Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Tribute to My Dear Mom

Mary "Colleen" Jibson Justus

My Sister, Kat sent me this picture of a few little daffodils she saw tonight at our home in Utah. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, daffodils make me happy and renew my hope for new life.
 Perhaps that is what is giving me the strength to finally share my heart with you tonight. I've been struggling for several weeks with the knowledge that my mother is very ill with cancer once again. This is her third battle  with this horrible disease since 2008 but this time she is 
courageously looking forward to returning Home to our Heavenly Parents 
and reuniting with her son,  Billy and her husband and parents
 and all those ancestors who have influenced her life for good.
She is an amazing woman of great faith and I love her with all my heart. 
I know that all of you who know her love her too and I am so grateful for that!

Mom had surgery last Monday to remove a very large aggressive tumor 
from her neck/throat that was interfering with her 
swallowing, breathing, vocal chords, salivary glands, etc.
We all knew that this would not save her life but perhaps extend it long enough 
to be able to do a few fun things on her bucket list before she leaves us.

So now I need to admit that this has been an emotional roller coaster for me!
Mom has been our greatest support for Tom and I serving this mission!
She still is, even though she knows that we are so far away and won't be with her 
while she is taking this last journey.  I've always been there to help.
BUT I know that this is where the Lord wants us to be. 
I'm so very grateful for my Sister and my Brother and our children for the tender
loving care they are surrounding Mom with. My prayers are being answered.
But it is still so HARD! 

This is how I want to remember my mom!

and Roller Skating with me and her Visiting teachers

at 74 years old! She was so happy that day!

This was the reality of her surgery last week....smiling and hopeful!

My Sister, Kat and Brother, Gary by her side after the surgery.

So I decided to make a little tribute in photos for Mom while she is still with us!

Aunt Barbara and Mom

Mom, Grandma and Grandpa Jibson, Barbara and John

Mom as a young girl standing by their 15 foot trailer that was their home 
while Grandpa built roads in Idaho, Utah through Nevada to California

At the beach in California

Graduating from Washington High School in Fremont, CA

A new mom at 18 years old

Mom, her sister, Barbara and Mother Edna, my dear sweet Grandma

Mom, my Grandpa and Grandma Jibson and me in Declo, Idaho 
at my great grandmother's home

Mom, Dad, Me and Gary in Hayward, CA

Our family in 1956 when Billy was a baby

Mom, Grandma and Grandpa Jibson at my High School graduation

We shared everything, even being pregnant together!
OK I was the one with the crazy big hair!

The only picture I have with our entire family 
when Kat was a new baby and I was a new Mom.

Mom and Dad, Rick and Katy Girl

Dad, my brother Scott, Sarah and Mom

Gary, Me, Dad, Mom, Rick and Kat

Five generations

5 generations in 2004

June 2008 with mom so sick with her first bout with cancer.

After recovering from chemo, losing her hair and wearing a wig in 2008

Mom after surgery with her aunt,  Minnie, my hair just growing back after brain surgery.
 Tom is still sporting his mustache in 2009

Mom being presented a flag at Dad's funeral in April 2012.

Aunt Pauline and Mom in 2013. Best Friends!

I have more to share but it's 1 AM and I need to sleep.

Thinking of y'all with love.

Santana's Baptism

Saturday, March 22, 2014

We attended the Baptism of a very special young man that we have grown to love and admire.
Elder Youngstrom and Elder Valgardsen knocked on Santana's door several weeks ago
 and began teaching him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth 
and about the Book of Mormon. His desire to change his life and follow Christ's teachings
has brought a light of hope to his heart. It's been wonderful to watch!
Santana attended the first class we taught about the Book of Mormon 
and each week has contributed with great understanding and faith to our class discussions.
 He invited us to attend his baptism and a dinner afterward at his home. 
It was a beautiful experience that we are so grateful to have been part of.
 He wants to go on a mission and I have no doubt that he will be a great missionary. 
In fact, he invited 5 non member friends including his mother, little sister, Miriam 
and brother Jose to his baptism. 

Santana and Elder Youngstrom who baptized him.

The middle photo we took at the beginning of our first Book of Mormon Class.
The photo with Elder Urban and I was taken with Santana at his home.

Working with the missionaries and being part of the Lord's work has enriched our lives 
immeasurably. Our hearts are filled with love for many new people, all of God's children. 
I know that this is where we are supposed to be!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Office Catch Up Week

This past week was spent mostly in the office catching up on apartment contract renewals, referrals and preparing for Transfers that begin Monday. Tom was busy getting new bikes and equipment for the 8 new missionaries that will arrive tomorrow and cleaned out the trailer to make room for missionaries luggage. Flat tires and car registrations, state vehicle inspections, 
monthly mileage reports, are just some of the fun things he gets to do. 
At least there were no car or bike accidents!
He's worked hard to get his office in great order and the CARS computer program updated. 

Each Monday morning (mostly) we are blessed to meet with President and Sister Craven
for staff meeting with the office staff, which consists of Elder and Sister Andrus and us.
It is always uplifting and inspiring to be with President and Sister Craven.  
When you pray for missionaries say an extra prayer for their mission presidents. 
They work tirelessly for the Lord and are training up a mighty generation.

I forgot to post this photo of our darling granddaughter, 
Sister Rachel Hatton-Ward and her two companions, Sister Simmons and Sister Jacot. 
We took them out to dinner a couple of weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed being with them. 
They are powerful missionaries!

Friday, March 14th was my birthday! This was my reaction to the realization that I am the oldest person in our mission! How's that for spoiling a birthday?!
Thank you all for your birthday wishes, cards and presents and FB messages!

These beautiful trees line the street, Sharon Amity Road in Charlotte. 
We were on our way to the South Park Mall for a look around

We had my birthday dinner at the Red Rocks Cafe. 
It's becoming my favorite restaurant here in Charlotte.

Saturday morning we took a beautiful drive to Rock Hill, South Carolina, 
so Elder Urban could return bikes that had been "tuned up" back to Sisters.
It was nice to have a little time together enjoying the sunshine!
Rock Hill is on the border of the Catawba Indian Reservation.

Unfortunately, I lost most of this blog late Sunday night and kept thinking 
I could find time to redo it but it's not happening. So sorry, this is all there is.

Sending love to y'all.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Daffodils, Ice Storm and Old Town Salem

Daffodils bring Sunshine and Hope and Renewal to my Heart!
Luckily I have a husband who recognizes that and shares them with me.

 Our blossoms are still hanging on in the apartment comlex

Last Sunday we had a few precious moments that enticed us outside in the sunshine 
to take a walk. There's a beautiful big park near our church,  Reedy Creek Park, 
that we've been hoping to explore. We weren't disappointed. 
It felt amazing to be outside again and to feel the hope of spring in the air.
 I could almost see the new little leaves anxious to decorate the thousands of trees
 in North Carolina. I can't wait to share the spring pictures with everyone.
 There was a fork in the trail so we debated...

and chose Dragonfly Pond 

We had a lovely walk!

We took a "selfie" so you could see these happy faces!

We taught our first Book of Mormon Class on Tuesday evening.
We had 14 people show up (which was a surprise) not including Elder Youngstrom and Elder Valgardson who brought a young investigator and a young man who has been less active. 
We took pictures to help us learn everyone's names. 
We'll see if any of them come back on Tuesday night!

We had quite the rainstorm Thursday and Friday in Charlotte 
but nothing like the Ice Storm that hit a little north of us! 
We had no idea when we left sunny Charlotte on Saturday morning 
what had happened just a a few miles up the road. 
We had the opportunity to see some of an ice storm's effects
 on our drive to High Point yesterday. 
All along the freeway hundreds of trees were snapped like tooth picks
 or totally uprooted because of the ice. 
Here's a couple of photos that I found online from the storm.

Love this photo of 4 cardinals waiting for the ice to melt.

I know you are wondering where in NC is High Point.
 Look between Winston-Salem and Greensboro.

We were asked to do training for 5 couples assigned to help the Mission
 as Apartment Coordinators for  8 different areas (16) apartments of High Point Stake. 
What a blessing they will be in our Mission. 
I hope that they will be a model for all the stakes in our mission! 
We were supposed to meet at the Stake Center (Church) building 
but we received a call to change the location just as we were leaving. 
That was our first clue to the effects of the Ice Storm. 
The electricity was out in the churches, many businesses, even a huge mall was shut down. 
We were told the power could be down 2 or 3 days. 
We met at Brother Miller's home because his power was working. 
When we got off the freeway, the traffic lights weren't operational in most places 
and it was risky just crossing an intersection! 
NC drivers aren't known for being cautious or obeying traffic laws!

Elder and Sister Andrus drove with us and we had a great time. 
The training went really well and I'm so grateful for the service 
these wonderful people are willing to give to us. 
They love having missionaries in their areas and take very good care of them.

This is lovely little pond behind Brother Miller's home. 
In the 2 hours we were there much of the snow and ice had melted in the warm sunshine.

 If you look carefully you can see the Canada Geese meandering across the lawn.

 After the training we drove to Winston-Salem and went to Old Town Salem to have lunch. 
We didn't have enough time there so we'll have to go back. 
If anyone's interested we'd be happy to bring you along!
This tavern was built in 1805 and is now a restaurant. 
We had a very late lunch there and I tried real southern cooking, 
fried Catfish Po boy and Sweet potato fries. It was delicious. 
Then we just had to try dessert... warm gingerbread cake and lemon ice cream. 
Also very nummy!

If you look on the left side of the photo you'll see the corner of the main Tavern, built in the 1700's. George Washington stayed in that Tavern for 2 days during his campaign for President. 
I need to do a little more research to get the whole story!

Elder and Sister Andrus with Elder Urban

We send our love to y'all!