Saturday, December 31, 2016

BIG Family


BIG Bear...


BIG Breakfast...


BIG jumps, BIG laughs...


BIG games...


BIG crowd/

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Magical Moments


Working together to get a tractor up and running...


Christmas Eve yuletide log sandwiches


Miller's 10th birthday celebration...


Sawyer's mini bagpipes from Scotland...


Cooper's grill enthusiasm...


Having a kiddie table...


Having an adult table...


Having happy children...

Monday, December 26, 2016

Letter #71

Dear Family and Friends,

And it was wonderful to see all of you as well! Get better soon AnneMarie! That was the first Christmas tree I've seen in a long time, and it was doubly nice to see you all around it. It´s hard to say everything and talk to everyone in such a short time but I hope that you all know that I love you with all my heart. The internet connection fell in the middle of the prayer, and I didn't even get to say goodbye, but that´s okay.


As mentioned, this week has been slow on the work, and fast on the feasts. Everyone has left the city to go to the beach  - and I can´t blame them. We had our district Chrismas party. It went until 5, with volleyball and lots of food. I cooked the meat and its become my new hobby. There's something relaxing about it. We had our ward Christmas party. We had to leave, and didn't participate, but hey, it happened.


Christmas Eve the members came to our house bringing lots of food and caroling. A beautiful choir. And barbecue everyday for lunch. Unfortunately this week will be much of the same thing. It's good to enjoy the holidays, but it makes the work awfully tough for missionaries. We´re trying to think of something creative to help. Yesterday, our stake´s attendance was a hair above 250.
 


I really like how the original apostles viewed their trials. As Peter taught in 1 Peter 4;12-12: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ´s sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."


Now, there´s a whole lot I´d like to say on that, but I´ll just close with the words of Paul in 2 Cor. 4;17, one of my favorite scriptures: "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

Our trials, well fought and supported, bring the blessings. Bring us an eternal reward. So never, never give up. Give thanks for the opportunity to grow and learn.

Love,

Elder Schenewark

Sunday, December 25, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

Merry Christmas to me! What a treat to talk with you. We love you. You are our present under the tree, so to speak. The present that symbolizes the spirit of Christmas.


You look fantastic. You sound even better. Your eyebrow wiggles and eyebrow raising made me remember your face. Your nose crinkle made me remember your face even more. But your voice, even with your funny accent, and your laugh, melted my heart. I love ending our missionary visits with Dad's prayer, except we were all surprised when your face had disappeared after we opened our eyes. Where did you go?

One of the best stories I heard this week was from your grandmother. Your grandfather made a hefty purchase at a store this week, and one of his big ticket items was not rung up at all. He discovered the mistake, mentioned it to your grandmother, and she tag teamed him and drove back to pay the bill. Such a good story in today's world where most people, I think, would consider themselves lucky.

The second best story comes from Breyer. We were up the street for a home teaching visit, at our neighbors's house, where Bro. Counts asked if Breyer knew what gifts were given to baby Jesus. She said, "Frankenstein and Merv." Too, too funny.

Porter had his wisdom teeth removed Tuesday. He's done very well in his recovery. Dad said he was very flirty with one nurse coming out of anesthesia. He'll say he did it on purpose. He's visited a few friends, decorated cookies, played basketball with a former teammate, and sewed Christmas bags.

I suppose I have a bit of news to share...I resigned from my job. I signed up for five 8 hour shifts, easily slid into four 10 hour shifts, but being required to work four 12 hour shifts was a bit too much, with my commute, which worsened coming home in rush hour traffic. I would have had to go four days without seeing at least Breyer, probably Miller. I gave them a two week notice, and finished up Wednesday. I was very sad. I was good at the job, which is difficult, taxing, busy, stressful. I would have liked to remain and continue to work towards becoming better.


The Bachs have been here since Wednesday. Such fun times together! We've played lots of games: Chicken Foot, Mexican Train, Rummy Cube...Legos...Bro. Bach and Cooper have been working on the tractor, and have the engine up and running...still working on smoothing out the engine, and then will figure out how to get the deck reattached, and ensure the belt is functioning. Nothing like a little Christmas side project to keep you entertained. The three youngest have gone golfing with Bro. Bach as well. Breyer thinks she had a hole in one, because she only hit the ball one time on that hole. They said she had a fifty yard drive, though, even with her funny grip.

Breyer had her six month dental check-up, and was told she has TWELVE cavities! Oh dear! All in the four back molars, which have VERY deep pockets that are hard to clean. We went back the next day and they filled to minor cavities to see how she would do. Next time we're getting the shot for numbing, and major drilling. Eventually, whatever molars are left will be covered in sealants.

We made gingerbread houses on Friday, and decorated them Saturday morning. I only had to make six this year ;-) Dad helps me with gluing them together. Sis. Bach helps me with everything else. Later on in the day we took them to six families, and caroled at their front door until they answered.

Tomorrow your brother and his wife arrive. I haven't seen them for a year, and until today, really haven't talked with them since August.

Today was my first day in church in a long time, and I got to play Christmas music on the organ. I also got to hear Cooper bless the sacrament for the first time. We were reading from The Book of Mormon in 3rd Nephi, where the signs of Christ's birth are mentioned. I had forgotten those who were against the Nephites fell to the earth as if dead, "for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand...and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief."

One day those whom you've taught, will realize you were right, and feel similar feelings. Not so much for being against you, such as those who were causing the Nephites to perish, but more for not believing.

Go on and continue in your work, enduring to the end, and never quitting. We love you. We're so proud of you. So glad to see you today.

Love,

Mom

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Gingerbread Houses to Run Around

Porter gave his to the neighbors-who-never-forget-us,
Cooper gave his to a faithful giver-of-rides-when-Mom's-not'able,
Sawyer chose to give his to a favorite teacher,
Miller gave his to a family with cancer adventures,
Breyer gave hers to her Fairy God Mother.




 






Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Baking Buddy

(with a little flour to go on the nose)


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Blast from the Past

Dad's letter jacket from high school, over thirty years old, and in prime condition.
And it has a new fan.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Poor Puffy and in Pain, Porter

One might think he's one of the now exploding Mump victims, up from 40 a year to over 4000. 
But no.
He had his wisdom teeth pulled. All four.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Words for the Wingmen

Dear Family,

I had hoped to have already sent you this letter by this time because I had hoped to be somewhere roughly over Newfoundland right now as opposed to sitting in my room in Copenhagen. Such is life. First, before that story, the week.


Monday and Tuesday we’re our last full days in Edinburgh and we were determined to enjoy them. Enjoy them we did! Well, Monday I wrote my term paper, all ten or so pages of it, which, when you consider that it was a twelve credit semester, really wasn’t all that bad. Tuesday we did missionary work and visited museums.


AnneMarie picked up three copies of the Book of Mormon to hand out: one in Lithuanian and one in Czech for each of our hosts, and one in English for my MSP. She also got a Christmas Joy to the World DVD for the other chap who worked in the office with me, a really nice fellow named Graeme. We wrote in them and delivered them. #LighttheWorld. I hope something will come of it but either way it’s been a wonderful experience for us to share our testimonies. And on a side note, we found out that Jaro's cousin might be LDS and my MSP's wife was apparently raised LDS in Ireland?!! Coincidence? Definitely not.

The last thing on our Edinburgh checklist was the Surgeon’s Hall museum. Edinburgh can lay claim to all sorts of firsts in modern medicine and this museum was a three-part exhibition of some of this history. One part consisted entirely of bottled human body parts/organs/bits/pieces, all with a story/rare deformity or disease. Weak of stomach need not apply within! Some chunks of flesh were more innocent, however, in that their owners did not pass away in order for that part of them to join the museum collection.


My favorite in this category was the third leg of a man who grew up in the Highlands of Scotland in the 1800’s. It was a proper third leg and the placard told his story of how he had been branded a cursed monster by his parents, forced to live in exile, and rejected by the school/town, etc. He lived that way well into his fifties when a doctor who heard of his condition offered to remove the unwanted appendage and did so without complication. Also of note, the man had taken to hiding the third leg, which everyone called ‘the thing,’ underneath a long kilt!

The other part of the museum told the history of medicine in Edinburgh, how they invented anesthesia, etc. etc. As the brilliant doctors did their work, though, they required cadavers to conduct their research and Edinburgh was the capital of the burgeoning international trade of body-snatching. Seriously, international! Grave robbers from Ireland would ship boatloads of corpses over to Scotland by night and were paid well for it. This lasted until an infamous pair decided it was easier to procure fresh bodies rather than dig them up. The duo, Burke and Hare, were caught after Hare snitched on Burke in return for clemency and the museum has a book made from Burke’s skin…Macabre city Edinburgh, and kind enough to keep your mortality at the forefront of your mind.

Wednesday we packed, said our farewells and flew to Copenhagen without incident. We’ve had a wonderful time here in the land of AnneMarie’s ancestors. Thursday we explored the city, saw the original statue of the Christus with its accompanying statues of the twelve apostles, explored a Copenhagen street food market, went to the Copenhagen Christmas markets (even better than Edinburgh’s I thought) and took pictures of Copenhagen’s iconic Nyhavn harbor.

We tried lots of food, including a chocolate dipped waffle on a stick, gourmet porridge, and Korean street food. The porridge, perhaps surprisingly, was a hit, and we’ve been back twice since. Friday we visited the little mermaid, a star-shaped island fortress, and toured the royal residences located here in Copenhagen, including Amalienborg palace where the current royal family resides and Rosenborg palace where the crown jewels are kept. Rosenborg was almost my favorite castle we’ve visited in Europe except Saturday we spent all day at the largest castle in Scandinavia, Fredericksberg. I was mostly interested in it because it has most of Carl Bloch’s best known paintings on display in the king’s private chapel, but there was much more to see, which, knowing how much I love Bloch, is saying something. Personally, the inside of the castle was more impressive, to me, than Versailles, though Versailles’ grounds are unbeatable.


I should also mention, Friday night we caught the last session at the Copenhagen temple which is a couple of blocks from us and that was an instant highlight of our trip. Especially when we ran into a couple serving their mission there (Bob and Trudy Larsen) who are good friends of the Paces. Small world!!! Church was next to the temple in a city-style church building and the crowd there was standing only. Hopefully that means the church is growing here!


Well, it is temporarily at least since we’ve become unwilling residents of the city. As we were preparing to leave, I got a text message from the airline notifying us our flight had been cancelled and moved to tomorrow morning. Not a big deal, but we’re anxious to get home and kiss baby Emerson’s cheeks. Our Airbnb host was very kind as well and let us stay the extra night at no charge. That’s lighting the world and we’ve got a little pass along card that we’ll behind when we go in the hope that we can bring her some light as well. AnneMarie’s so good at remembering to bring those and leave them everywhere we go. I’m deeply grateful for this super-smoking beautiful Danish eternal companion I’ve got by my side.

Keep up the good work

All our Love,

Tanner and AnneMarie

Make yourself at home.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Letter #70

Dear Family and Friends,

Tuesday we had our zone conference. It was wonderful and brought the Christmas spirit. Sis. Young taught about gratitude and used the powerful example of the Savior. Before feeding the four thousand, He asked for the bread and fish, and gave thanks. Thanks for the little that they had. And, as we know, a miracle then happened. As we have gratitude, we will see miracles happen. She also taught that gratitude is so important, it should be one of the first things we teach to people. As we teach them to pray, they should learn to give thanks. Elder Brito and I were privileged to teach about the plan of salvation. Everything went very well, even lunch.


We had another early, early morning bus ride to Vitória this week, having a division with the assistants to the president. We went poorly prepared thinking it would be another normal hot day, but instead in the afternoon it became really cold, with wind gusting 40 mph and a cold rain beating down on us. But we made it. It´s already reached 118 degrees here in Campos this month so it was a welcome change.

Always, but especially as a zone leader, missionaries call asking for permission to do this, and to do that, and sometimes it can be a little hard. I´ll share just one minor example that changed how I think. The mission made a recent change saying that all the interviews for baptism have to happen in the chapel. This week we had someone asking for an interview to be done in the house, and not the chapel. It seems like such a small thing, but the situation was made clear thinking about Pres. Young. Our zone conference had just finished and I thought, I´d like to develop the spirituality that he has. And then the thought, to do that, I need to do what he would do. Would he hold this interview in the house, or the more difficult place to meet up, at the chapel? Of course, the chapel. I am grateful to have a mission president who values obedience and who sets the example. And, I am eternally grateful for your examples!

Looking forward to seeing y´´all Sunday! We should be calling at about 1 pm your time.

Elder Schenewark

Sunday, December 18, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

We love you! We're very excited to be seeing your face in live time, and in speaking with you after seven months. Breyer asks me every other day how much longer. It doesn't matter what time you call, except if you can avoid our church time, from ten to noon.  Tanner would like to be in on the Christmas call, which he said is easy if we use google hangouts. You don't need to download anything. Just go hangouts online, sign in with your church email and create a call with invites to schenewark@yahoo.com and tanner.schenewark@gmail.com. Let us know how we can do this.

Your siblings are officially out of school as of their half day Friday. Tomorrow morning when there's no seminary, or practice, or early morning breakfasts, or making lunches, it will seem more real.

Dad's still trying to catch up from the semester, and tithing settlement. Hopefully he'll be able to surface soon and have a vacation of sorts.

Breyer's game yesterday was fun. Fun to watch, fun to watch, fun to watch. Breyer's improved a lot. She's a good dribbler, did great on rebounds, and will have to work on getting strong enough to make a basket. She told me yesterday, while driving to her game, "Mom, when us women go out to recess, we talk about fashion." And, I found out fashion means who has the prettiest dress, and who smells the best.


The crazy Whitcomb gang

Miller had two great games. He scored all but two baskets in the first game, and all of the points in his second. He told me he remembered not to play very good in the first game, first quarter, so he wouldn't have to sit on the bench for the second quarter, but forgot in the second game, and was chosen to sit out.

Sawyer still likes to go fishing. He was able to go yesterday, when it was 73. By the time Dad could go, it was almost down to the low of 18, and they both came running back home. Fifty degrees in one day is a huge difference! Winter is here. Sawyer had his Christmas concert this week. He did great, even had a solo. He's second chair, the only boy, and the only seventh grader in the top seven.

Cooper is gearing up for the visitors to arrive, as he is in the guest room. He got his cleaning orders this weekend, and is a good sport about giving up his new king size bed.

Porter has arrived. He pulled an all night cleaning of his dorm before he flew, and then had a 90 minute flight delay. Add in a little bit of Dallas traffic, and he got in a lot later than planned. But he's here. He's already played basketball with the ward men, slept until three, scooped Sawyer for a shake run, snuck off for a shopping trip, and showed up at Breyer's game. He's also made contact with friends from high school and went to church. It's great to have him back in the house, making us all laugh.

I've enjoyed the few Christmas cards that have dribbled in here and there. Some come as postcards with one sentence, letting you know they're alive. Others have come in via email exuding more love than a 5'x5' package under the tree. Some are from friends who remember and love you. Fred Hill from Big Ugly made us laugh. The Nixon's made us cry. It's not easy to read about the trials friends have experienced through the year. But every one expressed love for the Savior, and His birth. Tis the season. You're the reason some can hear about Him year round.

Be careful. Remember we love you. Let us know.

Love,

Mom

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Bad Bass Boy


Sometimes the sun shines at the right moment,
the wind dies down,
the weather cooperates...
be ready to go.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Words for the Wingmen

Only two days left in Edinburgh 😢 last night I came out of a Christmas concert at St. Giles to a bunch of men playing bagpipes in the street and I immediately started crying. I have loved getting to come work here every day! And by work I mean eating snacks and having girl chat with the senior missionaries... I love the people here. Scotland will always have a place in my heart ❤️



All journey's must come to an end. I finished at the Parliament this week with a very pleasant last few days and AnneMarie finished at the Scotland/Ireland Mission office. She's had such an enjoyable time working with the senior couples there (cute old ladies, she says, who feed her). I have no doubt she's put some pep in their step:) One quick anecdote: as she was leaving her favorite sister, Sister Winter, called out "I'll see you in the resurrection." You'll have to have AnneMarie say it in her Sister Winter voice. And maybe this will be your Holiday parting sentence of choice, useful for all your awkward post-ward party goodbyes.

Many motions were written, pounds of press releases were printed, and I got one last go at my old friend--the Parliament cafeteria. That last one was tough to part with, what with its neeps (turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes) and jovial kitchen staff, to say nothing of its locally sourced ingredients. Back to bag lunches.


I attended First Minister's Questions one last time on Thursday to hear everyone shout at each other. Unsurprisingly they also found some time to shout at Trump. If there's one thing they can agree on it's that they don't like him. He is, to use a Christmas metaphor, about as popular as the original Grinch in Whoville. Monday through Wednesday is a blur except for some masterful culinary creations that AnneMarie cooked up for me. Yumm, yumm and double yumm.

Friday there was only one thing on our agendas: lunch. Literally. My boss invited myself and AnneMarie to a farewell lunch with himself, his wife and the other three members of the constituency office staff. It was located on one of the many grand estates owned by the current Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbury. If that sounds obscure, try this on for size: the Duke is the confirmed largest private landowner in Europe and worth around 350 million pounds--pounds, not dollars, people. Definitely a UK-only experience, estate dining is. We got there around 12:30 and lunched till around 3:30, with all the proper courses and rounds of delicious lemonades. Sorry if all my letter is about this week is food. This lunch, however, deserves remembering, especially my main course of baked sea trout with a chickpea and crayfish cassoulet, cavolo nero tapenade, and lemon oil. AnneMarie had the spiced butternut squash with winter chanterelles, Parmentier potatos, chestnut sprouts and parsley cream. For dessert she had the special sundae and I had the white chocolate mousse with salted carmel shortbread and sea buckthorn granita. There was more, but those were the highlights. Yes you have to speak three languages to read their menu, but sometimes not knowing what's coming is part of the fun. And watching AnneMarie eat whole fried Whitebait, a little fish. Report is they were tasty:) Boss got the check.

Since we were in the middle of the estate, after bidding everyone else long lives and many fond farewells, we wandered around the Duke of Buccleuch's grounds, around the stately house that occupies the grounds and said hi to a group of friendly horses. It was a wonderful end to this chapter of our story.

Ok, lightning round:

- Saturday we went to our host Jaro's volleyball game. They gave a valiant effort but the giants from the north (Aberdeen) proved too much for the Edinburgh Jets.

- Friday we played a four or five hour game of Monopoly. Yours truly came out on top after AnneMarie and I squeezed Jaro and Jurgita out. We called a truce, counted our assets, and I said all my money was hers anyway.

- Today we parted ways with our ward. It'll be good to settle in one place and finally have some callings. We also went to our final concert at St. Giles Cathedral, where we heard a local accapella choir give us beautiful renditions of various Christmas songs, from traditional favorites to exquisite arrangements by Tavener, Rutter and Rachmaninoff. 

Christmas cards are on order. Keep a sharp eye on your mailboxes!!! 

All Our Love, 


Tanner and AnneMarie

p.s. Next week will be the last European edition until March when we return to Greece!

Just kidding, haha, we can't wait to be home for the holidays and the rest of the near and forseeable future;)

Like a boss.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Letter #69

Dear Family and Friends,

This week is a week I´ll never forget. Tuesday and Wednesday were normal. Thursday was a day unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. It was I believe, my first, but undoubtedly the worst case of food poisoning I've had in my life. We would try to walk down the stairs to leave the apartment, and then we would just walk back up. And I´ll leave it at that. Not fun.

Friday was hectic, as not much had been achieved and we were scrambling to make something happen. Yet, it was a day filled with just rejections.

And then came Saturday. It too started off very slowly. A service project where we worked, moving some rocks and shoveling sand, and then the person changed their mind and we moved everything back. Oh well. Lunch was delayed almost an hour. Then we went to contact a referral from the Bishop in a neighborhood way off in the country. We had tried to do this Friday, but no one was there. No one was there again, so we went to knock on doors. The first, was a mother, daughter, and son. We had a wonderful lesson, and in the prayer to close, the mother said that she knew we were sent from heaven, an answer to prayers, etc.

The second door we knocked, was the same thing, but this time with lots of tears involved as well. At this point we were both feeling good knowing that we had been guided to these houses. Deciding to try the referral one more time, we returned. This time, Neide, the aunt of the bishop was there. We had a wonderful, wonderful lesson. She was very open with us. and testified and testified that just by looking at our countenance she knew that we are the servants of Jesus. And in our prayer to close the visit, overcome with emotion, she said that this was the best day of her life, the day that she encountered the truth. It was simply amazing to feel the spirit so powerfully, and to know that we were being led to people prepared to hear.

The day before, we had briefly visited a young mother and decided to return. She was waiting for us. Had read the pamphlet about the restoration, prayed, and received her answer. Her only question, `´Where can I get a Book of Mormon?´´ We left this neighborhood and went to go back to the center of the city. Two kids, ages 17+15 stopped us and wanted to know more. At this point, we´re completely overcome how everything is happening - how our prayers are being answered and how we are truly being tools in the hands of the Lord. We continue on, and while still walking, receive a text message with a referral from Church headquarters. My first referral received that way in eight months. And all the others were busts. Same history with E. Brito.

But this day with only miracles happening, we have a good feeling and want to try and visit. It´s almost 8 pm. The legs start to really pump as we go after it. When, again, someone stops us in the street. Again, they have a question for us and after commit to go to church on Sunday. Why wouldn't it happen? Generally only drunks and beggars stop us on the streets. But this is THE day. We end up a little lost, looking for the address. We ask someone if they know where its located, and wouldn't you know it, he stops his work, offers a ride and drops us off where we needed to go.

Ring the doorbell. Marianna is amazed that we are there. Turns out she´s been having some health problems, difficulties, etc. Basically just looking for something more. Became friends with an LDS blogger and they talked a lot about the gospel, shared church videos, etc. And now, Marianna wants, with all her heart a chance to read the Book of Mormon and visit the church. What a lesson. What a day.  It feels unreal. Truly a wonderful, wonderful day. All we could do was offer prayers of gratitude. We had read Elder Uchtdorf´s talk earlier in the walk, ´´Fourth floor, last door.´´ It´s important to just keep going. For three weeks here, we have not had success, Yet, on a Saturday, everything changed. This is the Lord´s work. We have to do our part, and He will help us.

And yesterday, while I can´t say everything perfectly again, we know that those investigators who did show up were blessed. It was a special conference broadcast to all 272 stakes and 38 districts of Brasil. We heard Elder Holland try to speak in Portuguese, the courting story of Elder Claudio Costa, and above all, how important it is to keep the Sabbath day holy.

As Mormon 9:19 says, "And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles."

Amen.

Love,



Elder Schenewark

Sunday, December 11, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark. and Boys,

I almost began my letter with "Dear Boys," but knowing I can only communicate with you by email, chose to address the letter to you. The news of the week? I flew home to Boston to visit family. I left from work and went straight to the airport, arriving on Brigham St. after 1 a.m. I think I flew in after 11 p.m. but had to ride a shuttle to the car rental agency. Grampy woke up to greet me, and I found your Uncle Ben on the couch. He had surprised them that morning by coincidentally flying in as well.

As I was driving from the airport to your grandparents' home on the final stretch, at 1 a.m., the beauty of a New England fall was visible in the lights from my car. The pine needles and leaves laying on the side of the black, winding asphalt road, were beautiful, glowing even, from the trees that are now mostly bare. I love coming home.

The next morning I walked along the golf course and found a ball for you. The greens were covered with a small layer of snow, very peaceful. I helped your grandmother finish her Christmas decorations. Most were decorations I hadn't seen, but I unpacked her nativity, which brought back so many fond memories from my youth. I remember when she glazed them and brought them home, and  how the season hadn't begun until baby Jesus was in the cradle. Mom invited Aunt Jenny, and your cousin Sara fresh from California for lunch, with Uncle Aaron joining Uncle Ben and Grampy. He brought his own lunch thinking our smorgasbord from the refrigerator wasn't so interesting.


That night we drove to New Hampshire to see Stevie play basketball. What a game! Even though Gilford lost, Stevie had 23 points and 22 rebounds. She was a beast, even with an injured hip.



Friday Mom had another lunch for Aunt Shirley and the Bachs. I told Mom she's a social-a-holic. She sure sets a beautiful table! Gathering together with food is such a wonderful ritual. Aunt Shirley shared the pictures.

I walked to the Northborough Police station to say hello to some friends> Aunt Jenny came over inbetween children errands. How come I've never noticed we have a Ken-Jen-Ben? They are funny
Friday evening, late!, we played Mexican Train with Uncle Aaron and Aunt Rachael. He made us stay until we finished all twelve rounds, and it was very late. But well worth the three hours I might have been sleeping.

Saturday morning I went to the temple with your grandparents and Uncle Ben, and was there for your newest cousin, whose adoption with the state went through this week, when she was sealed to her parents. McKenzie is a joy. Her blind eyes see more than most, and her hair is addictive. I've gleaned many things from my siblings over the years, but Becky will always be known for her love for those who are rejected by others. This is her third special needs adoption.



Your Uncle Ben loves his wife, gets up very early every morning to have prayer and read scriptures with his family. Who cares if he goes back to bed for a few?

Now I'm home. It was a long wait at the airport for a plane that was late, and between the rental car return and the drive home, it was 9 p.m. This morning began painfully early. Your family survived without me for a few days. I appreciate their efforts to pitch in and help while I was gone.

Porter's big news of the week? He's opening his mission papers. He met with his Bishop today, and Dad will finish what he needs to begin his application.

I'm grateful for families, especially mine. and ours. I'm thankful for you, my son. Be good. Be careful. Be happy.

Love,

Mom

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Bad Bass Boy

With the approach of cold weather,
lures are less tempting than worms.
Even pieces of worms attracted the hungry fish.