Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Words for the Wingmen

Dear Elder Schenewark,

I'm free--free at last! Or at least I thought I was until some guy called this morning (Sunday) wanting pest control. I'll guess I'll sell it to him but then I'm officially done with this gig. Ready for new things, like...

We've packed and moved out of California & we're headed to Europe. That's your headlines for the week. Thankfully, AnneMarie's sisters came out to visit Thursday until Saturday, not only helping us to go out with a proper party, but also helping to clean and tote all our things to their resting place in Las Vegas. Which is where we are till Tuesday.

Thursday we went to Coronado Island one last time where we played lots of volleyball (I'd like to think I'm getting better after an entire summer) and swam and ate sushi. Then we watched the sun set at...Sunset cliffs, appropriate. Friday we went to La Jolla for tacos and the beach. Dad had set us on the trail of The Taco Stand, the top rated Mexican spot in San Diego, and it lived up to the hype. Despite a nondescript appearance and the entire restaurant having the width of a teenager's bedroom, that food was da bomb. Walking out we noticed that the pizza place to the right and the Chinese restaurant to the left both had won top restaurant in San Diego in their respective categories!!! What a hotspot! We didn't get to try them but now we just have to go back, maybe when we go Bach.... ;) ;) ;)

Friday we packed and cleaned into the wee hours, visited the temple early Saturday morning and drove the 5 hours to Vegas...where we hopped right back into the car and went to Spring Mountain Ranch outside of Las Vegas. They have an outdoor theater there ( a really, really, nice one) and they put on a series of musicals all summer. We caught one while we feasted on Raising Cane's chicken fingers and the bounteous beauty of mother nature all around us. We're talking sunsets, stars twinkling, belly happy kind of joy:)

Now we're resting before a full day of packing tomorrow. I'm sure you know more than you'd like to now about living out of a suit case, but hey, that's the good life and life's good.

Last thought: I read this week about the new world record holder of the world's oldest person, a man in Java who is 145 years old. You heard that right. Forget smashing olympic records by a couple of seconds or a couple of minutes. He's got the record of longest lived by 23 years. His thoughts on this? "I only want to die." Can't hardly blame him when he's got 122 years on me as far as bumps and bruises go but I wonder if sometimes we fill in that sentence with our own, equally depressing desire (from Heavenly Father's view). "I only want to _______." We can't know right now all that we are or will come to be, but we do know what to with ourselves now as long as we remain here...From President Monson:

"This is our one and only chance at mortal life--here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are the lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey--now."

We pray you are finding joy in your special journey in Brazil.


Tanner & AnneMarie

Monday, August 29, 2016

Letter #54

Dear Family and Friends,

I´m anxiously awaiting transfer news. I have a feeling I´ll be training a new missionary again. The call should be coming any second.

Our activity Monday was a blast. Great turnout, members and friends, lots of games (water balloons on a cold day here had everybody dying), and delicious churros and juice. Everyone wants to do it again.

Friday, I celebrated my one year mark by drinking water from the states, making pancakes, and filming a short video at night. I´ll try to send it. (its big, 2 gb, so I don´t think its going to work. It was a memorable night, and fun to do this ´´interview´´.

Among countless others, one thing that has changed on my mission is fasting. I have gained a strong testimony of its power, and it has changed from being a drudgery, into a privilege. If you haven´t fasted recently, I encourage you to do so. The power of Heaven is felt as we sacrifice.

Update: I will be training, and therefore will be making the long trip to Vitoria, leaving later this night, before returning to Itaperuna. A nice two days of traveling in the near future. So, we´ll leave this as a weak letter, and I´ll start getting ready. I am super excited!!!! Its been about five months since I´ve been in Espirito Santo (and Vitoria) so it will be great to visit. Bus rides aren´t the best, but can´t complain. Ok, até mais. I don´t know anything about my new companion, Elder Cordeiro, but I know one of the others who will be coming here, Elder T. Santos, my old companion. Love you all!!!

Elder Schenewark

Sunday, August 28, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark (and Porter, and Tanner, and AnneMarie),

We love you! We miss you! We love your letters. I'll only tell you one thing. Stop eating fruit. Give yourself three weeks, one to halt the degeneration, one to recoup, and one to heal. No fruit shakes unless it's milk and avocados. I surely don't want you to come home ready for dentures and implants.

The big news this week was an earthquake in Italy, the death toll standing now at 247. Thousands of rescuers were there to find survivors.The 6.2-magnitude quake hit on Wednesday 65 miles north-east of Rome. Some tremors after the quake were felt as far away as Rome. Dozens were trapped in ruined mountainous cities in central Italy.

Local news comes out of Proctorville. The former principal, Chad Belville, accepted a new superintendent spot in Fairfield Union, Lancaster, and the previous assistant principal / guidance counselor Tessa Leep has been appointed since graduation in May.

Your father has had to put on his fix-it jeans and genes as owning-your-own-home problems erupted this week. Not literally. More like drips and leaks. The toilet in the big bathroom was leaking behind the tank. Kind of an awkward place for your dad to get to, so using these kind of genes, he instructed Cooper in the repairs. It took a few trips to  the hardware store, but the wet towels are now in my jurisdiction. The smaller bathroom toilet's handle disengaged due to a broken part. He fixed that as well. The kitchen sink faucet leaked around the base enough for me to find water underneath the sink, first. That was fixed without needing the faucet replaced. Yeah! We also had a dripping overflow for the air conditioning unit, but we knew what to do after watching last year's repairman. One big puff of air on the PVC pipe to clear the blockage, and we're drip free. Grateful Dad handles the repairs as much as he can. The towel rack in the small bathroom kept coming out of the base, so Sawyer took matter into his own hands and drilled through the metal rod holder, straight into the wall. Not the prettiest solution but definitely solid. Made me think about people you encounter on your mission. Some are more smooth and polished, like Cooper, who study the problem and figure out the system from the inside out. Then there's people like Sawyer, with unabashed enthusiasm, who jumps right in and gets it done. His way. We need all kinds of people in the world. I'm so grateful we're all so different, each our own unique selves, flaws and strengths all our own. (This is a picture of Cooper's work bench he built.)

We've had  a lot of rain lately, and with the Texas sun, the combination makes for very fast growing grass. Sometimes I can mow just what needs to be mowed and be done in one day, this week took me three days. You have to wait a day or two after the Texas downpours, and by then the grass is up to your knees. The wind was up this week, drying out the ground, and I came in this week covered head to toe in grass clippings, as mowing in Texas is hot and sweaty work. Breyer wanted to know if I was growing grass.

Miller and Breyer are registered for soccer this fall. Sawyer's team was already full. Miller's very excited. He hasn't played since Ohio. Breyer hasn't been told yet. She's busy assimilating her kindergarten duties. School began this week. Photo above is the second day of school Dad forgot the first day. Breyer handled the change in hours well, until Friday after school. She fell asleep when she got home. And then Saturday, she was kind of fussy. She says she likes it, she tells us each day she made a new friend. I asked her how she makes new friends, and she said, "I first say I like something about them, then they'll play with me." Astute. She loves her eating her lunch. She doesn't want to be picked up, like Miller, on Thursdays or Fridays when I'm off. She likes the bus. She can hardly wait until Miller doesn't have to sit with her. She wears dresses except on gym days. And then she wants to wear skirts. I do her hair on top of her head the night before, and Dad's been handling the rest. We're a good team. He needs to work on making sure she eats breakfast. She'll talk him out of it.

Porter flew out Monday afternoon. I was suppose to meet him and your father at the airport. I didn't make it. Most likely it was a good thing, even holding directions in my hand, headed home instead. I was operating on auto pilot, and panicked when I realized I was driving on the wrong road. It was raining, and there were a lot of flooded roadways, one of which was the airport road. Dad made it because he was in the large van. But he watched smaller cars float off the road.

His flight was delayed by an hour. He sounded a little frazzled by the time he arrived, but I'm guessing it was because he probably didn't pack the snacks I kept asking him to pack. But he packed my hairspray. I went to use it, and my can is gone. I'm wondering if he put it in the right suitcase, the checked luggage, or it might have been thrown away. And he was not able to eat that. Uncle Ben picked him, housed and fed him, and dropped him off at the dorms. So love having family in Utah! What a blessing for all my boys. Porter got to watch Megan play soccer, and help Joy mow grass. He's checked with us by phone a couple of times this week, one time, while waiting for his first ever meal in the Canon Center. Appropriate to think of me while waiting for food.

His phone call today involved a lot of food talk. Things he's eaten in the Canon Center. He's doing well. One of 13, boys ordained Elders, out of the 36. We were laughing over his Family Home Evening ratio: 2 boys to 8 girls. He's already met with the Bishop, who's grateful he's an Elder. He begins classes in the morning. He didn't like orientation very well, so bagged after day one, and hung out with your Hutchins' cousins. Hannah's rooming with Naomi, and going to beauty school. Derek's living with Uncle Ben this semester, to finish up, and get back to his wife in Ohio. Kevin flies in Tuesday and will check into the MTC Wednesday. Greg's out there as well.

Speaking of Uncle Ben, found this beautiful picture of his family, from this month, that you'll love seeing.

Cooper and I spent a good portion of the weekend cleaning out Porter's room, and cleaning out Cooper's portion of the big bedroom. He's very excited, in his nonplussed quiet way, to move into his own bedroom. He's been collecting airplane magazines from the library, and parts to build airplanes, underneath his bed, and has had to thin a good portion of his supplies before he could move in. We hung a few of his larger planes on the wall, as well as an European airshow poster.

I got to watch Cooper play on the JV tennis team. He's moved from 10th on varsity to 9th. One more spot to challenge, and he can travel with varsity. He didn't win his double or singles match, but neither did anyone else on the entire team. His doubles match was close, every game, and he would have won handily with another partner. He plays awesome on the night. His backhand is probably his weakest game. You'll love watching him play.

Cooper helped his BFF Hunter work on his eagle scout project. Hunter is building a flag disposal pit for the local VFW. Working with Hunter has been helping Cooper think more seriously about finishing. Yeah!

Cub scouts began this week. It was the annual skating party at the local rink. I did not break my wrist this year. I did get back on the floor, just for fun. Kind of like climbing back on the horse. I DO NOT remember my skating rink so slippery! This is a wood floor, I think mine was cement. I've been called as a unit commissioner for the stake, over the southern portions of the stake, with a northern counter part. She faithfully attends round table and commissioner meetings each month, and will continue to do so without me. I told her I was in scouting on Thursdays, in the community, and with my children on Tuesdays, because it's Dad's late night class. She wasn't thrilled, until I told her if she helped me with the information, I'd be sure to pass it along to my units. We do the best we can do.

Dad and I went on a date with Breyer to his departmental beginning of the semester party last night. It is good to socialize. A lot of our conversation revolved around our children; a lot of conversation returned to you, being in Brazil, why, the Olympics, etc. It was nice to be able to spend some time talking of and thinking of you. We dearly love you.

I reached a monumental milestone this week.: Thursday was the first school day, in 24 years, I was home alone, without children. Twenty-four years! Consecutive. Straight. Continuous. Did I celebrate? Absolutely. Began with a run, a shower and breakfast. Went to Staples to copy cub scout flyers, went to the bank, went to the laundromat to wash, dry and fold my clothes, divided the 1500 flyers in groups of 10 and drove to the four schools to drop them off. Ate lunch,made a few phone calls, and finished in time to pick up your siblings. It was a good day. Finished with mowing and homework. Motherhood still continues. Busy but wonderful.

This is Becky's MacKenzie. And Grampy. He's probably going into the hospital in the morning to determine the cause of his fever. So he wasn't feeling very well in the picture, but the sweet baby cheered him up. Keep him in your prayers.

I think that's a wrap-up for the week. Remember of our love for you. Your contacts have been ordered and will be here this week. Then the box will be mailed. Full of love. Be safe. Think! Take precautions. Work hard.



Friday, August 26, 2016

Dodger Stadium









Thursday, August 25, 2016