Friday, April 28, 2017

Rockets Away!

Cub Scout Space Derby...Blast off!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Daily Doodles

Cooper doodled a fidget spinner,
took apart old inline skates for ball bearings,
and used the school's 3D printer...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Words for the Wingmen

Dear Family, far-flung and near,

Let me see if I can catch you up on the last two weeks before nodding off at the keyboard. Finals week is upon me and, more than the tests, I’m still recovering from the two small books that I wrote at the beginning of this week, one on American immigration literature and the other on Jewish-American feminist midrash. #Graduating!

Last week we went on a fun double date with a couple from our ward that lives down the street and are recently married. We went bowling and then out for ice cream at our favorite Roll Up Creamery. Bowling was a blast because AnneMarie bowled 170+ on the first game (high score of the night and overall high scorer!!!) and I, after bombing my first game bowled a 140+ on the second game. Needless to say, the other couple thought we were pros, which isn’t at all true as Porter can attest to my bowling failures the week before, but we do love a few sets of the game at our favorite lanes at Miracle Bowl.

We also had stake conference with Elder Ballard last week. It was a sweet experience to listen to him speak Saturday night and again on Sunday. Much of his focus was devoted to cultivating a sensitivity and obedience to the promptings of the Spirit. I also loved this quote: “Do not let apathy, indifference, laziness, or anything else come between you and the Redeemer of the world.” Sunday we also had a family Easter dinner at Matt and Joanna’s, complete with my first made Easter ham and some very delicious potatoes elegante made by AnneMarie.

This week AnneMarie dove headfirst into her new job at Shirley’s, bakery which, though not a dream job, hasn’t been that bad, and she has lots of hilarious stories from her experiences in the café. She also brought me a GIANT Easter egg sugar cookie after my last day of classes. She brightens my day in so many ways : ) and I am very grateful for her hard work. Speaking of which, I’m still waiting to hear back about this full-time job that I’ve applied for and interviewed three times for. Prayers are appreciated as I wait to hear back.

We celebrated AnneMarie’s friend Caitlin’s birthday this week, as well, with a dinner at Olive Garden. That was fun hanging with friends. We also started watching the ongoing season of Amazing Race, probably our favorite show since its pretty much the only one we’ve watched. Travel around the world and do fun stuff? Sign us up! Also the antics on the show are hilarious. Other than that, the sun is shining, we get to go out and take walks, finals are in full swing, my organizational behavior professor was let go, Emerson is still the cutest baby imaginable, and I feel very blessed to have the family and wife and life that I do. Today I talked with Grampy and Mimi on the phone and it made my whole year. Their laughter and love are infectious, but if you don’t believe me call them!

All our Love and Laughter,

Tanner and AnneMarie

Letter #87

Sunday, April 23, 2017

With All My Love

Elder Schenewark,

Hello! We love you! We miss you! We are so glad you're coming home soon. We had an elder come home today in the ward. It made me sad because he had no family sitting with him on his first week home. You'll be surrounded. In love. Even if you'll know no one else.

Your grandmother called me this week, asking for suggestions for her Relief Society lesson on honoring the Sabbath Day. I told her that the small sacrifices we make, to keep the Sabbath Day holy, teach us how to make larger sacrifices. Such as joining the Church, or going on a mission. You boys turned down birthday parties, sporting events, Superbowl games and television in general. You learned how to prepare by finishing homework assignments on Saturday, and filling up gas tanks with gas and refrigerators with food. These little sacrifices, although not easy for a child, helped you and your brothers develop into the righteous men you are today. Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, and paying tithing, are small sacrifices we make, for those "windows of heaven" to open for blessings we need, especially those we didn't know we needed.

(Cousin Mitch shopping for missionary clothing)

Sawyer and Miller both had baseball games at the same time, and even though the fields are adjacent, it's still not easy to watch two games, especially when I am the official game keeper of the books. Both pitched. Sawyer the whole game, Miller three out of four innings. Both hit well. Sawyer's team won, Miller's lost. And both traveled straight to Breyer's soccer game. They loved it. It was the first time they've seen her play, and she puts on a hilarious show. She threw in a few hip bumps to an aggressive competitor, got in one or two elbow moves, and had an awesome backwards ball stop.

Yesterday was an adventure. Cooper had his second date courtesy of the Weatherford Stake, this time at Antonio's, an Italian restaurant. He had been asked by a "Stella," and enjoyed his chicken fajita dinner immensely. Your father sat in the car, and when Cooper had finished, discovered the car wouldn't start. I was to be the knight in my white van, and come to their rescue, but we were having our exploits at home. Sawyer was asked to babysit for an adult fish fry ... And Dad had to wait. And wait. But eventually our visitors arrived and left in their car,  and your father and brother were able to start their car, and we all came home.

My favorite substitute teaching class this week was elementary school P.E. teacher. Fourth graders are adorable, as they know they're not at the top. Yet. First graders are sweet, as they've learned the rules, and are no longer the youngest. I let them play Dodge Ball. THE favorite game, I'm told, by Miller. The boys were stoked; the girls resigned. The first class was second graders going on a field trip, so they had free time on the outside playground. I was asked to play and go seek, and became the hider. I ran and ran, trying to find and get to places that would cover me, but these wide open Texas spaces weren't conducive to hiding from smart second graders. The culvert, the wall, the tree, the luck. Another group of girls wanted to use their fit bits, and we had to go running. And running. My breakfast wasn't sitting too well, but I managed. Kids are cute! While walking out to my car, one of my gym class participants yelled, "Bye cute lady!"

I spent another day being a math teacher at a middle school. I had to administer tests every period, so it wasn't hard, but I still really enjoy interacting with these 8th graders. One girl told me she liked my shoes. One boy told me he liked my hair. I can always make Dad smile with my adventures.

Cooper is excited he'll be measured for his varsity letterman jacket this week; Sawyer's excited he'll be traveling to Utah. He and Dad leave Wednesday morning, arrive Thursday in time for Tanner's graduation, sit through another ceremony on Friday; and leave sometime Saturday by dinner. It's a quick trip in a short amount of time, but Porter will be packed and wrapped and brought home.

(crazy family picture from a few weeks ago!)

Well, that's a wrap. Even though the letter might be kind of short, hopefully it's long on love. The family kind. Your father sends his love. He got home late from his meetings tonight. He's thankful he's your father. Be good. Stay safe.



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bad Bass Boy

When the conditions are perfect for fishing,
you'll succeed!
16 catches in 60 minutes

Monday, April 17, 2017

Letter #86

Dear Family and Friends,

Last Monday, we had two missionaries over, before we all headed for Vitória the next day. And one of them, Elder Lighten, from Utah had found and purchased "Colonizadores de Catan" aka, Settlers of Catan. So our preparation day was spent in a classic duel to colonize Catan.

Tuesday morning early, we all headed for another bus ride to Vitória for our zone conference. Elder Dial and I gave training on "Relationships with the opposite sex." We stayed the day, and split with the assistants to the Presidents. After briefly setting foot in Colatina, it was off again, this time to Linhares to conduct a baptismal interview.

Easter here is a lot different here in Colatina. I don´t remember anything special about last year, but with a larger Catholic population, it is a holiday very important in Colatina. One tradition that is interesting deals with Saint Lucia. All the kids leave out a bowl filled with grass for her horse, and Saturday at night she stops by and in return for the grass fills the bowl with candy. I don´t think I've ever eaten so much chocolate as this week. And barbecue. Not sure how they fit together, but about every single day we've had barbecue and chocolate.

On Thursday, as we walked down the street, a construction shop owner called out to us, and we went over. Wilson, received a  bunch of dress pants in payment for a sink or something, and has not had any success in selling them in a neighboring store, so he told us to go over and pick some out, and he would give each of us two pairs. Of course we accepted readily, and I am very thankful for them. And interestingly, the very next day, he sold some for the first time, Thirteen pairs to be exact. #BlessingsforHelpingMissionaries.

In terms of investigators, the progress is slow. That being said, there is progress. Later tonight we´ll have a Family Home Evening with some of them at a member's house. And more likely than not, it will include barbecue and chocolate.

One of our recent converts has been reading the Book of Mormon consistently and when we visited she said she had not understood 1 Nephi 20, the beginning of the chapters of Isaiah. So we read together, and trying to help her, my understanding was enlarged. In verse 18-19, "O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments- then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea. Thy seed also had been as the sand; the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me." And it should be noted, all the blessings come from, keeping the commandments. We have to follow them, as they truly have been given to bless us and help us have joy.

And in verse 10, in a verse that pierces my mind when I am inclined to complain about some hardship: "For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction."  We have trials to turn us into the people God would have us be. They are not easy, but they are necessary.


Elder Schenewark

Sunday, April 16, 2017

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

Happy Easter! Is this celebrated in Brazil? Did you get a traditional Brazialian Easter Egg? Hopefully  you're well. well-fed, doing well. Your younger siblings joined in Bentwater's Easter egg hunt yesterday morning, and came home with a few pieces of candy and gum. Sawyer went to a birthday party for a friend, and came home with a massive bag of candy from his Easter egg hunt. Yet we know this isn't Easter. The Church's Easter campaign, Prince of Peace is beautifully done. We watched it for Family Home Evening this week. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ instills in each of us “a reason [for] the hope that is in [us].”

Good Friday here meant no school. This year it will be remembered as the day with no hot water. I was trying to do dishes, and mop, and start the dishwasher, and wash clothes, but thought at the time nothing was going right because your father used up all the hot water during his shower. When I finally realized it had been too long for me not to have some hot water, he finally told me that he had no hot water in his shower. He went to look at the water heater and found that the breaker switch had flipped. Then we Googled a few key phrases and figured out our heater element probably was broken. In order to determine whether or not this was true, and to replace it, we had to purchase a fairly expensive tool, a multimeter. Allows you to check for continuity and voltage, etc and allowed us to check without getting shocked. Your father had to make two trips to Lowes and Home Depot, but spent less money than having a plumber assist. And since we only placed the bottom element, we know have the knowledge to replace the top element, as well as either of the thermostats. It was a great date night.

Because Dad had to peruse the aisles, he saw things he normally doesn't see, including a plastic drain swizzle stick. He remembered both our bathtubs aren't draining correctly, most likely because of your sister's hair and toys. So he put Sawyer to work. And now the tubs work. It's wonderful. My trashcan is full of hair, and a nickel was the main culprit to the clog.

My favorite substitute job came this week while being the nurse at Sawyer's middle school. After getting the daily medications arranged, I looked at previous days' logs, and saw 15-20 visits were the average. 67! And although nothing was urgent, all were real concerns. Low blood sugar to heart palpitations to an infected knee cut, allergies in an eye, vomiting, earache...just a day of fun.

Cooper played in a district tennis tournament at the beginning of the week, and by the third day Granbury was declared district champions, and Cooper and his partner in third place. They lost second place to another Granbury pair. He actually left this afternoon for the hotel and tomorrow will be playing in regionals, not coming home until Tuesday. He let us show off fall's and last week's medals, in addition to the new tennis-bag-for-next-fall-season they let those traveling borrow. Go Coop! #PiratePride

Sawyer and Dad got to go to the Dallas temple on Saturday to do baptisms. Due to extenuating circumstances he got to do more than normal. They opted out of the group dinner plans, and stopped at Rudy's on the way home. They picked you up a few packs. Dad says next time he's choosing Tom and Chee's.

Dad wanted you to know the roadrunners are back, as well as the scissor fly tails. The cliff swallow has returned to the mud nest above our front door. Spring is in the air. Pollen is free floating. Your family's eyes and noses are watering and itching. He also wants to know if you can obtain an extra missionary name tag with your name on it? Tanner was able to give him one, and he wants to begin his collection.

Porter is starting to wrap up this semester. He's been working on his VISA and passport papers, as well as getting temple recommend interviews and an appointment with the Provo temple. He'll be going through the temple with your father when he travels to Utah to pick Porter up, and attend Tanner's graduation. We really wanted Cooper to be able to go, but four days of missing school is too much, and since he can't drive, I'm home as well. Hot off the press: Sawyer has decided to go since the trip won't interfere with his band concert or his state testing. Watch out Utah!

The week was quiet, so this is all we came up with. Know of our love for you. Know how proud we are of your sacrifice. Know how much you influence your family.

Much love,


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bad Bass Boy

Helping a friend catch his first bass - 
and his fish is bigger?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pirate Pride

The Granbury Pirate and Lady Pirate tennis team won the District 9-5A team title at TCU Tuesday.

Granbury will compete at the Region II Championships at Allen High School from April 17-19.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Words for the Wingmen

Dear Elder Schenewark, Family and Friends,

The few events that happened this week were short but sweet and of great eternal significance.

Tuesday was Emerson’s sealing to Matt and Joanna and we were very grateful to be in attendance. Emerson was a perfect angel, literally, as he gurgled and smiled throughout the entire ordinance. Joanna’s grandfather, brother to Elder Oaks, performed the sealing and many more family members were on hand for that sacred occasion. It also meant we got to hang out with everyone for games and food the rest of the day. The homework gods looked favorably on me that day, as well, so I could participate in the festivities.

Monday night, in town for the sealing, we had Garrett and the babies over to our house for the night. They’re a super sweet bunch and it was fun to wake-up to a roomful of inquiring eyes, like kids on Christmas.

Other than that, we had a blast playing Pandemic with Matt and Joanna on Friday night. Fun game and especially uplifting as you all win or lose together. I like that kind of unity.

Today we did Primary and prepared for the Mother’s Day program. All the little girls adore AnneMarie, like a queen, and when she says only girls are going to sing a certain part, they’re very enthusiastic and responsive.

Lastly, we were so happy to have AnneMarie’s cousin Alyssa and her boyfriend over for dinner tonight before they headed up to Idaho. Lots of laughs were had, especially as we learned some Navajo mating rituals from Tyler who served his mission on their reservation. They involve saying something like “Chee, Chee” whenever a girl you like passes by and then the girl reciprocates with more chees. Good times on the rez, though I don’t recommend testing this method of wooing off the rez.

We also got a visit from our home teacher tonight which was nice since we haven’t had a visit from a home teacher since we’ve been married, that I can remember. We love our Lakeview ward.

Also, big news, AnneMarie has some job offers! She hasn’t decided, firmly, on which she’ll take yet, but we feel very blessed and know that the Lord times these things in accordance with his grand plan.

Much love to you all,

Tanner and AnneMarie

Monday, April 10, 2017

Letter #85

Dear Family and Friends,

This week started with a couple of splits with other missionaries. They were highly productive and got us going towards a great week. Highlights include meeting Waldin, a 74 year old grandmother. She had been praying to know which church she should join, had then subsequently dreamed of the missionaries arriving. And yes, you know the rest of the story. Then we arrived. Unfortunately, serious problems of health prevented her from coming yesterday, but her daughter and granddaughter both visited and loved the church.

Thursday we went to Vitória for our monthly leadership meeting and it was wonderful.

Friday and Saturday were both difficult. Literally everything but rain fell. Our lunches fell through, and almost all our investigators fell through. We had two baptisms planned for Saturday, and they both fell through. It was a sad day, where everything seemed to go wrong. Even with the baptismal font. We had filled it up earlier in the day, but our ward mission leader thought it needed a little more water, so he turned it on again, and then promptly forgot about it. Until it started flooding the whole church. It flooded both bathrooms, a hallway and one classroom. A little bit chaotic, but at least with the design and tiled floors, it didn't end up causing any lasting damage.

And Sunday, was a day of miracles and new starts. Mariana who had gone incognito Saturday, called us at 10:30 at night, explained the problem and was in church happy to be baptized Sunday. And we hadn't marked a baptismal date for Therezinha as she had been in the hospital, but unexpectedly was released Saturday night as well, and finally her dream was realized as she was baptized.

Now, I know that what happened to us was nothing compared to what our Savior went through. Nevertheless, we had our afflictions this weekend before the miracles, and more importantly, in the spirit of Easter, I would like to share Elder Wirthlin's 2006 talk "Sunday Will Come." Please read it.

And like Elder Wirthlin, I know that Christ is resurrected. He is our Savoir. We likewise can live again and have eternal life. For this reason, we should always have hope. For no matter what we are going through, Christ already conquered and with his grace and help, our Sunday will come, and we will be "joint-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8;17)

Happy Easter, and lots of love!

Elder Schenewark