Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Still Waiting

We're still on baby alert. In the meantime, I'll post from Ian's e-mail yesterday. His subject line had me stumped so I got someone to translate it..."Realizacao de um sonho" would be translated as "A dream come true." Read on...

"Dear Family,

What a week! I think we will start from where we are and we will work backwards. Right now we are in Iguaçu Falls, which is actually where I started my mission if you remember correctly. We got here about an hour ago, we left from Cascavel at about 6:45 this morning. We baptized 2 people in Cascavel yesterday. We left Maringá Friday morning and got in Cascavel at about 3 in the afternoon. We left Londrina with President Wednesday night at about 8 and arrived in Maringá at about 9:30. We had zone conference in Londrina last Tuesday and that brings us back to the last time that I emailed yáll!

Wow, I really didn't realize how crazy our week was until just now.

Alright, now that we went from today backwards lets start from the beginning of last week and work forwards. Last Tuesday in Londrina, we had zone conferences. It went quite well...On Wednesday, we had our P-day and we spent the  whole day trying to wash and dry clothes. It was rather important seeing that I was already using borrowed socks. It was quite cold and rainy last week in Londrina and so besides the fact that I didn't have any time whatsoever to wash clothes, they wouldn't have even dried if I had washed them. Anyways, after about and hour and a half ironing my socks on Wednesday, and we were off to Maringá! We had zone conferences there which were also good... I also got to see one of my recent converts that we baptized in Maringá, and that was a really wonderful experience. They are doing great and are setting a goal to go to the Temple next year. 

On Friday morning we walked 40 minutes to the bus station in the rain (way fun...) and we got a bus to Cascavel (which is in between Maringá and Iguaçu falls, about 5 hours of a bus ride) and we stayed in Cascavel until this morning. We had 2 baptisms there. 2 brothers of a recent convert there who moved back to the city Sunday morning but had already been going to church for 2 years and had just got married one month ago and wanted someone from Cascavel to baptize him. They were baptized after church! 

We woke up at about 5 this morning and we got a bus at 6:45, and got here in Falls at about 9. We will have a p-day here in falls which will be nice because things are really cheap here and we are going to take advantage and buy some stuff for when we go back. We will also go to the Falls today with President! Which is something that I have wanted to do my whole mission long. I was already getting worried that I wouldn't have the chance to go anymore but TODAY IS THE DAY! It will be very special and we are way excited! I will be sure to take a lot of pictures...We will  have 2 more zone conferences this week, one here tomorrow, and one on Friday in São Paulo, so it will be another crazy week! Vamos Lá! (Translated is "Let's get 'er done).

I know that this Church is true, I know that we are led by I living prophet. I am so very grateful for the opportunity that I am having to serve a mission. I know that I have grown in so many ways and matured in the gospel. The roots of my testimony have grown stronger and deeper and I know that I am much more the person that God wants me to be today then I was many months ago. I love my mission and am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve the Lord and his children. I know that God lives and that he loves us. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior."

That's as long an e-mail as I have ever shared but I could this week. I'm so happy for him that he got to see those Falls yesterday. I look forward to the pictures. The end of a mission experience is truly wonderful in so many ways. Good for him. Here's some info on Iguazu Falls:

"Upon seeing Iguazu, the United States' First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed "Poor Niagara!"

(Ian's "dream come true" I suspect)
 And I don't really know what to say about a son
 that spent an an hour and a half ironing socks!! 
(Probably to dry them I assume).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Not Yet

Contractions have stopped. Wait time again. What a day.

This is what she e-mailed me:

"By the time we started the version she really was breech and head up. So this morning she was transverse and this afternoon she was breech. "

Labor Maybe?

OK, the baby has been successfully turned. She was actually transverse. It seems Sarah is now having contractions. This might be it.

We're On Baby Alert

Sarah's hands swelled up yesterday and her blood pressure went up. She saw a midwife this morning who said the baby is breech and her blood pressure is up. She's headed in to the hospital in about 1/2 from now for the doctor to turn the baby. If there is any distress for the baby, they will do an emergency C-section. If she and the baby tolerate it OK, they'll send her home. Either way, it seems little Hannah will probably be here sooner than later. I'm starting to pack either way.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Two Months And Counting

I realized today that Ian will be home two months from today. Is it really possible?

Sweet grandbaby Hannah is due in two weeks or less because Sarah has already progressed to where she can really deliver at any time.

Two marvelous blessings coming my way soon. Wow. Happy me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

An Oldie But Goodie

I found this picture this morning.
 I think Jim's eyes are closed in it but it's still a good one.
 I'm guessing this was 1996.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Garden Update

It's been a delight to see people actually begin to set up garden plots in the community use garden area that Seth and Jim have been working on. So far, five plots are accounted for. Two of those plots were tilled this morning. Ond neighbor arranged for the tiller herself. It appears the garden may be a success....that is until the deer find it!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pictures...I Love Pictures

 We hardly ever get any, so this is a treat.
Ian is in the 2nd row, 2nd from the right.
He's looking good and very happy.

"Dear Family,

This is going to be a really quick email, we are here in the office preparing for zone conferences but we are finishing up...I don't know if I will have a day to e-mail y'all this week so in case I don't, I will just send you a quick email right now. Our first zone conference will be tomorrow and then we will have another one on Thursday and then two more next week. We are going to be traveling and preparing stuff and what-not during these next two weeks so it is going to be pretty crazy. We had a good week. We had a baptism this week... I think I told you about her in last week's e-mail. 
She is a relative of one of our recent converts...
The water was incredibly cold... 
We have been quite busy getting ready for zone conferences but I think that everything is going to turn out well in the end...I hope that I will get to send you a better email on Wednesday. Love you all lots."
I love these pictures. I am very happy for this woman. I am sorry no one ever took a picture of my baptism, that would have been a real treasure. That day marked the beginning of the rest of my life. I never cease to be anything but incredibly grateful for my baptism and the missionaries who taught me. I am so happy I have two sons to offer the Lord in return for His kindness in sending me my two missionaries.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Almost An Eagle

Now that Seth has graduated,
he has time to finish up his requirements for his Boy Scout Eagle Award. The requirements, which he started when he was eleven, have to be approved, completed, and accepted by his 18th birthday which is next month. The biggest portion of the requirement is the Eagle project. It involves a lot of planning, preparation, leadership, delegation, and service. It is supposed to involve other scouts and anyone else willing to help. Seth decided to prepare ground and a water sprinkling apparatus for a community-use vegetable garden on an empty lot. The planning, preparation, and approval finally brought them to the actual project today.
A 40 foot long, 7 inch deep trench needed to be dug.
The soil was pretty bad and unforgiving.
 So Seth dug and dug
and dug some more
while others also dug and scooped out dirt
 following Seth's relentless direction to keep digging.
Jim worked on assembling sprinkler pipe.
A second 60 foot trench also needed to be dug.
 Eeesh. Scouts are good people...
even if the pick axes are bigger than they are.
Keep digging.
Is that three boys I see letting a girl dig with a
 pick ax while they watch?!
Another older scout with more muscle arrived to 
save the weary crew.
Everyone's mood improved
  and the pace picked up.
 100 feet of trench is a lot of trench!
Jim can fix anything.
Or in this case, assemble anything.
The lunch break in between definitely helped.
 It works!
A little more communication and 
plotting/layout design and it's a go for a garden.
 Good work Seth 
and team.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Just So You Know, Don't Freak Out...

...there's a dead squirrel in the garbage can.

That's how I was greeted by Seth as he stood in the garage with a shovel in his hand when he came back from the Temple this morning. I saw the dead squirrel in the road as I came up the hill on my way home fifteen minutes before Seth got home. Me being who I am just wanted to get past it as fast as I could. Seth being who he is decided to drive home, get a shovel, put it in the car, drive it back home and put it in my garbage can. But me being who I am said, "Oh no you don't." I gave him three plastic garbage bags and told him to put it in those because dead squirrels DECOMPOSE Seth!! He said, "Don't look Mom, there's "something" he muttered about the head being smashed in or hanging off or something to which I promptly got nauseous and had to leave.

I told Jim about this a little while ago. He said to tell him couldn't leave the dead squirrel in the bag in the garbage can and that he needed to take it out of the bag and put it somewhere else at which point my brain shut off and I told him he's have to take care of that because that does not come under my job description.


Can you imagine if Seth had forgotten to tell me and I went out to the garbage can tomorrow in the sweltering heat and saw a decomposing squirrel in there with some sort of hanging/smashed head issue? They'd find me decomposing on the garage floor later that day.

Some things are just way, way beyond me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"A Focused And All Consuming Purpose"

Today's e-mail had the heading "Have I ever told you that I love the Mission?"

I remember that's how I felt about my mission too. The last two months of one's mission just zooms by. You can't hold back time and the reality of the end is bittersweet. Parents are so supportive during those rough first few months because generally, this is the response missionaries have towards the end of their missions. 

"Dear Family,

This week was somewhat uneventful but it was a good week... We had a good week because we found a lot of new investigators... This week is looking quite promising. We have 4 potential baptisms this week...
I  know that this church is true. I know that we have a living prophet today. I know that the restored gospel blesses our lives and that if we live the principles of the gospel we will be happy. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve a mission, there is nothing like a mission. We have such a focused and all consuming purpose. It is so wonderful to be able to serve with such good people. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and redeemer. I am so grateful for the wonderful family that I have! I love you all very much!"

I had to leave out a lot because it was very detailed. He sounds very happy. I love the part about being focused and all consuming.There is so much in life that distracts everybody that it's wonderful to know there is such wisdom in having missionaries "leave the world behind" so to speak. In their focus, they can truly be instruments in the Lord's hands to do His work. Good for him.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Lesson Of The Quails

I like to take walks in my neighborhood. There are a lot of quail where I live. I love this time of year when I see a mother quail with her brood of baby chicks. They grow up very fast. Sometimes there are two adult quail with the chicks but most of the time, just one.
They scurry about and when they sense impending danger,  
they classically dart for the bushes or underbrush for safety.

On my walk yesterday, I saw a mother quail with about a dozen chicks. They came out from one bush area into the open and saw me! The mother immediately sensed the danger to her babies (me) and quickly darted off to the underbrush of a neighboring, more secure bush. The last chick in line took a little bit to get out of the first bush and then had to catch up to the others in the the safer bush. Whew!

I thought about the chicks and the mother on the way home. I thought about them several times yesterday and again this morning. Mothering is a lot like that for humans too. Mothers are always on the lookout for danger. At the first sense of danger, a mother will "head for the bush." She rarely goes out and faces the danger, her innate sense of wisdom tells her to hunker down in safety with her "chicks" and wait for the danger to pass. Fathers tend to be a bit different. They are wired to "fight" the danger.

Mothers will always look out for danger. 
She ALWAYS wants her children
 to follow her to safety.
 It's just how she is wired.

Thinking about the chicks reminded me of the sad reality that those chicks quickly grow up. They soon leave the mother and they are on their own. The mother did her part. She took care of them. She fed them, helped them, taught them, and ran to the bushes as many times as she needed to for their safety. She showed them where the bushes were and how to get there for safety. She taught them HOW to stay safe and run for cover when danger is near.

The sad reality for old mothers after children "leave the nest" however is that she is not only left with an "empty nest," but with a lingering, nagging question...

"Will my chicks always remember what I taught them
about how to stay safe and how to keep from danger
or at the very least,
where to go for help when they face danger?"

I hope so.
 I did my best.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Keep Singing

I heard this the other night on a PBS special. I could listen to Andrea singing this all day. Love it. Maybe it's the Italian in me, I don't know.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Is that a word? I'm not even sure but it sure seems like it should be if it's not. That's how I feel about the blessings of attending church on Sundays. There is just a "completeness" to my life, my week, my joy. I learn so much. I am surrounded by people who enjoy each other and who in one way or another, need each other. We talk to each other and find out what good things happened this week and what challenges people were met with. There is strength in listening and strength in being supportive of others and also in being the one who needs supporting sometimes.

Today I visited with a woman who struggles with trying to find time to read the scriptures. She came to some peace about it when she discovered that she could memorize them. I asked her to memorize one this week and repeat it to herself. She found a way for God to reach her. I suspect it will be a blessing to her.

I visited with a man whose wife is not in great health these days. He seemed frustrated by the process of her illnesses and just needed a listening ear. He seemed grateful to find someone who had an understanding of his frustration.

It was a good day for me. I enjoyed the privilege of teaching a class. I am the one who learns the most because of all the preparation. I came away with a sense that we all want to grow in our relationships with God and He is ever ready to bless us.

There is a wonderful, warm Sabbath sweetness that can be enjoyed by all  if we only take time to recognize and embrace it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

It Was Just A Great Day!

Amy Jo (AKA Elisa's dear, dear friend) took this FABULOUS picture yesterday of Elisa and Seth. Amy Jo is amazing...what can I say? I just had to post it.

We had the best day yesterday. Last evening Emma joined us for dinner. She couldn't come to the graduation but was able to join us after 5:00. We went to Noodles & Co. per Seth's request. The dinner was great and we laughed and laughed and laughed. Somehow we wound up at Red Mango (again-no surprise there), and spent more time laughing. Then Elisa and Emma wanted to watch "I Bought A Zoo" so they rented it. The four of us wound up up watching it from my bed with Elisa and Emma on either side of the bed and enjoyed each other some more.

Jim said this morning, "That was a great day yesterday." He took the day off and I must say, it was just great.

We missed Ian of course and we also missed Sarah who has a yucky separated pelvis waiting for little Hannah to be born in 5 weeks so she has to take it easy. Hang in there Sarah...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Graduation Part 2

I'll post lots of pictures for my Mom's benefit. She's in DC.
Love this one.
You've got the moves Seth!
Good for you.
We're proud of you.
Thanks for being a good son.
You are loved more than we can say.
Ooops, forgot one more honor cord.
Time to go!!!
You did it!
Good for all of you.
Seth and his good friend Alex
And his good friend Kristina.
And now I think we'll be off for a celebration dinner!
Great day.

Graduation Day Part 1

Yoda from Star Wars would have said it this way...
"teary-eyed am I"
...and grateful too for wonderful children.

More to come...