We miss you! I know you feel the same way. I don't know whether or not it's helpful to let you know of our love for you, and the fact that we miss you, but hopefully these words will buoy you up. A way to let you know you're remembered every day all day long. I think you'd be surprised at how much we speak of you every day.
Sis. Tavares sent out a sweet surprise last night, photographs of her husband visiting missionaries, and out of the four photos, you were in one. Sweet joy! It's been a three week drought over here...don't know what's going on with your camera, but we need weekly pictures of your smiling face. I don't care what you're doing, so long as you're in the photo, and it gets sent. What were you doing here? _____
I asked you a few questions last week, but I am under the impression that you're reading the letter after you leave the cafe. And, since I didn't leave you any _____ you weren't able to see anything that needed answered. So, I'll try again! Did you get our package? _____ Do you want me to mail the package on my counter now or not? _____ Your getting a lot of mail makes me happy. You have a lot of people cheering you from the sidelines. Your uncles in particular, I know, boost your spirits. Their letters are chalk full of warm and fuzzy feelings. They've been out where you are now, and know exactly what you need. Plus they are a little humorous!
Tuesday for cub scouts I took them to Porter's j.v. basketball game as their requirement is to attend a sporting event. He never got to play, it was too close. I arrived at half time when they were down by ten. I cheered with the little boys, and they began inching closer and closer. We kept cheering, in that very quiet gym. Heads were turning, but the little boys were told their cheering was helping them to win. And it did. By one basket.
Thursday Dad and I went to Porter's freshman game at Chesapeake. There were only seven players, so Porter played most of the game. He is good on the boards. Look how long his arms are! He's got the Fairland offense down, but needs more confidence in his shot. He always passes, unless he's right under. I love to watch you all play ball. Must be in the genes.
Friday Dad took Hunter and Sawyer on a date. They went to Outback for hamburgers, on our gift card, and visited the golf store. They were in the middle of looking when they remembered our new tradition with Sis. Parrish and dropped everything and drove to her house. I was at home with Cooper, Miller and Breyer, and had forgotten as well until she called. We were all an hour late, but we had a good time, and munched on popcorn. It was a good plan, as the kids were very calm. But then she pulled out the ice cream sandwiches, and like clockwork, everybody got revved up, started wrestling on her furniture and floor, and we had to leave.
Saturday was the final basketball tournament for Sawyer and Cooper. They both won their first game, and played in a second game, which they won. Unfortunately, the championship games are today, so they both chose not to play. I believe Cooper's team has gone undefeated the entire season, and Sawyer's team was in second place, so they both have had good seasons. There was more teaching this year, and definitely more playing time for Cooper. I'm thinking of sending Porter and Cooper up to the Ortons this summer for basketball camp. Why pay somebody else when I can keep the money in the family, and they'll get one-on-one instruction?
During Sawyer's game he intercepted a pass and rocketed down the floor for a lay-up. The opposing team's player must have been a little frustrated he lost the pass, as he shoved Sawyer into the cement wall right as he was about to shoot. He hit the wall hard, fell to the floor and skidded quite a way, missing the protective pad. His glasses were bent and I had to reshape them. The refs called a technical foul, so he was given two free throws, and the ball to bring back into play for his team. He woke up this morning still very sore.
The weather was beautiful yesterday, so after all the games some went to the driving range with Hunter, others threw a boomerang, and some played more basketball. We haven't had any snow except one time in the fall. The boys are still wearing their pajamas inside out and backwards, and putting spoons under their pillows when they sleep. Miller and Cooper even did a snow dance. Cooper asked me if I knew what the snow dance was, which I don't, so he made up his own. I do hope they get one chance to play in the snow! Sawyer was the lucky one this weekend, and got to build and launch his rocket. He named it "The Texas Tornado."
Today Breyer and I stayed home from church. She's quite sick, the cough-so-hard-you-vomit kind of sick. She's actually more miserable than sick, and spent the day in my lap. By the time your letter arrives in the morning, I will have been up and hosted a surprise birthday party for Porter. We're hoping he has 15 friends for breakfast, in honor of his 15 years. If we're a few short, we'll throw in a few brothers. There will be 15 things for breakfast (crepe bar, oatmeal bar, cinnamon rolls, hot cocoa bar, cereal, banana muffins...stuff like that). Beginning at 8:15, it will be fun to have them wake Porter up on their day off from school (Martin Luther King celebration). It is also the day of Obama's inaugeration. We watched Porter open a few presents. His favorite thus far is the scout back pack from your grand mother. He and Dad were having grand plans for going on a 50 mile trek this summer, so they could use all their nifty back packs we've received this year.
In seminary this week we studied Paul's missionary journeys. At the conclusion of his third mission, which lasted about three years, he kneeled down and prayed with them all. "And they all wept sore...sorrowing that they should see his face no more." I read this and thought of you leaving your friends in the CTM, and soon the members in your first area...and eventually the saints in Brazil. They will miss you. I know you're doing all that you can do, and you will be missed. Keep up the great work. We love you! Mom and Dad
P.S. This was an interesting article on the church news: “Elder Russell M. Nelson encouraged missionaries to open their mouths and eyes and fortify their minds during a Christmas Day devotional at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah…Particularly, Elder Nelson encouraged the missionaries to “open your eyes and fortify your minds against rumors.” One popular rumor in circulation is in regard to missionaries who are called to one area and transferred to open the work in another formerly closed area, such as China. “Such rumors are absolutely false. Refute them!” Elder Nelson said. “Leaders of this Church enter countries new to the Church through the front door. We do not go in through the back door or via the alley. Our relationships are based on honesty, openness, integrity, and complete compliance with local law.” He then quoted President Gordon B. Hinckley, who said, “Wherever we go, we go in the front door. Our missionaries honor the laws of the nations to which they go and teach the people to be good citizens.” Some missionaries are transferred during their missions, and some callings are modified, he said. This may happen as new missions are created. But, he said, any transfer made or calling modified is done openly. “Please decide here and now to be a ‘rumor stopper’ and not a ‘rumor monger,’” he said.