Sunday, June 30, 2013

With All Our Love

Dear Tanner,

I hope you had a good week. Good meaning you've worked hard, feel like you've given your all, and can see Heavenly Father's hand in your life. It doesn't get much better than that. Did you get to see President Tavares again? _______ I'm sure you'll be one of the first to meet the new President...put your arms around him and tell him how happy you are he's there to serve with you. 

We feed the missionaries two or three times each week...we love talking shop with them. Today's menu included homemade rolls and brisket...what a treat! Any man likes to eat meat, right? We went over the ward list with them. They're trying to clean up the information on members in Proctorville. Since we have no family to with which to share, we ran a plate over to Larry as well. Speaking of food, Dad wants to know how much corn people in Brazil eat? _______

We got your letter for Sawyer this week. What a treat for him to have one from your companion. Of course the big question over here is why he wrote Sawyer? Did he like Sawyer's last letter? Does he like the Texas Tornado stories? Does he have a similar likeness of a brother he's missing? No brother? You'll have to let us know how that evolved. _______ No matter what, Sawyer will be writing back. Did you read his letter? He wrote some very sweet things about you. My favorite was when he said he wanted to be your companion for the rest of his mission. You make us happy :-)

Your vertical nail ridges were caused by an iron deficiency. Glad to hear they're gone. The horizontal ridges could be caused from malnutrition / vitamin deficiency...sometimes arsenic poisoning. Now I'm not trying to be an alarmist, more like an inform-ist. Today's arsenic poisoning happens because of contaminated drinking water, of which Brazil is on the offender list. Also, it has been found that rice is particularly susceptible to accumulation of arsenic from soil, of which you're eating A LOT. Are you faithful about filtering your water? Please do so :-). Also, maybe eat more beans and less rice. If you feel your night vision has changed for the worst, perhaps more action should be taken to be tested. Check the nails of your companion, as he should be eating and drinking the same. Eat more healthier. With all that fruit and cheap yogurt, your breakfast could be very healthy! Even if you have to send less mail. Do you have access to a supply of vitamin C? _______ Vitamins? _______ Let me know if you'd like those vitamins or any others.

Hot off the press...Uncle Zach and Aunt Alana have announced their fifth child, and its a he! Nothing like starting a new job, moving, and having a baby, three MAJOR causes of sTrEsS, ALL in the same year!

And for more news in our small world... Evan left for West Point, and most likely begins his 47 months tomorrow. I'll enclose his address for you. In honor of his departure, we initiated West Point military drawer standards, and the first ever "Even Better than Evan's" award. The boys were given their basket of clean clothes, and challenged to make their drawers as nice as Evan's had to be. Hunter came close, as he putting rubber bands around all his rolled tee shirts. Sawyer came in a close second, with his comment, "I didn't even need the light on to find my pajamas in the dark!" More improvement is needed, but at least there was no stuffing, more sorting, and the drawers can close.

For the second week in a row I had to go to your email to get your letter. Your pictures are coming in fine. Last week's letter came in about five hours later. No way I'm waiting that long! While I was in there, I found out from Matt that Stephen had turned his papers in. Seems like I should have known before him!

Uncle Aaron and Aunt Rachael went on trek this weekend. Unfortunately for them we had the better weather. They had a LOT of rain...buckets of rain to sleep in, trek in, and dance in. I'm sure he'll be writing an epistle soon!

Greg enters the MTC this week...that's a first for our family...having two children serve a mission at the same time! Naomi is doing well. She's arrived in Lyon, France, and in her parents' words, "Wow – her companion is as tall as her, and looks like she could hold her own if they had to box each other out (probably a necessary skill as Naomi’s trainer)." I'll send along her address as well.

Hunter received both his SAT and ACT scores back. He was happy with his ACT score. His exact comment was, "I can live with one less point than Tanner." The SAT didn't make him as happy. He's still waiting for his AP class score. I never told you but when he was making his sign-in he used as his name "Captain Moroni," only the space allotted for sign-in names was one space short, and now he always has to sign in as "Captain Moron." Makes me laugh every time! He will be going to his second tri state junior golf tournament tomorrow.

Have you heard your Dad is coaching high school football? We told him he needed a hobby. Something besides me, work and church. He complied, and consented to meet with the new coach, who basically begged for him to join his staff. He's had a few meetings, and will shortly begin football camp. He's excited only thinking about making Cooper manager, and Sawyer water boy. He hopes your two older brothers will join in the kicking practices. Maybe Miller could be the whistle blower ;-) I'm sure there will be lots of football stories this summer and fall!

To report on Miller's missionary efforts, in regards to his friend that frequently visits our house, I'll remind you that the plan included, and I quote: "Mom, he keeps coming back on Sundays, and now I know if I invite him to church he won't have to stay away." So when the friend appeared one afternoon I asked him if he went to church (yes), and with whom (grandmother). Then, I said, "Well, Miller would love to have a friend at church, would you like to come with us?" And Miller says, "Mom, I already have a best friend at church." Too funny! We'll have to get on the same page and try again.

The boys are back! The trip to Colorado was successful, sweet in the sense of breathing mountain air with no humidity, and sweet in the sense of eating yummy brisket, In-and-Out burgers and other sweet delectables eaten only when traveling with Dad. They arrived home late last Monday night - Tuesday morning (12:40 a.m.), and I've spent portions of the week doing seven days of wash for four people. With a high quotient of output required from me I have little to no desire to leave the house. So one day this week the boys wanted to go to the "big" library in Huntington and I agreed, with a few errands to do on the way. We withdrew money from the bank, registered for soccer at the local insurance agency, dropped off books at the "little" library, registered the cars' plates that expired on your Dad's birthday, replaced my lost license, and one quick trip back home to grab the forgotten birth certificate. In Miller's words, "Could we just get to the library now?" One day this week we bought a day pass to an outside pool in a housing development, and went swimming with a few friends. You would have enjoyed the sun and relaxation, and adult swim ;-) Hunter did. 

Cooper's still running in cross country, for which I'm grateful. He always goes with a cheerful countenance, even if his return "face" isn't as smiley. Yesterday Porter and Cooper ran in the third annual cross country fundraiser run, "Dragon Run." It was a first for both. Their shirts are cute, and the support is great. Porter also won a new tee shirt from the running store in Huntington. I'm still amazed that he ran because a friend called and invited him. Everybody needs and wants a friend. Even if it means a little bit of RUNNING!

Cooper is STILL enjoying LEGOs. He ordered some new ones for his birthday, and has been building ever since. He also enjoys finding out what the monthly contest is and building something to enter. This month's theme is, "My Best Summer Plans Include..." He called his "The Big Catch." I love his surprised fisherman, the HUGE fish, and the little camp fire in the background.

The picture of Breyer with paint on her fingers describes her perfectly. She just goes about her life, finding something that is interesting, and fun, and plays! She got the paint out all by herself, sat on the floor, and squirted it on her fingers. In the bathroom on the white bath mat. That's a typical find over here. She still loves Miller the best. Today in church while your Dad is conducting, I'm playing the organ, and the three older brothers are doing the sacrament, I can hear Breyer, Sawyer and Miller fighting, and she's doing the yelling. Where's the grandparents when you need one?

 Sawyer had an all star baseball scheduled yesterday as well. Dad drove him an hour away only to have the game rained out. Of course it was scheduled for today. I'm so glad they won without him! Hopefully we can finish up the tournament this week, and not have to worry about any more Sunday games.

I have two thoughts for you today. One is from Elder Holland, in reference to the Parable of the Prodigal son. He said, "Perhaps the most telling phrase is that after he had made mistakes, gone his way, and squandered his fortune, the young man “came to himself.” Every one of us needs to “come to ourselves.” We need to think on our "ways" and correct these ways in the process. Like the prodigal son, we need to “[turn our] feet unto [our] testimonies. "We need to make haste to come back - to come back to our Father, to come back to our family, to come back to our future, to come back to our faith.” Beautiful!

The other thought I wanted to share with you is from the song Faith in Every Footstep by K. Newell Daley. It is the choir song for July, and I've loved reading the words over and over, as I have to play the choir parts over and over. Verse two just jumped out at me. The words are really the key to understanding missionary work. For if we truly love our brothers and sisters, such as you have come to love those you serve in Brazil then, as it says in the song, that pure love banishes fear - fear of rejection, fear of bearing testimony, fear of public speaking, fear of homesickness...whatever. And it is that love I have for you that banishes all my motherly fears that can creep in here and there. Have another wonderful week. With all our love, Mom and Dad

A marvelous work has begun to come forth among all the children of men.
O ye that embark in the service of God, give heart, mind, and strength unto him;
For prophets have spoken and angels have come to lift the world from sin,
That Christ may reign over all the earth and bless his gathered kin.

Those marvelous Saints who embraced this great work and shared it in lands far and near;
Who gave all their heart, mind, and strength to the Lord with wisdom and vision so clear;
Now stand as examples of virtue and faith, of souls prepared to hear,
Of knowledge sure, born of humble heart, and love that banished fear.

If we now desire to assist in this work and thrust in our sickle with might;
If we will embark in the service of God and harvest in fields that are white;
Our souls may receive the salvation of God - the fullness of his light,
That we may stand, free of sin and blame, God's glory in our sight

With faith in ev'ry footstep, we follow Christ, the Lord;
And filled with hope through his pure love, we sing with one accord.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

West Point: Here He Comes!

Can't help but feel a little pride all the way over here in Ohio when a nephew in Texas is heading to New York: West Point, Army. Or, The United States Military Academy, a 47 month experience "to become commissioned leaders of character."

And Mr. Brown Sign and the boys were able to join in his sending off celebration!

Congratulations on this honor!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Colorado-eans love their Big Foot legacy...sightings recorded everywhere!

They also love their mountains, and views, breathtaking vistas!

"...For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plains!..."

Pikes Peak, where greenery is thin and the air thinner...

A little footage of the massive forest fire...

And a quick trip to the Garden of the Gods...