Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Recipe I Concocted

Last night I threw together some ingredients and made a FABULOUS dinner. It's too good not to share if I say so myself.

Tomato Garlic Chicken Alfredo

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut up into 1 inch cubes
2 TBSP olive oil (who measures olive oil?-just eyeball it)
2 -3 cloves garlic chopped or equivalent
1/2 bag frozen Pictsweet pepper/onion mix
1/2 jar Classico sun-dried tomato pesto
1/2 jar Bertolli tomato basil sauce
1 jar ragu roasted garlic Parmesan sauce
1- 14 oz can diced tomatoes drained
1- 14 oz can Italian stewed tomatoes chopped
1 pound favorite pasta

Cook chicken in olive oil and garlic with salt and pepper to taste until almost cooked. Add the remaining ingredients except for the pasta. Cook through to boiling then simmer on med-low for 10 minutes to blend flavors. Serve over cooked pasta with Parmesan cheese on top. Voila! Fabulous! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We Ought To Get Out More...

I stole these from Emma's blog.

It appears that Elisa's computer web cam is cheap entertainment in our home. :)

And don't even ask me what Gregory is thinking...
His baby is sure cute though. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Missions Are Not Always Easy

Reading between the lines, I can tell that Ian is struggling a bit. Missions sometimes wear on you and the feeling of being discouraged is very real and very overwhelming.

"Dearest Family,                                                               

This week was a long one. Things really aren’t so bad I think, they are a lot better then they could be... I am trying to be optimistic.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FATHER! (Yesterday) I like Dad because I not only got a pretty good set of genes from him, but I am ever so grateful for his example. I see bits of him in me and in my work, and it is a great blessing. I got a bit of his patience, which I think is helping me more than anything on my mission. I am grateful for his faithful dedication. I am grateful for the way in which he taught me to always think about how my actions will affect other people and to think about other people first and to put my desires in second place, especially when it comes to my priesthood responsibilities.

I am ever so grateful for all your prayers and your help and your uplifting emails and letters. They are a great blessing. I am so grateful to be a member of the church. When I think of how much the church has blessed my life and my family I stand in awe. I am so grateful for my family, I don’t know what I ever did to deserve such a wonderful family, but my family has make all the difference in my life..." 

Two years is really a long time. He is entering that "middle" period of his mission where you can't see the beginning and you can't see the end and sometimes the middle just looks overwhelming. It is the reality of a missionary's life. He mentioned that he is really looking forward to General Conference this weekend. I have no doubt that it will give him a boost that he needs.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Jim!

It's been a long, long day and the family all just left but we had a wonderful day celebrating Jim's birthday. Here are a few snapshots and a thought:

This man always enjoys his family.
Taking pictures with Elisa's web cam.
Delightful Sarah.
Never without a smile Elisa.
Always entertaining Gregory.
 Thoughtful, helpful, happy Seth always enjoys the company.
Newlyweds Emma and Wade.
Grandbaby extraordinaire...
Of course I'm biased.
I just take the pictures. :)  

Quote for the day:
“Here is the truth about womanhood. Our Father [in Heaven] gave His daughters a divine endowment of gifts that give us unique influence. First and foremost, we have the high privilege of bearing children…No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord’s secret weapon…The world won’t tell us this stunning truth, but the Spirit will…It is time for us to wake up to the potential magnitude of our full influence as latter-day women of God and then to arise and do what we were sent here to do.”
(Sheri Dew, May 1, 2008, BYU Women’s Conference)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Elisa's Turn

Elisa served a mission to West Virginia a few years ago.
This was taken on her 22nd birthday I believe.
This was right before our
last goodbye with her at the MTC.
Obviously Jim did much better than I did.
Elisa was thrilled and ready to go. :)
This is my favortite picture from her mission.
Missionaries do a lot of tracting
which means going door to door
asking to share the message of the gospel.
It takes a good attitude each day as most times
missionaries are turned away.
A good companion and a love for the Lord
is all that is really needed
to continue on in the work of the Lord.

"Go ye therefore and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Matthew 28:19

Friday, March 25, 2011

Before He Was A Missionary...

I was going to go grocery shopping this morning but it is snowing...hard! Hello, where's my spring? I have had a few pictures on my table for two weeks now to upload to this blog and the snow has given me the excuse to finally do it.

This is the one that caught my attention first. 
Twelve year old boys eventually do grow up. :)
Ian and Seth doing some sort of science experiment.
Jim can fix anything...really. This was a day he was on his way up to the attic to fix something and he had Ian on walkie talkies from below to feed him info he needed. Obviously the air in the attic must have been less than optimal. :) I love this picture.
 They were good hiking buddies.
Many a hike.
Or how about chess? 
Seth is by far the best, sorry Ian.
A fourth grade Shakespeare play.
These boys would always just say, "I want to be such and such for Halloween and expect me to come up with a costume, which I always managed to do somehow. This was the year that Seth said, "I want to be Link." I asked, "Who on earth is Link?" And don't even ask me what Ian was....
Ian pinning a pin my "Mother's Pride"
as an 11 year old new Boy Scout.
He eventually became an Eagle Scout and my "Mother's Pride" was full of his pins. This was the night of he made the rank of Eagle Scout and I eventually got the last eagle pin which went at the bottom. :)
Eighth grade graduation .
Elisa and Ian.
Such good friends, she misses him.
 Always fixing something in the garage.
Working on the computer controls for the beloved robot.
Ian and the "Webb 3" which went all the way
to the last round of the 
2009 "First Robotics" 
semi-finals competition. :)
Then high school graduation.
Don't even ask what this pose is...
The Haka Dance I think.
He graduated with honors. :)
Saying goodbye to nephew Nathan for two years.
Gone but never forgotten Son...
Work hard, we all love you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Color Me Proud!!

She'll make a great high school English teacher and her students will be lucky to have her! She's finishing up her fourth year now for this program but needed this formal acceptance to proceed with the final licensure year requirements with the student teaching portion scheduled for next year.

CONGRATULATIONS Emma!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can soon join your sister Elisa in the ranks of one of the most important jobs there is, teaching. :)

 Emma won a $2000 scholarship during her 
senior year of high school from the Rotary Club. 
There was a special luncheon held for the winners.
This was her acceptance speach.
I love the look on the woman's face on the bottom left. 

 The Rotary club can now be pleased to know 
that their gift of confidence in Emma was well warranted. :)

Happy Mom. Happy Day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wow, What A Story

Quake Gives New Meaning to a Young Man's Mission

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints

Patrick Hiltbrand, American missionary in Japan.

It was faith that landed Patrick Hiltbrand in the path of a tsunami last week, but arguably it was also his faith that got him out —as he survived the deluge in the upper floor of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the small town of Tagajo.  Despite the ordeal he has survived, he so far has no intention of leaving Japan soon, and that too has to do with his religious convictions.

“Right now, I’m here in Japan for two years to serve God,” said the 20-year-old speaking from a mission in Sapporo. He is determined to return to the disaster zone to help with recovery, but awaits instruction: “My (mission) leaders are receiving guidance from God,” he said.

For members of the Mormon church, going on “mission” is a rite of passage. At any given moment there are about 52,000 Mormon missionaries working around the world — most of them between 19 and 21 years old. In order to remain focused of their religious work, they are asked not to watch television, follow the news or call their families and friends. On their one day off a week, they can write letters or email.

Hiltbrand, from Pocatello, Idaho, is the third son in the family to go on mission, but the first to be sent overseas. Being chosen for Japan was "beyond his wildest dreams," said his mom, Corrie Hiltbrand. He had been evangelizing in Sendai area of Japan for about 15 months when the quake struck. Dressed in the standard issue white-shirt-and-tie, he and his “companion” Yuji Aiura — Mormon missionaries always travel in pairs — had arrived by bicycle to a small restaurant in Tagajo, a river town about two miles from the ocean. They were discussing the power of God with two local Japanese when the shaking began. They ignored it at first says Hiltbrand — there are so many small quakes in this region — but not for long. The growing fury of the rumbling drove them to take shelter under a table. Then they decided to run outside.

“There was a loud bang and everything was moving in every direction,” Hiltbrand says. “Cars were rocking on the street.” When it stopped, the two missionaries jumped on their bikes and rode to check on their apartment, then headed to the Mormon church in Tagajo, dodging newly created crevices and open manholes. Along the way, Hiltbrand registered the shock and fear on faces all around him, wracking his brain for the right course of action.

“As we started toward the church I turned to my companion and said ‘our job today is to help people be happy as we can,'” said Hiltbrand. “I tried to smile and say hi to everyone.” It is in Hiltbrand's character  to try to cheer people, said his mother. She describes him as tough in the face of adversity, outgoing and enthusiastic about whatever task is at hand. Right before leaving on mission, the electronics student needed to make some money—and the only job he could get was standing on a corner wearing a big sign for a local pizza joint. “He stood on a street corner flipping and spinning that sign. He never stopped moving,” said Corrie Hiltbrand. “He said, ‘If this is what I have to do for my job, then I’m going to go all out,’ and that’s what Patrick does.”

Any illusion that the disaster was over quickly passed as traffic built—with cars heading inland toward Sendai. Then police and fire vehicle sirens began blaring tsunami warnings. The scene in Tagajo, Japan, about 2 miles from the coast, after the tsunami swept through the city. Hiltbrand and Aiura climbed to the second story of the church, a building that is raised 4 to 5 feet off the ground. They watched out the window as the water level rose rapidly, aided by the river that wraps around the town—and sucked their bicycles into a torrent, along with cars and debris.Water began pouring through the church’s mail slot in the door of the first floor. “From the second floor it sounded like a waterfall,” said Hiltbrand. “I went downstairs, and as I watched it coming in … the glass on the door shattered and water came pouring in.” The water rose to about four feet before it started to subside he said.

It was 20 hours before the young missionaries could venture outside. They were not able to go to the emergency meeting site designated by their mission because they were isolated on the wrong side of the swollen river. There was no cell service to get instruction from higher-ups at the church. “It was a real ‘what do I do’ moment,” Hiltbrand said in a matter-of-fact voice. “(Aiura) said, ‘We need to get to Sendai,'” about 20 miles away.

They trudged through standing water, navigating through the piles of cars and wreckage. Japanese residents were also wading through the remaining water, some carrying elderly family members on their backs. A local church member driving toward Tagajo from Sendai spotted Hiltbrand and Aiura as he neared the town. He turned around them and drove them to the unscathed mission in Sendai city, about 24 hours after the quake.

The church has since moved all 200 of its young evangelists from Tokyo and the Sendai area to missions they believe to be a safe distance from the radiation leak at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Hiltbrand is now at a mission in Sapporo — on the northern island of Hokkaido. On Friday he and other evacuees were getting health evaluations and briefings on the full scope of the disaster, including the radiation leaking from Fukushima — a crisis that has prompted the U.S. government to offer U.S. citizens evacuation from Japan.

Hiltbrand said he has no thought of going back to Utah early. And his mother said she is 100 percent supportive of his plans—even after a tense and prayer-filled 24 hours of uncertainty about her son’s survival. “(To ask) for him to come home never even went through our minds,” she said. “Patrick is where he has planned to be all his life…. We knew he was where needed to be and when we heard from him that he had been protected.  And we know that he will be protected.”

For his part, Hiltbrand is itching to get back to the disaster zone. “I really want to be in Tagajo helping people,” he says. “I have many friends in Tagajo and I don’t know how they are. I don’t know how they will clean it all up and I want to help.” But, as senior leaders of the LDS church told earlier in the week, the missionaries, although enthusiastic, may be more of a burden than a help at this stage. So Hiltbrand waits until the church says it is OK for him to change his mission — from saving souls to salvaging lives. “All I know is I’m now in Sapporo because I’m supposed to be,” he said.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Room Makeover

I'm finally getting around to finishing up a guest room. Emma moved out in October and it's March already but I'm nearing completion of her old room. Seth and I painted this room in January I think. He did a great job and now he knows how to paint. It's a pretty sage green with gray undertones. The color scheme of the whole room is kind of kooky but I'm liking it so far. It's very different than the rest of my house. Pictures don't really do it justice.
It still needs a black rocking chair, I'm working on that. I got the mirror at Big Lots for $24 and painted it black. I love a good bargain. And now I have another guest room. :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mission Language Improvement

Gratefully, Ian wrote more than usual today. Just as I was giving up hope of hearing anything more than a few lines, he actually communicated well today.

"Dear Family,

Things are rolling along here. They are getting more difficult with my companion as he gets nearer and nearer to the end (going home). I am not looking very much forward to the next three weeks but I will do my best and the Lord will help me. This week was a difficult one, not many people have been accepting us, we have had very few new investigators. Beyond this I am doing quite well I think...

A few people have asked me a few times about my thoughts about Brazil and how my Portuguese is progressing and all that so I will give you an update. Brazil feels very normal to me now, I remember how new and different it felt when I first arrived but now it feels quite normal, different then the United States, but normal. My Portuguese is fine, I understand just about everything and I am speaking well with only a few difficulties here and there. The language doesn’t stand in the way much anymore, only when people are talking about very complicated things. I speak constant Portuguese now. I only speak English about once a week, and even then, it is only a little bit. I am thinking in Portuguese now, it is usually easier than thinking in English. I am also pretty well adjusted to mission life now. I have hard days now and again where I miss home and the mission seems much more difficult, but they are getting further and fewer between.

I started telling you a little bit about an investigator last week, and I will continue on now. She is progressing well, slowly but constantly. The branch has taken quite a liking to her and they are helping her and us quite a bit. She knows the Church is true, she hasn’t fully admitted it to herself yet, but she knows it. She wants to be baptized but she is afraid, but I know that eventually she will be baptized, hopefully sooner than later. I will try to tell you more about her and our other investigators in the weeks to come. I bear you my testimony that the Church is true, I know that the church is the only living church, directed by a true prophet and apostles. I know that God directs this church and that he directs the missionary work. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, it testifies of everything we believe in, but most importantly, it testifies of Christ. I know that Christ lives, he loves us, and He is at the head of this church. I know that the words of the prophets and apostles are precious things; we are so very blessed to hear from them every six months. I am so excited for general conference I can’t even tell you! I love you all immensely and I hope you have a great week!"

Now, that's a good e-mail. It's interesting that his Portuguese is improving so much. Once you get to the point where you are thinking in your mission language, you become a very good communicator. That didn't really happen for me until I was half way through my mission so he is doing really well. I also remember that I would dream in my mission language. That's how you know it's deep down in your brain. Consequently, as your mission language improves, your English grammar deteriorates.

He sounds good. I am glad that he has adjusted to the country and that it seems normal to him. I remember what a shock it was for me to come home and how everything seemed so amazing to me for the first few days when I came home. It's funny how people can adapt to most any situation. 

We miss Ian but we know his service is important. E-mails do my heart good. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thoughts About Service

I teach a class at church once a month. Today's lesson was about service. I mentioned about how we should be making sure that we are serving our family first if we are not in the habit of doing so. I mentioned that there are a lot of people who will rush right out the door to offer service to a neighbor or a total stranger yet have the habit of being unkind to one another at home. I mentioned that unkind looks, unkind words, and unkind deeds have no place in our homes and that if we are thinking only about ourselves and our needs, then something is amiss and we should reflect on that and change it. Those words must have fallen on ears that people could relate to because I saw several people who looked uncomfortable when I said it.

I thought about that as the morning went on. One man talked later in Church about how when we return to God, we should return as families. Of course I know that but I thought about it in relation to what I just mentioned above. Then I thought about how sad it would be if at the judgment God said something to us like this,  "I gave you this wonderful man" or "I gave you this wonderful woman...where is she, why isn't he or she with you?" Can anyone imagine how sad that would be to actually return to heaven and not have your spouse with you? Or how lonely would it be in all of eternity to NOT have our spouse with us or our children if we had them here on earth? Would that even be heaven at all? I can't imagine that somehow we will only finally figure out how to be nice to one another after we die. It only makes sense to me that in this life, we should be treating our families as if we really could not bear to be without them in eternity. I think that would make all the difference in the world for all of us if we just thought about our families like that now.

Anyway, those are my Sunday thoughts for today.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gonzaga, You Got Jimmered!!!

Don't look now Gonzaga,
but the smoke behind you was 
The Jimmer!!

And now it's on to the Sweet 16!

Way to go BYU................................!

Love the headline: