Sunday, February 24, 2013
With All Our Love
I so enjoyed your last letter. It was full of a few good stories, and you seem very happy where you are. You mentioned that you don't have a lot of breakfast options...can you buy oatmeal? Or any kind of breakfast cereal grain (Cream of Wheat)? Yogurt and fruit is good, as well as bread...but I'm glad the granola bars are being enjoyed. Telling us you're in the most dangerous area was a bit surprising. Please be careful, and watch for dangers and strangers!
I'm sorry I have had no luck finding your mission addresses, they're not generally published. I'll keep working on them...sorry it's taking so long!
I don't know if you've heard or not but: "Thousands of young prospective missionaries have responded enthusiastically to the October 2012 announcement by President Thomas S. Monson that lowered the age requirement for missionary service. As was indicated at the time of the announcement and reiterated later, the Church is working to accommodate the increase in the number of new missionaries who have made plans to serve.
In addition to the previously announced changes in time spent at the training center, and a new training center in Mexico, some of the 347 existing missions will be divided to form an additional 58 missions." Wow! I've copied the new Brazil missions for you. We're getting the Cincinnati Mission back...don't know if that will create changes here again.
Brazil Curitiba South
Brazil Fortaleza East
Brazil Juiz de Fora
Brazil São Paulo West
Monday was a crazy day! All the boys were home as part of the President's Day long weekend. It's hard to be very productive when there's a lot of people around ;-) I spent most of the day cooking food and making two cakes, as I had six missionaries to feed for dinner, and a birthday party to celebrate! Your sister turned two. And her favorite part of the day was probably making the cakes with me. We had to celebrate in shifts. I fed the missionaries early, and they sampled the pink lemonade cake. Then I fed the boys, and our neighbors Larry and Sandy came over for cake and presents, and they got the raspberry lemon cream cake, my favorite. It was SO yummy! Be sure to request this cake when you get back. Breyer blew her candles very softly, very daintily, just as a princess should. A gentle puff on each candle, and in two times she was done for the year. And she took a bite!
As I was looking up last year's cake, and trying to remember what it was and whether or not it was good, I peeked at last year's pictures. I loved that she was in a pretty dress, and you boys treated her with such love and respect. It brought back many nice memories so I decided this would be my birthday tradition with Breyer. Make sure she's in a new dress, and celebrate her birthday with class. So about 6:15 pm I brought the Princess upstairs, and with a few tears and a few "no's from her," dressed her anyway in a dress that was given to her when she was born. Once she was done, she was fine, and played the part perfectly. I hope you can share this day with us more fully with the pictures in your email. Her favorite presents were the little toy camera and phone in a little purse. Her nickname should be "Gadget Girl." And just FYI, she prefers Cheez-Its over Goldfish.
Tuesday Dad had a funny thing happen to him in his class. He was talking to the students on the Native American game of Hoops and Poles, and in a short period of time repeated the name a few times, the last being Poop and Holes. Good times at Marshall University! There were even some tears shed in the front row from students laughing so hard.
This was also the day that we began painting the Pinewood Derby cars. The boys were so excited to start! We've gotten a later start this year, which I don't like, but the process of creating such creative cars is really fun. Your Dad does such a nice job shaping their car with the Dremel, and this year Cooper helped the boys with whatever they thought they were having difficulty painting. At scouts we built bird houses. At home we built new bridges. Hunter has decided not to play baseball this year. He really wants to work on his golf game, as this is his last year to shine. He'd rather get a golf membership and spend his time on the green. This has been difficult for Dad to swallow, but he's trying to be supportive. He's encouraged Hunter to set specific goals so we can help him achieve them. He'll need to play in some golf tournaments this spring and summer, he'll need to get a few golf lessons, and he needs to upgrade his golfing equipment.
Wednesday for scouts the boys began working on the wilderness survival merit badge. Dad got Bro. Stephenson to help him since he was a Ranger in the Army. He talked about teaching the boys how to kill a snake with your hands, and how to skin a deer, but this week wasn't so exciting. Tuesday and Wednesday are pretty big mail days, and Hunter is counting his daily mail piece as he is on the "come to my college" list you were on. He likes to be the one who gets the most mail, and usually he is. Throw in all his new magazine subscriptions, and he walks in with an armful.
Thursday Hunter and Porter had a home quiz bowl meet. Sis. Parrish came with me again. Hunter and Porter only played the first and last quarters...and Porter did great! He had 11 answers to Hunter's 4...it definitely was his game with more science and math questions, versus literature and government/history. This week is Ironmasters, so we'll have more quiz bowl news next week.
Miller and Breyer's favorite activity while the boys are in school is called "couch cushions." Miller empties the two couches,and has been making bridges and forts and playing with Breyer. One day there are alligators they were trying to avoid, the next day sharks. When all goes well, they'll play for a couple of hours. Beautiful! I hope this fun stage continues. She's so happy to follow him wherever he goes, whether it's forts, hideouts, tents or tubes.
Friday was the last day we could paint the cars, and finished very late. Hopefully you can see all the amazing details in the pictures. Miller has been consumed with painting his car every day, and was so excited to go to bed the night before the big race. We made it to Sis. Parrish's house to watch Jeopardy. We've come a long way! When we first went there wasn't much talking or guessing. Now everyone throws out answers, even Imogene. And this week's popcorn bowls had gold fish and M&M's at the bottom, so the little kids were happy. We had two cars there, so Jarrod took the kids home, and Hunter and I stayed for a while to chat. That might be the new routine.
Saturday's race results are in your email, but I'll just repeat them, as your little brother is so happy. Sawyer walked away with the medal for Best Paint Job, and the trophy for 2nd place in the Bear Den. If he was in the Tiger Den, that would be 2nd place out of 4, as there is only 4 Tigers. The Wolves have 6 boys, and the Webelos 6. But my Bear Den has 20 boys! That trophy means a little bit more if you get 2nd place out of 20 competitors! Cooper and Miller, in the open division, were out after one race. They literally waited for hours to race once, and still had smiles on their faces at the end of the day. As long as they can race their cars a few times on the track at the end, against each other, they're good.
I was given a gift card to Outback, and took the boys there after the race. Hunter bowed out to homework, and Jarrod joined us later, but we had fun together. It's been a really long time since we went out to eat...I'm thinking this summer in New York City might have been the last time, which is fine. You can't top eating at two top notch restaurants in the most famous city in America, all the while arriving in a limousine, so why try?
Today we walked into church when the announcements were being announced. I hate that. I have to make the walk up to the organ, and feel every eye on my back. At least they weren't singing. We've had a hard time getting out the door in order to arrive in time on this early morning schedule. It's mostly me just needing to remember what time we need to begin in order to get out the door at a decent time. I start too late, as I like the boys to sleep as much as they can. We'll get better! Sawyer came home from church with a fever. I was hoping we would escape this season's flu, the real flu with a fever and respiratory symptoms, but I'm thinking this is it. He had mentioned several children in his class that had been sick, so I guess we'll wait and see.
The temple president of the Louisville Temple came down today for a special fireside for the youth. Dad stayed home with the three younger children so I could go with the three older boys. President Lunt was a brigadier general in the Air Force, and made a book for his family about some of his experiences, entitled, "Twelve Flying Lessons." He gave me my own copy of his presentation! It was a spiritual feast.
He spoke on 1) How Jesus is like the North star, fixed and perfect, and his use of the stars to find his latitude in training for water crashes. He reminded us to stay out of Satan's territory, as only the Savior's is safe. 2) He talked about how the Holy Ghost protects you from spiritual vertigo...how when the fog of life makes traveling impossible, we can rely on such things as the Spirit to provide safe travel. 3) He talked about how living prophets are our authenticators. They won't deceive us, like other radio transmissions or signals that come across the dashboard, but will translate life's messages from the world, and Heavenly Father's counsel for us. 4) He said the temple is our spiritual "G" suit. When the pressure of gravity weighs upon us, having a temple perspective gives us eternal balance and tolerance against Satan's pull. 5) He talked about how we need to follow the eternal flight plan, that most crashes are caused by not having a flight plan, and Heavenly Father's plan of salvation will guide us back home. 6). Prayer is our spiritual oxygen. Hypoxia, not having oxygen, causes death, and everyone's symptoms are unique. Pilots are trained in an altitude chamber, to help them recognize their symptoms, and just as oxygen is an immediate cure, so is prayer to our spiritual deprivation. 7) Family is the most important formation. The lead plane is the navigator, and others are the wing men. Pilots use formations as it provides protection, just as the family in the gospel plan. 8) Standing alert and being prepared. Inspections in the military show readiness, just as adding drops of oil to their lamps showed the preparedness of the five virgins. 9) Spiritual checklist. Check so you don't forget something important, such as putting down the landing gear. We have the Strength of Youth, and temple recommend interviews, as two examples. 10) Emergency procedures, whether or not our critical emergency training will be automatic when temptation befalls us, and whether or not we handle the unexpected emergencies in a pleasing manner. 11) Our uniform identifies us. In the military if there wasn't a uniform you were treated as a spy. What are your identifying marks (tattoos, immodesty, headphones), and how are you recognized (missionary). 12). Identifying your enemies. The Book of Mormon teaches us how to identify the doctrines of Christ, and how to recognize our enemies. This is just a glimpse into his analogy, but I hope it lifts your spirits this week.
We love you! We're on the unofficial count down to Mother's Day. I have your next package to mail to the mission home...kind of a late Valentines Day gift...but I haven't got the honey yet. Would you want baggies of oatmeal now, and honey later? __________
Love, Mom and Dad