Friday, February 28, 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Senior Pictures

I found it very touching that our senior, Hunter, wanted his school picture with our "senior" dog Ranger. They love each other's company, and he's been a good golf companion, chasing down all of Hunter's golf ball drives in the field, sleeping in his room when the stairs were more than he wanted to tackle, and helping to clean off his plate ;-)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Letter #83

Dearest Family, 

It's good to be with you. The weather has turned here and we have a lovely rainy day p-day. It's perfect to write letters : ) Let me see if I can remember what happened this last week.

Preparation day, Monday, we were treated to a banquet when a member invited to make lunch for us, and not any member actually but the family reactivated last week. She is very active! She is actively attending institute and now is bringing a friend and this Sunday received a calling as a ward missionary!  Excellent. Here her mother is also active, attending the relief society activity, ward activity and paying tithing already (wooh!). But p-day was nice, and it was good to begin the week with full stomachs. At night we delivered two cakes, one to the other family we reactivated who is also going strong (former high councilman returning) and the other to our ward mission leader who is now doing a fantastic job in his calling. His wife is interestingly not a member and so we're working on that. I think it's working as she made us two cakes on Saturday when they returned our container.: )

Tuesday, office day, and we also had a very productive meeting with the bishop who we felt had been avoiding us. Now he has no doubts we're on the same team. We solicited more families that we could reactivate and also laid before him the need for ward missionaries. We made an especial point of praising all that has been going so well in the ward, activities, mutual, classes, ward mission leader, etc.
Wednesday we went hiking to get to lunch. We're talking about the boonies - past the boonies. The sister described how to find her house like this: "Go to the last neighborhood up on the hill, leave the neighborhood and get on the cobblestone roads, keep going until the dirt roads and you START to see the LITTLE houses up in front. Last street on the right at the end of the road." Maybe it wasn't exactly like that but it comes pretty close. Lunch was excellent so it was worth the walk. BUUUT the walk to get back was what was interesting. We had to do a giant loop to get where we were going and on the way passed a grass factory. I didn't know they had these but it makes sense. I though I had come to the Elysian fields of Greek lore, long, stretching, perfectly trim and green lawns. . . took a picture but it's on the phone still.

Wednesday we went after references and more less actives including two individuals, who are part of a large family that is mostly members but also who have many spouses and children who are not. We were well received and the spirit was exceptionally strong, as it was the next two times we passed there. The Lord has a special work there for us to do. How we found them is interesting as well: Of all the family that is a member only two are on the list. The first, an elderly lady, the matriarch, isn't actually baptized!! but her name is on the list. . . and the other, who lives in the same house, has the address listed wrong. His address doesn't exist. That is to say if weren't for this senhora being on the list as an accident, we would never have found them. Coincidence? Certainly not. Now the neighbors are interested too. We go back again today. The man and his family went to church Sunday, his wife is not a member and already looks like a primary teacher. As a bonus they are thankfully legally married, sometimes a rarity. I think I know what we have to do here ;-)

Wednesday we also had a family home evening with a couple in their house with their family and friends. It went well, and her sister and her brother in law were especially touched. They have to marry still so that's our next goal. This couple continue to amaze me with their knowledge and progress. The man who appears 100% redneck is the most diligent student of gospel literature I know in the ward. He comes to us with the most incredible questions. Yesterday he commented that he had noticed reading the Book of Mormon that the prayer used for baptism wasn't exactly the same as in the brochures from the missionary lessons. His question was then which he should use, then commencing to recite from memory the actual baptism prayer.! I tell you I just can't make these things up! Yesterday, in learning about fasting on his own in preparation for next week's fast, he asked how he was to wash his face and anoint his head as the Book of Mormon said in 3rd Nephi; that we ought to do this when we fast. Incredible. I love him like a brother.

 Thursday we had a division with the elders in Semirimis. It was excellent missionary work and I thoroughly enjoyed staying with the new Elder Monk who already speaks excellent Portuguese and is a very diligent worker. I already know and have a special place in my heart for his companion Elder Anderson.

Friday I spent the day caring for my companion as he underwent an endoscopy to check for problems in his stomach. It was a good time to attack the Isaiah chapters where I am in the Book of Mormon, and he spent the majority of the day under the effects of anesthesia, up to the night when we went to the ward activity "Float or Sink" : )  It is a popular Brasilian game of seeing if things are going to sink or float. That was a new idea for an activity. . .and it's harder than it looks. It was well attended and we were able to bring some investigators and a family of less actives who hadn't been to the church for some time. Note to all: limes do not float. :)

 Saturday and Sunday I spent the days in division with Elder Christensen in order to take care of interviews and a growing number of appointments. Saturday we just ran all day, marking with people to go to the church. The highlights were our lesson with a couple, accompanied heavily by the spirit, our lesson with a member's brother who sells sugar cane juice (caldo de cana, literally sugarcane broth) and our lesson with a member's cousin.

When we went to the juice seller we were on a secret mission, sent by his brother to test and soften his heart towards the church. He vigorously attacked just about everything he could of who we are, the U.S. etc. but we were docile and cunning and excellent actors. As a missionary once told me, he doesn't know he's going to be baptized. . .yet, but he is going to be baptized : )  He didn't want to tell us his address either but we got that too, and he ended up giving us two cups of sugar cane broth for free : )

We have one very special young man of 19 years. He went to church last week as I had commented and is living in accordance with all the commandments. He is very sincere and we are sure that he also will be baptized this week or soon, which is good news for the elders who take care of the area where he lives because they are about to receive a baptism for free. He commented Saturday that he wants to go on a mission. We taught him again Sunday night and his cousins, and two young member converts from another ward bore sweet testimonies of how they knew for themselves that the gospel was true.

Sunday we had brought 15 or so people to church not including those we had already baptized or reactivated. Attendance was up and the ward's going strong. We went to CambĂ© for an interview, I had never been to the city center before, and it was interesting to get to know yet another part of the mission. I don't think I mentioned yet that the friend of a young women who she brought to institute went to church as well and the activities during the week and has a date for next week as well. When we asked if we could pass by on Sunday she said she wouldn't be able to as she was going to visit old people at old people homes. Further, her answer to her prayer about the church came in a very special way. She asked Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and all three nights she had the same dream of a man dressed in white who descended in a pillar of light and, holding her hands said, smiling to her, "Yes".  That's all the answer she needed.

My family I love you, I think of you and pray for you. I love the Lord and His work. Be actively engaged in it and He will bless you, He is blessing me.



Sunday, February 23, 2014

With All Our Love

Dear Tanner,
Today was a day for the record books. I'm writing you tonight, as Dad has to leave in the morning to go out of state for a presentation. And his computer goes with him. So your letter will have sat in your inbox a while before you open it Monday morning. I got up early for a Saturday morning, and did haircuts. Do you miss my haircuts now? You were always so patient with me as I learned your style. Cooper still asks for you to cut his hair. It is still not my favorite thing to do, but worth it when I think of how much I would have to pay every six weeks or so for seven of you to visit the barbershop. Then, with their freshly cut locks, we all went to the yearly cub scout pinewood derby race. Your brothers have been eagerly anticipating this day, some having invested more time and effort than others in the making of their car. As we mentioned last week, Cooper bore the mammoth burden this year. He finished up his contributions by getting Porter's car shaped and ready to paint for five hours on Monday. 
And the race results? Miller came home with a second place trophy for the Tiger den. He was very excited to carry some hardware. Sawyer's bunny raced more like his nemesis the turtle, and was quickly eliminated, but did come home with different hardware I'll mention later. Breyer, Cooper and Porter all raced against each other in the open division, with Cooper out in the lead with third place. This pack's tradition is for the leaders to race in a separate division, and I, not wanting to have to make another car, used your pink pig which you never got to race, with newly doctored wheels, and won first place, bringing home my own hardware. We counted our pinewood derby collection of cars, and counted an impressive 43! Your Dad has made a LOT of cars!

We left before the finish, and whisked Sawyer away to his all star game. He played Tuesday night, without any family present, and came home announcing he had 16 rebounds, 13 points, and 10 assists. He played again last night, and scored six points in one minute from rebounds! He was fun to watch! Then he sprained his ankle in the third quarter, and was in obvious discomfort the rest of the evening. Your friend Dr. Stan the Ortho Man was at the derby race today, examined your brother, put on an ankle lace-up boot, and said he could play if he wanted until he was in pain. So he did, mostly contributing defensively as he limped while running and not jumping, but he was a box-out banshee! That was the first tourney they won, and it was their last.

We were home for about twenty minutes and went with the sister missionaries to our neighbors up the street, who are still cautiously considering, really reading, and very enjoyable company. While there, Hunter called us to say your sister, in playing with all the pinewood derby cars, knocked off a wheel, and stepped on said wheel, impaling the bottom of her foot with the nail. How thankful we are for modern day tetanus shots! She survived, and declared herself "all better" when we arrived home.

Speaking of your sister, she celebrated her third birthday Monday of this week. What a party! I haven't posted too many pictures yet, but sent you a few. We spent that day making her "pink" cake, blowing up her "pink" balloons, making her "pink" get the idea. She just wanted a pink party. We invited our trusty neighbors, and all ate around the bedecked pink ponk table. I'll warm you up for dinners from home coming soon by saying that later in the week in passing Larry, he said, "If those boys ever throw you out of there, you just pack up your cook books and come over here." 

I'll also tell you that one of her favorite books is "Pinkalicious." It's a story of a girl who disobeys her parents, and eats too many pink cup cakes, and turns pink. The visit to the doctor determined she needed to eat lots of green food to undue the pink. Anyway, your sister ate frozen blueberries, and discovered her fingers had turned blue. She came running to the kitchen and said, "Mom! I'm turning blue!" I like it! I don't need to eat green!" Very funny ;-)

Tuesday Breyer and I went to the church to help feed the missionaries at their zone conference. As you remember from last week, I made too much coleslaw too early, and had to eat too much. Tuesday I had to make it all over again. But seeing all those elders and sisters made it all worth it. I love when they sing to us at the end of the meal. Their version of "Called to Serve" is personalized with the name of their mission in the second verse, as well as a line or two from the scripture "...the field is a white already to harvest; wherefore, thrust in your sickles, and reap with all your might, mind, and strength." Breyer helped by washing dishes, pushing the trash cans into place, and sampling the BBQ sandwich and chips. Later that night we had cub scouts at the Marshall Recreation Center, and the Webelos' earned their Aquanaut activity badge. Cooper and Miller came just for fun, and whirled around in the wave pool. Boys do love to swim! The rec center was very accommodating to our little group, and had closed off a lap lane for us, and gave us a lifeguard to help the boys with treading and floating, and swim strokes.

Wednesday I took Cooper, Sawyer and Breyer to the dentist. We all had clean bills of health - yeah! I cheered for joy in my chair when Dr. Neibert said I had to cavities. We also spoke of your appointment in July. Just in case you need extra work, we scheduled a second day, since your window in this area is so small. And, this was the day that Porter spent the day at Marshall University as he had been invited to their engineering day. He is seriously considering biomedical engineering as his field of study, and was in heaven collecting all their free give-aways.

I had my first visitor to seminary. He was homeschooled until his senior year, and met Hunter and Porter at Fairland, mostly due to quiz bowl. He had a disagreement over a grade, and chose to transfer to Chesapeake before Christmas. And who does he meet? Your roommate's sister. He asked her if he could come to seminary sometime, and he came this week. I told him it is not a coincidence that out of two schools of students, he is drawn to the only three LDS students. I also told him that our lesson for that day, Alma 32, was not chance as well. He participated in our readings and discussions. After we had a great discussion about faith and experimenting upon the word, I asked him if he would be our class experiment. Is it bad to be bold? It was fun for the students in the class. They were on their best behavior! We all hope he comes back.

One of my favorite parts in that chapter is when Alma is able to teach and reach one particular group of people, the humble in heart. "Alma...beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preparation to hear the word." Another portion of that chapter made me think of you, in verse 23, "And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned." You've shared many examples of words being imparted to you, and your ability to confound the wise. Heavenly Father blesses his missionaries, and you literally and figuratively are an angel. And we love you. Go earn your wings!

Love, Mom and Dad

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Pinewood Derby!

Sawyer's "memorial" bunny...

Miller's Cars car...

Breyer's Cars car Sally...

Cooper's Cars car...

Porter's Cars car Francesco Bernoulli

Racing to bring home the 2nd place trophy from the Tiger den...

Waiting to race...

 "Judging" the finish line...

Friday, February 21, 2014

Princess Punishment

What did the cat do?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Optimist International Essay Contest, First Place Winner!

All children have dreams. These start early, such as being astronauts and firemen. As each child grows up, their dreams start to change. This process continues throughout life, but not every dream is achieved. So how do dreams one has lead them to success? There are three main components of success built off of a dream. First is belief in the idea. The second is vision, the ability to see the fullness of your dream. The third is determination, to make the dream come true. When dreams are mentioned, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. may come to mind. He was a man who died because of his dreams and his beliefs in them. His dream was to see equal rights for all mankind. On April 18, 1959, before a march for integrated schools, Dr. King said, “Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater notion of your country, a finer world to live in.” Although he was killed before seeing the fullness of his success, Dr. King has obviously had a huge effect on the United States, even the world. It was only through his dream and the dreams of others that equality came into the United States.

The second component of success is vision. One dreamer who has had great success by following his dreams is Walt Disney. His whole life was spent in pursuit of what others said was impossible. By pursuing his dream he created the first full length animated movie, the first color animated movie, the first “talkie” animated movie, along with hundreds of other accomplishments. In an interview, Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Because Walt Disney followed his dream, he created a legacy seen decades later. His is a household name. His name is synonymous with movies and child entertainment, all because he believed in his dream.

The final component is determination. Figures like Jackie Robinson or Helen Keller may pop into your head. However, someone with just as much determination and an even bigger dream was Eleanor Roosevelt. Along with being First Lady, Eleanor was a large woman’s rights advocate. She was a member of the American Red Cross and served as the history teacher of a private school that she owned. She opened a furniture factory that later grew to become a multi-product factory with pewter and woven products. She is quoted as having said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt achieved more than most people could start to believe, just by following after her dreams.

Langston Hughes beautifully personified dreams in his poem, “Dreams.”
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

What Hughes is saying is that without dreams, life is barren, bleak, and not worth living. At the start of this New Year, millions of people made resolutions about what they want to change in their lives. What are resolutions if not goals? What are goals if not the effort of fulfilling a dream?

The French writer Anatole France was born into poverty but later grew into one of the greatest French writers and poets of all times. Referring to his success, he said, “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan but also believe.” The world is full of writers and politicians, of teachers and lawyers, all so diverse that only one connection can be made. They are all dreamers. While not all of these people have found great success or wide public renown, each individual is important. Each person is the very quintessence of dreams and each one is unique. Success is the measure of what is accomplished by an individual to “make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, a finer world to live in. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)” Every person affects the world in a unique, individual way. No matter what is accomplished, no matter what is achieved, it all begins with a dream.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Letter #82

Dear Family,

First of all I have pictures, though it appears now that the USB may or may not be able to function, making it impossible to send them. We'll see.

I love a good p-day : ) It's absolutely refreshing and when I don't have much work to do on the computer and can just write to you it's even better.

This week was wonderful as well. (All weeks really should be during the mission.) We began the week well as we had rested on p-day the week before. Tuesday we had a wonderful zone meeting with the zone of Tiradentes, led by the zone leaders here. We had a good time and were accompanied by two young men we brought from our ward who are soon going on a mission. The highlight was perhaps when we inflated lots of balloons and tossed them into the air, trying to keep all afloat (our baptisms from falling). The zone leaders called out different groups to try and keep all them afloat e.g. district leaders, one district...When he called out assistants it was a mad rushing effort by the two of us to keep all the baptisms from falling. Message? We can't do it alone. It takes everyone to have a successful zone, which is exactly right. I have observed that if you want lots of baptisms in your zone or district or mission (and its upheld by the number for the last ten years) you have to help the most missionaries possible baptize. Teamwork. Tuesday we were also visited by the head church auditor for Brasil who audited our mission. Interesting but nothing to note other than after our successful audit President and Sister Genaro were happy and so they bought us all pizzas : )

Thursday we were called to the office before lunch to complete the artwork for our open house banner (more later). We ended up giving the design responsibility back to the President who had his own graphic company and thus was the obvious choice for banner designer. He did a wonderful job and then brought us to the printing shop to deliver our design. We lunched late and then headed back to work. We are pursuing the less actives as I have noted before and going after the plethora of names on the list of members that we don't recognize is generally how we work during the day, of course with other work mixed in.

Friday was special. We held a very large open house the majority of the day in the stake center in the middle of Londrina, complete with banner, open family history center, center for unemployment, the institute building, the whole zone of Londrina and President and Sister Genaro. We worked around the building from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, doing contacts with everyone who passed, and conducting them to the elders and sisters designated to give tours of the chapel. In all we had 78 people enter the church and double this in references. Exciting! Our last blitz as we called it, has already had at least one good effect that I know of, a surgeon general graduated from the best college in Brasil and extremely influential here in Londrina will be baptized this week as a result : )

Also, I've never been so rejected in my whole mission. The inner city crowd is very worldly and we suffered some unkindly remarks, lots of avoidance and one man who crossed the street four times to avoid the missionaries. Plenty of people wouldn't shake our hands, etc. I had a small taste of the mission in Japan, as, out of Londrina's healthy population of Japanese, not one stopped to even talk to us. . . I stuck with Elder Dantas during the day, who is an excellent elder, and we were able to bring 13 people to the church, two of which marked to attend institute the next day : )

Saturday we held our weekly meeting with our ward mission leader who is doing an all-star job in his calling. We also brought investigators to mutual, then headed off to participate in the Saturday night session of the Londrina stake conference, presided by Elder Gavarret. The session focused on missionary work. It was interesting and was not very well attended. Especially by ward mission leaders whom Elder Gavarret asked to stand and was shocked when only two were counted present. Ummmmmm. . . he was so disconcerted by this that he paused in his talk unable to continue, obviously surprised. yup. He's a lot shorter than you would think. Very short, very stern and perhaps a little awkward publicly, but certainly a called and chosen servant of the Lord. I had the pleasure of meeting him and introducing our missionaries to him quickly in between sessions.

Elder Junot, Church Educational Systems director of Brasil was also present and gave a wonderful talk. The best of all however was our beloved President Genaro who blew the roof off with his irresistible humor and at the same time, firm teaching to the members that we the missionaries are here to help YOU! Please seek us out, help us, ask us (the missionaries) we can help you. Family Home Evening (FHE) as a missionary tool was mentioned successively five times by the visiting leaders. Coincidence? Think not. Elder Costa's similar focus in his visit to us shows us that. Get the FHE machine going. President Genaro also introduced a program I had helped produce of 21 days of praying for a list of people you'd like to have taught by the missionaries, and accompanying scriptures. We'll see.

Sunday we stuck around in our area. It was as it tends to be a day when the spirit is sweetest, where the fruits of our work seem closest and when lunch is also best : ) One young man received the Aaronic priesthood as a teacher from his uncle as we watched. Lunch was provided by our recent converts and boy oh boy was it good ! They did a full on BBQ for us : ) They are doing very well and have a calling already in the Sunday school, and one soon to come. He is a house builder, or pedreiro as they are called, and surprised us at lunch when he began to sing from memory the latest mutual music from the church. He almost teared up professing how much he loved the message of the music which spoke of preaching the gospel : ) We taught his cousin after lunch of 19 years who will certainly be baptized in the coming weeks. The spirit was strong as we testified of the healing power of Christ's atonement in his life, and the sacred ordinances that direct that power into our lives. I consider him a blessing at the end of this week for having sought not our own glory but to do His will, seeking out His lost sheep and not baptisms, which may sometimes be considered a more glorified pursuit. Of course we are looking to baptize as well and will this week, quite a bit.: )

Sunday was capped off with other sweet lessons, with the feelings of pure intelligence flowing unto those we taught. There is no better feeling as I have before said. It is the approbation of the Lord in this His own work. Time continues to fly by, but I couldn't be happier and there's not a thing I want in the world, except maybe my hair back : )

I love you. I pray that all is well. I know it is because it is according with His perfect plan. Have a great week!



Princess SWIG

Sunday, February 16, 2014

With All Our Love

Dear Tanner,

I’m sitting on the bed with your sister, while she crunches potato chips watching me type. She’s listening to her “Snow White” cassette tape, and loves the “Whistle While You Work” song. Over and over she asks for her princess tapes to be played, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty round out her collection. She is learning how to curtsy, wave, dresses for balls, dance, and be kind. She takes her princess lessons very seriously. That is, until she’s Wonder Woman with your brother Miller. Then she wrestles, rolls, jumps, kicks and follows her Superman wherever their adventures lay. I digress. She’s my constant companion, my little friend, and happy to eat while I stop a minute from her agenda to type you a letter. And she still sucks her thumb!

Today while sitting at church in class, she was brought to me by the nursery leader, who was also bringing two other girls to their parents. I asked if her pants needed to be changed, and she said, “No, it’s time to go potty!” Well, of course, if you insist. Maybe being only two days away from turning three, her gift to me will be an end of twenty years of diapers. I can’t believe I’ve been buying them that long. What a lot of money!

Your little Miller-man is growing up quickly. When you ask him what he likes to do, he says he likes to protect. Tonight he told your sister, “Super heroes don’t cry. Turn off the tears.” He takes his duties as immediate guardian of the family princess very seriously. And he practices all day long. Unless he’s playing basketball with Sawyer, his only other interest: sports. He’s already asking me when baseball is starting, and our winter snow is still falling. Of all my children, he makes me wonder the most how to give him the skills he will need to succeed in life. We had teacher conferences this week, and I went to his teacher. We met with his speech teacher, who shared with us the results of a test she had administered that week. I knew he was exhibiting some strange behavior while we were working on his reading assignments, and had asked her to test him. He has almost nonexistent immediate auditory memory recall (versus working memory, or long term memory). So we made a plan to improve his auditory memory, which will help him recall sounds needed to learn how to read. And while building him this basic foundation, we hope that he’ll eventually learn how to read to learn. In the meantime, we’ll be playing lots of auditory kind of games, and practicing his spelling words in textures of sand, shaving cream, and dimensional letters. Who ever said being a mother, and staying at home, is not fulfilling? 

(Sawyer's eye ;-)

Your little brother Sawyer is almost through with his all-star basketball practices and games. He too is eager for baseball to begin. He did not have a game this weekend, has a game this week with no family able to attend, and one next weekend we won’t be going to due to his Pinewood Derby. So his season might already be over! We spent all day yesterday getting the cars ready. Your father is so good to help all who want to race have a car. Porter still hasn’t bowed out of the open competition, so his car was finished late yesterday as well. Cooper and Breyer will also be in the open competition, Miller will be racing Tigers, and Sawyer Webelos I boys. They all have “Car” cars except Sawyer, who wanted a car to memorialize his lost bunnies. We’ll be busy painting during the week, and putting the finishing touches on the wheels.

Cooper was the most help yesterday while designing the cars. Miller required extra detail, and Dad was so proud of how he put the whole car together. He’s such a sweet boy, and always hanging in the background. You’ll be surprised at how big all the boys have grown, and I suspect he’ll surprise you the most. His teeth are HUGE and he will have a beautiful smile when we’re finished with braces. He’s still in a holding pattern as I chose just to pay for Porter’s this year. He is so excited to be able to play the bass clarinet. He’s been waiting for a few weeks to bring it home, and has played it all weekend. He's the brother that came home from school and announced that since they began Christmas break, they've only had 14 days of school - and that's including all the days with two hour delays! In ward conference today, he was recognized as the president of the Deacon quorum.

Porter is SO tall! He’s gotten to the hard-to-find-pants-long-enough stage, and still hasn’t grown any beard! He got those good growing genes still going strong! He loves to be fashionable, just as you, and is always looking dapper going out the door. His temperament has evened out so much since you’ve left, probably another hormonal thing, and he’s fun to be around. Now ;-) He loves a good movie, a good book, a lot of food, and Jeopardy. Today he was recognized as the president of the Teachers quorum, and also recognized for advancing to a Priest. He is 16 (right!), and speaks of dating in the future tense, far future. And, he out of all your brothers is enjoying the Olympics the most. He loves the snowboarding events the most, and is cheering on an Australian LDS girl as she’s in a LOT of events.

Your wingman is still steady and strong. He was recognized as first assistant to the Bishop, leader of the Aaronic priesthood. He’s our daily weatherman, and so excited when weather is moving in and there’s the possibility of a delay or cancellation. We had no school Thursday, and a holiday Friday, so tomorrow morning will be hard. His sense of humor is so stylish. He walked into the boys’ room where a dinosaur song tape was playing, and laughed, saying, “The boys in the weight room will be surprised when I slip in this stegosaurus waltz!” He’s so kind to me, very gentle with your sister and such a big help to me around the help and with the car. I will miss him dearly when you whisk him away out west. I’ve been looking at airplane tickets for you guys this summer, and am excited for your traveling. I’ll keep in touch about plans, but know Dad does not have enough time to drive out and back again before Marshall begins.

Your father is still recovering nicely. His stitches came out this week, and he’s coping with the “no lifting” policy. He enjoys taking out the missionaries to lunch. One pair is usually on Monday, and the other on Thursday. We feed the sisters in Proctorville in our home. We’ll be going to the Shiners later in the week, asked them to check on a few names we had given the elders, and are still taking boys to play basketball twice a week at the church. Dad has been asked to help with the LDSSA “club,” and will be their official Marshall advisor. This week he’ll also be teaching institute there, as a teacher hasn’t been called.

Me? I’m still here. I had been asked last Sunday if I would make coleslaw for the sixty missionaries meeting for training at the church Tuesday. It was our ward’s turn to feed lunch to the missionaries. Anyway, I spent all afternoon Monday cutting cabbage, and chopping it up for coleslaw, and barely squeezed all the containers in my fridge. Tuesday I took Breyer to the library for her story time, with the coleslaw in the back of the van. Coincidentally, the missionaries were on the computer at the library, and when it finally dawned on me they should be at the church, I realized I was a week off in my responsibility. What in the heck do you do with coleslaw for sixty! I made them take a big bowl, handed some off to Larry, and kept the rest in the fridge. The boys MOANED whenever it was on their dinner plate, (everyday) but we finished the bowl.

One of the more interesting news articles I saw this week involved the $2.2 Billion Bird-Scorching Solar Project newly built and opened on the California-Nevada border. They're using mirrors to generate solar power in the desert, and the temperature has hit 1000 degrees! Can you imagine! The birds flying over the area are dropping like flies. What is going to happen to airplanes?

And here's the news from your father: "Dairy cows in Germany set their barn on fire after their farting and belching led to a deadly build up of methane inside the building, police said. Gas levels from 90 cows reached unusually high levels Monday before dangerously reacting with static energy from a massaging machine. It sparked a fire which set stalls at the Rosdorf farm ablaze. The flames quickly spread and soon reached the roof. One cow was seriously burned in the blaze." FUNNY!

In Sunday School today we were reading about Abraham. I loved reading this and thinking of how this applied to you! "For I have a make of thee a minister to bear my name in a strange land...For as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their Father." I know how close you come to those you serve, and thought this was a tender way to express those emotions. 

I need to get into bed! It's late and (hopefully) I've got to teach in the morning. We love you dearly. We think of you always. We love you forever.

Mom and Dad

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tootin' Your Horn in a BIG Way!

Cooper's "upgraded" to the BIG bass clarinet!

Thursday, February 13, 2014