Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wonderful News from Home...

Just as we got home from church today we got such wonderful news from Boise - our second daughter Julie and her husband Matt had their baby girl!  She is a week-and-a-half early and the birth was pretty fast.  Julie said, "She is so small" but I said, "no, she's just normal size, not 11 pounds like your last one."  Baby girl weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces and was born at 10:06 this morning.  What a blessing, and we were able to see Julie, Matt, and baby on Skype or FaceTime or something just a few hours later.  Congratulations to the beautiful Thueson family.

So that is our big news.  We also realized what a miracle our flat tire Monday morning was.  We had heard a few odd noises as we went to Moorefield, then beyond with a couple of our missionaries for a dinner appointment and other visit Sunday evening.  Evidently the tire had serious problems and could have gone flat while we were going 70 mph down the freeway or on an isolated country road with the freezing wind and snow swirling around.  So it was a miracle that it held together and didn't go flat until it was parked in front of our apartment.  We did have to get two new tires and have them all aligned or something, but we are grateful it was as easy as it was to fix.  (Easy for me,  I just watched from the warm apartment...

Tuesday we were hit by another snow storm.  Our zone meeting in Woodstock was cancelled, as were a couple of lessons we were going to go to with the Elders.  It has been so cold since that we have lots of ice and frozen snow, making it difficult to get in and out of steep driveways and we have to be careful where we go.  We did stay in enough that I was able to get my cross-stitch picture completed for the new baby,  I thought I was early...  Now I just need to add name, date, and weight.  One highlight of our week was a Mission Conference in Frederick, Maryland, with a visiting Church authority, Gifford Nielsen.  He used to be a quarterback for BYU, then for the Houston Oilers.  What a great motivational speaker and fun guy.  We enjoyed the meetings very much.  We took the four Petersburg missionaries with us, then made a couple visits on the way home. Took the sacrament to our friend Woneda Kenney in the Baker nursing home and also to Jane Halterman, out in the country.  As we were approaching Moorefield on our way home to Petersburg about 7 pm, Wayne asked the Elders if we could take them to dinner at the Ponderosa Steak House buffet - oh, were they excited about that.  What fun to watch four hungry 19 and 20 year olds attack a buffet.  They loved it and we loved watching them.

This morning was windy, snowy, and cold - not a very good turn-out at church.  But those who came went in with a smile because this snowman was there to greet them.  

We took some more pictures of our meetinghouse to use on the cover of our ward bulletin.  I'll try to add them here too.

In our studies this week we are supposed to be studying the Christlike Attribute of Patience.  "Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious.  It is the ability to do God's will and accept His timing.When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. President Monson said, 'Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature.  There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all.  Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.'"  Okay, this topic was just for me,  I'm working on it. You can tell I'm not doing too well, as I express my frustration at the weather and plans that don't work out as "I" expected.  I'm sure I'll get much more practice at working on this attribute.

Happy Birthday last week to Matt and Kaleb Thueson.  And next Friday to Sara.  Thanks to the Acors for the card you sent Dad and for the great little adhesive calendar for my van.  It was perfect.  Please remember Uncle Don Jensen in your prayers this week.  We love you all.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Best Laid Plans....

Funny week.  We planned very well, and some things worked out really well.  Other things worked out well, just not liked we had planned.  We were able to do a Family Home Evening last Monday night for a family that doesn't come to church.  It went very well.  We know the mom and three kids pretty well, but the dad has been pretty evasive.  Well, this time he came in for home evening and participated, was even quite friendly and chatted afterward.  Wanted us to have some deer bologna that he and his father had just made. It was a nice evening.

Tuesday we had District Meeting,  dinner with a nice couple, then met a pair of our missionaries in Moorefield and drove them to an appointment way out of town. It was with a single woman, so they couldn't go without us, and we have met her before and were glad to go with them to see her again.  She joined the church many years ago, was active for a year or so, then had personal problems and drifted away.  She contacted the church recently and wants to be taught again and reconnect.  Nice lady,  good visit. Wednesday Wayne and the Elders here had a service project so I got to catch up on paperwork, genealogy, journal, etc.  In the evening I worked on genealogy at the church and Wayne made a hospital visit.

Thursday I had such a great plan in place for Visiting Teaching.  Worked with my companion and one of the women we visit who is very difficult to catch.  It was all going to work perfectly.  At the last minute my companion couldn't go and Wayne had already committed to something else.  My route is long, over a hundred miles.  But I went anyway by myself.  Didn't know they had a little snow and some ice on the roads. But I did fine.  Had good personal visits with four women who are a little isolated and really appreciated the contact.  At one home I also visited with the nonmember boyfriend and asked him if he would like to begin the missionary discussions, he agreed and we set a time to begin teaching him!  (We have one missionary here who would do a high 5 and yell "Score!" at that news.)  I had a good chat with a member friend in a nursing home and drove a windy narrow icy road and steep driveway to another.  On the way home I stopped in Moorefield at the home of Sonya, who we took to see the lights and visitor's center at the DC temple in December and is now taking the missionary lessons, and invited her to come to Petersburg to our Relief Society night meeting.  She came with me and we arrived at our church just in time for the 6:30 pm meeting (I left at noon for my VT visits).  Sonya had a good time and another lady offered to take her home. Nice, since I was pretty tired.  While the women had their RS meeting, Wayne had gathered a few musicians together in another room at the church to play guitar, banjo, mandolin, & harmonicas, and sing in preparation for a ward activity he is putting together for Valentine's Day.  Two of the participants have been less active, it's a good fellowshipping and fun activity for them.  It was a good day.

Friday we made a hospital visit and also visited a few ward members who need encouragement.  Wayne set up home teaching visits with a less active man who needs to get out and do something.  From 6 to 7 Wayne sang at the nursing home, then we picked up a pizza, got a few groceries, and headed home.  The groceries included a couple nice steaks that we intended to broil for Wayne's birthday dinner on Saturday.  But --- we had a nice lunch with the Bishop and his wife Saturday (Bishop Kimble even made a pineapple-upside-down birthday cake for Wayne), then headed out expecting to make about four visits before going home for a little birthday celebration.  As we left the Bishop's house we got a phone call from an inactive man in Wardensville, about 40 miles away,  that his daughter was sick and he didn't have transportation,  could we come get him and his little girl and take them to the hospital in Petersburg.  So, of course, we did.  He is the huge black ex-football player for the NFL Ravens.  His daughter Clarissa is adorable, one of our favorites. She has blood problems and picks up serious blood infections quite easily.  We had a good visit with Will on the drive, then waited at the hospital for hours with them while the doctors did tests and consulted with other doctors.  Our hospital is quite small and they finally decided to send Clarissa and her dad by ambulance to a large pediatric hospital in Morgantown,  about three hours away.  Then we went home and had leftover pizza.  Wayne appreciated all the cards, emails, other messages,  grandkid letters, phone calls, and skypes he received.  He would have loved to join the Boise group as they celebrated December and January birthdays at Toucano's.  The Skype from the restaurant only made his mouth water and wasn't too satisfying. But thanks.

We couldn't have our birthday steaks Sunday because we had agreed to take a couple of our Elders to a dinner appointment at some members' home that is quite a ways out.  It was nice- good, generous family - and we made a visit to a good friend of ours after that, she enjoyed meeting the Elders.  We have visited her often since we got here and she came to church last week for the first time in years.

So anyway,  we hope to have Wayne's belated birthday dinner tonight,  but we had other good plans for today too, but found that our trusty van had a flat tire this morning and Wayne has spent the morning figuring out how to get the flat off, the spare on, and taking it to a repair place.  We need to get the van serviced, again too, we are really putting the miles on it here, and a few dents (bad road caused one,  a tree ran in to us another time....)  We have many good plans for the coming week,  we'll see what better plans come up. We are excited to have a mission conference on Friday with Gifford Nielson!  Love his enthusiasm.
In answer to your concerns,  we were not in the part of the state that had the water problems recently.  Nor did we get the frigid weather and storms, although it is expected to get pretty cold here later this week.  We kept forgetting to take our camera with us last week so no pictures - not of the house on stilts that we saw down by the river or the deer by our apartments or of sweet Clarissa or of her daddy's humongous Super Bowl ring.  Sorry.   Wayne had a good phone conversation last night with friends from La Grande, Lonnie and Pat Shurtleff, who just got their mission call to the Wichita Kansas Mission.  Congratulations, you'll love it.   Our love to all.  We are good here,  happy, busy, having great experiences and a few challenges.  Love news from home.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's Been a Good Week

Nothing really exciting or different to report.  We have mostly escaped the "Polar Vortex" here in our little corner of West Virginia.  We've had a few cold days and one morning we started out on our walk, found our sidewalk and parking lot covered in ice from freezing rain, so we turned right around and went back in our apartment!  We are too old to try walking on ice...  One morning we headed out walking in a light mist, but before we finished our favorite walking route it was pouring and we were soaked.  But we keep going.
One exciting thing, I guess, is that we went to our friends, the Keplingers, Monday night with two of our missionaries for dinner and they fixed us biscuits with squirrel gravy.  Yep,  we ate our first squirrel.  Pretty good, too.  Then Wayne and Johnny K.  sang and played guitar for a while.  Wayne is putting together some music for a High Priest's social in February and is having fun planning and practicing (and fellowshipping).  Also practiced Wednesday and Friday nights.  And had a fellow picking on a banjo Friday afternoon.  We made some fun visits last week and had some long days, travelling to Romney for interviews and meetings, and to Wardensville and surrounding countryside for visits.  We had an interview with our Mission President on Thursday, he was very appreciative of our efforts and encouraging.  We needed that, sometimes we don't feel like we are doing enough or the right things.  Also got set apart by our Bishop this morning for my Relief Society teaching calling and in his blessing he said that I am influencing people in ways that I don't even realize and that I am an example and strength to the women in this ward.  I needed to hear that, too.

Church this morning was awesome again. Three non-members, two of whom are taking the discussions.  Wayne and I got to sit in and even participate with the Elders as they taught the first discussion to Sonya (who we took to the DC Temple to see the Christmas lights and tour the visitor's center).  Also Audrey has had a couple of discussions this past week,  her husband was less-active.  He is playing music with Wayne and we have been to their house a couple times during the week, once for dinner, once just to visit and play music.  Also had seven less-active members at church today - so excited to have Margarite Kindrick, a widow we have been visiting often, come for the first time in years.  And a teenager whose family we visit often, such a fun young man. Anyway,  nice to see so many beginning to come back and our numbers at sacrament meeting increasing.  Wayne played the organ in sacrament meeting again today and I taught Relief Society.  (I guess Wayne taught High Priests too, since the teacher didn't show up). We visited a few homes this afternoon.

We must get our van washed tomorrow, it is pretty muddy from traveling on back roads after the rain.  Also need to prepare a Home Evening lesson to give with an inactive family tomorrow night. We are keeping busy and enjoying this missionary life.  Our love to all our family and friends, thank you for your support and prayers. Thanks, Karli and Pat for the wonderful Orton Family Newsletter you put together last week and for so many of our family and extended family that wrote to it.  Thanks, Pat, for the technical assistance with the blog.  We sure appreciate you and wish you luck with the job search.    

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year - 2014!

What a great day to be a missionary in Petersburg, West Virginia!  We had 7 less active members and 3 non-member/investigators at church today!  Yeah!  And there were 3 other less actives that we had expected to be there as well,  one I know was sick. One lady even asked me for a ride yesterday and she stayed for the whole block.  The people that we took to the temple last week came today, and the couple that Wayne played music with last week (husband less active,  wife not a member) were there.  Good day.  Wayne taught Priesthood, and played the organ for sacrament meeting!  Well, he learned how to push the buttons and it did all the work, but it was pretty impressive and one more skill. 

It was a pretty quiet week.  The Elders and their mission cars were grounded some of the time because of snow and ice, but really we have been pretty lucky and have been just on the outskirts of the big storms.  Some roads and driveways are still pretty icy and slick though, and I am very wary.  Wayne, not so much.
We did have some good visits this week, did some service at the nursing home and Wayne sang there Friday evening, we had a District Meeting and apartment and car inspections with our Elders, after the meeting we had the six Elders to our apartment for lunch. Our big day was Wednesday - Transfer Day.
Lunch for the Elders after District Meeting on Tuesday
We found out Sunday that Elder Salazar and Elder Ashby were being transferred.  I had intended to go with Wayne, taking the two elders, their possessions and bikes, on the three hour drive to Ellicott City where they hold the transfer meeting.  At the last minute (6:30 am Wednesday morning) the other two Elders decided that they wanted to go too, so I stayed home to give them enough room.  (I love my husband, but sometimes a few hours alone is okay, too)  I worked on genealogy and indexing,  typed my journal pages, did some household chores, and cross-stitching.  It was very cold in the morning but by mid-afternoon it was quite pleasant so I was able to go for a long walk, and stopped in to visit a member on the way.  Wayne got home about 4 pm, with our new Elders:  Elder Mordecai from Sacramento and Elder Plumb from Arizona.  They seem nice, but we miss the ones who left, they had helped us out a lot with our adjustments here, and we spent a lot of time with them.  Guess that's just how it goes... 

Elder Asbhy, on to new adventures.

As we reflected and reminisced on our Anniversary and on New Year's Eve,  we realize it's been a very eventful year for us and it has gone by so fast.  Can't wait to see what the new year brings.  We wish good health and happiness for each of our family and friends.

PS.  I just had to peel off my little adhesive calendar for 2013 in my van that I used so much.  If anyone comes across a business giving away little stick-on calendars, grab me one, please.