Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Aug 19--Dear Elder

Dear Elder,

Our Front Garden

How are you?  I hope you had a wonderful week!  It was good to hear about your first week in your first area.  Why don’t they let you contact people on the street?  Every time I see two missionaries walking together in the hot sun, I think of you, and I have often thought that if we members would do our duty, missionaries wouldn't have to tract at all.  You and your fellow missionaries could be preaching the gospel, not beating the bushes, so to speak.  What kind of special events do you do? The two that come to my mind are English classes, and tours of the meetinghouse, assuming you have a meetinghouse, ha ha.  Do you ever do these things?  I imagine that your companion wouldn't mind helping you do and English class whether he can speak the language or not, because if He doesn't know it, the class will help him learn it. What other things do you do?  How do you encourage the members to help you?

You asked me how I feel about sharing the gospel with our neighbors.  I have many feelings including a deeper love for them, and added interest in their well-being, and relief that they still talk to me, ha ha.  Most of all Matt, I am so glad that I could do what I know Heavenly Father wants me to do.  Like you said, he has done so much to bless my family, and He has shown His love for us in so many ways, it would be very ungrateful of me to not share these blessings with His other children.  I don’t think there is a better feeling in the world than to know that I have returned a minuscule portion of the love that Jesus Christ has so freely given to me and my family.

Thanks for what you said about the Brother of Jared preparing the stones to be touched by the finger of the Lord and how our small efforts, too, can be touched and magnified by the Lord.  I never really thought about that, and as I consider it now, I think that just as the Brother of Jared saw the hand of the Lord as He touched the stones, and eventually got to be in His presence, so we can see the hand of the Lord in our faithful efforts and eventually, through continued faithfulness, become worthy to dwell in His presence.  Thanks for helping me to understand these things better.

 I also feel a deeper desire to be about the Lord’s work.  You quoted a passage in “Preach my Gospel” that said we should pray for opportunities to serve others and share the gospel with them, so I have been doing that.  I have been prompted in small ways to share the gospel as I interact with others.  One thing I have been prompted to do is to be more active on the internet.  This not only connects me more with others, it gives me the opportunity to share my beliefs.  Heavenly Father enlightens my mind about things to say in order to do that.  I also pray for more opportunities for me and the family to open our home and hearts to others and also to share the gospel.

Today is Wednesday.  Monday we traveled home from our trip, and Thomas went to football practice.  Later, we were able to eat dinner together as a family, all except Miriam who was at work, before Thomas went to football again.  When Miriam got home, we visited with her while she ate and then we took her and Katrina out for dessert.  Kind of a choppy family home evening.  Also on Sunday we read and discussed a general conference talk with Thomas and Katrina, so we did family home evening the best we could this week.  It is very hard to manage with football.

Tuesday was a busy, happy day.  I had an interview for a preschool  special ed job.  I thought I did a pretty good job, wasn’t too nervous, and said some good things, although since then I’ve thought of better things I could have said, of course.  It is just a little part time job, and is a good fit for me in every way except that it doesn’t earn much money, ha ha.  We’ll see what happens with it.  I also applied for about four other jobs, and they are all more hours.  Most of them haven’t closed yet.

Jon and Thomas played disc golf with one of Jon’s coworkers in the morning, and it was nice to see Jon when they got back.  with each other on our hand-held devices.It was kind of weird because Jon, Thomas, Miriam, Katrina, and I were  all sitting in the living room playing scrabble with each other. Then Thomas went to football and I took Katrina to the dentist, and he re-repaired her chipped tooth because the filling fell out this weekend.  He didn’t charge for that which was nice.  Then Katrina went to a friend’s, and I went to the grocery store.  After I picked Thomas back up from Football, he and I went in to Provo, got Dad, and bought base boards and door casings for our basement.  The drywall is done and looks good, so its time for us to put up the trim and paint.  I have no idea what color to paint it, though.  I got Thomas home in time to go to football again, and when Dad got home, he and I ate dinner with Miriam.

Today I am helping serve Thomas’s football team fruit after their first practice.  I also get to do finances, yippee, and I have some flowers to take to the neighbors and to the sister who lost her son.

I can’t believe that school starts next week!  Dad and I are going to education week in the evenings.  I really look forward to it!

Today is Thursday.  Matt, yesterday was a very good day.  I worked hard to make the best use of my time and did a lot of good things.  I read scriptures and wrote to you, I brought fruit and helped serve the boys on Thomas’s football team because they had an extra long practice yesterday.  I visited with the sister who lost her son and brought her a flower.  I visited with neighbors, did errands with Katrina, cooked dinner with Katrina even though we couldn’t all eat together, ate dinner with Miriam and Katrina, did my chores,  cleaned cupboards, washed the front door, cleaned up construction mess with Katrina, shared beliefs on one of my blogs, on Facebook, and online, joined the family for scriptures and prayer, and had a nice time conversing with Dad.

I have more to say to Dad and the kids these days, Matt, which is a good thing.  My default seems to be silence, and I am trying to change that.  I am learning that if no conversation is forthcoming, I can speak my thoughts out loud, and suddenly we are having a discussion about gospel subjects, learning experiences, etc.  I also seem to be able to put myself in other people’s shoes better lately which makes it easier to forgive, and harder to get offended.  I have been able to see things more as they really are instead of filtering everything through my own insecurities and weaknesses.  My life feels fuller and happier because of these things.

Today is Sunday.  A little bit about my visit to the sister who lost her son--  I brought a flower and a card and we visited for quite awhile.   She shared some memories of her son with me, and some of the feelings she’s been having.  They are faithfully enduring their sorrow.  We also shared gluten-free ideas since her son and one of her kids have Celiac.  She said she may want to work part-time this year, and I told her about all of the job openings with the school district.

Because of all the job openings at the district, I have had three interviews this last week.  I don’t think I got any of the jobs, I know I didn’t get one, but it has given me good experience interviewing.  At first, I didn’t repeat the things in my resume when they asked me about myself, I just said a sentence or two about myself and answered their questions.  After my second interview, it dawned on me that I needed to share my strengths more, so I did better on my third interview which was for a job working with sever/profound special education kids.  I don’t know if I’ll get the job, but I like to do my best on things.

Truthfully, if I had my way, I would begin substitute teaching for LDS seminary again.  It is the most enjoyable and rewarding thing I have done for pay.  The coordinator for our area seminaries called to see if I wanted to stay on the inactive list, or if I wanted to substitute this year.  I told her how much I love teaching the gospel in seminary, but that I won’t have the time that it takes to prepare lessons till my kids were out of high school.  She said that the program has changed and that I will find that I can prepare a wonderful lesson very quickly.  This really excited me about subbing seminary, but Dad said I should keep applying for jobs, and if I was supposed to teach seminary instead, the jobs wouldn’t pan out and I’d be able to do that.  We prayed about it, and I agreed that would be the best idea.  After all that is when I went to my third interview.  Anyway, we’ll see what happens.

This has been a nice weekend, I think.  Friday Dad and I watched Thomas’s football game, and he got to play some.  We enjoyed watching him out on the field.  Also, yesterday (Saturday), after Thomas worked and Dad played Axis and Allies with a friend and then worked, and Miriam and Katrina and I shopped, we all got together and had a nice time at the bookstore, the mall, and the store.  Then we went home, ate ice cream, and watched an old Bing Crosby movie.  It was really fun.

During the movie, the neighbors stopped by and Jeff and Dad planned today’s sacrament meeting at the assisted living home.  This morning, our two families went to the home and held sacrament meeting services.  Dad and Alex blessed the bread and water, and Thomas passed it to the nursing home residents and their guests.  Alex gave a good talk on the atonement, and we wanted Katrina to give a talk, but she said she’d have no time to prepare, so Dad gave a talk.  It was about the grace of Jesus Christ, and it was very good.  Miriam played the piano and I said the opening prayer.  It was a nice service.  We will be leaving to attend Sunday School and Priesthood Mtg./Relief Society in our own ward.  Actually, I have volunteered to work in the nursery, so I will be teaching the gospel to the toddlers of the ward.  I really look forward to it!

Now it is Monday, and I am getting ready to email this letter to you.  Yesterday was a wonderful day, and I feel like my prayers have really been answered about it.  After church, Thomas, Katrina, and I made Rice Crispie treats, and had so much fun laughing and talking while we made them.  We also played Celestial Pursuit.  Amazingly enough, it was Thomas's idea.  I don't know if you have ever played that with us, Matt, but it is an old game from the eighties that asks church related questions.  I usually have to beg and promise my life away to get anyone to play with me, ha ha.  Anyway, it was lots of fun, and Thomas lost, poor guy.  I hope he didn't mind too much!  When Dad got home, we ate and visited together.  Later we had family home evening which consisted of piling on our bed and watching the churches new training video about families and the priesthood.  Dad shared his insights about the priesthood, and it was a wonderful experience.  After that we watched the first movie Jimmy Stewart starred in, and it was dumb, and we, especially Thomas, were pretty disgusted, but it was fun to be together, ha ha.

School starts later this week, Matt.  I can't believe its already back to school, and would give a lot to have another month home with the kids.  I really don't want to have to go to work, and hope I don't get offered a job today, ha ha. There is so much to do and so little time as it is!  I think there is only one job I could still get offered.  I got an email from one saying I didn't get it, and I think they were going to choose someone for the other one on Friday.  My desire to sub in seminary is getting stronger and stronger.  Not only would I be doing what I love, I could have time at home when I need it. Whatever happens, I know it will be good and will all work out.

I can't wait for your email!  Please tell us all about your new area.  How is it different from Cabo?  How is it the same?  What are the people like?  What is your companion like?  What have you been doing?  Have you had anyone to teach?  How is the work coming.  BTW, I have to give a talk in church this Sunday about your mission.  Let me know if there is anything else you'd like me to say besides the things you sent earlier.  I  love you, Matt.  I have been praying that you will have people to teach.  Have a wonderful day!


PS I got to Skype with Cassandra and Lily twice this week, and Katrina got to Skype with them once.  They are doing good.  We are trying to figure out whether or not we will be able to get together for Christmas. I hope we can figure it out.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Aug 12--Another Email From Matt!

My week this week has been interesting, when I got here I found out that my new companion has only been here for three weeks, so we both are a little lost... haha! Other than that, the time flies like lightning. One week down and I didn't even get to blink. I am afraid that this letter is going to be short, but let me say that we are having a hard time finding new people, we can now no longer contact people in the street, so that leaves us with 2 options: special events and involving the members. We are going to try and do both. It's so hard to think of all the work we have to do, but thinking of it one thing at a time is a bit easier. I know that my missionary companion and I will be able to do all of the things that the Lord has planned for us if we are humble and listen to his spirit. I hope that you are all well. I love you all. Sorry that I couldn't send pictures!

Aug 12--Email From Matt

Mom, what a great experience. How do you feel? Do you feel happy? You saying that you wanted your neighbor to listen reminded me of a scripture in Alma 13:27

"And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance;"

In PMG it says this about sharing the gospel:

"Members who share the gospel experience joy and have the Spirit of the Lord more abundantly. As we share the gospel, we appreciate how precious and meaningful it is to us, and we feel a greater love for God and others.  The Lord promises to help members know what to say and do as they share the gospel."

I think that it absolutely wonderful that you had the courage to go over and bear your testimony. Also, giving them the Book of Mormon on CD was a wonderful way of giving them the chance to listen to it.

The stones that the Brother of Jared made didn't shine because they were perfectly made, rather because the Lord touched them; and so it is with our attempts to do missionary work!  I am so happy to hear you shared the gospel and I definitely want to hear if anything else happens with the neighbors, or if you find another way to share the gospel. again PMG says:"Members should pray for those who are not members of the Church.They should pray for missionary opportunities to serve those who are not of our faith and share what they believe," so keep on praying for other opportunities and remember the wonderful feeling that comes from sharing the Gospel!!! The Lord has helped you so much with you and your kids, now it's time for you to help His children.

I'm going to send more about my week in another letter. Don't worry about me, they don't kill missionaries in this mission. The people are good. The food they sell on the street is sometimes bad though... watch out for that food... it's a killer...


Aug 12--Dear Elder: Missionary Work, Mini Vacation

 Dear Matt, Thank you for your last email.  It was wonderful to read a synopsis of what you've learned and accomplished in Cabo.  We especially loved reading about your experience with Pablo.  I'm so glad that you and your companion were so close to the Spirit and able to help him the way you did.  We read about your experience to the kids, although I doubt they remembered to mention it in their letters to you, tonight.  You'll have to forgive them, Matt, a week ago to a teenager is like a year ago to the rest of us, ha ha.  They really enjoyed hearing it, though, and I think it was especially good for Thomas to hear in preparation to serve a mission, himself.  Dad was very touched by your account, and it made him cry.

It is exciting that you have been transferred.  Reading about all you've accomplished, it really seems like you did what the Lord wanted to you to do, and it was time to move on.  Thank you for taking the time to look at the good.  I hope it gave you a good feeling of accomplishment, which is a good thing. I looked up the word "balacero," and from what I can make out, it means "gun fighters."  Is that right?  I know something about Culiacan because Dad and I watched a special on it a couple of days before you were transferred, and all I can say is, I know I need to pray more often for your safety now, ha ha.  I am so happy to read that the ward helps the missionaries the way that they do.  I know you will only help, not hurt the work there.

I have been trying to do a bit of missionary work, myself, here at home.  (Blog note:  I then proceeded to tell Matt about my efforts to share the gospel)

The next morning, we left for a little vacation, and are still here, so I have no idea what happened yet with my efforts to share the gospel with others, but I still pray for them with all my heart.  We left Friday morning and got to the festival a bit before 10:00.  Our day started out slow, with a backstage tour, that was interesting, but very long.  That day we were able to see two plays, a musical and a William Shakespeare play.  Both were outstanding.  Dad arranged our trip and got us tickets for Katrina's sake because she begged us to go last year when they were doing "Les Miserables," but we couldn't because we were caring for Grandma at the time, so Dad told her we would go this year.  I must admit, I don't think anyone besides Katrina was excited to go, but we really enjoyed it.  Have you ever been there, Matt?  The theater is a reproduction of one of the theaters where Shakespeare's plays were performed.  It is an open-air theater, which makes it very beautiful and magical.  In fact, we loved it so much, that we went back and saw another play again last night.  The plan was to stay in a different city all day Saturday, but everyone wanted to drive back and see another play, so we did.

Okay, so this is how the trip went.  Friday, we saw two plays.  After the second play, and very late at night, we drove to the next city, checked into our hotel, and went to sleep.  Saturday we spent the day tooling around,

Kat and Thom at a place where pioneers wrote their names on the rock.  We went here and to the sand dunes on Saturday.

We visited Gpa and Gma's old house on Saturday, too.  Notice the tree in the foreground. It has a metal "No parking" sign imbedded in it.  When I was young, you could still see more than half of the sign

Now all you can see of the sign is a tiny corner.

and then we drove back to the festival in the evening to watch the second Shakespeare play, another excellent production.  Once again, we drove back to our hotel late at night.  Today (Sunday), we went to the temple visitor's center where we saw the Christus . After that, we went to church with my Uncle Ray.  Do you remember the time we went to California and on Sunday, we went to my Aunt Brenda and Uncle Ray's ward and then they invited us over for lunch afterward?  Well that same aunt and uncle bought a house here.  Brenda was out of town in California this week getting their home there ready to sell, but Uncle Ray was in town.  It was very nice to visit their ward.  We heard two missionaries speak, one going out, and one coming back.  They both gave very good messages. After that, my Uncle Ray gave us a tour of their new home.  It is absolutely beautiful with stained glass windows and lots of custom woodwork.  The back yard has lots of fruit trees and planter boxes.  It was very nice of my Uncle Ray to give us the "Grand Tour," and I'm so glad  we got to visit with him.  After that, we toured some church history sites.  Now it is time for bed, and we will be leaving for home in the morning.  It has been a wonderful trip.  The only sad thing is that Miriam couldn't join us because of work.  She is feeling sick, too.  I hope she is better soon.

Well, Matt, that is about it for this week.  We all love you very much, and are so proud of you.  Tell us all about your new companion and your new experiences.  Tell him "hi" for us, too.  Thank you for your good example of faithfulness to the Lord.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Aug 6--Email From Matt

Hey Mom, yeah, that was a little confusing backwards, but nothing too bad, so anyway, I am writing today because I got transferred, after just about 6 months in my last area, I am now in Culiacán, the land of balaceros. The bishop my new ward and my new companion picked me up in the airport yesterday at about 5:00 pm, and then the bishop took us out to eat late lunch early dinner in Carl's JR. A real Mexican style treat! hahah. Anyway, this ward is a doing well, they have a ward mission plan and many people have been getting baptized.

Here's some other news, Pablo, a 21 year old that I've known since the beginning of my time in los cabos, just barely got baptized this last Friday!!! It was such a cool experience, we were not expecting it at all! On Tuesday, at about 7:45 pm we were looking for someone, a reference, when suddenly, I felt the need to go talk with Pablo, it was a weird feeling, because I didn't doubt it at all, it wasn't a very firm feeling, but I knew that we needed to go see him, so, about 40 min. away from his house, we started running there, and (because the bus system is a lot more widely used here) we saw a bus and got on, even thought we didn't know where it was going to. As we were getting on, I saw that it was the right bus, and 15 min. later we were walking up to Pablo's house, he was sitting out side and the first thing he said to us, jokingly, was: "Elders, I called you here with my mind," to which we replied, seriously: "We know, what do you want?" We talked for a bit, entered his house and had a very spiritual lesson in which the Lord receives 200% of the credit for every good thing that was said. In the lesson, we all got down on our knees and Pablo asked the Lord what he needed to do, after his prayer, Elder Guzman and I got the strong impression that he needed to be baptized, and the first thing Pablo said was: "I need to change." We talked and he decided to be baptized August 2. I felt very honored when he asked me to baptize him. After his baptism he was confirmed by a brother from the Ward. What a great experience. It was a little hard to leave right after his baptism, but I'm sure that he's in good hands with Elder Guzman and Elder Toomy, and most importantly, the Lord.

Ok, my "assignment (Blog Note:  I gave Matt an assignment to list all of the good things he's done)":

I've been obedient, Elder Guzman and I had a great companion relation before I got transferred. We baptized Pablo, we changed our way of thinking about missionary work and had started to look for the people of humble heart and broken spirit, the kind of people that are willing to accept and follow the will of God.

 One couple we taught started paying tithing in a financially difficult moment and gained a great testimony on tithing that will help them throughout their life. They are also planning to be sealed in the temple this next April. Amazing.  I felt a real love for them and was sad to leave them.

 We were able to help a sister gain a testimony of the church after being a member for six year just to follow her husband, and she, in turn, has started to preach the gospel through example and word to her sons, daughters in law and grandchildren who all live in her home. She and her husband are now planning to be sealed this year in the temple.

Another sister started to do her daily scripture study and write in her journal, which is amazing because after she started we found out that she almost never had schooling and almost doesn't know how to read or write.

A family we taught started doing their family scripture study.

I've learned how to follow the spirit as I invite people to come unto Christ and to not force them.

I've learned to not judge others when they don't follow the rules, but rather to help them and, in some small way, inspire them to repent and live better, as I myself am inspired by them to live better and repent.

I've learned that fear destroys brotherly love, and many ways to avoid that fear.

 I've learned the importance of virtue and how my confidence can wax strong in the presence of God. All of that wouldn't have happened with out the loving correction and constant help of the Lord.

With that list of good things also comes a list of mistakes that I've made. I've been able to see the over-time effects that a missionary causes when he doesn't follow the spirit.

Well that's my letter this week Mom, sorry that it's late but better late than never! I hope to hear from you and the family.  If you can read the experience that we had with Pablo to Thomas, Katrina and Miriam and tell them that that is their letter from me this week? I love you all a lot. I hope that you are all doing well and I pray for you all.


Aug 4--Dear Elder

Dear Elder,

 It is Monday, and I am preparing to send this letter off to you.  I plan to tack this part, where I answer your last email, on to the beginning of the letter.  Thanks for your email, even though it was very short, ha ha.  I think that when I happen to be on the email the same time as you, and we “chat,” we don’t really say much, and it takes you away from reading and writing emails, so I probably won’t do that much anymore if that’s okay.

So, Matt, I have an assignment for you this week, and it’s based on something Dad has taught me through the years, when I’ve been discouraged by my faults.  Look at the good things you’ve done.  In the email you write me, I want to hear all about your successes, not just the big things, but the small and simple ones that seem like nothing.  Take some time to remember the good stuff, and then do that daily.  Every night, as you report to the Lord, tell him all of the good things you have done to serve Him.  That is not pride, it is the righteous reporting of a valiant servant.  Remember to thank Him for his grace that made it possible for you to do good things.  When you fail to acknowledge the good you’ve done, you automatically fail to acknowledge the Lord’s hand in it, but when you report and show gratitude for the good you are able to accomplish, you strengthen your relationship with Him, and all things become possible!   Righteous reporting of the faithful things you’ve done is just as important as the righteous repenting of the mistakes you made.  It is all righteousness!  Whew.  Sorry for the sermon, ha ha.

Anyway, Dad’s birthday was really fun.  The only thing that could have made it better is if Jon could have come, but somehow he didn’t get our message about the party, and when we texted him to see if he was coming, it was too late, he already had other plans.  Dad’s party centered on food, of course.  The barbecue roast we made was good.  We also had corn, watermelon, and salad with garden tomatoes.  He really liked the cake I made him sweetened with Erythritol.  I used coconut flour and almond flour instead of wheat flour to cut down on carbs.  Dad is a cake lover, so it was a real treat for him.  Besides eating, we talked and visited a lot.

Everyone gave him a heart-felt letter, which is his favorite birthday gift, and is good for you, Matt, since that’s something you can give him even being in Mexico.  He is using his birthday money to buy a gift that he says is a surprise and that we are going to pick up today.  Since it he called it a surprise, and since I know Dad, I figured that it was more a gift for me than for him.  Also in, typical Dad fashion, he was so excited about the gift, he couldn’t stop talking about it and giving hints until, in typical Mom fashion I guessed it after 2 hints.  Anyway, “his” present is to get the diamond we bought while we were on our cruise set into my wedding ring.  He’s really excited about it, and so am I.  Just think, by tonight I will have a real diamond in my wedding ring again! Yay!  Your dad really is the sweetest guy around, and just happens to be the love of my life. BTW, Little does he know, he has more presents coming on his actual birthday, ha ha.

Well, after we ate, we went around and told Dad what we would give him if we had all the resources in the world.  Most of it centered around Disney domination and incredible wealth.  I also tacked on that I would give him a professorship in history at the University.  After that, he asked about Madlibs, and then realized that we sort have neglected birthday Madlibs this year, commenting that we are Madlib libbers, or Madlib liberated, ha ha. Anyway, after that, Don, Renee, and Becky came over for a visit.  It was nice to see and visit with them.  So, the highlight of all parts of the evening was talking.

Now for the part of the letter I wrote Sunday morning.  I am putting it all together backwards this time, I guess.

Matt, today is Sunday.  First, I want to tell you some amazing news about Preston.  As I told you before, he is in the Marines.  He finished initial training in July and is now in school of infantry training and will graduate in September.  Anyway, Preston texted Miriam Saturday morning to tell her that he is one of 25 marines to be assigned to the Washington DC barracks of the 8th and I.  Even though we had little idea of what it meant, we were so excited when she told us!  We knew that whatever else it meant, it was a great honor.

Since then, I looked it up, and here’s what Wikipedia says about the 8th and I:
Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. is located at the corner 8th and I Streets, Southeast in Washington, D.C. Established in 1801, it is a National Historic Landmark, the oldest post in the United States Marine Corps, the official residence of the Commandant of the Marine Corps since 1806, and main ceremonial grounds of the Corps.

Isn’t it wonderful?  He will report there after he graduates in September. I’m so excited that he was chosen for such an honor, Matt.  He is certainly worthy in every way to be part of this elite group.  Being a Marine has been his dream since he learned as a boy that his great grandpa was a Marine who fought and died on Iwo Jima.  He is a moral, upstanding young man as you know.  He is also tall and thin, and the article said there are strict height, weight, and background requirements.

Okay, so Preston just called Miriam and I got her to ask him some specific questions.  He says he will be marching in the weekly parades at Arlington National Cemetery and also at the Iwo Jima monument.  He said that he’s not sure why he was chosen except that he’s over six feet, not fat (as he put it), and that they said something about confidence and maturity.  This will be an amazing way to honor his great grandpa’s memory, and the perfect place for Preston to fulfill his four years of duty in the Marine Corps.

Well, any other news pales in comparison, but here’s what else has been happening.  Friday I did some of my monthly shopping.  Poor Dad spent the day resurfacing the drive way at the laundry, and he was pretty exhausted by the time I met him for our date, so we just ate and then went home again.  Yesterday we got to spend some time together purchasing and loading sheet rock.  We also ate lunch together.

Last night we had a neighborhood barbecue at the Peerys.  It was a redneck theme, and Miriam bought herself overalls, a flannel shirt, and redneck boots.  Katrina and I wore plaid shirts.  It was fun to visit with the neighbors.  I’m very glad we went.
Today we will be having a family birthday party for Dad.  I bought stuff to make him a low-carb birthday cake, and I sure hope it turns out.  He asked for barbecue roast for dinner, so that is what we are having.  I hope Jon can come over to celebrate with us!
It’s been kind of a hard week, like wading through quicksand, but it has been good, too.  I hope your week has been good, Matt.

Hi!  Today is Friday.  I want to write to you before I forget what happened this week, ha ha.  It has been a hard week for us because it seems like the good things we have tried to do didn’t really happen, but we’re still trying.

Monday night we wanted to have family home evening, but a guy came over to give us and estimate on hanging and taping the drywall in our basement instead.  He used to be in our ward, and his wife came over, too.  It was nice to visit with them, but we missed family home evening.

I have spent lots of time this week doing inventory.  I take a monthly inventory of what food and household items we have and what we need and then I do a big monthly shopping to replenish.  I try to keep a three month supply of everything so that we can be prepared.  The inventory takes kind of a long time, but it is done now and I am going shopping today if everything goes as planned.

I have also been working on getting family pictures ready to hang up on the wall.  First, I had trouble getting enough of the picture frames I wanted, but now I have plenty.  Also I had to fix some of the pictures.  I have a picture of Cassandra and Lily and one of Emerson and Liliy, so I had to “photoshop” them to make a picture of all three together.  At first I asked someone else to do it, but it didn’t turn out so well, so I did it myself, and it looks pretty good.  Also, I have two versions of our last family portrait and there are aspects of both that I don’t like, so I took the best from both and made new one.  Anyway, I am almost ready to hang the pictures.  Yay!

Tuesday Dad and I wanted to go to the temple, but I had a doctor’s appointment and it went long, plus Jeff came over from across the street.  He’s helping Dad with the wiring for the basement.  Wednesday we had a stake young men/young women activity at the park where we played capture the flag.  It was a beautiful day, and the activity turned out very good.  It was so well attended that we sent Miriam to the store for us to buy five more donuts.  There were about 230 people including youth and leaders.  I enjoyed talking to the leaders and some of the youth in our ward.

Katrina is pretty sick.  It started out with a cough in the night, but has evolved into a full-fledged cold complete with low-grade fever.  She slept down on the couch last nigh with her kindle to keep her company if she couldn’t sleep.  I think she slept really well, though, so that’s a good thing.  Thomas has been trying to work every day this week.  He also has been working on merit badges because he wants to get his eagle scout by the time he’s 16.  Thursday, he got to swim at Seven Peaks with his friends before work, and he really enjoyed that.  Miriam has been working a whole lot.

Thursday night, Dad and I were able to go to the temple, finally, and I am so glad we did that!  It was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed being with him.  He had to work at the laundry after that.  He’s resurfacing the parking lot and driveway.  It is a lot of work.  He’s going to be doing that again, today (Friday), but he says we can still go out on a date, so that will be nice.

Well, Matt, that's it.  Sorry it was all backwards, ha ha!  I love you very much and can't wait to read your next letter.  I can't believe its already 11:36.  I hope this gets emailed in time!


July 29--Email from Matt, our Missionary!

Blog Note:  I was on the email the same time as Matt was, so we "chatted" for awhile.  Hence, the short letter.

Hey mom, thanks for your letter, just thinking about what you wrote, I really liked what you said about praying until you want to. Those were some excellent quotes and I think they will help me do better. I also liked what you said about how to treat other missionaries. It's good advice, I'm going to remember it when I have to talk to others, I have learned thought that an example talks more than words.

I'm glad that you were able to talk to the family who lost a son, tell me if anything else happens with them.

They do a lot more on the train trips, when we went to Reno, the "Missionary aspect" was to place a book of Mormon, and we just left it in the room for the next person who got there. haha.

Sorry Mom, I'm afraid that I have to write to other people but I really love the time you put into your letters, please keep on doing it. Love you.