I am concerned about your shoes. There is no contest you need to enter in making your shoes last your whole mission. You'll be much more comfortable, and work better and longer if your feet (and ultimately back) are not in pain. I figure we have a few options, and wearing multiple pairs of liners is not one of them. I can order a new pair, and have them shipped to you...you can look into how much resoling the shoes will cost...you can look into the price of a new pair of postal worker type shoes are in Londrina. Let me know what you're doing, and how we can help. We can always put money in your bank account if you choose the Brazilian options.
The other item of concern is your drivers license. We got a card in the mail, as it is still expired. Did you get their paperwork? Did you get my cashiers check (birthday box)? If you did, was the paperwork sent in right away? If everything has been done, and you're just waiting for your license in the mail, I won't worry.
Here we are, back at writing again, another week down in the books. We were in Texas last week, and due to staying up a bit late, and losing one hour with the time zone switch, we woke up to your letter already in the inbox. What a great way to start the day! Again, I love your new position of leadership and the many pictures we have access to now. However, I am mindful of those mothers less fortunate, and hope that as you travel, you too would take pictures for me to share with their mothers. And, perhaps with the president's blessing, travel with a few extra pesos in the pocket to make their day as yummy as your evenings have been with the president and his family.
The funeral home's message page for Elder Thomas was passed along to me, and I shared your thoughts with his family. It was encouraging to see other missionary moms leave messages as well. Such a thing I hope never to have to endure.
Our last few days in Texas were spent enjoying the outside weather and family. I even caught Dad sitting in a chair, with a coat, in the backyard, soaking up some sun. He was happy to be there, and had a hard time adjusting to the cold when we returned. More on that later. These pictures show how we spent some of our time:
Playing in the costumes...
Meeting Grandma Amy for ice cream...
Lots of trampoline time...
And playing the couch game, with Luke and his "flu bug" Thankfully, unless there's a really long incubation period, we did not catch it!
We were suppose to leave Tuesday, New Year's Eve, but thought it would be better to leave after all the festivities of the New Year were over. So we stayed an extra day. Some of the pictures in your email detail our activities. The only hiccup we had in staying longer was contacting Stephen, who was staying in our house and watching Ranger, to see if he could stay longer. Larry helped us work out the fine details. As a thank you, we brought Larry back a bottle of Rudy's barbeque sauce. He said he had heard of Rudy's sauce because they sponsor gun shows, but didn't think they were a big deal. Now that he has his own bottle, he's a believer. He said he even put it on his bologna sandwich, and it tasted so much better! Isn't that so funny?
Our return trip was uneventful, so much more pleasant for me with no pain and no car sickness. Traveling on New Year's Eve day is a good time, as traffic was very light! Hurray! We returned home to all being well, Ranger happy to have us home, and a big table of mail. Because the rest of the week was still holiday from school, your brothers helped take down Christmas decorations and the tree, and put away travel bags and clothes. Sawyer was eager to help me on a project using his new tools. Your grandmother, in December, thought of using the train table, with the crib mattress, as a new bed for Breyer. It was wonderful except one side was unprotected and she rolled off the bed so she hasn't been using it. One night I envisioned the side railing that she would need, and Sawyer was able to build it for me. It was perfect! I'm so glad I asked him! (Although Dad put another rail on to keep her head from getting caught.)
He worked in very cold conditions to help me. I said I would get back to our cold weather. It's bitter cold. The yearly arctic freeze that happens every January. Tomorrow's the coldest day they've had here since 1994. Sawyer has kept us well informed about potential frostbite and hypothermia conditions. I'm sure down in sultry, hot, hazy Brazil these frigid conditions are very hard to imagine. But soon you too will once again put on your sweaters and everything wool to stay toasty warm. Tonight we go from 50 degrees to 24 degrees by 6 a.m. (feels like 11) to 5 degrees by 6 p.m. (feels like -14) to -1 (feels like -21) tomorrow night at midnight. And, I'm sure the boys' vacation will be extended by a day or two. (Just got the word the morning is on a two hour delay! - No seminary!)
Porter keeps me on his toes. He has a little book he uses for recipes, and is always pushing me to try new things (crepes) or let him make old things (hot chocolate) so he can write the recipe in his book. You know the rule: If you don't make it, you can't write it in your cookbook! Anyway, tonight's recipe was popovers, made in muffin tins. He thought they looked delectible, and with chicken cooked in a bit of Rudy's sauce, he had a masterpiece. You'll love to have him cook for you.
Your teacher forwarded us a video of you performing your tenth grade mathematician rap. It was fun to see you in action! It was a day or two after you had knocked out your front teeth, and had a fat lip, but you did great performing around your impediments! It was very kind of her to think of us after so long!
We returned to cold weather, and basketball games and concession stand duty. The boys finished up the season Saturday. It is a success if they're playing better than when they began. Cooper improved drastically! Sawyer refined his already set of sweet skills. Miller use to only take half court shots, as shooting far away was the only way he could play with his big brothers. Now he can do a sweet lay up! This is a picture of Sawyer's team, first in the holiday tournament, undefeated, first in the league.
Last night we watched a funny movie, Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp. The best part was when Dad went to return the Redbox DVD, and it checked him in at 8:59:37, making the cut off time by 23 seconds. What a guy! Here he is with your dapper brother, and his new Fairland green bow tie and vest from your Grandmother with serious knitting skillz.
Hunter wore his vest today as well...
That's about all I can squeeze out of our quiet week! We're excited to hear about yours! While reading in Alma 7, I came across the beautiful passage wherein Alma describes the "one thing which is of most importance than...all:"
"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."
As said by Elder Hafen, "The atonement is not just for sinners." Jesus Christ suffered to save us from sin and death AND to help us through the challenges of mortality. Whether we're searching for self-esteem, or facing disease, depression or death, or having any kind of missionary type issues, Elder Holland says it best. "Come first to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Trust in heaven's promises." We surely hope your week to come is full of love and the knowledge that your parents place you first in their hearts.
Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad