. I can't wait to put it on my bed at home.. I have gotten a couple other things from her in the past and she is so talented.. Such a true artist.
My Quilt
I then stopped at a few places down in Waldorf and worked my way back toward our apartment.  It was such a beautiful day out and I loved driving around.  When I got back to the apartment I decided to start entering all my tax information on spread sheets, getting it ready to turn over to my most helpful brother-in-law.. He and my sister Judy will be coming to Arizona a couple weeks after I get home and I want to be able to give it to him then..

 Sunday started with our 7:30 a.m. meeting then church services.. we then stopped back by our apartment for lunch before we headed out to visit some sisters. It is really good to be back in the groove.. I just love visiting with each one we get to see.. Everyone is so different and so much fun to get to know.. We got to visit with 3 sisters this afternoon and then we went to a baptism.. A great day..

 We have a busy week planned and I can't wait..