Saturday, June 28, 2014

Silver and Cloud

Today is Saturday and everyone but Miriam and me is asleep.  Miriam works again today.  She is done hoe-ing weeds, and is now working a festival.  The festival is at the same place that she weeded, and that's why they wanted the weeding done--to prepare for the event.  I am very proud of her for working so hard these last two weeks.  How hard did she work?  She bought a pair of work gloves when she started two weeks ago.  Look at them now--




Yesterday, Thomas went to a birthday party and he has another one today.  Matt worked again yesterday, but I don't know what he has planned for today.  Brian plans to work.  Without housework and errands to do because of my bum knee, I have an amazing amount of time on my hands to work on the computer.  I wish I could do some of the more physically demanding projects around here, but if I could do them, I could do cleaning and errands, so they wouldn't get done anyway.  Making fun games and activities on the computer for our upcoming family reunion has been so fun!  Unfortunately, all this sitting around is not good for my body, and I am gaining weight.  I guess every silver lining has to have a cloud.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Its Thursday

It seems very strange to write when I have no son to write to, but I'll take having him home to that.  Well, it's been a week since I got home from girl's camp, and my knee is doing much better.  I have to be careful, because it is easy to over do it, so the house could be cleaner, but Thomas and especially Matt have done a great job of keeping dishes washed, plants watered, trash taken out, and messes cleaned up.


Miriam has been working every day in the hot sun hoe-ing weeds growing in dry, caked earth, so she comes home pretty tired.  She has been doing it for a week now, and I'm very proud of her for sticking with it--all the other females quit on the first day.


Thomas has also been working every day, and sometimes he has done double shifts.  He's working at the water park as a griller, and he also picked up another job phone calling for the water park.  He really loves working.


Brian is working hard at the laundry although he took off some time yesterday and we drove up to the ski resort for dinner.  It was a beautiful drive, a delicious dinner, and a wonderful time talking to the man I love.  The first few days I was down, I read a book, but when I finished I resolved not to read anymore because I want to be there mentally for my family, so I did indexing one day, and then yesterday I started a fun project on the computer making family history cards like the ones I talk about on my family history blog.  Like I said, it's really fun, and I don't have to feel guilty for doing it because I can't do much else.




Matt hasn't worked at all since we've been home, but he's been tons of help around here.  He's signed on to some temp agencies, and I've really been praying that he'll get work.  Yesterday they called with a warehouse job for him, but he was reading his scriptures and had his phone turned down.  He ended up going disc golfing with Thomas, Jon, and his friend, Adam.  This morning, Matt got a call again, and this time he got it.  The job is about 40 minutes away and it entails stacking boxes, but like Matt says, it's a job.


Katrina really seems to be enjoying herself at Cassandra's house.  Miriam, Matt, and I Skyped with her for quite awhile the other day.  We also sent her a package the other day so she has a bit more of her stuff, now.  They all celebrated Emerson's birthday this week which sounds like fun.  Cassandra and Katrina are into some "dressing according to your personality" book.  It can't remember its name, but I think it's pretty popular right now.  My sister Elizabeth read it, too.  Cassandra says she'll loan it to me on my Kindle.  I told them that if I get anymore restrictions on what I can wear, I'll be wearing nothing.  That scary thought might have dissuaded her from loaning it because I haven't heard any more on the subject.


Me being down with nothing to do is a dangerous thing, especially with a smart phone in my hand, because I start shopping for toys.  I think Cassandra was a little dumbfounded when I told her I'd bought this for Lily:



I can't imagine why, ha ha.  I also looked up doctor kits for Lily since she watches a Daniel the Tiger cartoon, which is a spin off of Mr. Roger's neighborhood, and Dr. Anna on the show has a doctor's kit.  Katrina said she thought Lily would enjoy having a kit like Dr. Anna.  So after studying doctor kits, I bid on one on ebay.  I won the bid, and it shipped yesterday.


Item picture



The activity gym I want to buy for Christian is $50, so I told Katrina to keep her eyes out for one at the baby consignment store where they live.  Poor Christian is not a happy baby these days.  Cassandra says she thinks he has gas, poor little guy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Four Weeks in a Nutshell

Well, that's it.  No more letters to or from Matt.  He is home now.  Hooray!  Four days after he arrived, he gave a talk in our ward, and the next day we traveled to visit Emerson, Cassandra, Lily and Baby Christian for two weeks.  We spent the time holding Christian, playing with Lily, doing home improvement projects, eating ice cream, and going out to eat, which Emerson always insisted on paying for.  It was a wonderful visit, and we really miss them all.  Katrina doesn't miss them, though, because she is still there!  Cassandra asked her to stay and help take care of her kids for the summer, so she did.  I talked to them both today, and Katrina really seems to be loving it.

We got home from the trip late Saturday night, and then on Monday morning at 5:30 am I left for girls camp.  It was a wonderful experience, and I am so glad I went.  Unfortunately, at one point, I stepped backward, tripped over a rock, and fell down an incline, tearing my acl.  Two priesthood holders gave me a blessing which I was very grateful for because I had eight presentations to give that night, each one about a different day in the last week of Jesus Christ's life.  Heavenly Father blessed me to be able to do them before Brian took me home.

Brian was very sweet to come get me as soon as he was off work.  Unfortunately, he drove to the girl's camp that is an hour and a half south of our house, and I was at the girl's camp an hour north of our house, but when he found out his mistake, he just headed north and got into camp.  All the other women were impressed that he made the trip without me asking and didn't even get mad when he went to the wrong camp.  He got in to camp that night in time to help me set up my presentations and watch them.  Then he lifted me into his shiny black steed, and carried me home where we lived happily ever after...except I am going crazy sitting around trying to heal, which is why this blog is finally caught up!

May 26--Email Conversation with Matt

Matt:  3 John 1:13-14

Me:  What????  Ha ha, very funny :)

Me:  How do you find these scriptures?

Matt:  I read the bible.


May 25--Last Dear Elder for Matt

Dear Elder Cole,

Hi!  I read 2 John 1:12, and I feel the same way!  I would would not write with keyboard and screen, but look forward to talking to you face to face very soon--3 days from now, in fact!  We are so excited, Matthew :).  I enjoyed your last letter and your insights about Ammon and also Moroni.  I am sorry that your investigators been struggling lately, but, whatever they decide, I know that they have someone who loves them and will be praying for them for the rest of their lives.

It is kind of hard to look back to the last week when I am so looking forward to the coming week!  I put another hundred in your account, so you should be set to travel.  The relatives who are local are all coming to your homecoming, and many of your friends are coming, also.

Okay, what happened last week?  Well, for one thing, Miriam, Katrina, and I went on a detox where we only ate salad, beans, nuts, and eggs.  We finished on Friday, and it's nice to have reduced my appetite and also cravings so that I am eating more healthy.  It was fun to coordinate meals with the girls and compare notes on how we were doing.  I didn't feel hungry during the week, and I lost four pounds, so that is nice.  I am a bit sick of salad, though, ha ha.

I have been working hard at my job this week.  It seems like all of the students I track have been absent a lot, and so I have been working them really hard.  Last week I also made a yearbook for the students with 18 pages of photos in with all of our field trips, etc.  I couldn't get data on my phone, so it was hard to download the pictures I'd taken, but I got it done, and the books are very nice.  Making the books and working with the students took a lot of multi-tasking which was a bit stressful, but between me and the other aides, we got it all done.  Well, I don't mean the students' work is all done, but I kept them working on it all week, anyway.  That's about all I can do about that.


On Tuesday, Dad bought a new car.  It's a Honda Ridgeline which he has been planning to get for a long time, so when he found out that  he wasn't getting a pay cut this year, we prayed about buying a car, and I was very surprised how firm a "yes" answer I received about getting it.  Dad is pretty happy about it.  He brought it home Tuesday and we all went for a wonderful drive, which ended up at Jon's house.  We visited with Jon for about an hour or so which was wonderful.

Wednesday Dad was a bit nervous to drive his new truck to work, but he did and has driven it there ever since.  None of the group home kids have bothered it, so that's good.  Wednesday evening, Thomas and Katrina went to Mutual, and Dad and I watched a show.  That's about it.  Dad's been exhausted again this week, so we haven't done much walking.

On Thursday Thomas worked, Katrina and I bought Sunday clothes for Christian, and we had omelettes for dinner.  That's really all I can remember about Thurdsay, ha ha.

We had a talent show at work on Friday at work, and many of the students sang and did other talents.  I took pictures and added them to the yearbook.  The teacher, who is retiring gave all of us aides a gift, and I wished we had given her her gift then instead of this next week when we'd planned to do it.

Friday morning I read in 1 Ne. 13 about how the Spirit of God wrought upon Columbus and others to come to the promised land.  I thought about the different times when I have felt the Spirit of God working on me in my life.  I made it my goal that day to listen for the Spirit and obey it when it works on me.  After work, I went to the temple.  As I drove there, I was sad because I didn't remember consciously feeling the Holy Ghost in my day.  The temple was absolutely wonderful, Matt, and I am so glad you can go there again, soon.  It was exactly what I needed, and I felt the Spirit very strongly.  As I sat there, soaking in the truths being taught, I realized that the Spirit had wrought upon me to go to the temple, and I went!  I was so happy to have followed the Spirit even though I hadn't realized it until then.


 Friday, Dad and I took Thomas out for his birthday a week late.  We ate at Wingers.  We didn't know it was wingers because the restaurant doesn't say "Wingers" on it anymore, it just says "Wings and Waffles," and Thomas heard they had lots of gluten free stuff there, so we tried it.  I guess it's not an official Wingers but is owned by the Wingers people.  Whatever.  If we'd known that, we wouldn't have gone because we don't like Wingers much, but it was fun to be with Thomas.  He's a wonderful kid.


Yesterday all five of us went to Maceys, bought 9 pots of mums, and went to three graveyards to put flowers on graves.  At one cemetary, we put flowers on Michael, Amanda, and Niesha's graves.  At another we put flowers on Grandpa and Pauline's graves, and on her first husband's grave.  At the last cemetary, we put flowers on Grandma's grave, on her parent's grave, and on her brother Richard's grave.  We also ate at our favorite place.  I love the tradition of visiting the graves and honoring people who came before us, and it was a wonderful day.

Today we had an amazing Sacrament service and Sunday School, and Thomas was one of the priests at the sacrament table for the first time, though he didn't say a prayer.  I also heard a beautiful lesson in Relief Society on the Priesthood.  Emily Bennett gave the lesson. Can you believe she's all grown up with kids, now?  I taught her in Primary when she was ten.  It makes me feel so old, ha ha.  I have a couple of meetings tonight, so I have to go, but I love you very much, Matt. I can't wait to see you Wednesday!  We will be praying for you to have a safe trip.

Love,
Mom

May 19--Letter From Matt

Hey Mom, I had a couple of things I was going to add on,
First off, I'm very happy to hear that Christian is doing good and is healthy!
Second off, my baggage fee is going to be atleast (I say atleast because I might [even thought I don't think I will] go over weight) $40





May 18--Dear Elder Continued

Two days after he was born, Cassandra and Emerson took baby Christian to the hospital because he had a fever.  Cassandra was able to be with him, which was wonderful, and he gained lots of weight while he was there.

Tuesday, Christian was released from the hospital, and they are peacefully at home.  Emerson has been off work since Tuesday, also, and they are all doing well.  Lily seems to have survived being away from her mommy very well, and the midwife, who always comes a week before the birth and stays a week afterward, took very good care of her.  I'm so glad that they are back home and happy.

Also, on Saturday, Thomas went on his first date.  It was with Abby.  They doubled with his friend, Colton, who took Tessa.  For the date, they hiked up a mountain and then went to dinner.  Thomas said that they had a very fun time, and I talked to Tessa's mom who said she had a fun time, too.  I'm proud of Thomas for taking the initiative to set up a date like that.  Oh ya, since none of them can legally drive friends around yet, Miriam drove.  She did a good job not making it too awkward, ha ha.  I will also send you some pictures of Christian.

Love you, Matt!
Love,
Mom

May 18--Dear Elder

ear Elder Cole,

Hi!  How are you?  How has this week gone for you?  I hope it has gone well, Matt.  I know that you are having a slow time in your mission, but hang in there; you have no idea the amount of good that you are doing.

Now, for a little business.  I checked your account and you seem to be low on money, so I deposited another $100.  I wonder how much you will need for travel.  I'll ask Dad about that.  Also, I got on to your facebook page and invited all of your friends to your homecoming.  I hope you don't mind that I changed your profile picture from Bill Murray to Elder Cole.  If you do mind, just let me know and I will change it back.  I also called Elizabeth and Rick and invited them and their families to come.

Well, this is the hardest mental exercise I do all week: trying to remember what we did so that I can tell you, ha ha.  For some reason, I always forget what we did on Monday.  Hmmmm...Heck, what did we do on Tuesday?  Oh ya, we went to Katrina's last choir concert of the year, and we really enjoyed hearing her sing.  At the concert her choir teacher announced that they have been invited to sing at Carnegie Hall next year and asked us to vote on whether or not we wanted the choir to go.  So later we talked to Katrina and Thomas, who will both be in concert choir next year and told them how much we could contribute to the trip, and they told us how much they could earn, and we looked into a couple of other possibilities.  After determining all that and finding out how much it would cost, we decided to vote for the trip.  They are very excited about the possibility, especially Katrina, so we'll see what happens.

Earlier that day, my school class went to fishing day at a pond.  It is a big event put on by the Department of whatever for all the special needs kids in the valley.  The students get to each catch a fish, and they also get served lunch.  Our students had a wonderful time, and I enjoyed taking pictures of everyone which I am adding to the year book that we are making for each student.  It is kind of my project since I took all the pictures and no one else knows how to put pictures on the computer.  All of my coworkers are older than me, so at work I'm considered a young whippersnapper.  I love my job, ha ha!  The teacher I work for is retiring this year for sure, btw, which means lots of changes in my job.

Oh, I forgot that it was also Thomas's birthday, and it figures that I would forget to write about it till now, because I also forgot to wish him happy birthday that day.  He had to remind me.  I felt so bad!  I don't think I've ever forgotten to wish any of you kids happy birthday before.  We celebrated his birthday on Sunday, so we didn't do much for him that day, but you'd think he'd at least get wished happy birthday without having to remind everyone about it.  Later that night, when it arrived from Amazon, I did present him with a six foot long poster of the galaxy to hang in his bedroom.  It's pretty cool.  Then, Friday, another poster of a nebula came for him.  His room now looks out of this world, ha ha.

I did, however, remember to wish my sister, Elizabeth, happy birthday which, I found out previously, I've never remembered ever since Thomas was born on the same day, not even to wish her a late happy birthday.  I told her the reason I remembered her birthday this year is because I forgot Thomas's and since it is obvious that I can only remember one or the other, this would be the last birthday of hers that I will be remembering since I can't very well forget Thomas's again.  I gave her a hanging flower basket.  We siblings don't usually give each other gifts, but since this will be the last birthday I remember, I figured it was the least I could do.  Of course, I was kidding her: I hope to remember both of their birthdays from now on!!!!  Wish me luck on that, I'll need it.  Some young whippersnapper I turned out to be, huh?

Wednesday, Thomas went to his first priest's activity which just happened to be a combined activity with the Laurels, so Katrina was there, too.  I think they both had a nice time.  With both of them taken care of for dinner, Dad and I decided to eat out.  We invited Miriam to join us, and ate at Panda Express, a place that Thomas can't eat.  We enjoyed eating and visiting together.

Thursday Thomas worked and Katrina had voice lessons, and on Friday, Dad and I went out to eat.  He was pretty exhausted, so we went home after that to watch a movie and eat ice cream.  We watched "Flipped" which you may have read, Matt.  It was a sweet movie, and it made Dad cry, which is why I married him.

Saturday I exercised, cleaned house, went to the girl's camp to check it out, and watched the tube in the evening with your still-exhausted daddy.  It's Sunday night and he's still utterly exhausted.  He put in the coolers at the laundry this week, and it was hard to do.  He goes straight from teaching to that and stays there late.  No wonder he's one tired hombre.  By the way, Dad is being transferred to the junior high next year which he is very happy about.  The fact that he can be happy about moving to junior high attests to the misery of his present situation.  I sure hope is ends up being a good thing for him.  It will be, monetarily, because we wont be facing the pay cut that we thought would happen.  Heck, he may even buy himself the vehicle he's been wanting to replace the little pick-up which is twelve years old now, I think.  It would be good to have it for a second kid car.

Today was a weird day, but I don't have the emotional energy to go in to it.  We also did some nice things, though, like go to a church history museum and watched a movie about the resurrection, and eat dinner together as a family.  The highlight of the day is when Thomas got ordained to the office of a priest in the Aaronic priesthood.  We are so happy he is worthy to be so trusted by the Lord.

Lately I have been studying Lehi and Nephi's visions of the tree of life.  I've often thought that if I were to paint the scene, which I long to have the skill to do, I would add a gate at the head of the path leading to the tree of life.  Read 2 Nephi 31:17-18  and tell me what you think.  Also, we are reading the Isaiah chapters as a family, and I have been reading a commentary along with it.  Thank you for telling me what you are studying, Matt.  Alma 17-27 are wonderful missionary chapters!  What insights have you had about them?

Well, Matt, I love you so much.  I have been praying for you.  I always pray for you, but this last week, I have been praying even more.  I hope that you are feeling happy and seeing the fruits of your labors no matter how subtle.  We see them here as your faith and example continue to bless our family.


Love,
Mom

May12--Letter From Matt

Hey Mom Thanks for your letter I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed talking with you guys, the little old lady that was with us spends most of her time laughing so I don't think that she was at all suprised so don't worry too much. :) I'm glad to hear about your week and I'm very happy with the picture of Cassandra's baby! That's so good that Dad did all of those things for you! Sound's like a very nice day. Renee, in her letter said that Donny kept on asking when you guys are going to come over and visit.

Well this week, hmmm.... A lot of good things happened, we went and taught a lesson with the Bishop, which turned out really well, it was good to see him magnify his calling (we were teaching less active members and investigators in the same family) Later in the week we also tried to change his jeep's flat tire while he was in a meeting, I say try because after getting the tire lifted up and taking out three of the lug-nuts, the fourth was so stripped that we couldn't get it out, so we had to put all of the other lug-nuts back in, and lower the car again, (and we did all of that in missionary clothing about a half hour before I skyped you guys, if you noticed a gleam on my face, it was sweat haha,)

Rosa Maria is a wonderful nice person, when we went to visit her, we were in divisions and I was with Elder Llanos (pronounced: Yeah no's). Elder Llanos had served in our area six months before and had actually taught Rosa María before hand. When she saw him, she shouted out: "It's my son!" and tried to hug him. hahahahahaha :)
Other good things that have happened this week: We got to meet theAraujo Family, that was fun, They have some problems in their family but the Mom seems interested in listening to us. I hope that we can help them. :)
Not so good things that happened this week: Rosa María, the one that I wrote about last week, is going to start working, That, in her mind means that it'll be impossible for us to teach her because she's always going to be busy. we'll see if we can find a time to teach her.
We are going to be setting up an appointment with Lupita, Jesus's wife to meet with her visiting teachers this week.
I've been studying Alma 17 to 27 this week, also I've been reading the war chapters in Alma.
I'm sorry for the short letter, well, I hope that you have a great week this week!  I love you mom!
-Mat

May 5--Email From Matt

I feel great to be an uncle! Again! haha, I'm so glad that everything turned out well and that you were able to fast for her! That sounded like it was a very special experience.
I love you Mom, Thanks for your letter! Have a great week!

May 5--Letter From Matt





May 4--Hi from Mom

Dear Elder Cole,

Well, Cassandra and Emerson have a new baby boy!  He was born this morning (May 4) around 5:30 am.  He weighs 8 lbs and is 22 inches long.  We don't know his name yet, but hope to soon.  The baby was born at home and he and Cassandra are well and healthy.  We are so happy for them!  I wish I could send you the pictures I have, but I don't know how to get them off of text.  So, how does it feel to have a nephew as well as a niece?  It's pretty awesome, huh?  Cassandra called around seven this morning with the news.  I hope that they will call again sometime today.  In fact, we were hoping that they could Skype, but we don't want to bug them.

Thank you so much for your last letters.  You are so kind to write.  That was a very funny joke about just waiting to talk to me when you get home instead of on Mother's Day.  Ha ha.  No, you don't get off so easy.  I expect a Mother's Day call for sure!  Jon can't get here till 7:30 pm your time (which is also our time), so if you can do it that late, that would be nice.  If not, we get home from church at 12:00, so any time after 12:30 is good for the rest of us besides Jon.  Tell us a specific time that is good for you and that is the time we will plan on, okay?

It sounds like you had a nice "seminary" with your mission president.  It's hard to go to something inspirational like that and then to come back and have all those cancellations.  I am glad that you helped the bishop clean the church.  Half of your second page was cut off, so I hope it didn't say anything too important, ha ha.  I am so glad that you have been working so hard on being Christlike.  I know that it is paying off, because I know that He is helping you.

I don't usually talk to you about your coming home much, but since you did, I will, too.  It is pretty exciting.  Shauna got a letter from Church headquarters telling her Tanner's flight info for when he will be home in June, and Sister Smith already knows Wendy's flight information, and she's not coming home till July.  How do we get your flight info?  It would be really helpful to know what time you are coming in.

Well, it has been a pretty good week.  Tuesday we had a family home evening lesson, Wednesday I helped the teachers and miamaids with their dating activity.  The youth ran the rotations, and I thought that they did a very good job.  Katrina and Thomas were late for mutual because they both had an induction ceremony for the National Junior Honor Society, which I am happy that they are both in.  They also both tried out for choir this week, but they don't know if they made it yet.  On Friday, Thomas found out that he didn't get elected to student council, so that was disappointing, but he did his best, and I'm proud of him for it.  Fifteen people ran, four were elected.


Thursday I went on a field trip with my school class.  We were going to take the Front runner to Salt Lake, eat lunch, go to the children's museum, and come home.  We rode the bus to the train station where we disembarked and slowly walked towards the tracks.  As we were walking, a train pulled up--a train earlier than the one we were supposed to take--but most of our students and peer tutors boarded, leaving us teachers and slower moving students running to catch the train so that our group wouldn't be split.  I made it in, but no other adult did. The train began to pull away with the teacher running after it.  The poor lady is 67 years old, by the way.  Thankfully, the train took pity on her and stopped long enough to everyone on.  I think that was probably the first time the train had stopped for anyone.  That was one stressful few minutes!  The rest of the field trip went well, but I don't think that the teacher will ever attempt to take her students on the train again.  In fact, I know she won't because, sadly, she is retiring this year which means that my job will change drastically.  I can't imagine that it can stay as wonderful as it is now, but I'm hoping for the best.


Friday night Dad and I went out to eat and we also went for a long walk in the perfect spring weather.  We saw a girl fall off her longboard and hurt her head.  She was able to stand and walk, and some people were helping her, so we kept going.  I hope that she is okay.  I wish long boarders would wear helmets on that trail.  On Saturday, Thomas had to go to the water park to sign papers, etc, and then we bought him some shorts and a shirt for summer.  We also took Katrina's clothes in to be washed at the laundry.  Thomas is a cook this year, and makes more than a regular foods employee.  Katrina said that if she'd known that, she would have applied to work, too.  Actually, she'll be gone a lot this summer, so it probably wouldn't have worked out for her.

Saturday night, Dad and I bought some more Mexican food from that lady, and we bought extra to eat with the kids today after we broke our fast.  We ate outside in the wonderful weather, and Jonathan was here to eat with us, so it was a wonderful thing.  Also today we went for a ride, and I had Dad drive on slow roads so that we could have the windows rolled down.  Miriam went with us, and we had a wonderful time visiting with her, Katrina, and Thomas.

Well, that's about it, Matt. Last night we began fasting as a family for Cassandra and her baby, and it was wonderful to fast.  I've gotten a text from her since starting this letter, btw, and she is doing well.  She can't sleep much because of after pains, but she is resting comfortably, so that is good.

My goal this week is pray for the pure love of Christ often and to remember Jesus Christ and to use my time the way He would have me do.  I know that you have wonderful goals for this week, Matt, and I know that Heavenly Father will help you meet them.  I can't wait to talk to you on Sunday!  Have a wonderful week.  I love you.

Love,

Mom

April 28--Letter From Matt

Hi, Mom.  I loved your letter and I was so excited to hear about Jim and Becky getting engadged (I have no idea how to spell that) and, o my heavens! Cassandra is going to have her little baby boy! Hot dog! ha ha.  I feel very happy.

Well, I feel weird about saying this on Friday I will have been a full-time missionary for two years. I remember a little bit about before starting.  I thought that this would be eternal.  Unfortunately I am finding out that my current full-time mission service is shockingly final.

Thanks for what you've written and I will try to put it into practice.  This week we weren't able to see Jesus much because it was the ending week of "Semana Santa" which is a pretty big celebration.  We were able to see Carlos, Rocio's husband and talk to him for a bit.

We've been street contacting a lot more, so we've met a lot of really nice people and a few crazy people! Ha ha.  On Saturday we had a "seminary" with our mission president.  He talked about the importance of working with members, and contacting people.  We then left and contacted.  I got to see three of my former companions.  That was a very fun experience.

After seminary, we got back to our area, and our three appointments fell through.  So we were a little disappointed, but then I remembered that our ward had gone to the temple and wouldn't get back until Sunday morning (the temple is about ten hours away in bus).  That meant that no one was going to clean the chapel.  So we got out the cleaning equipment and we got to business.  The bishop showed up and was very grateful for our help.

This week I have really been trying to focus on others and think about them.  I'm not very good at it.  I have also been trying to strengthen my testimony of Jesus Christ.  I have also been trying to treat my companion well and help him.  He is a great companion.  I am glad that we are going to be companions for two transfers.

Well, I love you, Mom.  Thanks for your letters.  I really appreciate your advice and your insights.  When is Mother's Day and at what time do you prefer that I Skype?  or do you just want to wait until I get home?  I hope you have a wonderful week!
I love you!

Cassandra Madlibs

Hey, Matt.  Just thought you'd want to read Cassandra's madlibs.

As of today, Cassandra is in the Eleventieth year of her life, and she is more slimy than ever!  Not only is she bouncing the alien task of Sherman-tank-training a toddler, but she is also going to give birth to a Nazi.  Two St. Crispin’s days ago, we had the amazing opportunity of going to Never land and seeing Cassandra in action in her own saloon.  Her house is so smirking, and we felt so sad with her and Shabooboo and the Shamwow salesman, that it is was one our slothfullest memories ever.  Then, this last Michaelmas, Cassandra and her bowling team came to our graveyard to visit, and we had a dreadful time.  Now, we look forward to having more boredom when we go to her pasta place again when heck freezes over.  Can life get any more pointless?  Yes, it can!  Because in an aeon or so, Cassandra will have a chunky elephant, and then there will be two little Cassandra-and-Emerson-apple-pies in the world!  We are so repulsed that we can hardly pummel it.  Cassandra is so lovely and so dedicated to hugging what is ridiculous that she is a glaring example to both the liberals and the pagans, not to mention her fellow tree huggers.


As of today, Cassandra is in the 26th year of her life, and she is more amazing than ever!  Not only is she braving the thankless task of potty training a toddler, but she is also going to give birth to a baby.  Two Christmases ago, we had the amazing opportunity of seeing Cassandra in action in her own home.  Her house is so beautiful, and we felt so much at home with her and Emerson and Lily, that it is was one our best memories ever.  Then, this last Christmas, Cassandra and her family came to our house to visit, and we had a wonderful time.  Now, we look forward to having more fun when we go to her house again in June.  Can life get any better?  Yes, it can!  Because in a week or so, Cassandra will have a baby, and then there will be two little Cassandra and Emerson offspring in the world!  We are so excited that we can hardly stand it.  Cassandra is so smart and so dedicated to doing what is right that she is an amazing example to both her parents and her siblings, not to mention her own family.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27--Dear Elder

Dear Elder,
 Hi, How are you?  Thank you for your last letter.  It was nice to email back and forth a bit, too.  I always pray for you, but this week I have really been praying for you and your companion and your investigators.  I’m sorry that your hard work hasn’t reaped the blessings for your investigators yet that you would like them to have, but I know that Heavenly Father will consecrate your efforts for your good and theirs.  You are doing a wonderful job!

Monday we had the interesting experience of driving all the way to a little mining town far away from anything else, to look at houses.  Though it took only 35 minutes to get there, it seemed like forever.  Dad wanted to look at a little house there that was for sale for only $45,000.  He thought it might be a good investment to buy it and rent it out, hoping that the little town will become a big booming town someday.  It was a nice drive and made for a nice evening, but we are not planning to buy any property there any time soon as far as we know, ha ha.  When we got home, Miriam was back from Washington DC and we enjoyed hearing all about her trip.

Tuesday we had the wonderful experience of seeing Donny sealed to Brett and Emily for time and all eternity in the temple.  It was a real privilege for Dad and me to be there, and the spirit was very strong.  Donny looked so happy!  When I hugged him afterwards, I told him that this was only his first time at the temple and to be sure to return there again as a missionary and throughout his life.   It was also the first time that we got to see Becky and Jim since their engagement, so it was also nice to see and congratulate them.

While we were at the temple, Miram, Katrina, and Thomas watched the rest of Brett and Emily’s kids.  After the sealing, we all went out to eat, which was awesome because then the kids who weren’t at the sealing could participate in the celebration of it, at least.  Jonathan had to work, but got off in time to join us at the restaurant.  It was nice to have him there, and he got to meet Jim for the first time.  Jim is a really great guy, Matt, and I am so glad Becky has found such a good man to marry.  It was a wonderful, wonderful evening.

One thing I feel bad about, though, is that Don paid for our familys’ meal.  Brett had chosen an expensive place to eat at, and I mentioned the price because I was hoping that maybe we could find someplace cheaper, but I told Renee that if we did go there, it was fine, and that any cost was worth getting together as a family after such a wonderful experience.  So, anyway, Don offered to pay, and Dad took him up on it and I learned to keep my big mouth shut.  It was so nice of Don and Renee to do that.

Wednesday the kids went to young men and young women groups and Dad and I stayed home and watched TV.  Then I went to bed early, which was wonderful because I really needed the sleep.  Thursday Thomas interviewed at the water park and he has a job as a cook for the summer.  He applied for a supervisor position, but they ignored that and hired him on as a cook.  He’s fine with that.  After the interview he and I got food and met Dad at the laundry and ate there.  Katrina went to see the play, “The Hobbit,” put on by the children’s theater, with her friend Ashton.  I think she had a fun time.

Friday night Dad and I went out to eat and then we went home.  We watched a good movie about the civil rights movement called “The Long Walk Home.”  Thomas was at Jonathan’s house barbequing in the rain. He said they had a lot of fun and that the burgers they made were incredibly delicious.  Speaking of food, Matt, are you paying attention to how to cook the food you love?  There are many little Latino food stores around here that sell Mexican brand foods, so pay attention to the brands and ingredients that you need to make the food you like, okay?  BTW, I just looked at your account, and it looks like it is almost empty, so I put $100 in there.  Let me know if you need anything else.

Saturday was cold and rainy.  In the afternoon, Katrina, Dad, and I went to a youth camp leader planning activity.  The activity was supposed to be seven hours long up a nearby canyon which is why they asked Dad, as a priesthood holder to come along.  Anyway, with the bad weather, we ended up doing a few activities up the canyon, then, after making s’mores, we went back to the church and ate dinner and finished our planning activity there. After dropping us off at the church, Dad went on to work some more at the laundry.  It was a good activity.  The girls are amazing and planned lots of fun and inspiring activities to help the younger girls come unto Christ.  The activity ended sooner than was expected and Katrina and I were home by nine.  At home, we found Miriam and Thomas watching the last half of Batman Returns, so Dad, who had just gotten home, Katrina, and I joined them.  It was nice to have us all five together.  It doesn’t happen very often anymore.

Today has been a wonderful Sabbath day, Matt.  Yesterday I fasted to have more love in my heart, and today I really tried to care about others and I prayed a lot for help.  It was wonderful to visit with and enjoy so many people at church today, and I really loved the lessons.  The lesson in Relief Society today was on Motherhood.  I have been thinking and reading about the doctrine of motherhood lately, and have tried to cultivate the divine nature of love and compassion within me, which is why I fasted yesterday, so the lesson is just what I needed.

As you may or may not have realized, Matt, today is Cassandra’s birthday.  We already sent her a present, but we also have a madlibs for her, and we are going to Skype with her later and read it to her.  She is 26 today.  I have been able to talk to her and Lily a couple of times this week which has been so nice.  She only has eight days till her due date.  Pretty exciting, huh?  Before we know it, they will have a little baby boy.  Wow, is Lily going to be surprised!  I also have more meetings tonight, but I’ll be done by 7:00, and I’m very happy about that.  We took pictures of all the young women in the stake and I am in the process of making flash cards for them so we can learn their names better.

 I have seen Jon this week at Costco, and he seems to be doing quite well. I pray for him and all of you kids all of the time, and I know Heavenly Father hears my prayers because He showers blessings down on my children.  I love you, Matthew, and I hope that you and your companion are successful and focusing on serving Christ and not worrying if you have impressive results or not—He sees your work and knows your heart and loves you dearly.  So do I!

Love,
Mom

April 21--Letter From Matt

Here ya go mom! hahaha  I love you! Thanks for your letter! I hope that you like mine, if you don't you still have an hour to ask me information!





Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20--Dear Elder--Happy Easter!

Dear Elder,

Happy Easter! 

“He is Risen, He is Risen! 
Tell it out with joyful voice. 
He has burst his three days prison;
let the whole wide earth rejoice! 
Death is conquered.  Man is free. 
Christ has won the victory!”

  This Easter morning I have been thinking again about your questions concerning Mosiah 15:9-15.  I am thinking about how it is not only very important to know that God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct persons, but how it is just as important to know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are one, as in united and agreed.  I think this is true for many reasons, one is that God would like us to strive for the same unity in our relationships with our fellow man.  I think another reason is so that we will not be confused about their separateness. 

The Book of Mormon tells us that King Noah and his priests, to whom Abinadi was preaching in Mosiah 15, were idol worshippers, and that the people of King Noah became idol worshippers as well (Mosiah 11:6,7).   If King Noah and his people were anything like the idolatrous nations of the Old Testament, they probably worshipped many gods.  All the false gods Old Testament that I looked into were believed to be totally separate from each other with different dominions, goals, and requirements and they were even sometimes oppositional.  In fact, some pagans of the Old Testament taught that the god, Mott killed the god, Baal who then came back to life. 

Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, on the other hand are completely united.  When we obey Christ’s commandments, God the Father blesses us.  When we pray to the Father, Christ’s intercedes for us.  The Holy Ghost testifies of both the Father and the Son.  Christ did nothing except those things that His Father would do.   As the Encyclopedia of Mormonism pointed out, they are completely united in their desire to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” 

Not only that, they are all one in righteousness.  Immorality, murder, etc were a common part of pagan worship, and the gods themselves were notoriously wicked.  We know that King Noah and his people were participating in whoredoms and other evils, probably spurred on in their idol worship.  Our Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, on the other hand are perfectly righteous in how they behave and how they require us to behave.

How marvelous is our God!  No fabrication of the human mind, religious or otherwise, has ever come close to the beauty, perfection, and love found in the truth.  The truth is that there is a loving God in heaven, and He is the father of our spirits, that His Son and our elder brother, Jesus Christ, is our Savior, who came because His father sent him, and died for us because of His everlasting love and kindness towards us, and rose on the third day with healing in His wings, and that the Holy Ghost is real, a personage of spirit, bound by loving covenant to testify to the children of men that God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ live!  I know these things are true, Matt, and they fill me with joy and gratitude on this beautiful Easter day!

It has been a good week.  Heavenly Father is helping me be more focused on the Savior.  He is also helping me to see my many weaknesses I have worked hard this week and have gotten a lot done.  I felt very blessed today as I took the sacrament and pondered on Jesus Christ and His atonement.  I know that He lives and loves me even when I falter.



Miriam's rice crispie bunny

Thomas's traditional alien bunny, this time done with rice crispies instead of bread

Bread Bunny--Whole wheat version for Dad


Tuesday, for family home evening, we did all the Easter goodies stuff because we knew that Miriam would be out of town today.  It was a fun evening.  Katrina and I made bread bunnies, and then when Miriam came home, she and Thomas made rice crispy bunnies because they can’t eat wheat.  Then when Dad came home, we all colored Easter eggs together.  While I cleaned up afterward, Dad and kids went into the bathroom and did our weirdest family Easter tradition which, as you know, is to dump the die into the toilet as it flushes and watch the different colors of swirl around and flush down.  May I just say, that is a tradition of Dad’s invention?  He and his brother used to do that as kids.  It’s one of the few traditions that Dad had growing up, poor guy. 

Then Dad and I hid the Easter baskets and then the kids found them.  It took less than five minutes, ha ha.  Jon came over, too, awhile later, and we had some more fun visiting going on.  I sent him home with his Easter chocolate and also rice cripies which he shared with his room mate.  He texted me the next day to tell me he was totally out of chocolate and needed more candy.  He was totally kidding.  I gave everyone waaaaaay too much Easter candy this year.

I also had fun sending an Easter package to Lily.  Dad and I bought her a sugar Easter egg with a bunny scene inside.  I also enclosed a little stuffed ducky wearing a raincoat and hat.  When Lily was a baby in newborn ICU, and I was staying at the Ronald Macdonald house with Cassandra and Emerson, they were giving out free toys, so I took the duckie and saved it to give to Lily when she was older.  Well, she’s older now.  Cassandra said she loves it.  I also made her an Easter card and sent her a Noah’s Ark board book with cute pictures.  Cassandra was planning to give her the book for Easter today.

Other than that, we have just done boring stuff like yard work, putting in a new bathroom faucet upstairs, etc.  Wednesday, Katrina and Miriam went to see Les Mis again, and now Miriam is out of town, so Thomas and Katrina have been the only kids at home.  Thursday night, Dad, Katrina, and I went walking along the river.  The weather was perfect and the air was fresh and smelled like trees and water.  I love spring! 

Friday Dad and I went out on a date, and on Saturday we bought some Mexican food from a lady who has three kids.  Her husband was deported, and she is trying to survive.  The food was fantastic, and we enjoyed talking to her and encouraging her.  I hope everything works out for her family, and I hope we can buy some of that good food from her again soon!

Today we are going to walk around the temple and then sit in the grass and talk about the resurrection.  We are also hoping to Skype with Cassandra and Emerson.  Jon called today.  It was sure nice to talk to him for awhile.   

I love you, Matthew, and hope that your Easter is one filled with joy and love for the Savior and with the Spirit of God.

Love,
Mom

2014 04 15--Letter From Matt

I'm going to write a general letter this week. Yesterday was transfer day and things got really crazy. I'm grateful for all of the help that we received from the Spirit and from God. Things just barely worked out, but they worked out, and we never got into a situation that we couldn't resolve with help and inspiration from heaven :)
My companion and I are in the same area and haven't changed, but we had to help a lot of other Elders and Sister missionaries get to their new areas.
I've got some good news! On Sunday we found out that Rocío got baptised! Also María s and her husband Cezar got baptised too! That's truly amazing! I was so glad to hear about them.
I also go to hear from Manuel and Anahí, a young matrimony from Los Cabos. They are now living in Puebla (a different city in a different state) and are still active in the church. They are planning on being sealed as a family to their two wonderful children later this year.
We are currently teaching Jesus Abitia and his wife Lupita. Lupita is a member of the church and her husband is very interested in learning about what we believe. Right now we are teaching them about the Restoration of the church. Today we have an appointment with them and we are going to teach about the Great Apostasy and about the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith. It's going to be awesome.
We still haven't gotten to see Rosa María. She seems to be discouraged about something but every time we try to teach her, she says that she's busy and doesn't have time. We are praying for her and we hope that this week we'll be able to talk to her.
Yahir is doing well.
Omar is pretty much in the same situation that he's been in for a while now. We didn't see him last week but we are going to teach him the Restoration this week because we have a sneaking suspicion that although he's been going to church and receiving the missionaries off and on for six years now, that he hasn't been taught the Restoration yet...... Hmmm....
I've been working to strengthening my testimony of Jesus Christ. I try to testify of Him in every lesson and I try to follow all of His commandments even when it's hard to do. I feel like my testimony of Him is growing gradually . I need to be persistent. I don't think that it's going to be strengthened all at once. Just as a tree does not spring up all at once full grown from the ground.

I love you all and I hope that you have a great week, I'm sorry that this letter is going to a large group of people and that I couldn't write specifically to  every single one of you as I usually like to. I'm praying for you all and I hope that you have a wonderful week.

April 13--Dear Elder

 Dear Elder,
How are you today?  I am fine.  Thank you for sending me letters.  You can do the picture-letter thing, it's not a problem.  I'm glad that it gives you time to write to others.  I hope that you are enjoying your week, and that you are able to teach more people than last week.  I'm sorry about Rosa Maria getting Dengue fever.  That is a scary thing, and I'm glad that you told me about it, because it helps me know what to pray for--for her to get better and for you not to get it!  I hope that you and your companion will be inspired to know how to help Omar and his family.  That was pretty funny what you said about Alma 31:5 and the sword.  It made me laugh out loud.

You said you heard President Faust speak in Conference.  Either you were listening to an old conference, or you are much more in tuned than me, ha ha, because Elder Faust passed away a few years ago.  Anyway, I will look for a talk about fortifying our testimony of Jesus Christ.  I like how you are focusing on Christ, and I am going to try and do that, too, this week.  I also want to read about following up on things in Preach My Gospel like Elder Ballard tells us to.

Matt, I am so glad that you and your companion get along so well and appreciate each other so much.  Unity makes all the difference, doesn't it?

Last week was Spring Break and, after conference, we went to visit Grandpa and Grandma.  The weather was beautiful, and we did lots of fun things with them.  We visited Great Grandma and took her to see the new temple.  We also went to the desert and tromped around in the cactus for a couple of hours.  It was a fun hike, and we saw a lizard, a frog, a hawk, and even some water.  Dad wanted to go to a cowboy town on Wednesday, so we did that, too, which pretty much took up a full day.  They had a nice museum at the old county courthouse, which was very interesting, but I could have done without most of the rest of it.  Thursday I helped Grandma digitize some old family pictures and Dad helped Grandpa fix a leaky pipe in the ceiling.  Later we joined my sister Julie's family and had a fun time swimming with them.  It was fun to talk and visit with them and Celeste and Jacob.  It was their pool that we went to.

We got to see Julie and Kelly and family quite a lot while we were there, which was awesome.  Also, my brother, Tom joined us on many of our adventures, and it was really fun to visit with him so much.  We also got to see his boy, Michael which was very nice.  We ate at a place called Huauchinangos which sold delicious, authentic Mexican food prepared the way the do it around Puebla.  Dad and I couln't get enough of it, and we ordered tamales to go another time as well.  The kids discovered Thrifty ice cream, which is the ice cream we would buy when I was a little girl, and is about the best ice cream around.  We also ate at Dad's favorite barbeque place--Dad ate there twice.  It was a fun visit, and I am very glad that we went!


We got home very late, and had to go to the laundry and wash and go through everything to make sure that not hitchhikers (roaches) came home with us.  We were done by midnight and got to sleep by one o'clock.  Nine o'clock church this morning was a bit hard to get to, but it was nothing that we couldn't handle.  This evening Jonathan came over for dinner, and we ate roast and vegetables.  We really enjoyed visiting with him and Miriam who didn't go on the trip with us, and it was hard for me to leave for my meeting at 6 instead of staying to visit, but it couldn't be helped.  It don't think Jon stayed too much longer until he had to go home, himself.

So, that's our week in a nutshell, Matt.  I am struggling a bit with my weaknesses these days which include pride, selfishness, and slothfulness, just to name a few.  I want to do better this week, and I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ that helps me to repent and for the sacrament that I can take to help me renew my covenant to always remember Him and stand as His witness.  You are a good example to me, Matt, and I love you very much.  Have a wonderful week, your mommy is praying for you!

Love,
Mom

Dad, Thomas, Katrina at a cowboy town
Thomas, Great Grandma, and Katrina at the temple
Thomas singing with street singer

Grandma and Grandpa
Julie


April 7--Letter From Matt

hey, tell me if you don't like it when I send letters like this ok? I think it's helpful and I might keep on doing it like this, so tell me what you think.
Thanks so much!





nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! I spelled prepare wrong in my letter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





April 6--Dear Elder

Dear Elder,

Hi!  Thanks for the hand-written letter!  It was fun to get it, and, yes, your hand writing has improved!  I appreciate you thinking ahead like that and taking the time to write.  Thank you, also, for telling me about your investigators.   I’m so glad that you could get a birth certificate for Rocio.  That is a wonderful service you for her!  I’m also glad to hear that you and your companion are working so well together.  I liked your bowling video.  Too bad the camera wasn’t rolling when you got your strikes, ha ha!

You asked me about Mosiah 15:1-4.  Doctrine and Covenants 93:4 further clarifies the concept of Christ being the father and the son:  “And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one—The Father because he gave me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men. “  Also Mosiah 5:7 explains another way Christ is the father as well as the son.  “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.”  We are all children of God the Father, but those who take upon themselves the name of Christ, also become His sons and daughters.

As far as God the Father and Jesus Christ being “one god,” these words from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism help clarify their “one-ness”

“The unity prayed for in John 17 provides a model for the LDS understanding of the unity of the Godhead-one that is achieved among distinct individuals by unity of purpose, through faith, and by divine will and action. Joseph Smith taught that the Godhead was united by an "everlasting covenant [that] was made between [these] three personages before the organization of this earth" relevant to their administration to its inhabitants (TPJS, p. 190). The prime purpose of the Godhead and of all those united with them is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39; Hinckley, p. 49-51).”

I hope this helps, Matt.  Let me know what else you are thinking, and we can think about it together.

We are doing well.  In fact, Dad, Katrina, Thomas, and I are traveling to  see Grandpa and Grandma.  It is our spring break, so we thought we’d take advantage of the time off and visit them.   General conference was this weekend, so we waited till it was over and then took off.  We are staying over night at the half way point, so the drive won’t be so bad.  I decided to read an abridged version of Les Mis to the family as we drive, but it’s very badly abridged, so I’m ending up looking things up in the unabridged and reading to them from that.  Good thing I had them both on my Kindle!  The funny thing is that the unabridged version was free, but this stinkin’ abridged version cost me five bucks, ha ha.

Did you get to see Conference, Matt?  I hope so.  Wasn’t it wonderful?  I loved the talks, and many of the speakers said things that seemed to be just for me.  I can’t wait to re-read them!  I hope I’ll have time to study at Grandma and Grandpa’s, but we’ll see.  I also thought that the talks were very good for the kids, and I know Dad enjoyed it, too.  I especially loved the talks about Joseph Smith, and I thought there were a lot of them.  Matt, I love the gospel of Jesus Christ so much, and I love The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, His church!  I appreciated all the counsel we received, and I want to reread the chapter in “Preach My Gospel” about inviting others to come unto Christ and following up on invitations.

We didn’t do much on Saturday besides watch conference except that while Dad and Thomas were at the priesthood session, Miriam, Katrina, and I went out for a treat and to do a little shopping.  It was fun to be together.

Friday night, Dad and I saw Les Miserables…again!  It was so fun.  We left right after work, so we thought we had tons of time to kill.  We bought me some shirts and walked around and had lots of fun together.  When we got to the theater, however, we found out that our tickets were for 4:00, and we’d missed the showing!  We were both in shock.  They sent us to a different window where they said they’d just gotten a cancellation, and that they could seat us.  We were so relieved!

We went in and sat down, and all these men in suits and their wives and dates sat all around us.  All of them were holding little white boxes with bows on them, and then the governor came in and sat down, too.  They were all big wigs who had come to see the play.  The man in a suit next to me gave us his little white box because he and his wife had gotten extra.  The box had three meringue cookies in it—one red, one white, and one blue, like the French (and American, ha ha) flag.  It also had coupons for free drinks.  It was really nice of him to give it to us, and he told us a bit about why they were there which was basically to see about funding for a new theater.

The play has two casts, and we were able to see the other cast that we hadn’t seen yet.  They did a wonderful job.  Dad was smart enough to grab some tissues in the bathroom, so we were able to cry to our heart’s content as we watched.  Afterward, we were able to greet and thank the staff.  We never did shake the governor’s hand because there were so many people who wanted to.  That’s okay.

Let’s see, other than that, this week I finished sewing the parachute for Thomas’s Eagle Scout project.  I also did my finances, and went on a couple of walks with Dad.  Pretty exciting, huh?  Katrina got home at 3 am Tuesday morning, and Tuesday night we had family home evening.  Thomas gave a lesson on preparing for conference, and then we all drew pictures for Great Grandma to hang on her wall to cheer her up.  It was a good family home evening.

Lily is potty training this week, and I got to talk to her and Cassandra quite a bit.  Lily’s doing pretty good with it, I think.  I sent her a package with a princess shirt and some new unders.  It also had a little toy chicken in it that lays candy eggs.  I also talked to Jon this morning.  He’s doing good, and it was fun to visit.  Miriam isn’t going with us on this trip, btw.  She couldn’t get the time off.  I hope she isn’t too lonely without us!

Well, we are at our hotel, now, and I really need to get to bed.  Good night, Matt.  I love you very much.  Thanks for remembering us in your prayers, we are praying for you, too.

Love,
Mom  

March 31--Letter From Matt

Anticipating that we were going to be busy today an unable to write, I wrote my weekly letter on paper and took pictures of it! Here it is:











Tuesday, April 8, 2014

March 31--Dear Elder

Dear Elder,
Hi!  How are you doing?  Did you have a good week?  How is your companion?  Did you find any new people to teach?  How are the families that you have been teaching doing?  I am so glad that Rosa Maria wants to raise her children in the gospel.  I know that it will really bless her life.  I am sorry that Carlos and Rosio haven’t been progressing much.  I will try to remember them specifically in my prayers.  I am so glad that you are teaching Jose’s whole family so that they can all live the gospel together.  It sounds like things are going really well.

It is wonderful that you are studying about the atonement.  There sure is a lot to learn, isn’t there?  I’m glad you work so hard to not only learn of Christ but also to be like Him.  You are a good example to me and the rest of the family.  Thank you so much for that, Matt.

We have had a nice week although the weather has gotten cold again.  Right now the wind is blowing really hard, and I’m glad that I’m inside, ha ha.   Some specific things have made this week so nice.  For one thing, Dad and I went to the temple Friday, which was absolutely wonderful.  There were five young missionaries in our session from the Marshall Islands who were going through the temple for the first time, and it was wonderful to be in the session with them.  

Another thing that made this week so good is that on Saturday I went to the General Women’s meeting of the church.  Katrina is on choir tour, so I went to Elizabeth’s ward and watched it with her and Esther.  Two of the speakers spoke on keeping our covenants with the Lord.  All of the talks were inspiring and the music and videos were beautiful.  I came away from the meeting feeling comforted in my sorrows and also inspired to be more loving of the women around me.  I am so glad I got to go with Elizabeth and Esther!

Besides all those wonderful things, it was also Fast Sunday today, and I am so grateful that I can fast for strength and blessings.  Not only that, but, as you know, conference is next week!  What a wonderful and much-needed time of strength and renewal.  What a blessing!  

Besides those things, we also have been doing some fun things.  Dad hasn’t had to work as much after school, so he and I got to spend some extra time together when Thomas and Miriam have been gone, and also, all four of us went to the nickle arcade this last week and had a total blast.  I had a ton of fun playing “Tubin’” and “Burger Time” with Dad.  We used to play those two games at the Wilkinson center together when we were dating and first married.  We looked around for “Bubble Bobble,” another of our faves, but it was gone.  So sad, ha ha.  Miram, Thomas, and I had fun doing basketball hoops and air hockey together.  It was great; I really didn’t expect to have so much fun.  

Katrina got her ACT score while she was gone, and it is a 31.  Her last score was a 30, so she’s happy with that.  I told her that she should take it again and study this time, ha ha.  Katrina has been calling periodically, and she says she is having tons of fun in Seattle.  Last night she called me just before they went in to see the Lion King.  She also texted Miriam earlier and asked if anyone wanted souvenirs and stipulated that they would have to pay for them or convince me to.  That made me and Miriam laugh.  Saturday, Miriam and I went shopping together and then we got frozen yogurt.  I’m glad we got a bit of girl time.  Dad and Thomas worked at the laundry and then went off on another adventure.  

After the conference last night, I got to talk to Cassandra on the phone.  They are doing good.  Cassandra’s friend gave her a super hero baby shower.  I think that is so cute!  Emerson and Lily went and did a service project together Saturday morning, I think it was, and they had a fun time.  I love those guys so much!  They are always doing something good.

Dad and I saw Jon and Costco once this week which was nice.  He’s very busy, but seems happy.  I sewed a shirt for him and helped him get a doctor’s appointment.  My favorite thing to do after work is to go to Costco, eat samples, and see Jon, ha ha!

At work we took the kids bowling again, and then we ate at the mall afterward again.  One of our students who is a real Disney fan didn’t want to go with his group—he wanted to go to the Disney store instead, of course, so I volunteered to go with him.  We were in there for a whole hour.  I’ve had my fill of Disney for quite awhile.  I did find a book for Cassandra’s baby.  It has tons of sound effects that you play as you read, and if he’s anything like my boys, he’ll love love love sound effects.  It also has a steering wheel to turn while you read.  I think Lily will like it, too.   I found out this week, also, that Elizabeth’s baby is a boy.  It is all so exciting.  Not only that, but the lady I visiting teach is having a boy.  Lot’s of boy babies to spoil.  Hooray!!!

Tonight we stake young women and young men leaders are putting on a fireside with Steven Kapp Perry.  I wonder if we will have anyone there since another stake is having a fireside tonight with the University football and soccer teams.   Dad is coming with me, but I don’t know whether Thomas will come with us or go to the other one.   It’s really pouring out there, Matt.  Dad pointed out earlier that we’ve totally lucked out this winter with lots of rain in the valley and snow in the mountains.

I’m sure Dad told you, but he is making real headway on family history I am really hoping that we will soon have some family names to take to the temple.  That will be so neat!  I tried to get on to puzzilla.com to find cousins, but I can’t figure out how to do it, even with the video they have on family search to help me.  Luckily, they have a phone number that I can call with questions, so I guess that is what we’ll do.

I love you, Matt.   Have a wonderful day.  
Love,
Mom

March 24--Dear Elder

Now I remember what a flibber is! Haha, I also remember those bear thingies very vaguely. I don't really remember them too much.

Anyway, I really enjoyed your letter this week mom, and i would love to comment on the things that you wrote there, but, as usual we are pressed for time, and I only have a half hour to write. I think I'm getting better at writing letters on the fly! haha.
 

This week we found a woman named Rosa Maria, she's a grandma now and has a lot of little Nietos (Grand children) An RM brought us to her house and told us to teach her. She had gone to church before in the past but had stopped coming because she got disappointed with life and as she would say she: "let the devil win" and decided that it was easier not to go to church. We invited her to read, pray and come to church this week, which she did. She wants to be a good example for her little grandchildren and bring them up in a "God fearing" way (I really don't know how to say that in English) I respect her a lot and we have a lot of hope that we can help her become a member of the church and be able to be the example that she wants to be.
We have an appointment with her tomorrow. It's fun to teach her. We haven't gotten to know her that well, but we are going to care for her as much as we can.
Carlos and Rocío haven't been progressing as much these past weeks, although we hope that we can help them and their family to progress. 
José is doing good right now. We are trying to teach his family because we want to help them to re-activate so that José doesn't just go inactive if he gets baptized. It's slow going but with a lot of help from the ward, I'm sure that they can come back.

This week, I started looking at the Atonement of Christ more in my studies and I noticed that the Atonement is extensive..... And that the Atonement is only one of the things that Christ did, the most significant for us was the Atonement, but there are still a lot of other things he did for us. So, I have a lot to study! Man do I have a lot to study, and a lot to put into practice. 

Other interesting things about this week: I got stung by a bee this Saturday in a ward mission activity. I survived don't worry. :)

Imagine your son, sitting in Mexico, in a small room jammed with computers, sweating to death. Yup. That's about what's going down right in this moment.  

I love you Mom thank you so much for everything you do! I hope that you and the family have a wonderful day today and all during the week.

Saturday, April 5, 2014