We had to give talks in Sacrament meeting, and AnneMarie's talk was wonderful. We spoke on becoming a Zion people and the Spirit was present in great abundance, thanks in part to a rousing, yet reverent version of “My Country tis of Thee” by the ward choir. I love it when we sing patriotic songs at church. I also loved being able to read the words of the Savior to the Nephites over the pulpit today. If people in the congregation were half as edified as I felt giving the talk then the talk was a success.
This week, like most weeks, I stay very busy: work from 8-5 (till 6 some days with the traffic), LSAT classes on Tuesday and Thursday till 10, and my online class to fill in the cracks. My spare time is taken up with dishes and other household tasks that need doing since AnneMarie often working as well! She’s still at Shirley’s Bakery, which I think she’s enjoyed more in recent days as she’s gotten some new co-workers and even found that her gruff manager has a couple of soft spots after all. Even though we have never been on such a busy schedule before, it’s safe to say that all of this has been extremely rewarding even if it has been exhausting.
Friday we stepped away from all these tasks for a movie night at Matt and Joanna’s. Originally we were going to watch outside, but the weather got blustery so they hung a sheet up on the inside and we enjoyed watermelon, cookies, popcorn, saltwater taffy and ice cream bars while catching a quick flick, Step Up 5. Nothing to say except that, while I recommend all of the above snacks, I do not recommend the movie.
Today, after our talks, we had Primary Singing Time for the third week in a row, but, in the words of Naomi, the kids weren’t even mad. I’m pretty sure AnneMarie is the most beloved Primary Chorister of all time. First she introduced “Solos for Rollo’s,” in which kids can get Rollo’s for singing that month’s song all by themselves. It’s a surprisingly huge hit. Today she brought in Skittles and had kids eat one and try to guess which flavor it was. If they were successful, they got to choose a song off the board and if they weren’t, AnneMarie chose the song. It’s a lot harder than you think to get the flavor right, as even several teachers discovered.
Tonight we’re heading over to Matt and Joanna’s again before they take off with Emerson to visit Europe for a month, lucky ducks. We’ll miss them while they’re gone. Good thing Dad now has FaceTime on his iPad. We have loved getting to chat with him face to face a couple of times this last week as he gallops around the East Coast with Porter. There’s always a smile on his face and that puts one on our faces as well!
Lastly, though our missionary efforts may have been in remission slightly for the last little bit here in Utah, I’m trying to get back in the game at work. There’s a young man there, about my age, who moved to Utah from Pennsylvania in the last eight months in search of a job. We’ve had several good talks over lunch or ping pong on gospel subjects ranging from what goes on in temples to why I served a mission and what that consisted of. I’m planning on inviting him to church ASAP because I think that’s what the Spirit wants me to do next.
Hope you all are well and find that the summer sunshine has arrived on your doorstep and windowsills at long last as it has ours,
This letter´s coming in late, as today we went to the world famous chocolate factory Garoto. I think the tour was even better than Hershey´s and my mind was admittedly impressed by the equipment and machinery. Cost 20Reais, but after just smelling chocolate for an hour, at the end, they put us in a room, with all the types of chocolate they make and let us go at it. A chocolate buffet. I´m not wanting to eat any chocolate today, but I´d recommend making the trip. It is, or is one of the biggest employers in the state of Espirito Santo.
This weekend we had stake conference. Notable as it was the last of the stake president before he is released, the last for Pres. and Sis. Young, and we were visited by Moroni Torgam, an Area Seventy who will also be released this fall. This Moroni is not quite the Mitt Romney of Brasil, but close to it. He´s a famous politician (senator) from Fortaleza, Ceará. And in the church he´s famous as a scriptorian. He had someone writing down all the scriptures he quoted on the blackboard for people to study later. And without notes, or scriptures must have rattled off fifty during his Sunday talk.
Sis. Young talked about tithing and how it has blessed her life. Its a subject that she often teaches and I never get tired hearing about it. Just one story, shortly after marrying, Pres. Young and Sis. Young unexpectedly received family visitors into their house, and were only able to feed them rice and lettuce, as they had nothing else. Nevertheless, they paid tithing and were abundantly blessed. And, one blessing that Sis. Young has seen in her life as she pays tithing, is her wants diminish. She doesn't have to have a new car, but instead is happy with what she has.
During the morning while getting ready for the day, I like to listen to discourses. I listened to one by Pres. Hinckley called "Seven pillars of wisdom. While not explaining here in detail anything, I would like to share his seven pillars:
1. God lives and the door of heaven is open to you
2. Life is forever
3. The kingdom is here
4. The family is divine
5. Obedience is better than sacrifice
6. God is bound when you do what He says
7. He that loseth his life, shall find it.
I know that these are eternal truths. I need to do better to live by them. I am so grateful for prophets, seers, and revelators who reveal the mysteries of divinity and teach is how to live. They are men of God, and I can´t deny it. Let´s always follow them!
While Dad's away, the schedule is not play. Sawyer's band concert went to almost 10 p.m. one evening, the same one Breyer graduated from kindergarten and Miller had an end of the season tournament baseball game. Another night Cooper stayed late at the high school working on a project, Miller had another game and two brothers had to go to the YMCA for a swim test for their boy scout camp. Even the days are busy with class award programs, class parties, and holding down the fort.
I've been thinking of calling the fort a name, maybe Roadrunner Ridge, or Hummingbird Hill. So many places in history have names that have endured through the ages because of the meaningfulness of the location. And so should be our home.
This week has been busy for other members of your family as well. Meg and Mitchell graduated this week, and Stevie will soon (Meg had some foot work done this week as well).
Your cousin Evan also graduated from West Point, with your father and brother there in attendance. I look forward to seeing more of their pictures, but here's a sneak preview:
Your father and Porter arrived in Boston Saturday evening, and will be going through the temple tomorrow with family.
Your younger siblings finished off school for the year Friday. Those who had poor attendance or test grades will be going this week, but they're done. Grateful they have some time off. Cooper went out that day and passed out lawn flyers, using his tractor in the neighborhood as his mode of transportation. He also was in charge of your sister, so she accompanied him in his bucket. By that evening they had one call, from the ten flyers he placed - he's very selective.
Saturday morning he and his lawn partner Hunter were ready to go early, and needed my help getting gas, and dropping off the small mower. He's charging $50 an acre, and $20 for each acre more.
Sawyer and Breyer were dropped off Saturday morning at the entrance to the subdivision with ten large potted flowering plants to sell for his all star baseball team. They were donated to every boy on the team, and could be sold for $10. He and his sidekick made short work in just over an hour, and because I wasn't back from Miller's practice, chose to walk home with their two camping chairs and blackboard sign. And it was 93 degrees. Your sister, not wanting to forge ahead in the heat, said "I feel like a pioneer."
And on that note, I bid adieu. Stay safe, know of our love for you. Two months!
The photos were from an activity we put together on Saturday. There are 4 returned missionaries in the branch, and 4 full time missionaries, us, so we divided up into 8 groups, and then separated the rest of the members into one of the groups. Our focus was on the area around the chapel, so we handed each group a couple less actives to visit nearby, to see if they could help, but also to see if the address was even right (usually they´re way outdated).
And in our ninety minutes we were able to visit twenty less actives, and talking with people in the street and neighbors of the members, 44 referrals. My group even ended up bringing a less-active to the second half of the activity. We all returned, talked about what we did, a couple people bore their testimonies, and then it was off to lunch, which was stroganoff, followed by açai and cupuaçu. Delicious.
Finally, the members went at it with soccer and some other games while the three Americans handled all others at the ping-pong table. Aunt Janel beware, #undefeated. It turned out to be a fantastic activity where perhaps the most lasting effect to be felt will be the members themselves as the morale went way up in regards to member missionary work, including several youth with a new or increased desire to serve full time.
On Wednesday we had our zone conference, where literally everything went off with out a hitch. That's not rare, it's impossible, but somehow it happened. Even lunch turned out to be fantastic. It was the last zone conference for Pres. and Sis. Young so we planned a surprise: God Be With You ´til We Meet Again song and then presented them with shirts and a poster.
And after trying to think about how to give a new twist on an old subject, i.e. following up and accountability, we turned to the story of the creation in Genesis and Abraham 4 and brought the house down.
Thursday was our interview with Pres. Young. My temple recommend would be expiring at the end of the month, so I was able to renew that, and was touched thinking about answering the same questions to return to our Heavenly Father. Just a thought, but it made my smile bigger and bigger thinking about returning to His presence, or the temple. And one of our district leaders was sent packing, opening up space for a new one, and now I am so grateful for the missionaries we have in our zone, I couldn´t have picked them better.
Dad and Porter left for Marietta, Georgia early this morning. He has a national coaching conference he's attending until Wednesday. Then he'll head towards New York for Evan's graduation from West Point. Saturday night he'll have made his way to your grandparents in Boston. It's a whirlwind kind of a trip. I miss your father when he is gone. Marriage is not a human invention but is a divine creation, part of an eternal plan. How grateful I am that he's mine. I love to laugh with him at the end of the day and anytime in between.
Porter will be going through the Boston temple on Memorial Day, since the temple is open on Monday's when it's a holiday. Doctrine and Covenants 109:21 says that the blessings received in the temple are "poured out upon those who shall reverence thee in thy house." I wish this for Porter as he goes for the first time
They'll leave Wednesday to head back to Texas. In the meantime, the rest of us will be holding down the fort in Texas.
This is the last week of school for some your siblings. We'll know tomorrow if some are excused from the last week because of their test scores. They're so ready to be done with school except for your sister. She would go everyday through the summer as she does love her girl friends. Seminary is over, so I won't have to worry about that this week while I'm all alone.
Your friend Edmar found me on Facebook and tagged me in a few photos. He explained that members went with the missionaries in search of less actives (rescue) and in a period of one and a half hours you and your group were blessed with 44 references.
That's wonderful. Congratulations on this successful endeavor!
This is the time of the year when a lot of activities begin to wind down. Miller is finished with Cub Scouts for the summer, and has completed his first year Webelos.
Sawyer was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society.
Baseball tournaments this week finish regular season baseball for Miller and Sawyer.
Dad finished his winter semester, and begins his summer sessions soon.
And you'll be finished shortly as well. We spent all week finishing Porter's paperwork for his VISA application. It's such a complicated process obtaining notary signatures, fingerprints,...hopefully he'll get his religious training certified tomorrow, and we'll be all set. Back-to-back missionary sons this time around...and I love it.
"We are created as much from the dust of eternity as we are from the dust of the earth. Every one of us has potential we can scarcely imagine." Joseph B. Wirthlin
“We write to taste life twice once in the moment and retrospect.” Anias Nin
Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
When we are filled with Love, we can make a profound difference. It's what we came to do. Ardeth G. Kapp
Men are what their mothers made them. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1860
In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers. Dieter F. Utchdorf
I want to be the kind of Mom that would remember to get the broken Wheezy off of the shelf, fix his squeaker, and put him back in the toy box, having hope that my boys will still want to play.
11 out of 12 original astronaut corps (89%) who have walked on the moon have been an Eagle Scout