_____ Sis. Bach had this question for you that needs to be answered today! "Do you recall the water filter we sent to Elder Tanner last year? (If) he is still using it, it requires a change of batteries every now and then. I sent extras back then, but does he need more batteries, I found two in my closet and can put them in the box ready to be sent?"
Tuesday is your 21st birthday! Hard to believe we've missed two of your birthday. We'll have to celebrate extra hard for a few years to make up for these missed years. I don't know whether or not we'll make a cake in your honor, but I do know you'll be at the forefront of our thoughts that day. Reflecting on the day you were born 21 years ago made me wonder if you knew any of the details? I checked into the hospital Tuesday morning, and was put on a drug used to begin and accelerate labor. 7 a.m. until 3 a.m. the next day, for twenty hours!, they tried to convince you it was time to be born. Because it was Veterans Day, your grandparents drove to the Connecticut hospital with drinks and books, hoping for some action. They could barely stand on their feet by the time you were born, but I do believe yours is the only birth of a grandchild they've seen. So have a wonderful day. I hope your birthday box arrives just in time for you to celebrate.
We would love to hear about the transfers today, all the missionaries going home, and the changes that will be made in the mission. Give Elder Carrell an extra hug for us, and any other you see, to let them know how much we're grateful for the love they have for you.
From your cousins in the field, Greg tried something new this week. He said that he was with another missionary and they decided to try and get into a house by singing. It worked! He said, "At first when we asked if we could come in and talk to her for a little while and share a message with her she said no, so we asked if we could come in and sing her a song. She was speechless, she stood there for about thirty seconds and then just nodded her head with a huge smile on her face, it was awesome." Try it! You have a beautiful voice!
Naomi's message this week came from her "Adjusting to Missionary Life" book, which says "that once you've been here and living the schedule for a while, you realize you don't actually need the full eight hours of sleep. Or you could just relax for eight hours without sleeping and be fine." Funny. She cherishes her sleep, just as I'm sure you do, when you drop into bed every night.
And just for fun, I found a funny missionary picture of Uncle Aaron in France. Imagine the water!
Tuesday we had no school, as it was voting day. So Porter organized another breakfast at the house, and we did not sleep in! He had twenty kids come, who stuffed themselves with cinnamon rolls, a yogurt parfait bar, pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins, scrambled eggs and bacon, hot chocolate bar...the works! Some played games and some played football outside. We also had three boys at the eye doctor. No prescriptions have changed too much, if at all, which is a great thing! So Sawyer decided to keep his old glasses, and get sports goggles this year. That is a very good thing for him. I'm glad he'll wear them. Porter is ordering more contacts. Cooper ordered new glasses, but wanted ones that come with a magnetic sunglasses clip. If you have to wear glasses you might as well have fun using your eye glass insurance benefit! Plus, the escalator up to the office is a bonus.
Cooper's finger is still quite stiff, and we visited the physical therapist office three times this week. We'll go tomorrow for measurements, to see his improvement, and then visit the orthopedic doctor later in the week. He still feels like he needs to wear his brace, so I convinced him to take it off while he sleeps. It's not so fragile now. They have a water dispenser there that is SO tempting for your little sister. Often we'll stay in the car, and just go in at the end to pick up Cooper. No matter how long we're there, Breyer runs to the dispenser, grabs a cup, and then turns to ask if I need water. And Cooper. And anybody that will listen. This week she asked the therapist and he put in his request. She makes everybody in the room smile, as she is very enthusiastic about her water duties.
Cooper finished off the temple you requested. He spent many hours putting it together...thanks for the challenge. Enjoy the pictures! He would have liked to done more but ran out of white Legos!
Thursday I celebrated being another year older. I found a chocolate brownie breakfast bar first thing in the morning, to ensure my day would be worthy of a celebration. I'm not sure why we celebrate the older we get, a little mourning would seem more appropriate as we lose the ability to perform or control as well, or act as quick. When asked, Breyer said we should make a chocolate cake, and that it should have pink frosting. So we did. With a little added peppermint, it was a very happy cake indeed. Enjoy the pictures of your sister relishing in my yummy homemade chocolate cake batter ;-)
There's been a lot of trivia questions being read this week. Porter's trying to prepare for his Jeopardy try out. Cooper enjoys the competition, as he takes his role on his quiz bowl team VERY seriously! He so enjoys his success. Hunter and Porter had their first quiz bowl practice Friday, and found out that a new tournament has been added to the schedule, held in Ironton at Ohio University, Southern, involving teams from Lawrence and Gallia counties. The winner and winner-up teams get an automatic bid to nationals in Chicago. Hunter was VERY excited about this.
Friday evening Dad had to attend a dinner for the football team. It was a (six) pig roast sponsored by the Lawrence County Republican Committee. Go figure! But it was good, and filled your brother Porter's empty legs, who was there to take pictures.
Friday was an historic storm in the Philippines. Did you hear about it? From the (AP) — "As many as 10,000 people are believed dead in one Philippine city alone, and 700,000 others displaced, after one of the worst storms ever recorded unleashed ferocious winds and giant waves that washed away homes and schools. Corpses hung from tree branches and were scattered along sidewalks and among flattened buildings, while looters raided grocery stores and gas stations in search of food, fuel and water. Officials projected the death toll could climb even higher when emergency crews reach areas cut off by flooding and landslides." And from the newsroom of the Church: "All Mormon missionaries serving in the Church’s 21 Filipino missions are accounted for, with the exception of some serving in the Philippines Tacloban Mission. Efforts are also underway to make contact with Church members. More than 14,000 members and others have sought refuge in 200 Church meetinghouses."
Saturday Dad had to go to a football lunch, with your hungry brother, and then boarded the bus for the playoff game against Wheelersburg. They lost. I listened to it on the computer, and it was a well fought contest up until the half (26-21), but the Dragons weren't able to keep up the momentum the second half.
In their defense, they found out while boarding the bus a classmate of Hunter's had died from a motorcycle accident, on his 18th birthday, and his cousin was on the team. They were very somber. But. Having been the first team to make the playoffs in ten years is reason enough to hold their heads up high. And, a blast from your past, it was good to have Dad back on the field this season.
Saturday evening in a different part of the land Grampy and your grandmother were being honored in Northboro. I've included a portion of the newspaper article for you to read:
Ex-police chief, wife, to be honored at banquet
By Amanda Roberge, CORRESPONDENT, Telegram & Gazette
NORTHBORO — The Northborough Interfaith Clergy Association honors someone at its annual banquet who embodies the values its member share, including but not limited to a dedication to serving others. Given the criteria, this year's honorees, Northboro husband and wife Ken and Priscilla Hutchins, were an obvious choice. Having served the public in various ways for several decades and counting, NICA members saw highlighting the couple as a perfect way to show exactly what the group stands for as it seeks to raise funds for the local community.
This year's banquet will take place at the White Cliffs Banquet Facility on Nov. 9 and will include dinner, dancing and presentations. Mr. Hutchins, who is part of NICA as part of his association and deep involvement in the Church of Latter-day Saints, which has a center in Marlboro that is shared by many surrounding towns, said he is humbled by the attention. "I guess it's because we have always been committed to making a difference and being a positive influence," said Mr. Hutchins, who served the community for more than 20 years as police chief.
According to Northboro Selectman Aaron Hutchins, their fourth child, "They are just good community people who have always been devoted to building good will." He added that even though they are getting older, they continue to serve God and the community as part of their core belief about how to function in the world – although according to the elder Mr. Hutchins, "life is starting to slow down."
Today in church was the Primary sacrament meeting program. My favorite Sunday of the year! But in today's program we witnessed a few small miracles. Two of the children just baptized in October not only gave one-liners, and small talks, but also sang, knowing all the words to all the songs. This was amazing to me. Our children learn songs their whole life, as well as work on songs for the program the entire year, yet these two sweet spirits learned 12 songs, with multiple verses, in one month. Amazing. Tears were flowing freely on the Schenewark pew.
We got a sweet note from one of the mothers after church. She said, "I wanted to tell you that my father in law was very moved by the whole primary program today, but he made special mention of Sawyer's talk. He said he seemed to really know what he spoke. This opened a nice discussion. Please share with Sawyer that my father in law could feel his testimony. He has only been to church with us twice before, I believe. I thought you would like to know this. I love your sweet family!" I don't have a copy of his talk, but Sawyer spoke about getting his blue eyes from his grandfather, and his freckles from his grandmother. He talked of how he has a body of flesh and blood, like Adam and Eve's, which body is in the express image of Heavenly Father's.
Because of this special program, the church was unusually full, and no one thought to tell the deacons to increase their numbers for passing the sacrament, or the priests to increase the trays. So during the sacrament, because two boys were passing the bread to the children up in the choir seats, only Cooper was available to pass to the large, middle section. And for the first time I can remember, the Bishop got off of the stand to help Cooper with the middle section. It was a very sweet thing to do, and a great example of helping when help is needed.
This week in seminary we were studying Omni. I loved his "exhortions" in verses 25 and 26 in how to come unto Christ. In a simplified form, we must believe, we must partake of the atonement, and we must offer our whole souls, enduring to the end. That's what the message of the gospel, and we're so thankful you're willing to sacrifice and endure to the end to share this with others.
I believe I'm finished with the letter. I do love you so! It will be exciting to hear from you tomorrow. Be safe. And in honor of the Red Sox and your New England heritage, Be strong.
Mom and Dad