Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Sabbath Day

The Wintry Snow is almost melted and we had some time this afternoon to take another walk. 
It was wonderful to spend time together holding hands and exploring 
a new neighborhood across the road from our apartment complex. 
We didn't take any pictures and I didn't see any cardinals in the trees
 but it was just nice to be together.
 I hope that you have taken quiet time to spend with your family today too.

This evening I was drawn to Mormon Messages and thought I'd share this one with you. 
It touched my heart......anytime I can hear Elder Holland speak, I know that my heart
 will be touched, my mind will be enlightened and I will be learning Truth. 

So I wanted to share this with the people I love....Yes, that's YOU!


I also read this scripture today that reminded me to always remember, to Remember!

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things 
which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart…” Deuteronomy 9:4

"While we'll never live a perfect life, we can try to live with God's love in our hearts." 

Thank you for the letters, emails, packages, texts, calls and prayers.

We send our love to y'all!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Snowy Week in Charlotte

Red Rocks Cafe

We left the Mission Office early, about 6:30PM to go out to dinner for our Anniversary.
The food was delicious and the company was even better! We'll be eating there again.

After dinner we drove to the beautiful South Park Mall which was close by. 
I wanted to go to Macy's to find an inexpensive comforter set for our bed. 
Every little thing we do makes our apartment feel more homey.

A funny thing happened in the half hour we had in Macy's before the store closed. 
Tom went to find a restroom and I heard a voice over the intercom say, 
"It's 8:45 and our store will be closing in 15 minutes." I was debating about my choice of bedding when soon that same voice blared through the intercom,
 "Our store will be closing in 10 minutes."
I quickly made the decision to purchase the least expensive bedding I could find
 and headed to a register to make my purchase. 
Tom had not come back yet. 
Then I heard, "It's 8:55 and our store will be closing in 5 minutes. Please complete 
your purchases and exit the store." I lugged the bedding to the front door then 
tried to call Tom's cell phone. It went to voice mail. I stood at the doorway 
when immediately most of the store lights went off, 
leaving me in a very dimly lit strange place,  getting a little panicky. 
 Shoppers were passing by me rushing out the doors.  
I continued looking up and down the isles hoping to get a glimpse my husband.
 No such luck. Instead I heard that soft menacing voice saying, "Our store is now closed." 
I expected the doors behind me to lock instantly with me standing inside the store and no way to get out.  I felt like a 4 year old child who'd been separated from her mother and I was near tears (I was really tired, OK) when my phone rang and it was my Knight in shining armor. "Where are You?"  he impatiently asked. For some reason that was a VERY annoying question but I tried to stay calm as I said, "Standing at the door waiting for you."  He had come out of the bathroom into a dark store and couldn't find the right door. Soon the lost was found and I discovered that Tom had been talking on the phone to his son, Mike. Who does that in the bathroom?

South Park Mall is a very large upscale mall and though it might be fun to shop there sometime, 
I'm not sure I ever want to go back.

Tuesday, a light snow began. It was lovely to see.
Sister Jacot and Sister Webber surprised us 
with a miniature snowman peeking at us through the window.

These are trees on the side of the Mission Home parking lot

This is the front of our Mission offices. My office is on the left. Tom's office is on the right.

Our friendly colorful Cardinal seems happy on his branch of the tree.

Wednesday we went to work about 10 AM and the snow got heavier so the state basically shut down. President Craven called and told us to all go home at noon to be safe.
The traffic was light to almost non existent but it still took us 45 minutes
 to get back to our apartment when it usually takes less than 20 minutes.

The roads were becoming icy.

We're almost to our garage. Tom had to scrape the car off after we parked it in the garage. 
We've learned that because the garage is not insulated, all the ice and snow that is on the car
 when you close the garage door will be there when you open it even the next day.

All night we could hear the ice drops (like hail but not) hit our bedroom window.
In an ice storm, the roads and walkways are treacherous so no one leaves home.
We've been blessed because we have had electricity!
It's Thursday afternoon and we are still stranded in our apartment.
We're not sure if we'll be able to travel to the Mission office tomorrow.
Schools, government agencies, and even stores have been closed because of the storm.

Because we've been stranded with the storm,
I've had some extra time to study, complete the work I brought home

Happy Valentine's Day

We send our love to you!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Happy 9th Anniversary

Mission Transfer Day

We received 19 new missionaries Monday, February 3rd.
Tuesday morning, February 4th they all gathered at the 
Charlotte Mission Office for their first breakfast in North Carolina 

The traditional mission breakfast is fresh fruit (pineapple, cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries and bananas), orange juice and chocolate milk, a delicious egg, sausage, cheese and 
 YES,  GRITS casserole. I'm liking the grits! 
Oh and since this is the place where Krispy Kream Donuts originated, they were served too!

After breakfast the new missionaries had a full day of training and orientation
 by President and Sister Craven and the Assistants. 
We were privileged to attend some of the classes.

We also had the traditional photos taken in front of the mission office,
all the new missionaries in a group photo
and with President and Sister Craven,


At 2:30 PM about half the missionaries from our mission began arriving at the Office to find out where they would be transferred and who their new companions would be. The building was full of excitement. It was great. These missionaries are truly inspiring to be around. I just love them!

Happy Day! We finally got to see Sister Hatton-Ward! She looks great!

There are wonderful ward members who help transport the missionaries to their apartments.

Sister Knight and Sister Beck (new companions) and Sister Hatton-Ward saying goodbye.

Sister Hatton-Ward and Sister GramaCindy

Wednesday morning we took Sister Hatton-Ward's bike to her new area apartment in Matthews, did an apartment inspection (which I'm happy to say,they keep a very organized clean apartment!), and got to hug her and her new companions, Sister Simmons and Sister Jacot.

Later that day we received an early Anniversary Package from Annette. Love getting mail!

Saturday morning, with the van and trailer loaded, Elder and Sister Andrus, Elder and Sister Cornelius and Elder and Sister Urban headed on an 9 1/2 hour trip to pick up an unused dresser in York, South Carolina, remove a broken washing machine and replace it with a refurbished washer in Fort Mill, South Carolina, remove furnishings and household items from a Senior Missionary apartment in Catawba, South Carolina, pick up a Sister's broken bike in Pineville, North Carolina and then got a call from a missionary who was in a bike accident in Matthews (he went to ER to be checked out and luckily just has a badly sprained wrist and bruises)....We went to check him out and then loaded his badly damaged bike in the last inch of space in the trailer.
Here's a basic map of our Saturday Adventure

I know that sounds boring but it really was fun! We are  enjoying the camaraderie with the other Senior Missionary couples.  We ate lunch at a delicious Noodles Restaurant in Fort Mill, South Carolina and later stopped at Cook Out in Rock Hill for Milkshakes and onion rings
 (healthy dinner, I know!) 

We saw some really beautiful country! Lake Wylie is gorgeous. I cheated on these photos
(Google photos helped me out) because pictures taken from the middle seat of a 
12 passenger van wouldn't have been that great!

Today we attended the first Ward Council meeting of our New Harrisburg Ward at 7:30 AM. Our new bishopric is getting the ward well organized and the council has great ideas for reaching out to unify the members and investigators too. There are 6 of us who are full time missionaries in the ward and they include us in all the planning. We've been asked to teach a Book of Mormon class on Tuesday evenings and we're excited for the opportunity to help in the ward and 
to study the Book of Mormon in depth.

Our First Walk

This afternoon we were able to take our first exploratory walk 
around our new neighborhood. I don't know if I mentioned that we have train tracks close to our complex. We really noticed it the first couple of nights we lived here but now we hardly notice the train whistle and thunderous clanking of the train! Today while we were walking we heard the train so we walked out to the street and up the road a piece to see if we could get a picture of the train. We made it in time to get a couple of photos and figure the train was about 10 minutes long. 
How many cars that is, who knows!

We're standing in a Baptist church parking lot taking the photo

This is the view looking back at our apartment complex (behind the trees)

Nine Years

On February 10, 2005 Tom and I were married. Looking at this photo still makes me giggle at the wonderful memory of that day. This marriage has been a tender mercy, 
a gift from our Heavenly Father for us and for our families. We are so very grateful!

It is a great reminder to me that the Lord knows each one of us by name, by our hearts, and by our sorrows. He prepares wonderful blessings for us 
if we trust in Him and keep His commandments.
I know the Lord knows the beginning from the end. We can't always see it.... 
In the Bible, the Lord said to Abraham, "My name is Jehovah, and I know the end 
from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee" (Abr. 2:8)
That's a promise to all of His children.
God love us, each one of us. He is our Heavenly Father and wants us to be happy.
We know this is true!

We won't be taking a trip this year but we will be celebrating our 9th Anniversary
by serving the Lord on our special day.

We thought we were old then..........

We send our love to y'all!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mission Office was BUSY this week

We began our week with Staff Meeting in President Craven's office. It was great to meet with our  President and Sister Craven. They are so busy and so dedicated and always have such a clear plan and positive outlook. They are quite inspiring leaders. It was good to get an overview of what was to come during this week...hopefully I will one day understand the whole picture!

Tuesday was the last Zone Conference before transfers and new missionaries 
coming this next Tuesday. It was the Charlotte Central Zone and was held at our Mission Office.
  I was happy to  be able to attend.

The morning was very COLD and Elder Urban was outside helping inspect the Zone vehicles. 

Car inspections and later vehicle safety training was given to the missionaries. 
There's a great guy named Steve who changes the oil in all the cars.

You might recognize the one on the left.....

Here's a better look. The missionaries LOVE his antlers!

Part of Zone Conference Training

Snow was forecast so all the schools (including the university) 
were closed in anticipation of snow. We waited and waited......
And finally a light snow began later that evening. Wednesday morning we awoke to about an inch of snow and North Carolina shut down! In all fairness, everything was very icy...

We didn't have to go to the Mission Office til 10 AM.
And YES, the schools were closed for a second day.

The view from our backyard of the apartment next to ours. 
I can't wait to see the trees in a couple of months. 
I've been told there will be lots of fireflies this summer hanging out in the trees!

The view from our hallway to the front of the building . Our garage in the 4th one from the left.

Looking out our door to the backyard

Looking at our Sun Room window (on left) where our desk and computer are.
 Our Front Door

We went to a Farewell dinner for Elder and Sister Bushman. 
I only wish that I could have gotten to know them better. I can tell they are amazing people!

 I ordered Barbecue Chicken (southern style), fresh asparagus and my first taste
of Cheesy Grits! (They were delicious but anything with that much butter and cheese
has to taste wonderful!)

Sister Bushman is our dear friend, Kerry Stenson's, sister and she lives 
about a mile from us in American Fork, Utah. Small world!

Thursday we got to take a road trip to the northern part of our mission, 
almost to the border of Virginia. Our goal was to take beds
and other furnishings to two mission apartments.
We were so close to Mt. Airy, 
where our granddaughter, Sister Hatton-Ward is serving. 
BUT we were obedient to the rules and didn't go see her! 

This is map of North Carolina from Charlotte to Mt. Airy. We drove  North on I 85
through Concord, Kannapolis, Lexington, Winston-Salem...

then on I 52 to King

past Tobaccoville (yes, Tobaccoville) and north til we arrived in Pilot Mountain.

Elders Morrow and Thurber were happy to receive their supplies.

It was a beautiful drive! This is a view of Pilot Mountain.

We also visited with two Sister Missionaries in Pilot Mountain, who had been in a car accident
the night before. I didn't get a photo of these two darling sisters
because they were not feeling up to a photo. Luckily they were not badly injured....
a little bruised and sore and shaken up. The members and investigators in Pilot Mountain
are wonderful to them. They are loved and have been well taken care of but
they needed some extra TLC and hugs and reassurance.
I was so grateful that Elder Urban and Elder Cornelius were able to give each of them
a Priesthood blessing. What a joy it was to feel The Spirit in their apartment
 and feel the comfort and peace that the Lord provides.
It was a Tender Mercy and a reminder that the Lord is mindful of each of us.
I was grateful to have been part of this experience.

We headed back south to deliver some new beds to Elder Stone, 
Elder Wright and Elder Schlather in Welcome , NC. Where in the world is Welcome, you may ask. (Look on the middle map above and it's about where the I 52 is North of Lexington)

Friday was another big meeting for the week. "ZLC" Zone Leaders Conference.
It's a privilege to be associated with these amazing young missionaries! 
They are the hope of our future!

Tonight we invited our Harrisburg Elders and neighbors,
 Elders Durfee and Youngstrom to dinner.

Our Annie Henry Painting finally was hung on the wall. So happy to be able to enjoy it.

This is our tiny kitchen as we were cleaning up from dinner. I managed to bake brownies, 
cheesy biscuits, a crock pot roast, mashed potatoes, gravy and salad 
with the limited space, limited bowls and pots that I have to work with. 
We only have 5 dinner plates so dishes are washed as we prepare. 
It's cozy and is beginning to feel like home :)

Elder Urban was delighted to taste these homemade brownies!

The only place to cool potatoes for potato salad that I'm making for Tuesday's lunch
for the 19 new missionaries. We feed them lunch and send them off
 with their trainers to their first assignments.
Dryers can be additional counter space when needed!

The new crock pot worked like a charm!

We send our love to you and pray that you will have a great week!