How are you? What a wonderful letter...perhaps the longest you've written to us on p-day. Thank you! And we too are truly grateful for all the mail you received. Our family letter writing tradition is a wonderful thing in so many ways. Who was the other package from? __________
I loved that your companion was able to take such good care of you. That made my mother heart happy! And your description of the physical change that happens when someone is baptized was wonderful.
Hot off the press: To better accommodate the recent increase in new missionaries, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is expanding its missionary training operations by securing the use of additional buildings near the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC). Missionaries will occupy the Raintree Commons apartments at 1849 North 200 West and portions of the BYU-owned Wyview Park apartments at 146 West 1940 North in Provo, Utah. This temporary arrangement is one of the many ways the Church is accommodating more missionaries entering into missionary service around the world.
This was the really spring break week. Instead of just having Dad off, like last week, I had all your brothers. Wow. Crazy times here at the homestead. We did a little bit of staying up late, and sleeping in, just a wee bit, and just those two things alone are vacation enough. Dad brought home his school projector, and made a few trips to the library, and a good portion of the evenings were spent watching old movies besides the elk head. We moved the pool table / ping pong table way to the back of the room, and brought in the small couch, and had a mini movie theater. Add in a speaker or two, and surround sound completed the event. We only went over the top with popcorn, one night, and ice cream another, but there were always lots of snacks.
Hunter got in a couple of golfing excursions this week, but I only remember the last scores of 35, 35, 36. He's come down over ten points since the fall, and close to playing the course par REGULARLY!
The boys also enjoyed a few of the basketball tournament games. Most of this week Uncle Rich was in the lead, with Aunt Tina a close second. I do believe the final four consist of #9 Wichita State versus #1 Louisville, and #4 Michigan versus #4 Syracuse. Cooper's the only one in our family with a chance left to compete.
The Duncans were pulling into town Friday evening, late, and we thought it would be fun to have a surprise Easter egg hunt waiting for them first thing Saturday morning. So Dad and I drove over there Friday evening at dusk, in the VW Jetta, and while he drove up and down their lawn, I leaned out the window and dropped eggs. I counted up to 200 and stopped, so the grass was pretty loaded! Saturday dawned sunny and beautiful, the truly first spring day we've had this year, and the boys were pumped to surprise them, and collect some eggs. As they were running around finding eggs, I was having a hard time finding some for your sister to put in her basket. I kept thinking, "Wow, these kids are fast!" Turns out there might have been a few visitors the night before, probably their neighbors, who helped themselves to a few of the eggs. I think they left about half of the eggs for the ten kids that morning. I was a little sad. I didn't care that my kids came home with less candy, just felt a little violated. But Sawyer fixed me up by saying, "It's okay, Mom, it still was really fun!"
Speaking of the Duncans, Noah, because of your influence, really likes bow ties, and has wanted one for a long time. They brought one on their trip so Porter could teach him how to tie one, except your brother isn't quite as adept as you. He's been relying on the clip-on versions too much. But, your legacy lives on!
Saturday Porter had his first track meet. He's decided to make track his primary sport, and baseball his second. Like he said, "Mom, it's pretty simple. Varsity track or j.v. baseball." He cleared 10'6", and tied for first place. Such a great job as a freshman. It was a district meet, so all the usual schools were there. He also ran the distance medley relay, the 400 leg in 58 seconds; and the anchor leg of the 4x110 shuttle hurdle relay (second place). Fairland won the meet by four points.
While he was enjoying that beautiful spring day, Dad took Hunter to a house for some yard work. He had to chop down some tree branches, and get the leaves out of her ivy and flower gardens - by hand! She wouldn't let him use the rake! He also didn't know he was responsible for finding some way to dispose of the ten 100-gallon garbage bags filled with tree clippings! I can't tell you how dirty the van is! And how big our burn pile will be someday as we help her burn her yard debris, but I can tell you these are all good lessons he's learning about accepting yard jobs.
Dad wanted to know what kind of toys the kids play with. Have you seen any Legos? You've mentioned the television before, is that their main "toy?" __________ Speaking of Dad, he was contacted about a paper he had published in The Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics last year, and was told he was one of the three best papers as decided by the editors, and was nominated for an award. He will go to the college sport research institute conference this month at the University of North Carolina to see if he wins the award: a plaque and $150. Marshall University is very excited, and are paying for his trip down. He was also contacted by the Dean's office for an interview to be published in the college magazine, and the university's magazine.
Speaking of Dad again, he has a special guest lecturer tomorrow coming to speak to his facility management classes, a NASCAR executive formerly of Marshall University. There was a terrible accident at Daytona this year when chunks of the car flew into the stands. The tire with the front suspension landed right on an occupied seat. Almost thirty people were injured, and the next day the big Daytona 500 raced like nothing had happened. Dad says he must be a marketing genius, as there have been no news reports since the original accident. We couldn't find any on Google, and he's excited to ask him how they kept the story buried. He said outside of baseball, NASCAR is the next best thing to listen to. He doesn't know any of the drivers, but the announcers change at every turn of the track, and he likes the change up. This is his second guest. His first was Rick Reed, the professional baseball player. One more thought about Dad's job...he was talking about candle pin bowling, and how it was like the sport of skittles from Colonial America. He brought Uncle David's ball into the classroom, and only one student even knew what he was talking about.
There was an interesting article at Business Insider this week that ranked the top 25 Colleges "Where Students Are Both Hot And Smart." The article stated, "Brains and beauty. It's a winning combination that's hard to resist — especially in college students. Our friends at College Prowler created an exclusive list of American schools where the students are both hot and smart, ranking schools based on input from real students at the schools. They have more than 700,000 student reviews on nearly 7,000 schools. #16 BYU-Idaho. #15 Yale. #8 Stanford. #1 BYU. That's right. Your Mom set the bar high ;-)
Today is Easter Sunday. What a great day! The church meetings were fabulous...one of the speaker's message was about the ennobling power of the atonement. Uncle Rich will be mailing you a letter that talks about the lesson he gave on this...can't be a coincidence. I must need to study this more.
But he quoted from Elder Bednar's talk, "Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things” (Jacob 4:6–7). "The word grace frequently is used in the scriptures to connote a strengthening or enabling power: “The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts. Thus, the enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement helps us to see and to do and to become good in ways that we could never recognize or accomplish with our limited mortal capacity. I testify and witness that the enabling power of the Savior’s Atonement is real."
As a missionary I know you have talked about the cleansing power of the atonement...your mission president has trained extensively on that. But I've been thinking of the ennobling power of the atonement. The strength to do hard things that otherwise you wouldn't be able to do. Think about this when life becomes difficult. It's something I'll be pondering as well.
We love you! We do! Mom and Dad