Posted in Family Corner

One Spring Day (an update on my life)

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It seems as though this valley I call home is still waking up from winter. There are a few signs of spring, but most are only visible when you look up close.

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Almost every day I check my tulip/crocus bed for new developments. I just need to be patient a little longer!

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My first wreath I’ve ever made. I like how it turned out.

I am enjoying warmer weather here this week. The sun is hiding today, but the skies are blue and the grass lush and green.

I am wondering if any of my readers have experienced KP (keratosis pilaris) and if so, what products and/or diet recommendations work for you? I’d appreciate any advice! Mine is on my face so it’s particularly bothersome to me. It showed up last fall and has plagued me ever since. I went completely off dairy for most of March, but didn’t notice any difference. That was disappointing, but I’m still proud of my efforts.

Here is another question for my readers- Have any of you ever been a county delegate? I was voted in as a county delegate and my first convention to attend is this Saturday evening. I’d love any advice! I feel like the little packet of info. given me was not very informative. I guess I’ll roll with it on Saturday and go from there. I think I’ll be meeting potential candidates for state senate and our state school board. Should be interesting.

I’ve been babysitting a lot for a friend in my neighborhood and church. I work with her four-year old son at church, as well. He has some special needs and I am his one-on-one teacher. It’s a lot of fun and I think watching him at home once or twice a week has increased his progress with me. Plus, his little sister is adorable! She loves to watercolor at my house.

Last night, my husband and I supported our son, who is 15, by attending a service auction fundraising dinner. The youth in our ward (church congregation) were raising money to pay for camps and other activities. I got a little carried away on the bidding! I ended up with three heaping plates of brownies (they were all one bid; I gave two plates away in the parking lot), an expensive plate of chocolate covered strawberries ($35), one jug of fresh apple cider, five dog walks, and window washing for our entire house. All, but the window washing was on a silent auction. I just couldn’t put my paddle down bidding for the window washing! I have to say though, the strawberries are delicious!

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Here Marissa is with her companion and a little boy named, Miguel, with a Cusco village in the background

Here is a recent snapshot of my missionary daughter in Cusco. She has been out for three months now (her mission is for eighteen months). She told me that when Peruvians hear her singing in English, they ask her to continue. They will also ask her to translate songs on the radio that are in English. She sometimes volunteers in a pizzeria and bakery. You can read more of her mission adventures at Our Inspired Quest.

♥  I just counted and we have 49 windows. Thanks for spending some time visiting my blog today. ♥

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Posted in Faith Corner

The Sweetest Missionary Ever (First Experiences in the Mission Field)

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My missionary has been out for 8 weeks now. She spent the first 6 weeks in the MTC (missionary training center) in Lima, Peru. Now, she’s in her first area of her mission, in Cusco, Peru. Doesn’t she look happy? She reports to us once a week, via email. Despite having some health issues, due to the changes in bacteria, food, and altitude (Cusco’s elevation is approx. 11,000 feet), she is always positive and claims she is right where she belongs. She loves her companions- her companion now is from Bolivia and doesn’t speak a lick of English, so they are teaching each other. Her Spanish is coming along well. She struggled with it in the MTC, but now she has a lot of confidence speaking it.

She shared one missionary story I’d like to post here in her own words-

The other day we got a reference from a member. The member came with us as we went to the store and talked to them. It was this woman and her mother. We gave the older woman a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation. Explained what it was, talked about it, and all that. Then we asked her to say the closing prayer and taught her how to pray. I have gotten good at teaching others how to pray. She started to pray and then started crying. She was holding the pamphlet to her as though it was the most precious thing in the world. She came to church with us and I was so happy that the members welcomed her. She was so happy!!! This is why I am here, it’s hard and difficult but so heartwarming and uplifting!

♥ Thanks for reading! If you’d like to read more about Marissa’s mission and see more photos, pop over to the blog I set up for her. ♥

Posted in Family Corner

Welcome 2018 (Sending My Missionary Off)

On Tuesday morning, dark and early (haha), we drove the two hours to the airport, listening to Piano Guys the whole way while the kids slept in the car. It was drizzling rain. As soon as we walked into terminal 2, we saw at least three sets of families, encircled about their young missionaries. We knew they were missionaries, even though they didn’t have their name tags yet (they receive those in the MTC), because they were all young men or women, dressed in their Sunday best and their moms were weepy. And we were in the Salt Lake airport where LDS missionaries fly in and out all the time. (It’s fun to watch the reunions- welcome home posters, cameras out, lots of hugging and laughter.)

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After checking in her suitcases, we gave Marissa our last hugs for eighteen months. Darcie, her big sister, and I, became emotional at that point. We then watched her go through security, losing sight of her from time to time as she wove back and forth. She’s such a tiny person. Finally, we couldn’t see her any longer and had to assume she’d made it through. On the way home, we stopped at IHOP for breakfast. It was a good morning for Red Velvet pancakes. Marissa then phoned us from the airport, using a calling card, and told us she had met three more sister missionaries, also going to Peru. That was very comforting to know.

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She sent me a brief e-mail today letting me know she’d made it and was safe. She told me she directed the other missionaries through the Atlanta airport, which she was familiar with, thanks to all our travels by plane. She also was the only one who expected the humidity of Lima. She said the MTC (missionary training center) was “nice” and that she might get lost. I wonder how big it is? She will be there learning Spanish and being trained in all-things-missionary for the next six to eight weeks. Her p-days (preparation days) are Wednesdays so that will be the day each week when she can write me and others. The sweet thing about being a missionary mom is that we take priority. So if she only has time for one e-mail, I get it! Also, missionaries are only allowed to phone home on Mother’s Day and Christmas Day.

♥ On Monday night, Marissa was set apart by our stake president, with her dad and her big brother in the Priesthood circle. She was given a beautiful blessing and the spirit was so strong in our home. I have a testimony of missionary work and of this gospel. I know my baby girl is going to bless many lives in the next eighteen months as she serves the Lord full time. Thanks for reading! ♥

Posted in Family Corner

Welcome 2018 (Christmas Recap & A Missionary Farewell)

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I hope each and every one of my readers enjoyed a beautiful Christmas. On the 22nd, my family and I spent the evening on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. We ate dinner at The Roof (a fabulous restaurant at the top of the Joseph Smith building), walked around Temple Square to see the lights and nativities, and then we ended the night at a Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert, which was spectacular. My mother and her husband joined us for the night as that was our Christmas gift to them.

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Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spent at home, with Grandma joining us (my husband’s mom). The day after Christmas, a very special package arrived from my dearest friend, Audria. She spoiled us! My favorite gift from her was a little teapot and teacup set. She even sent a sweet gift to my daughter for her mission. Such a thoughtful and amazing friend; I feel so blessed. For the rest of the week, we were busy preparing our home for Marissa’s mission farewell. We send her off to Peru next week!

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Kevin, Marissa, Kristine & Kelsey (I snapped their photo in our theater room just before we watched the movie, RED)

Her farewell was on New Year’s Eve Day. She gave a delightful talk in our Sacrament meeting and afterwards, friends, extended family, and neighbors joined us in our home for an open house. We offered a baked potato bar and a variety of desserts which everyone seemed to enjoy. I took a picture of Marissa with each family who came out to support her and plan to send them a copy with a thank you card. One of our favorite group of guests were our long-time friends, Kevin and Kristine, and their daughter, Kelsey (they also have two sons who could not make it). We’ve known this family for twenty years now and have stayed in touch as we’ve moved around. We have even vacationed together. It was so much fun to spend the day with them, celebrating Marissa’s choice to serve the Lord on a mission for our church, and ringing in the New Year together.

♥ On this first day of January, 2018, I have a nasty head cold. Bah! Besides sneezing a few times yesterday, I felt pretty good throughout our festivities for Marissa, so at least it waited a day to hit me full on. Marcus was sweet enough to heat me up some broth to sip and I’ve been resting up as I edit the photos from Christmas and Marissa’s farewell. This week should be pretty relaxed, focused on helping Marissa finish up her packing and enjoying our last week together before she embarks on what I hope will be an amazing adventure for her. I wish all of my readers a Happy New Year. ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 28 (Missionary Mom Moment)

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I’m so excited to be a missionary mom again! Marissa leaves for Lima, Peru in early January, where she will report to the MTC (missionary training center) there. After she completes her training, she will serve in Cusco, Peru. Her father served his mission in Santiago, Chile. Her brother, Zach, served his mission in Calgary, Canada.

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Marissa in her baptism dress

It was special that she was called to serve in Peru because we have lived there as a family, twice. The first time we lived in Arequipa, Peru, for nearly 2 years. Marissa was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while we lived in Arequipa.

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Touring the Maras salt mines just outside of Cusco

The second time we lived in Lima, Peru, for nearly 2 years (10 years after we lived in Arequipa). For our last Christmas there, we spent a week touring Cusco and Machu Picchu as a family. That was an awesome trip.

♥ I’m so proud of my soon-to-be-missionary daughter. She’s going to give her whole self to serving the Lord for 18 months. Thanks for reading! ♥

Posted in Family Corner, Joy

My Birthday Weekend & Exciting News

I was so busy last week that I didn’t get a chance to sit down and write a post. My mother came up for a visit on Thursday evening and stayed ’til Saturday night. That motivated me to thoroughly clean my house top to bottom before she arrived. I am one who works well under a time crunch. It makes me buckle down and tackle items I’ve been putting off on my to-do list. Besides the general housework that always needs to be done, I cleaned out our kitchen freezer, scrubbed the oven, decluttered our den, cleaned the boys’ laundry room downstairs (which was a tornado of laundry), and took a full load of donations to my church’s thrift store, Deseret Industries (or D.I. for short).

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Our September craft for our nature club was a sun-catcher mobile.

On top of all that, Marcus and I created and assembled 20 craft kits for our nature club. We had to cut up six colors of tissue paper into 1″ squares, but it was worth it to see happy kids taking home their craft kits and then hear from some of the moms that they were busy making them up that very day.

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Marcus, observing butterfly chrysalis at the nature center.

Saturday was my birthday, which was why my mother was visiting me. We celebrated from Thursday night on, beginning with dinner at Olive Garden with my mother and her husband, who dropped her off. On Friday morning my mother joined Marcus and I at our nature club activity. We have just gotten this club off the ground so I was delighted with the moms who showed up and supported our activity, especially because it was raining. Last week’s activity was rained out in fact, but this time the rain was a light, though steady drizzle and the trail I had chosen was a gravel path so it was not muddy at all. Halfway down the trail is a nature center which meant we spent half of our time indoors. I was pleased with the turnout and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

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Marissa, holding her unopened mission call.

On Saturday after a delicious waffle breakfast, I told Marcus to get our mail. We had forgotten to check the mail on Friday so he came back with a stack of envelopes and two of them were 8 1/2 x 11″ white envelopes. My oldest son, Zach, and I both pounced on Marcus because we knew there was a good chance one of those envelopes was my youngest daughter’s mission call from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We were right! There was her mission call. Immediately, Zach and Marcus set out to pick her up from her university apartment and bring her home so she could open it with our family.

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Looking at all the guesses on a world map.

A tradition for this time is to contact friends and family and ask for guesses for where the future missionary will serve. It could be practically anywhere in the world as we are a worldwide church. Guesses were coming in by text, Facebook and Instagram,  representing several countries and different states in the U.S. It was very exciting and helped to pass the time waiting for Marissa to get home.

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Opening her mission call was a thrilling moment!

Once Marissa was home, over four hours later, we had pizza and salad ready for dinner. My mother’s husband had arrived in time to join us. With my husband’s mother on the phone and Zach making a video, Marissa opened her call and read aloud where she has been called to serve an 18-month mission for the Church.

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I captured her expression of surprise and delight.

In January she will report to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Lima, Peru. Her mission is the Cusco, Peru mission. Having lived in Peru, twice, for a total of four years, Marissa is already familiar with the customs and language (Spanish) which she will learn more fluently. We even attended our church meetings in the chapel right next door to the MTC when we last lived there.

♥ I am a missionary mom again! And we have so much to do over the next few months to prepare her. ♥ Thanks for reading! I have fun posts coming up whenever I get around to them, haha. This week I am busy preparing for a weekend trip to Tennessee where I get to meet my amazing friend, Audria, in person for the first time. I’m so happy! ♥