Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28--Dear Elder: PMG, Love, Relatives, Camp

Dear Elder,

I just want to thank you again for encouraging me to study Preach My Gospel.  I am amazed at the power of that book!  This morning, my study has been more of the heart than of the head, and I've been truly edified.

First, I read the words of Isaiah in 2 Ne. 7 of the Book of Mormon, and felt overwhelmed with love for the Savior that He stood with courage in the face of persecution and derision.  I am such a cowardly person, but I am filled with the desire to suffer all things for His sake.

Next, I studied more about the Holy Ghost in Preach My Gospel. I read D&C 50:17-22.  I love these scriptures about teaching with the Holy Ghost, and today I realized that sometimes I teach the truth, but I do it without the spirit of truth, or the Holy Ghost.  I wanted to know what makes the difference, so I searched "spirit of truth" and read many scriptures that explained different characteristics of the Holy Ghost and as I came to the end, I realized that these characteristics all have one thing in common--love.  When I love God, love His word, love His children, then I am filled with the Holy Ghost which will edify, uplift, and fill myself, my family, and all mankind with joy.

It seems like Love is the answer to everything.  Love is not true love, however, if it is not based on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel, and hope of life eternal.

Yesterday was a very nice day.  We went to church and it was ward conference, so I got to teach the young men and young women about some of the ways to do family history, specifically how to print a fan chart, how to do indexing, and how to help others use the computer in order to do family history.  I was the third person to speak, and it is interesting that I started my part by pointing out that family history is all about love--the love of the savior for us, the love of our ancestors for the savior and us, and our love for the savior and our ancestors.  It seems that love is always the answer.  How do I overcome pride?  Increase my love.  How do I overcome fear?  Pure love.  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ focuses our love and purifies us to be like Him. Then our joy is full!

Anyway, after church we took Grandma on a drive.  She only told Dad to slow down about ten times.  I am not being facetious, that's really good.  She enjoyed the ride, but when we stopped at her house, she didn't recognize it. Sad.  While we drove, I got to talk to my mom on the phone.  It sounds like her trip to Oregon to see her mom went well.  She said every time they wanted to take Grandma somewhere--she didn't want to go, but when they weren't planning to take her any where and had made other plans, she wanted to go.  It's a good lesson to us to include Grandma in the planning! I also got to talk to my dad on Saturday.  He's trying something new called "lasagna gardening."  Luckily, the weather has been nice and cool there--89 ish instead of 105 ish.  Glad I'm here, ha ha.  BTW, I guess it's supposed to get up in the 80's this week.  That's good for the kids' work!

After our drive, Dad fixed us an incredible chicken dinner and then the kids went to a bishop's youth discussion.  While they were gone, my sister, Julie called.  It's been awhile since we've talked on the phone and it was good to hear her voice.  She said she got a bunny for a birthday present.  I think the term "birthday curse" would be more accurate, but I guess she likes it.  She wanted one in order to teach her children responsibility by having them take care of it.  The problem is that they say it's her present, so she has to take care of it.  Funny!

While I was talking to Julie, Don, Renee, Donny, Becky, and Bethany who is visiting from LA, came over and then the kids came home and then Paul came over.   They all visited with us and with Grandma and it was nice.  The girls and I practiced our "Footsteps of Christ (See below)" parts for them.  That was our Family Home Evening.

What is "Footsteps of Christ?"  Well, we leave for girl's camp tomorrow, and I am really looking forward to being there with my daughters.  It is going to be a wonderful camp with the older girls teaching the classes, and having "little sisters" assigned for them to befriend and teach.  So cool!  Anyway, we have many informative activities, fun, silly, and crazy activities, and some very reverent activities, one of which is "Footsteps of Christ" where the girls will take a walk in the woods at night along a lit path.  There will be places along the path where they will stop and listen to characters who lived at the time of Christ speak of their experiences with Him.  I signed us up to talk about when Jesus visited the Nephites and blessed the little children.  You will probably hate me, but I might include our script in this letter.  Most of it is taken from the scriptures. I hope to have music playing in the background as we speak.  Miriam said she didn't want to act and I told her to just speak as she does when we read family scriptures.  The scriptures we read and the music we'll play, and the love we have will bring the Spirit without any need for tears or dramatics on our part.

We will be leaving Dad and Thomas home to take care of Grandma and hold down the fort.  Matt, you have an amazing Dad.  Few men would let their wives leave them for 4 days with a bed ridden mother to feed, change, and care for, but Dad would.  In fact, he said, why are you asking me if you can go?  Of course you can!  He's been caring for Grandma with me all along, but this will certainly be more intense.  He is so wonderful!

Wow, did I not yet tell you about the temple?  I've been meaning to do that!  I know this letter is getting VERY long, but I just have to say that Dad and I went to the temple on Friday, and it was wonderful!  The temple is always so calm and peaceful, but I don't know if I've ever felt such peace and joy there as I did on Friday.  What's the difference between this time and other times?  I have no idea.  Anyway, we did sealings, and as I knelt across the alter from Dad and listened to the eternal blessings promised to us because we are sealed together forever, I was filled with joy and gratitude!  And as I listened to the blessings promised to children sealed to their parents for eternity, I was filled with love for you guys and also for my parents that they are faithful to their covenants and that I am sealed to them forever!  BTW, did you know that there is no temple in your mission?  That's what I hear, so cherish the spirit you feel there, now--it will have to last you 2 years!

Well, it's going to be a wild day with way too much to do.  I love you, Matt.  I hope this letter wasn't too long winded.  Okay, I know that it was, but I hope you don't mind.  After all, it will be my last letter to you for almost a week!  I'll still be praying for you even while I'm at camp.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27--Dear Elder: Visiting Graves, News of Jon and Cassandra

Dear Elder,

Hi!  I hope your Sabbath day is going well.  Today is our ward conference which is nice, because I don't have to leave our ward or our family in order to attend a ward conference in another ward.  I will be joining the stake young men's presidency and the rest of the stake young women's presidency in teaching the young men and young women all of the wonderful ways that they can participate in family history work.  I hope we can teach with the Spirit so that the Holy Ghost will carry our message to their hearts and motivate them to go to work!

I started my study of Preach My Gospel today.  Thanks for suggesting that we study it.  I know it will bless me and our family!  I have to take it a small bit at a time, but I want to ponder on each thing I learn throughout the day, anyway.  I think that will help write the words in my heart.

Yesterday was windy and rainy, and just as I expected, the kids got off work at the water park just after they got there.  Dad picked them up and took them to the laundry.  I came to get them and take them home, but Dad convinced us all to go with him to put flowers on Grandpa's grave.  It was a fun, long drive.  We enjoyed each other's company and the beautiful scenery.  We also took Uncle Paul's file cabinet to him.  We enjoyed seeing their house and visiting with him and Aunt Terry.  On the way home we stopped at the ski resort to eat at Teriyaki grill.  Delicious!  I was a bit concerned about being gone from Grandma for so long, but she seemed just fine when we got home.

Dad stayed at the laundry to work and the shop at Costco.  He also placed flowers on Michael, Amanda, and Niesha's graves.  He was very happy to do it, and I wish we could have been there, but we really needed to get home to Grandma.

Yesterday I also got to Skype with Jon in Canada!  I found out that they had moved him into a dorm as planned, but I guess some of the more experienced workers wanted to be in the dorm, so they are transferring him from Calgary to a smaller town where he will again stay in hotel rooms.  Yuck.  Jon says the dorms are real nice, too.  I told him that everything happens for a reason, and maybe this would turn out to be for the best.  He has a good attitude about it.  It stinks, though, because he won't have a regular address for us to send him letters and packages to.

Later in the day, Jon made us a very quick call on his cell phone to let us know that he is switching from installing the security systems to selling them.  He sounded very excited about it, and said he could switch back to installing if he doesn't like selling.  Well, selling is not an easy thing to do, but I think Jon just might have what it takes.  His big concern is that he makes enough money to pay for all the expense of going to Canada and for his next year of school.  I hope it all works out for him!  Sure gives us lots to pray for.

I just got on Cass and Em's blog to see if there was anything new, and there was!  Somehow I missed an video they posted on the 18th of Lily walking, a view from the front.  It is so cute!  On both walking videos, she seems to wave her right hand as she walks.  She made a beeline for the cell phone sitting on the front room table.  She's quite a kid!  

I'm thinking that you might be able to get pictures on your email, so I will try to send you some.

Well, I'm still trying to get ready for camp, and may I say that I'll be glad when it's over!  Still, it will be nice to be there next week with Miriam and Katrina enjoying nature and feeling the spirit.  BTW, Tomorrow's letter will be the last one you'll get from me for a week, but Dad said he'd write instead, so you'll have that to look forward to.

I love you, Matt.  You are doing a wonderful job.  I know that Heavenly Father is helping you to learn and grow as a missionary, and that he will continue to bless you with the Holy Ghost as you learn and teach.  Take care.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26--Dear Elder

 Dear Elder,

Thank you so much for the letter you wrote to the family! We loved it so much.

Thank you for sending us your favorite scripture. Bro Brinkerhoff will be overjoyed to get it in order to put it on your missionary plaque. We will enjoy seeing the plaque up on the ward bulletin board!

To answer a few of your questions--Tanner's farewell went wonderfully. His talk was very insightful. I know he'll make a wonderful missionary! Our summer plans consist of one trip to Disneyland. Hospice will give us five day's respite which is not enough to drive to Texas and back and also have any time to visit Cassandra, Emerson, and Lily. That's what I really want to do! Still, Disneyland will be fun. Next week we go to camp, so I guess that is a summer plan, and then Katrina and Thomas are going to EFY later in June and Miriam has youth conference.

I'm so glad you are enjoying learning the Spanish language. It always seemed to me that you really enjoyed using it when you were learning it in high school. That's funny about you telling a member that we need to tell God that we have a little plant! I guess it could been worse, ha ha. I think its great that they have Spanish speaking members to help you out in learning the language.

Today Katrina, Thomas, and Miriam are working for the first time. Before this, all work has been training. This will be the first official day of the first official job that both Katrina and Thomas have ever had. Miriam is an old pro. I've been praying that it will all go well and that it will be a good experience for all of them.

Dad has been having a hard time at work, and he could use your prayers. He is going to decorate Grandpa's grave today. I am staying home in order to take care of Grandma and get stuff ready for camp.

I don't have any new news from Jon, but we keep praying that all is well. Wow! The wind is blowing really hard out there! I wonder what the weather is for today (Saturday). Wow, I just checked and they predicted wind, rain, and thunderstorms today and tomorrow. Monday is supposed to be sunny, though. The kids may not be working today, after all.

I talked to Cassandra last night. She just got her wisdom teeth out. I guess she was in a lot of pain before they took them out, but now that they are out, she's not in much pain, so that's good. She's been resting a lot, of course. She and Emerson took Lily on her first walk where she actually walked the other day. She wanted to run the whole time and wouldn't hold their hands. They finally let her loose in a field to run around where she could fall and not get hurt. She's certainly a busy little girl! Emerson has been working hard and long. I hope he gets a break soon. He's such a wonderful guy!

Well, that's what we all are up to. I love you, Matt. Have a wonderful weekend!


Letter From Matt!

How are you guys?  I heard the power was out for a long time, I hope everything is all right!
Thanks for encouraging the family to write me emails!  And thank you Mom and Katrina for sending me dearelders.  How was Tanner's farewell?  Any summer plans for you guys?

Mom, the scripture I want on my plaque is D&C 29:7  ("And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts.")  I really like it.  Katrina, I don't think I'll get to see the solar eclipse, but maybe.  Yes we have a lot of food and, no, I'm actually about the same weight.  I'm wishing I could leave the MTC but I still have things to learn.

We just had two wonderful talks on Tuesday and Sunday.  One by the Provo temple president, and the other one was by President Rasband (over the Quorum of the Seventy).  I'd write about them, but. . .I'm lazy,  Ha Ha.  And it sufficeth me to say that one was on temples, and the other on the Spirit, and a more full account is given on my large plates--or my study journal.

A new favorite Spanish term:  (Insert upside down exclamation point here) Rompe Cabesas!  It literally means "break heads," but Mexicans use it to say, "puzzle!"  How cool!  Another one is trabajabamos, that means:  We worked.   I told a member yesterday that we need to pray to God and tell him that we have a "planito" or, in other words, a small plant!  Ha Ha!  I meant to say small plan.

I'm doing well, and Mom, don't get your hopes up for a "nice full" memory card of pictures.  I have about five on there.  Anyway, I love you all and miss y'all!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24--Dear Elder: Prayers Answered, Family News

Dear Elder,

Hi!  How are you doing?  Did you have a good Prep day?  I hope all is going well.

This morning at my scripture time, I thought about how constant Heavenly Father is in hearing and answering my prayers, and I realized that it would be very ungrateful if I didn't write those things down.  When I went to save what I had written, I found another document containing a record of prayers answered that I wrote in 2010. I can still see how those answered prayers bless the lives of our family today.  Looking back on the way that Heavenly Father has blessed me in the past, renews my faith and gives me confidence that He is there for us now and will be always.

Yesterday we took the two pick-ups to get worked on.  All the work that they need will cost us $765.  The work on your old truck is mainly cosmetic, but Dad's truck needs shocks, front hubs, etc.

Did I tell you that on Tuesday, Thomas came in 25th in the junior high's 5 K?  Pretty good for a kid who doesn't run and who came in second to last, last year.  Dad and I caught the last half of Thomas's lunch room flash mob yesterday.  They did great!  Thomas said that the sound wasn't working in first lunch, so I guess that didn't go as well.  I'm really proud of him for sticking out his neck and doing it.  He didn't get many comments about it or anything from the other kids.  I don't think most kids knew what to think of a group of guys being brave/goofy enough to do such a thing.

Katrina brought her friend, Laura home for waffle Wednesday, and Thomas brought Jayden.  After that, Thomas made rice krispie treats to give away, and Katrina made cookies.  They both want me to send you some, so you should be getting a package today or tomorrow.  Both Thomas and Katrina went to the amusement park today with the junior high.  I hope that they are safe and have fun.  In that order.

Dad is moving his stuff out of O&A slowly.  He came home pretty tired yesterday and was happy to see that Katrina and Thomas had dinner all made and on the table.  I like it when we can eat together as a family--all but Miriam who was at Preston's family graduation party.

Grandma wasn't up to getting out of her chair yesterday, so I sent the kids in shifts to watch movies with her.  The only problem was that she has a hard time distinguishing movies from reality, so the show they wanted to watch scared her, poor Grandma.  We had to turn it off.  I think it may be time to go back to Disney movies again for awhile.

Cassandra called yesterday morning and it was so nice to talk to her!  She is getting her wisdom teeth out.  I hope it will all go well.  I'm so sad because yesterday was the last day before a new calling period, and she had a lot of minutes she could use, but we only talked a bit.  I saw that she called me later on in the day, but I had missed it.  I planned to call her and chat for a nice long time, but it didn't happen.  How did the day get away from me like that?  So sad.

I haven't heard from Jon and I hope that means he has lots of work.  I hope he's also happy.  I know that lots of work can be pretty miserable, but hopefully he's getting a chance to meet people and do things that will make for good memories.  I keep praying that the hearts of the people he meets will be softened, because I guess Canadians really really really don't like people from the US.  Hopefully he's had some nice conversations anyway.

I got a letter from Jacob yesterday.  He mentioned again seeing you and he also mentioned wanting to take a picture of you together.  It was nice of him to send me a letter.  Which reminds me, I was planning to send you a list of emails and addresses yesterday, but the computer I had that stuff on wouldn't work for me.  I'm so sorry!  I'm going to get them all ready for next week.  In the meantime, I work to keep people posted, and I'll let them know why you don't write back.

Have a wonderful day, Matt, and remember to write down your blessings!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22-- The Rest of the Story

Here is the rest of the story that I decided not to send to Matt.  I figured I'd save him the following gory details:

When Grandma and I woke up from our nap, you’d think things would be calmer, but no.  Grandma needed changing, and I couldn’t change her in her bed because of what I already mentioned about the power and the bed's being reclined.  First, I protected the couch with blankets and pads, and started to lay her there to change her, when I realized that changing her in the living room would stink up the entire house for a good long time.  Also, Thomas had just brought Garred home with him from school.  Changing Grandma in the living room no longer seemed like such a good idea.  Next, I asked the kids if I could change her on any of their beds.  Strangely enough, I had no takers.

I ended up laying Grandma’s mattress on the floor beside her bed and changing her there.  Getting her from the chair to the floor was not an easy task and required me, Miriam, and Katrina to do it.  To top it all off, when I took Grandma’s pants off to change her, the diaper came off, too.  Wrong side out.  Needless to say, she needed cleaning everywhere from the waist down.  While I was doing that, I had Katrina pounding on the door and yelling that she was late for work—which she was.

Believe it or not, Katrina ended up being only one minute late, which, of course counts as much against her as being 10 or 15 minutes late.  After I dropped her off, I walked into the laundry where Dad was working,  handed him a bag containing poopy pants, and collapsed on the couch. 

Anyway, Dad came home with me, and by the time we got home, the power was finally on.  We got Grandma up into her bed, and fed her lunch.

End of Story.  Thank Goodness!!!

May 22--Dear Elder: Powerless

Here is the letter written Tuesday morning May 22;

Dear Elder,

Hi! How are you? How was your Monday? I hope it was a wonderful day.

Truthfully, my Monday was not so wonderful. The plan was to send you a letter, do the laundry, sew stuff for girl’s camp, and do the finances. What do all these things have in common? They all take electricity. Yep. Electricity is a beautiful thing, a thing we didn’t have from 10 am to 5 pm yesterday. Someone ran into a telephone pole and the power was out not only here, but at many schools including Kat and Thom’s school. Maybe I should have taken them home, but I didn’t. I had enough trouble at home.

You see, electricity is necessary for one other thing, it is necessary in order to work Grandma’s bed. When the power went out, the head of Grandma’s bed was up pretty high and couldn’t go down without power. With the head up, I couldn’t change her. Also, the air mattress that cushions her body turned off, and her bed got pretty hard, especially sitting almost straight up. And lastly, her TV was of course off, and she had nothing to get her mind off things except my company which isn’t all that exciting. By lunch time, Grandma was pretty uncomfortable, so I moved her to her chair to change her pressure points.

At that point ,with all the hardships of her day, Grandma started crying. She asked me to call the Bishop, the Relief Society, the National Guard—basically anyone more competent than me. I listened and consoled until I got tired and then I fell asleep. At some point, Grandma fell asleep, too, and that ‘s the way we spent our afternoon.

In the evening, We loaded up all the clothes in the house and took them and Miriam and Thomas to the Laundry where Dad was working. Katrina was also working there in town. She joined us shortly. So our family home evening consisted of doing laundry and eating pizza, and that was our day. Whew! Sorry for the long crazy narrative.

Dad said he got a call from Jonathan yesterday and that the sales and the installing teams are both going to Calgary where they should be getting more jobs. So that should give Jon more work which is good.

I haven’t heard from Cass and fam, and I hope they are doing well.

Love you, Hon. Love, Mom

May 21--Dear Elder: Letter Avalanche

Dear Elder,

Boy, are you in for a ton of mail today! Here are the letters I wasn't able to send because of the power outage.

Written Monday morning May 21:
Dear Elder,

Hi! How was your weekend? I hope it was good. Tanner gave his pre-mission talk in church and did a wonderful job. He is going to be a great missionary. He said something that, combined with the lessons in Sunday School and Relief Society, really had an impact on me. Even though his talk was on Charity, and Sunday School was about missionary work, and Relief Society was about reading the scriptures, it’s interesting how, when I listen with the Spirit, all the messages in church seem to come together in one theme just for me. I need to listen with the spirit more so that will happen more.

After church, we went to Tanner’s house to eat cookies and congratulate him and his family. It was fun to talk and visit. After that, we had home teachers over. They gave us a wonderful message about harmony in the home. Grandma especially loved visiting with Brother Kubalik who is a very kind man. He called her “Grandma” and listened to everything she had to say. He didn’t even mind when Grandma stuck her foot out during prayer and poked his knee. Unfortunately, a few very naughty people didn’t have their eyes closed and laughed. It was not a very reverent prayer. Bro Kubalik also fixes cars, so we are going to have him work on your truck which is now Miriam’s.

We certainly had a lot of visitors yesterday because, besides the home teachers, Renee and Becky and came over to visit Grandma. They stayed for a good long time and they helped Grandma talk to Bethany on the phone. She really loved that. Also, the neighbors came over to watch the eclipse.

In case you didn’t know, there was a solar eclipse yesterday. If we had been able to drive to Cedar City, it would have been a full eclipse, but we didn’t think Grandma would be up to it. Instead we went in to the laundry where Dad took nine pairs of sunglasses and duck taped them together so that you could see through all the lenses at once. We took that beautiful contraption home to watch the eclipse occur. As I said before, many of the neighbors came over to wear Dad's crazy glasses and watch the eclipse. Dad also had some binoculars turned backward and trained on a piece of paper so we could see the progress of the eclipse just by glancing over at the paper. It was so fun that I forgot I had a girl's camp meeting, and got there 30 minutes late. The meeting lasted till after ten and when I got home, Dad had already read scriptures and had prayer with the kids and had Grandma mostly ready for bed. He is so sweet!

Well, that was our day! The power is out right now so who knows how long it will be before I am able to send this. I love you, Matt, have a great day!


May 22--Dear Elder: Technical Difficulties

Dear Elder,

Hi, how are you?  I wrote you a nice long letter yesterday, and another nice long letter today, but I can't send them to you.

Why?  Well, the power was out for 7 hours yesterday, and I composed my letters on my little notepad, planning to cut, paste, and send them to you when the power got back on, but now I find that the internet will work on the big computer, but not on my little one, so there the letters sit, waiting for me to send them sometime when I can get the internet to work.

In the meantime, here is a quick letter to tell you that I love you and that we are all doing well.  In fact, to day is a very nice day so far.

I hope that things are going good for you at the MTC, and we pray for you all the time to be strengthened by the Holy Ghost to learn what you need to learn and do what you need to do.  I love you very much, Matt.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20--Dear Elder: Hiking, Shopping, Working, Skyping

Dear Elder,
Happy Sunday!  I hope you are having a good one.  It has just begun for us, but I look forward to going to church, feeling the spirit, and being renewed for the coming week.

We had a nice Saturday.  Dad took Thomas hiking in the morning and afternoon.  They had a lot of fun and came home good and tired.  Miriam and I went shopping at Pennys and then I took her in to work.  In the evening, Thomas played with friends, Dad and Katrina went out to eat and then to watch comedy impro, and Miriam, Grandma, and I watched a movie.  It was a nice, simple day.

The nicest part of the day was when we got to Skype with Jonathan and then with Cassandra!  Jonathan is hanging in there, spending lots of money on food, and not making much money.  We are praying that his work will pick up.  He did do one job yesterday that lasted five hours (sadly, he gets paid by the job, not the hour).  The family he installed for yesterday was LDS!  Pretty cool.  He said they were really nice and that there are 3 LDS churches in the town he's working in.   I actually got to talk to him twice, and it was so nice to see his face and hear his voice!

It was also so fun to Skype with Cassandra.  She pointed the camera at Lily and let me just watch her play while we talked.  I loved it!  Cassandra says they are doing good.  Yesterday was the first day off that Emerson has had in two weeks!  He really works hard without complaint!  It was so fun to talk to Cassandra and get caught up on their lives.  I really enjoyed seeing them of Skype.

Well, Matt, I can't see your face or hear your voice, but I sure love getting your letters!  We all love you very much and are praying for your success.  Your being in the MTC has already blessed our family more than you can know.  We love you so much!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19--Dear Elder: Business, Friday Night

Dear Elder,

Hi!  How are you?  Did you get your shirts yet?  They should be coming today.  I also sent you your international driving permit and your driving record.  I hear the driving record is the most important thing to have (along with your driver's license) in order to drive on your mission.  I also hear that missionaries don't drive much or even bike, they walk.  So don't worry, you'll walk off all that MTC food in no time.

How is your money holding out?  I guess I can get on and check your account.  Hmm.  Sixty two dollars left.    Let's started out with 100.  I guess you've got enough for now for your MTC expenses.  Let me know if your need more. Did you know that Spotify is taking a 5.00 subscription fee out of your account?  Is that a monthly fee?  Please write me and let me know how to cancel your subscription.

Sorry about all of that business.  Let's see.  Yesterday afternoon I went into Elizabeth's to help her get ready for a birthday party.   Then I joined Dad and we dropped off your package and went walking along the river trail from by where you got your wisdom teeth out to the grocery store south of there and back.  It was a beautiful walk!

When we got home, I fed Sally and Dad took Miriam into Preston's for a family get together.  Then we set Katrina and Grandma up with a movie on the computer (Iron Man 2), saw Thomas off to a birthday party, and drove south to eat Chinese.  After that we put Grandma back to bed and went bike riding over by the park and along the trail.  When we got back, Miriam and Thomas were home so we all read scriptures and said prayer with Grandma.  Then we watched the season finale of "Once Upon a Time" and went to bed.  Fun night, and Dad really needed it!

Jon called yesterday and this morning!  Yesterday the news wasn't so good--he wasn't getting much work and the bills were piling up.  I told him now we know what to pray for--more work for him, and also for his safety.  Today the news was better--he got some work yesterday, plus he's working on his own now so he doesn't have to split pay with a trainer.  Man, it was good to hear his voice.  No word yet on when he's moving into dorms.

I'm glad its the weekend because I can call Cassandra!  On weekdays, she doesn't have many minutes.  Maybe we can even Skype with her.

Well, have a wonderful weekend.


P.S.  You might want to take pictures even if you can't send them, because you and we will love to see them when you get home.  We should probably send you an empty card before you go to Mexico and you could send us a nice full card of MTC picts before you leave.  BTW, Jacob sends picts.  Weird.  I wonder how he does that.  Email?

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18--Dear Elder: Cooking, Concerts, and Icees

Dear Elder,

Hi!  We got your letter yesterday and it was great to get it.  I will try to send you some shirts today.  Also, I will try to get people to email you their addresses, so be looking for that.

Here's a quick report of our Thursday.  During the day, I stayed home and tried to get stuff done.  Dad came home early, which was nice.  He has a temporary crown in.  I guess they won't cement it till the 17th.

When the kids got home, Dad took a nap and we made dinner for the neighbors, etc.  Dinner was lasagna, french bread, salad, and ranch.  Grandma wanted to help, so she grated the carrots.  I held the grater for her and when she was done, we had not much more than a tablespoon of carrot, but she was glad to be helping. We got the dinners delivered and our own eaten just in time to get to Thomas's band concert which was at the high school.  We sat through the beginning orchestra playing 4 songs and then went to find Thomas.  We found out that his performance had been in the lunch room and that we'd missed it.  Frustrating!!!

We left Thomas because he wanted to sight read a song in the advanced band's performance later on, and went to hear Katrina sing.  She did such a good job!  Some of the songs they sang were "Aura Lee,"  "Sixties Du Wop," and "Joy in the Morning."  After that, we let Miriam drive around awhile (she is still trying to get her night hours so that she can get her license) and then we picked up Thomas from the high school when he called.  Turns out he ended up doing a Jazz solo on the trumpet and WE MISSED IT!!!!  That's the second special part we've missed this week and those are probably the only 2 that the kids performed this year!  Arrrgggghhh!!

Sorry.  Anyway, we tried the new sugarless mango slurpees at Seven Eleven and put gas in my car.  We listened to Jon Bytheway again as we drove.  Fun stuff.

I tried to Skype Jon this morning, but no dice.  I hope he's doing good.  He should be in the dorms now, but we haven't heard :(  I haven't heard from Cass, Em, and Lily, either.  So sad :(

Well, hang in there, Matt.  I know that you are doing the right thing being in the MTC and I know Heavenly Father is very pleased with what you are doing.  So are we!


News and a Letter From Matt

On Wednesday we had good news and bad news.  The good news was that we got emails from Matt.  The bad news was that they didn't say much.  What they did say is that he did, indeed receive his Cinco De Mayo package and liked it.  He also said that he hasn't taken any pictures and even if he had, he has no way of getting the picts to me unless he sends me the memory card.  Weird.  I guess I'll ask him to take them anyway so that he'll have them someday.  Then he said that he meant to ask me to send shirts, not shoes.  Well...  I'd already sent him brand new shoes earlier Wednesday, so now I guess I'll send him shirts.  He also gave permission to post his letters on this blog although he said he had no idea why anyone would want to read them.

On Thursday we had only good news.  Matt sent us a letter.  Yay!
Here is Matt's letter:

Dear family!
(insert upside down exclamation mark here)Hi!  How are you all doing?  I ask that rhetorically  because Mom writes me every day.  [Blog note:  Except yesterday.  :( Wahhhhh :( ]  

Thank you all (well most of you :)  ) for writing to me, especially Katrina for telling me multiple times  (okay, only twice) that she has Jon's phone.  I love getting dear elders, the only problem is that I can't see an email or mailing address to write them back [Blog note to Self:  Fix that!]

Stuff is the same ol' same here, um...I wanna just go to Mexico but there's stuff I need to learn.

Katrina:  I'm not fluent.  Cashering sucks : P  I'm happy for you (anyway).  We sit and eat and get fat at the MTC.
Thomas:  I'm glad you finished your Rub Golberg (or whatever).
Miriam:  Hi.  Hope stuff is going good for you and that you're feeling better.
Dad:  You're a walking contradiction (and I mean that with love, about your early life).
Mom:  Thanks for the constant letters! 


May 17--Dear Elder: Waffle Wednesday, Concerts, etc.

Dear Elder,

Wow, I can't believe I didn't get a letter written to you before the noon deadline on Wednesday. I am so sorry! I hope your day Wednesday was a good one. We got your emails. Thanks for writing.

Wednesday was a busy day, but we got it all done. Elizabeth and her two little girls came over to visit. We had a very nice time. Well, at least I did, I hope they did. The girls watched a movie, lunched and napped, Elizabeth tried to paint Grandma's fingernails but it hurt her too bad to do it, an Elizabeth and I both changed the picture wall above the stairs. It's not done yet, but it looks pretty cool already. I had to leave before E to take the kids to work, and guess what that girl did before she left...cleaned the house! Yesiree, Bob. I went up all stressed wondering how I would be able to take care of the house with everything else I needed to do, it was done. It was sooo nice.

After school, we had two of Katrina'f friends over for Waffle Wednesday as well as Abby from across the street. One friend brought her genealogy and we figured out how she and Katrina are related. After waffle Wednesday I took the kids to work and then Dad and I drove our bikes over to the park and then rode along the river trail. It was green and lush and beautiful and so fun to be with him. Later that night we got to see a play Katrina wrote and another she directed. They were both VERY good. I wish you could have seen them.

After that, Katrina, Thomas, and I went to watch the rest of Miriam's concert. Unfortunately, we missed her sing a trio part on a song with some other girls. She hadn't told us about it because she didn't want to complicate our lives more (we were triple booked last night). I am so sad that I didn't get to see it! If nothing else, Dad and I could have split up and recorded what we saw for the other person.

Well, today were taking a meal into a neighbor across the street because he's been in the hospital lately. I also hope to bring a meal to the Lowders, but I need to contact them.

Dad is getting a crown at the dentist today; Jon tried to Skype us yesterday but we had to leave and I'm very sad about it; I finally got pictures of Cassandra and family up on the wall; and Thomas and Katrina both have a concert tonight, but I don't know how that's going to work since both the choir and the band require the auditorium. Anyway, that's what's up.

I love you very much, son, and have a prayer in my heart for you always. Remember to wait upon the Lord!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16--Dear Elder: From Mom

Dear Elder,
Hi. How are you today? I hope all is well for you there at the MTC and I hope to get an email from you today. Yay!

Things are good here. I just got home awhile ago from sending you a package, so I'm not sure if you'll get it today or tomorrow, but it's coming. It's just shoes and cookies and the cookies are weird, so don't get too excited.

Yesterday was a pretty good day although I'm having a hard time remembering what all we did. We emailed Jon a couple of questions, had Grandma out with the fam, watched a show, and let Miriam drive to get night driving hours. We listened to John Bytheway CD's on the drive. It was quite fun.

Hey, guess what Miriam got on the ACT? A 28!!! She's pretty happy. She's also pretty much decided to go to BYU next year. Pretty cool stuff.

The kids do more training at work after school, and then Miriam has a concert, Dad has a work barbecue, and Katrina will be showing the play she directed in
Drama class. We all feel torn in three different directions. Hopefully we can all see Katrina's play since it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We are very grateful to Thomas for having nothing going on tonight.

Today Elizabeth is coming over if she can get away. I'm cleaning out the pantry today. With only 3 kids in the house now, we use WAY less food. It's kind of weird.

Well, that's my letter, boring but sincere. Have a great Wednesday.


PS The emails that you get from dearelder are just copies of the letters you have already received, so you don't need to read them again unless you want to. I did send you 2 emails with questions that I am hoping you will reply to with the answers.

May 15--Dear Elder: From Brian

Here are some highlights of the letter Brian sent to Matt yesterday:

Dear Matt,
I guess I am not the best letter writer but I do hope that this letter finds you well. I am looking forward to the end of the school year! I can't wait to get away from O & A.

So what do you think of the ol' MTC? Do they still let you play Volleyball? I used to love volleyball, that and the devotionals. Have you had any awesome devotionals yet? The time that dragged the most for me was classes in the evening, It was always hard not to fall asleep! I would love to hear what the MTC is like for you.

I took Miriam night driving last night. I showed my students a picture of the P.E.T. 8k computer that they had when I was in high school.
I ordained Thomas a teacher last Sunday. Saturday I helped Mom plant flowers. that was her mothers day present. We had the Beyers and Paul come over for Mother's day on Sunday.  Well I better get back to work.
Love Dad.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15--Dear Elder: Family Home Evening, etc.

Dear Elder,
Hi, how are you today?  I hope that you are well and that everything is going good for you at the MTC.

Yesterday was a nice day.  I got a lot done, but still need to go grocery shopping for the week.  When the kids got home, I got Grandma out of bed to visit and eat lunch.  When Brian got home, we put her back in bed and drove into Provo as a family.  We started some errands there and also visited with Vic and Joyce.  Vic just got knee replacement surgery.  We also went to the school and listened to Miriam sing which was fun.  We saw Adam sitting in front of us but didn't get a chance to say "hi."  Afterwards we caught a late supper and Wendy's.  Then we read a conference talk before bed.  A pretty good Family Home Evening day.

Well, I need to send you your shoes soon.  I hope I'm able to!  Sorry this note is so short.  Have a great day!


Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14--Dear Elder: Mother's Day and Thomas's Birthday Report

 Dear Elder,

Just a quick note before the deadline for getting a letter sent to you today. We had a nice Mother's Day and Thomas's birthday yesterday. I was the first person to wish Thomas a happy birthday, which was nice. Miriam and Katrina made me a very nice birthday breakfast consisting of an omelet, yogurt, almonds, apples, and a strawberry smoothie. It was delicious. Miriam also washed the dishes last night which was so nice! I got the whole house clean and the laundry done already today, largely because of her nice kick-start with the dishes. Thomas was, indeed, ordained a teacher yesterday and was also set apart as the secretary in the teacher's quorum. We are so glad that he is worthy to be a teacher in the Aaronic priesthood.

After church we got to Skype with Jon and talk to Cassandra on the phone. It was so nice to talk to them! Jon says he gets to meet a lot of people and they like him, but they don't really like Americans in Canada. He will be moving into dorms on Tuesday. I hope that will be a good thing. I think it will. Cassandra and Lily were on their own this weekend since Emerson had to work 12 hour days at the plant. It was sad because he had planned a big Mother's Day date for Cassandra that they weren't able to do because when there's trouble at the plant, everyone has to drop everything and go to work. They meet for lunch sometimes so that Lily can see her daddy since he leaves for work before she wakes up and gets home after she is in bed. They are hanging in there!

Getting to talk to Cass and Jon was a very nice Mother's Day gift. I wish we could have talked to you, but I know it wasn't possible. My gift from you is getting your emails every Wednesday. That really makes our week! Another nice gift I got yesterday was a nap--yesiree, Bob. I slept forever. In fact, when I woke up and saw that it was 7:03, I thought the clock was broken. But it wasn't. When I got upstairs, Grandma's visitors were already over and the party was in full swing. We sang happy birthday to Thomas and made sure Grandma got lots of watermelon and good conversation.

Last night, Dad and I went on a walk and I talked to Grandma H. on the phone. She had a very nice mother's day. She liked the card I sent her, and we had fun talking. She and Dixie are going to Oregon soon to see Great Grandma S. who is about as bad off as Grandma C.

Well, that was our day yesterday. I'd better get this off or you may not get it today. I love you! I hope you got my package! The whole family is praying for you and is happy you are liking the MTC.
Have a great day!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13--Mother's Day, Thomas's B day, etc

Dear Elder,

How are you today? I hope that you are good and that you got the package we sent to the MTC yesterday. I'm sorry it took me so long to send your pants. I knew that you wouldn't need a second pair of suit pants in Mexico, but I just barely realized on Friday that you very much need your second pair of pants in the MTC because all that you probably wear there is your suit. I am so sorry for being so slow!

I hope the brownies got to you okay and weren't too sticky and messy by the time you opened them, Even if they were, I hope they tasted good. I still don't even know if you got the first package I sent you. I hope you did! I still plan on sending you your tan canvas shoes. They were pretty dirty so I washed them. In fact, they are sitting in the washer right now. I am going to take a break from typing to get them outside where the wind and the sun will hopefully dry them soon. Hmmm. Very strange. I went to get them and they are not there. I know I put them in to wash. What I think happened is that last night while I was already sleeping, your sweet dad remembered them and took them outside to dry so that I could send them to you on Monday. In fact, I know that is what happened because I know your dad!

Speaking of your amazing dad, yesterday (Saturday), he took me to breakfast and then to Walmart and a plant nursery where he bought me tons of plants and flowers for Mother's Day! We bought drought-tolerant ground cover and planted it along the fence to choke out the weeds there, we bought pansies and petunias and day lilies, we bought herbs, we bought wood chips, etc etc. Now I have pots of flowers and flower beds and an herb garden. It was lots of money and lots of work and Dad is very sweet to have done all that. We worked fast and managed to get done soon enough to go out for a late dinner. All that along with taking care of Grandma and getting the kids to and from work made it a very busy day.

Friday Thomas celebrated his birthday at a joint party with Abby, across the street. Thomas spent most of his birthday allowance on food for the party, and Abby's family did food, too, so there was quite a spread--seven layer dip, M&M's, Chips, pop, Cheezits, chocolate dipped pretzels, and cupcakes. Most of the girls Abby invited came, but most of the boys Thomas invited didn't come. The reason for that is twofold--first, Thomas didn't get most of his invitations out till the day before and, second, the boys he invited from the ward had a campout that night. Still, Jayden across the street, and Thomas's friend, Brian, did come and they all had a great time. I don't think the boys minded being out numbered all that much.

Miriam and Katrina have helped me out so much this weekend. They worked hard to get everything over to the party and then back home when it was over, and yesterday they worked hard to clean the house so that I wouldn't have so much to do last night. They really made life easier and didn't complain even though they didn't get much out of it.

Today is Thomas's birthday and Grandma's day. Thomas will be ordained to the office teacher in church today, and I'm so proud of him for being worthy to hold the priesthood. We have invited Don and Renee and their family and Paul and his family over to a party to eat watermelon and mangoes in Grandma's honor (her favorite food), and to eat cake and ice cream for Thomas's birthday. I hope Grandma enjoys the party. We hope to have it outside, depending on the weather. Allen and Becky sent Grandma a beautiful fruit bouquet which she got yesterday and really enjoyed eating. She especially liked the cantaloupe. The fruit pieces were on a stick which made it very easy for Grandma to eat them on her own. Last night she enjoyed sitting in the kitchen, eating fruit, and watching a movie with Katrina.

Today, also, I plan to call my own mommy. I tried to call her last night, but she was gone. We sent Grandma a card in the mail, but I'm really not sure that she got it yet. I know she'll like the picture on it. I also sent her an old yellowed piece of paper with a poem on it that I wrote to her when I was a little girl. I wrote it in what I thought was fancy lettering and the poem goes like this:
 Mother, you're so dear,
You always hold me near,
And tell me things I like to hear.
Mother you're so dear.
Deep stuff, I know. I'm pretty sure that a few months ago I thought of something real great to get Grandma for Mother's Day, and I can't remember what it was. It's driving me crazy! Oh well, I hope she likes the card, at least.

I got to Skype with Cassandra on Friday, and it was so fun to see Lily! She waves "good bye," and when Cassandra says "Good girl," Lily repeats it. We got to Skype for a long, sweet time. Lily is so cute, and she has such a beautiful and sweet mommy and loving and devoted daddy! I know all my grand kids will be so blessed, and I will be the happiest grandma in the world!

I haven't heard from Jonathan for a few days, but Dad was on facebook last night, and I read one of Jon's post. It was about lame food in Canada, pretty funny, ha ha. He says Canadians are really funny but don't mean to be. He also says they are the worst, most polite drivers anywhere. I can't wait to talk to him again. I wish this computer would let me know when he's on line so that I can Skype him. I guess it's just as well that I can't Skype him since my messy hair and purple moo moo might scare him into never leaving Canada!

I am going to wear the beautiful lily necklace that you kids gave me for Mother's Day to church. I hear it was Jon's idea and Miriam picked it out. I love it!! I know that you didn't contribute monetarily because of your mission, but I also know that you would have if you could have. I guess you haven't seen it; it's beautiful! The fact that it is a lily means so much to me. I can't explain it. It's like I get to wear Lily close to my heart. It is rhodium plated sterling silver, so it is super sleek and shiny and beautiful in every way. I try to wear it every day and I like to rub it and feel it's smoothness and remember how much my children love me!

What??? It's nine o clock??? No way, how did that happen? I've got to go. I love you, Matt. Thanks for keeping in touch and for being a missionary. We all love you so much! Please have a wonderful day.


Friday, May 11, 2012


I added something to my letter to Matt.  Here it is:

Katrina did win some school awards! She won awards in Choir, Drama, Adult Roles, and Biology. We are soooo proud of her.

May 11--Dear Elder

Dear Elder,

We got a letter from you, yesterday!!! It was very exciting because we didn't expect it at all. Thanks for answering so many of our questions. I'm very glad that you like your companion. If you get a chance, let me know where in Arizona he's from.

Wow, it sounds like you are really working hard and learning so much. I like your favorite Spanish phrase: Pues, pues, pues, que tenemos aqui? Sorry, no upside down question mark :)

I got the list of things you need, and I'll be sending them to you. On the list you wrote, "If you still have any of my shoes" If I still have any of your shoes, what? Do you want me to send them, do you want me to save them, which ones? Anyway, I'm guessing you want them, so I'll ask Miriam which ones to send and get them to you soon.

Yesterday was a pretty good day.  Dad seemed to enjoy his conference--I think its up at the ski resort, but I'm not sure.

Miriam got her hair cut REALLY short. It looks really good, but she's still trying to get used to it. Her throat still hurts.

Thomas and Katrina attended the school dance and then Katrina hung out at Baily's and Thomas went to Abby Melton's to dip pretzels for their joint birthday party which is tonight, by the way.

I didn't hear from Jon or Cass yesterday :(

I took Elizabeth to get a build a bear for her birthday. She loved it!!! It was Sarah's idea. We siblings usually buy each other nothing for our birthdays and consider ourselves lucky if we get happy birthday phone calls, so this was an exception.

Last night I helped Sister ______ move into her new house. She and Brother _______have divorced and she and her daughter,  (Thomas's age) are trying to pick up the pieces. We emptied 4 or five boxes and then I bought them Wendy's for dinner. I hope it helped them know someone cares.

Speaking of that, Monday I had a very hard day, and I thought to myself, "No one cares." Of course, that's not true, and I knew it, but I felt very down. Not long after that, a sister in the ward called to tell me she loves me and was thinking about me. She showed me she cares and she also showed me that Heavenly Father cares. He cares enough to prompt a loving friend to give me a call!

Matt, I know that Heavenly Father cares about you and that He is very pleased with what you are doing.
You are working to bring some of his beloved children back to live with Him forever! I don't believe there is a greater work on the face of the earth. Thank you for representing our family in such a way.

I love you very much.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Okay, we're all caught up now.  Sorry for the confusion.  If you are reading these posts on email, they are all out of order.  If you go to the blog, they will be all nice and in order.  I'll try to keep up from now on.

May 10--Another Letter from Matt. Hooray!

We just got a letter from Matt today and it's actually two handwritten pages long!  Yay!

He wrote a bit about their MTC schedule which consists of studying Spanish and teaching the gospel.

He says the following:
His companion is from Arizona and that he is "a great companion" which he is glad of.
In the MTC, days pass like weeks and weeks pass like days.
He has seen his cousin Jacob a couple of times
"If this is the worst part of a mission, then this is gonna be awesome."

Then he wrote me a list of the things he needs and said that he can't answer all my questions because he doesn't have them in front of him to remind him of what I asked.

He's already writing in Spanish a bit.  Love it!

May 10

Dear Elder,

We got your email yesterday. It was so nice to hear from you! You sound so happy. We love you and are praying for you.

Yesterday the kids had their first training at the water park. They seemed to actually enjoy it and Miriam said she thinks the management will be better this year.

This morning, Miriam has a bad sore throat and couldn't find her glasses. It is definitely not her day.

Katrina missed her school awards night because of work yesterday, but I think she got an award, because they sent her an invitation to the occasion in the mail. I guess we'll find out today.

Thomas showed us his Rube Golberg video and it is very cool. He got full credit for it and all I can say is that after 30 hours of working on it, he'd better have!

Jonathan called me and woke me up last night so I don't remember much about what he said. Mostly he talked to Dad. I do know that he is alive and kickin' and that's good.

Was Lily completely walking when you were there?  Cassandra posted the cutest video of it on her blog. It is so amazing to watch that tiny nine month old dolly walking on her own.

Grandma wasn't very coherent yesterday. I think she's taken a turn for the worst, but she has her ups and downs so hopefully this is temporary. We are planning a nice Mother's Day for her.

Dad is attending a conference for teachers today and tomorrow. He is giving other people rides so he took the van and I have the pick-up. Yippee. You know how good I am at driving stick.

Having the pickup today is extra fun because I get to drive it all the way to Elizabeth's house. I am taking her to the mall because Sarah and I want to get her a build a bear for her birthday. Weird, I know, but she loves them so we decided she needs one of her own. It is going to be so fun being there with her and Joy and Mercy. Hopefully we can stay awhile and let them play on the toys.

The only other news I can think of is that I got my hair cut quite short (chin length). I like it.

Other than that, we are just working hard, playing happily, and trying to stay awake.

Have a wonderful day, and don't get discouraged. Most worthwhile things don't come easy, but they are always worth the work. You will be grateful every day of your life for the things you are learning here.

You may feel small at times, but you will do great things because " small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." (Alma 37:6)

Have a great day!


May 9--Email From Matt

On the ninth we got our first email from Matt.  It was so exciting!  Besides saying that he can only email on Wednesdays and that he likes getting daily letters better than emails that he can only read weekly, all he said is that he enjoys hearing about what the family is up to and that he loves us.  Really short, but really sweet!

May 9

Dear Elder,

Today you have officially been in the MTC for one full week. How does it feel?

Yesterday I drove the kids to get their food handler's permits and then I helped Dad fix the renter's sink so that there would be no more flooding. I guess the bottom had rusted out of their water purifier tank.

We had hamburgers for dinner and then we took Grandma on a drive. We drove towards the mountains, over by the lake. Grandma kept telling Dad to "Slow WAY down" the whole drive. Thomas started a riddle game with Grandma and she did pretty good. He asked her what is big and red and drives WAY too fast. She said, "A Toyota." She even asked a riddle of her own: "What is big and hairy and scary?" I guessed Dad, but it was a cow.

Well, it's waffle Wednesday, so we'll be doing that after school and then I'll take the kids into the water park for training.

I hope you have a good Wednesday. Do you teach investigators? I didn't know they do that, Jacob had to teach an investigator in Chinese his second week there. They thought it was an actor, not a real investigator. Funny!

Tell Thomas to put on a shirt. He doesn't listen to me.

Well, Have a happy day. Maybe I'll send you a Mother's day package, ha ha.


May 8

Dear Elder,
Hi! We got your letter yesterday. We really liked it. It made our day! I'm glad you like your companion and the other missionaries and learning the language, etc. It was all so good to hear.

Katrina wanted to watch the high school's spring play, Sherlock Holmes, for FHE last night, so that's what we did. It was a wonderful production. Kenny in our ward was Sherlock.

Dad says Grandma's renters called--there was a flood upstairs in the rental. Fun stuff, huh? He's sure losing lots of weight and really looks great.

Miriam is home, sick, today. She has a cold and went back to bed after breakfast.

Thomas is planning an "I love lunch" flash mob for the school lunch room with the student council. He made student council for next year, by the way.

Jon called last night. He made it to Canada and was in his hotel room. It was really great to Skype with him. I guess he starts work today, in fact, he may have done a bit last night, he was thinking that he might need to.

I also talked to Cassandra yesterday. She says Lily is walking really well and that she has a video of it. They are planning to post it on their blog soon. I can't wait!

I've been learning a lot from other moms with sons in Culiacan like how to keep bugs off, etc. BTW, please let us know if there is anything you need. It is way easy to send stuff to the MTC, but almost impossible to send anything to Mexico. Also, you left the second pair of pants to your suit so I will be sending those to you soon along with your driving record, so let me know what else you need or want. Also, in the papers you brought is an insurance card. Will you put it in your wallet if you haven't already? Thanks.

I got on Jacob's mission blog today. Julie and Kelly had posted his first email and also the pictures he's taken so far. I was wondering if you'd let me do a blog for you. I could post the address on your facebook acct if you wanted me to and everyone could go there to see what you are up to. Please let me know if I can do this. Also, are you taking pictures? It would be really nice to see what your companion looks like, etc.

Well, I hope we get a nice email from you soon. We love you so much and pray for you every day.

May 8--Letter From Matt!

On May 8, we got our first letter from Matt.  It was four hand written sentences long, but it was a letter!  It said he is happy at the MTC and that he's been getting my letters.  He didn't answer any of my questions including telling me if I can publish his letters on this blog, so I'm just paraphrasing for now.   It is amazing how much happiness four sentences written in bad hand writing can cause!

May 7

Dear Elder,
Happy Monday the 7th! I hope you had a nice weekend. I also hope we are sending you enough mail! I just heard that MTC missionaries don't get to call their moms on Mother's day--That stinks, but I'll survive :)
I hope you get to use your email soon, we are all waiting to hear how you are doing.
Things are going pretty well around here. I got a call from Cassandra which was nice. It's fun to get caught up. Can't believe tiny little Lily is walking!
Yesterday Renee and Becky came over and we had a nice visit.
Thomas and Abby from across the street are planning a birthday party together. It will be Friday in Abby's back yard. Thomas is pretty bummed that his actual birthday is on Mother's Day, ha ha.
I love you very much, Matt. It's so exciting to have you in the MTC. I hear it's not easy, so I hope you are praying hard and hanging in there.

May 6

 Dear Elder,

Hi, how are you doing this Sabbath day? What are Sundays like on a mission, BTW? Are they different than other days? How are they different?

I saw Jerron's mom in church. I had no idea she had come to your farewell. That is so sweet. She said she mentioned your farewell to Jerron and he said he'd been wondering about you and where you were going on your mission. Also Jared's mom told me Jared says "Hi" and that he hopes everything is going well for you in the MTC. It's always nice to know people care!

We had nice church meetings today. In testimony meeting many people talked about the importance of gratitude and in Sunday School we talked about the people of Zeniff and the importance of following the prophet. In Relief Society we learned about prayer and I bore my testimony. As a mom, I rely constantly on prayer. I hope you know that I know Heavenly Father answers our prayers and that, whatever happens, I am always praying for you.

I love you very much.

May 5

Dear Elder,
Hi, from Mom! How are you doing? I hope you enjoyed your Cinco de Mayo package. We had lots of fun putting it together for you.
I am wondering when they will be letting you make your Mother's day call. Please let us know so that we will be home. We are available any time besides during church. If you need to call during church, we can do that, too. Just let us know.
Sorry about all the boring business stuff. We love you very much and pray for you. I'll write again soon!

Matt's Cinco De Mayo Package--a pinata full of candy, chips and bean dip, and chocolate covered donuts--Matt's favorite

May 4--From Brian

 Dear Elder,
Hi! Mom just told me how to do this this morning so I thought I would write you a letter!
How is the MTC? What do you think of your group? What building are you in? I really have enjoyed having you home these last months, I wish I had been less busy and had less stuff going on. I hope you are feeling good about life, I know what you are doing can be pretty intense. Things around home have sure changed alot since you left, well actually I'm joking! but I DID find your secret MP3 player!!!! funny! I made Miriam give me all of the money from your truck, I told her it was that or she had to pay for her insurance :) Now I am almost a buck and a half richer!!! okay, here is what has really been happening, I had a really bad tooth ache after you left and I literally only slept for half an hour, so the next day I went and got a root canal which wasn't too bad, but I still had to go back to work and then to wash hut. when I got home @ 4:30 I crashed until 10, woke up for 2 hours and then slept till morning. Jon is coming home today.
I really, really, enjoyed our last day togeter, it was weird how you were gone so suddenly.
Well, I can't wait to hear about life for you.
Know that I am very proud (the good kind of pride) of you and love you very much. Angels are watching over you to help you in the work.

May 4

Dear Elder,
This is Mom. I say that because I made this account available to other family members who want a simple way to write to you. I hope you get a few letters from others soon. Happy Friday. How was your first full day at the MTC? I hope it was great. Have you seen anyone you know yet? Have you moved beyond what you already knew in Spanish yet? Ha ha.

Yesterday Dad had a root canal, lucky guy. Actually it was lucky, or rather a real blessing, because he was in lots of pain and the doctor/dentist guy just happened to have a cancellation, so he was able to fit Dad in. Anyway, he's feeling lots better. He came home from work and slept till 10:00 pm.

Thomas and his friend, Kolby, finally got their Rube Golberg project to work on Wednesday. I think they invested about an hour of work per second of video. Thirty seconds=30 hours. Pretty wild. Today Thomas finds out if he gets elected to student council. He says he's not sure people even know he's running because he never put up new posters; he just left up his student body pres posters.

Katrina has a choir festival today which I hope I am going to be able to attend. I look forward to listening to her sing and also talking to her on the drive home.

Miriam and I are going up to a cabin for an over nighter with leaders and other girls her age to plan our up-coming girls camp. I'm really looking forward to spending time together! Dad gets to stay home and take care of Grandma. He's sure sweet to do it!

Jonathan is coming home today for the weekend. He leaves for Canada on Monday. Can you believe it? He will actually be the first of our kids to live in a foreign country, if you can call going from hotel to hotel living, ha ha. Anyway, I really look forward to seeing him this weekend.

I watched the cutest video of Lily yesterday. She crawls up to a cupboard, and her favorite thing is the cupboard door. She sits opening and closing it forever. I told Cassandra that now I know what I'm getting her for her birthday. Yep, a cupboard door.

Cassandra shared a good scripture on Facebook, it's one of my favorites. It's Isaiah 41:10 which says,
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
I know that Heavenly Father is with you and will answer your prayers and strengthen and sustain you. I know that he will also answer our prayers on your behalf.

I sure love you, Matt, and hope you have a good weekend. May the Spirit be with you.


May 3

Dear Elder,
 How was your first night in the MTC? I hope it went well. How is the food? Do you like your companion?
After we saw you off yesterday, we went over to Grandma's to clean up her yard. Then we came home and the kids had waffle Wednesday while I slept. Last night Dad and I carried Grandma down the stairs in a folding chair and out to the van. We loaded her up in "shotgun" and took her for a ride. We stopped at Don and Renee's for her to say "hi" to them, and then we drove back home. It was kind of funny because she really liked it, but on the way home, Dad asked her if she enjoyed the ride and she said no because her son drove too fast and too dangerously.
Grandma and Grandpa called yesterday to ask about you and how dropping you off went. They said to say, "Hi."
Anyway, I hope you enjoy your first full day at the MTC. We love you very much and can't wait to hear from you when they let you email.
I forgot to send you your driving record, so I will do that sometime. Have a great day!

May 2

Dear Elder,
 Just thought I'd write you a letter this morning so that you'd have one waiting for you at the MTC. It was so wonderful to be there last night when you got set apart. I really felt the spirit. I am looking forward to today, going out to eat with you and the fam, and seeing you off around noon. I am corresponding with tons of other moms whose sons are in Culiacan, Mexico and asking them tons of questions; it's fun! I'm sure I'll probably have tons of questions for you, too :). Please let us know what it is like at the MTC so that we can imagine you being there. I love you very much, Matt. I know the MTC will be hard, but worth it!

Flood Warning

Okay, just to warn you, prepare for a flood of posts as I catch up to where I need to be on my blog.

 First, an update.  We saw Matt off to the LDS Missionary Training Center on May 2.  It was a happy and exciting day for our family to see our boy leave for 2 years to serve the Lord.  He will be at the MTC till July learning the Spanish language and training to be a Missionary.  This training consists largely of learning how to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Before going to the MTC, we went to the park, ate MacDonald's breakfast and played frisbee.

Taking a rest.

Trying to get the frisbee out of a tree (Matt was the Frisbee Hero who saved the frisbee.)

Then we went home, Matt changed into his suit, and we left for the MTC.

We had no one to take our picture, so we had to do it in shifts.

 Matt at the MTC, excited and nervous

One of the 3 nice Elders who helped Matt unload

 Proud Mamma

Since I write to Matt on a daily basis to keep him posted on family happenings, future blog posts will largely consist of my letters to him.  The letters will begin "Dear Elder" because LDS missionaries go by the title "Elder" as in Elder Smith, Elder Jones, etc.   Enjoy!