Dad spent seven hours doing apple butter yesterday, and listening to one man's amazing recall of every joke he's ever heard. A favorite one I heard was this: A blonde walks into a library, and up to the librarian and says, "Could I have a cheeseburger, small fry, and a diet coke?" The librarian looks at her, and says, "This is a library!" And the blonde says, in her whisper voice, "Oh sorry. Could I have a cheeseburger, small fry, and a diet coke?"
Don't worry. This letter is not in my whisper voice. It's in my "excited to be writing Tanner" voice. But also my motherly voice in regards to last week's letter. Yours was definitely on the short side. I'm still trying to understand how having thirty minutes to email your family means some weeks the thirty minutes are shorter than other weeks? Even with more responsibilities, that might require more computer time, we still have thirty minutes :-) So we expect a thirty minute letter today. Just sayin'!
In my best "thank you very much" voice, we did get your letter this week which contained notes to Sawyer and Cooper. They were both very excited. Just a warning, if you write everybody's name on the envelope, there had better be notes for everybody. There were a few trying-to-not-be-disappointed faces. Also, Dad's good with candy wrappers ;-)
In my "she's funny as ever" voice, Naomi talked about contacting this hilarious man that has 26 variations of the Bible and the Book of Mormon (which he hasn't read!) and "he told us to call him Francois le Diable. He kept trying to argue about why he couldn't read the book or why we shouldn't talk to him and I finally just said, "Look. Let's have an arm wrestle and if I win, you have to read the book." He said no, but he got a good laugh out of that. Wowzers. I can say that because I have an Inspector Gadget jacket."
Greg got to do a mini companionship exchange and worked with Elder Garcia for the day. You might know him because he is on the front of the October 2013 Liahona. Just some exciting news for you!
Elder Cummings wrote home about how in five weeks 7 zone leaders will go home and in 6 weeks 6 more zone leaders will go home!!!! "Big changes in the mission between now and the end of 2013."
Monday I took Miller back to the dentist for his first filling. He was not a happy camper. All his brothers had filled his head with horror stories, and he didn't want to even open his mouth! I just left the room, and let the hygienists figure it out. I mean, I am paying them for that service, right? He did great, and hopefully will be a bit more careful about taking care of his teeth. I heard Sawyer giving him the "choose better at snack time" lecture. "Miller, don't eat the gummies. That's why you got a cavity. Pick the Cheez-Its instead!" He's such a good brother ;-)
Monday also marked the second week in a row Hunter and Porter took their friends to Ritter Park to play ultimate frisbee. Their friends love playing with the missionaries, and have had two discussions as part of the cool-down regime. This week is on the plan of salvation, and since cross country is ending, there will be close to ten boys there!
Tuesday morning I took Cooper to the hand doctor. He said his bone had attached properly, and was happy with his progress. He took off the cast, and splinted the finger. Cooper now uses his hand to play the piano and clarinet, but is not doing sports.
Wednesday was Cooper's first middle school quiz bowl. We were having a disagreement over the dress code for his first match, so I texted the adviser. In the process, had a discussion about Cooper and his skillz. I asked her whether or not Cooper would be helping the team win. I'm not doubting his skill, I just didn't know if as a seventh grader he could compared to the eighth graders on the team. She said, "Are you kidding me? Yes! He'll absolutely help us win. He's a Roman/Greek mythology, science, math, literature, Bible machine!" Her comment definitely put a smile on my face. He stayed in the entire time! I was so proud of him! One other eighth grade boy stayed in, and some of the other 13 players were rotated in periodically. They won the meet. It will be fun to watch him in person when they play at home. Just in case you had any doubts, Cooper's in it for the food on the way home. This is a picture of his double baconator.
Friday morning Sawyer and I spent three hours together waiting to see the neurologist. Sawyer's second scan showed that the cysts have not grown. His symptoms have not gotten worse. Sawyer thinks they've actually lessened. And, the dye contrast indicated that the two growths were not cancerous. All this good news has gone onto my list of 'blessings from Tanner serving a mission.' He'll go back in eight months for another MRI, and then be done for another eighteen months.
I hope you've had a chance to look at all the pictures in your inbox. They are a good summary of our last week. Hunter thoroughly enjoyed being an escort to the Homecoming Queen at the Friday night football game. How could you not mind having a beautiful girl to escort, who chose to dress so modestly? Mr. Wilgus, Hunter's former golf coach, was also at the game and called the next morning to tell me how proud he was of Hunter and how sharp he looked. That was a very sweet call to receive. They were very classy looking. Fairland won the rival game against Chesapeake. This is the first time they've had a win in five years. Don't want to say it's because of your father, but he is a definite factor. The head coach is doing great things with the team as well.
Saturday after apple butter, the boys came home smelling like wood, smoke, cinnamon and apples. They were the only youth workers there! Not a good thing when it's your only fundraiser for scout camp and girls camp!
While the boys were stirring, I went to Miller and Sawyer's soccer game. Another fine performance by the sweet soccer duo...Miller scored 1/1 goal, and Sawyer two. Sawyer had two amazing assists, sliding on the ground through three defenders and straight to the other striker who was able to score easily. He has the whole sideline cheering for him. People I've never met cheer for my boys. I'm more of a quiet observer, so I'm glad someone is shouting their name ;-) Saturday was also double birthday party day. Miller received an invite to dress like an Avenger. Really? How can you top that?
Sawyer's friend requested no presents, just "gently worn shoes for an orphanage in Swaziland, Africa." Really? I feel like I'm not in the know-how of planning fashionable birthday parties. But, it was a great excuse to clean out our shoe collection in the attic!
I have a dear friend from high school who lost her husband a couple of years ago, and was left to raise her daughters and son (all whose names begin with an A). This week her only son, just arriving on his mission in California, was hit on his bicycle, and killed. The Church newspaper article said, "He was very intelligent, very smart, a very good student, Eagle Scout — just everything that you would want a son to be. Page has three older sisters and "was the only male figure in the home" after his father died about four years ago. "He took that role very seriously and honored his priesthood and strove to be a priesthood leader in the home." That last sentence infused hope into me as I read about the kind of son he was. I'm sharing this with you for two reasons. I've been thinking about the Priesthood a bit this week, of which I'll write more, and also wanted you to know that his very best friend in the entire world, will be coming to your mission early next year, Elder Jackson. I assured his mother you would be sure to take extra good care of him while he was learning the ropes.
I was thinking of your grandmother, and how when Uncle Rich was born, she felt something was missing in her life She felt a void that her church couldn't fill, and began again going to different churches. She explained later that the workings of the spirit were manifest, helping her to realize that her son needed to be a holder of the Priesthood, the authority to act in and behalf of our Heavenly Father and the Savior. We know the scriptures tell us of the prophets of old and how they received their priesthood from God, and in the case of the Israelites, being a direct descendant of Levi. We know that Christ was on the earth, and was the authority then, and then was the authority to bestow this power upon Peter, James and John. I often wonder where ministers today think they receive their authority. Having the Priesthood for her son is one of the reasons my Cub Scout friend was propelled to bring her son to church. She wants for him what her father provided for her in their home. He will be getting baptized next Sunday. They're coming tomorrow night for family home evening, and a lesson on tithing. Know that not only do you have the authority, but along with this responsibility of acting in behalf of the Savior, at all times and in all things, comes the power of God. Use it. Magnify it. And from your mother, cherish it.
Just as we cherish you. And please be careful.
Mom and Dad
P.S. The driver license division is mailing you directly a renewal form. It will require money. I'll be mailing you a certified check for the amount to enclose in your renewal package. Wait for the check!
P.P.S. Just in case you thought I forgot about the face you need to see the most each week, I present your sister trying on her new hair bows.