Sunday, February 23, 2014

Country Hoedown

Fun but tiring week for us old folks.  Long days.  But good.  Lots of pictures I want to share, and we will get
to the Hoedown in a bit.  First of all - I saw a bright red Cardinal in a tree by our laundry room last week.  I hope it's a sign that Spring is near.  Our snow piles are almost all gone, the ground is pretty soggy, and we notice swollen, muddy creeks as we go driving.  We have had daytime temperatures in the 60's, but cooler temps and maybe even more snow is predicted for next week...

I usually guard my Monday Preparation Days pretty carefully, but since we had loafed around on a few snow days recently I was able to give up last Monday for more important commitments.  A friend and neighbor, Becky Hovatter, asked me to take her up to the hospital early Monday morning for some blood tests, okay.  Then my visiting teaching companion, Janet, said she was leaving town later in the week and wondered if we could do our visiting (that takes half a day) on Monday?  Okay.  Since we go quite a ways and one couple we see rarely has home teaching visits, Wayne thought it would be a good idea if he and my partner's husband, Johnny, went along and made some
visits too.  When we came here, Johnny was less active.  He really likes Wayne and they visit and sing together occasionally, and he usually comes to church now too.  So going home teaching was good for him.  We had a really nice afternoon,  good weather, nice drive, and fun visits.  We all enjoyed it. It's about 50 miles from Petersburg to one of the
couples we visited - through Moorefield, Baker, Lost City, and Mathias.  We stopped to take a picture of the cute little post office in Lost City and Wayne took a beautiful shot of a cemetery and church - love seeing so many old churches around here.  Johnny also showed us a lake where he wants to take Wayne fishing this summer.

Tuesday we left early for Berryville, outside of Winchester, where we had a Zone Conference, from 8 am to 4 pm.  It was very good, lots of training and instruction, and good speakers.  The Elders enjoyed seeing their fellow missionary friends,  we enjoyed visiting with our Mission President and his wife, and the other senior couple in our zone, the Kunz'.  We don't enjoy the part of our training that involves role playing - but we have learned to grab the other senior couple as our partners and just visit while we are supposed to be acting out different situations...  We got back just in time for our assignment at the nursing home. More meetings on
Wednesday when we traveled up to Romney for our District Meeting.  There was a big snow pile on the edge of the parking lot at their church, and of course our very mature Elders, Zone Leaders, and new Sister missionaries assigned to Romney had to climb up and pose for a picture!  I am happy to have Sister Missionaries in our District, now I am not quite so out-numbered.  And one of them, Sister Hendrix, knows our own grand-niece (?) Kami Orton, who was her trainer.  After the meeting we had a quick lunch at Burger King, then headed back home,  changed clothes and drove way out to the
Burr's home - they have had health struggles and we wanted to see if we could help out a bit.  Just had to take a picture of the pig in the road - that's West Virginia for you.  Genealogy in the evening.

Thursday we went to an appointment with the Elders, then Wayne had a long practice session with his group, preparing for the ward activity.  I worked with one of the wives in the family history library,  we had a very interesting time, getting her registered on Family Search, building her family tree, then preparing paperwork for the temple sealing of a deceased child.  It was a special experience.  Friday we visited a friend out in the country, Margarite
Country Road in West Virginia - who knows what
you'll come across.
Kindrick.  She has been less active for several years since her husband passed away,  we try to see her every couple of weeks.  Wayne borrows western DVDs from her late husband's large collection - then we have to go back and exchange them for more.  We told her about the ward activity and she found Wayne a western scarf/tie and ring, and some fancy collar tabs from her husband's stuff.  She seemed very happy to share them.  Then we met the Elders in Moorefield and took them out to visit our friend Jane,  then on to Joy and Forrest Whetzel's home for dinner.  Good and generous people, but a remote little home.  Back to Petersburg in time for Wayne to sing at the nursing home.

Saturday was the long-awaited ward activity.  The Petersburg Ward has a tradition of two ward activities per year - a Christmas Dinner and a summer picnic.  We think more activities would help in our activation and missionary work, so Wayne "encouraged" the High Priests to put on this Country Hoedown, originally scheduled for Valentine's Day, but postponed because of snow.  A wonderful man in the ward fixed a great dinner of ham, fried potatoes, beans, and corn bread.  Everyone coming was to bring a dessert.  Baxter Borror and his wife Sandy, called a little square dancing,  then Wayne got a little group together to sing and play country/blue grass music.  John and Audrey Parks recently moved
Audrey and Sonja
in the ward,  he had been inactive, she is not a member but is taking the lessons.  Johnny was not coming much.  Baxter is quiet, but hard working and faithful.  They all had fun getting together and practicing,  good fellowship.  I think they will continue.  The ward really enjoyed the evening, I think there were about 80 people in attendance.  (All our investigators were there,  I think we had 9 non-members and 12 less actives attend)  Margarite was there, enjoyed telling people about Wayne's "decorations", and she came to church this morning too.  We are very excited about that.  Audrey Parks has set a baptism date and I think Sonja is close,  we went to another lesson at her home this afternoon - she also attended the activity last night and church this morning.  Her 14-year-old son
came to both as well.  I still have trouble getting used to the idea that our chapel is also our multi-purpose room,  so we ate and danced and sang last night in what became our chapel this morning!  They hope for a bigger building some day.

So that is way more than you wanted to hear about our week,  and there is more I could share but won't. We are keeping busy and having good experiences.  Looking forward to taking our four Elders to the temple next week.  We are enjoying Angie's facebook entries as her family travels to Disneyland.  Have a great time!  We love you.   Love hearing from you too.

Our Bishop Jeff Kimble and his wife Lucy.
Our good friend Sonja and her two missionaries.
Banjo pickin' Baxter Borror.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Much more snow . . .

How cruel it was for the Poyfairs to send us a picture of them relaxing poolside in the sunshine in Mesquite, Nevada, where they are spending the weekend at a soccer tournament!  This week the monster snow storm did not detour around our little valley, it hit us full on with a beautiful heavy snow fall Wednesday night and Thursday.  We spent several days "grounded" and our Elders sure got their exercise shoveling.  You are probably tired of snow pictures but these last few are the best of the winter and I will include some at the end of this blog.  We also take random pictures occasionally when something is cute or interesting.  Like the picturesque building off the road near Maysville or the goats on the hills outside of Moorefield.

We spent a very quiet Monday - relaxing, reading , doing a few chores. Tuesday we had District Meeting,  we took a few pictures of our District Elders because one of our Petersburg Elders and both Romney Elders were being transferred to new areas on Wednesday. After the meeting we helped with Bingo at the nursing home, we had to wear masks, they are still trying to contain their flu outbreak.  Then we made  a fun visit in Moorefield to a mother and her adult son that we had not met before. Nice to get to know them.
Back row:  Elders Plumb, Elieson, Miller, & Mordecai
Front row:  Elders Hartwig & Goodell
Wednesday we left early with Elder Hartwig and all his stuff (and bike) and his companion Elder Mordecai.  We drove three hours to Ellicott City, just outside of Baltimore, where the missionaries meet for their Transfer Meeting.  It's a special meeting where the new missionaries bear a short testimony and meet their "trainers", and the ones that have completed their missions also get to speak a few minutes.  Then the chaos  as luggage and bikes are juggled around and companionships are switched.  It's pretty fun actually.  We met our new missionary, Elder Bell from Ogden, Utah, and brought him back to Petersburg.  We stopped at a Chik-Fil-A restaurant for a quick lunch on the way home.  We will miss Elder Hartwig, but he had been here six months and was ready for a new adventure.  Wayne and I now have been here the longest of the six of us missionaries - interesting thought.  Glad we don't have to learn new names and faces and directions every few months, we are too old for that.  We like it here just fine - in fact we love it here and are happy to stay put for another year-and-a-half.   At the transfer meeting the last verse of a song we sang touched me, the words reminded me of why we are here:  "We'll go to the poor, like our Captain of old, And visit the weary, the hungry, and cold;  We'll cheer up their hearts with the news that he bore And point them to Zion and life evermore."

So after we got back from transfers, I worked on genealogy at the church for a while, then the snow began
 It snowed all night and most of Thursday.  We got over 18 inches. We were grounded.  They cancelled Bingo at the nursing home, the Red Cross Blood Drive, the ward activity scheduled for Friday night (just postponed until the 22nd), the Food Pantry assignments,  school, etc.  We made some phone calls to check on people, but mostly just stayed in.  The Elders came over to our apartment to watch "Ephraim's Rescue",  great movie.  They shoveled a lot,  our apartment complex manager does a good job of our parking lot but we did have to dig our sidewalk and car out.  By today the main roads are good, not the side streets or people's steep driveways though.  We do have an appointment with the Moorefield Elders this afternoon.  Anyway, we are warm and safe, doing well.  Thanks to the Acors for the Valentines, made our day - loved the squished Peppermint Patties, too.  Wayne manage to get me a rose for Valentine's Day and cooked shrimp for dinner - my favorite.  Have a great week.

The park on the top of the hill where we usually go walking.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Where did the week go?

I can't believe it's Sunday evening already!  Where did the week go?  It has been a pretty good week, but it sure went by fast.
Tuesday we had a District Meeting in Romney, about 40 miles away.  We took our four Elders and met the two Romney Elders at the meetinghouse there.  Had a good meeting, then drove about 5 miles further to the Elders little house for lunch and House and Car inspections.  I did much better on the apartment inspections this time - I gave them all a checklist the week before and spelled out very clearly my expectations and consequences.  They actually took me seriously and all did well.  After I complimented one pair on their clean kitchen, one Elder exclaimed,  "But Sister Orton, you didn't even look in the microwave and I worked hard cleaning it!"  So I had to examine it and praise his good work...  After returning to Petersburg and inspecting the cars and apartments here, we fixed a quick meal, then picked up the two Elders assigned to Hardy County and took them to a couple of evening appointments outside of Mathias, a little town about 40 miles away.  One was Connie Stever, a single lady about 50 years old,  been away from the church for years but now wants to return and asked the missionaries to come re-teach her.  She is great and has a good understanding of the gospel, fun to visit with.  Being single, the Elders couldn't go in without us being with them.  Then we accompanied them to Chris and Ariann's home, a young couple, she's a member, he isn't.  I am her visiting teacher and on my last visit I asked Chris if he would like to learn more about our church.  He agreed and I set this appointment up.  The Elders did a good job teaching and it was neat for us to be there and assist a little.  As we traveled back to Petersburg, it was beginning to rain a little.  Lots of freezing rain later in the night, it was so pretty the next morning - to see the trees and shrubs covered in ice.  The mission cars were grounded, but Wayne and I made a few visits.  We had dinner Wednesday evening with two of the Elders at the Whetzel home - we love them.  She fixed us a great dinner, then the Elders taught a Word of Wisdom lesson.  Walter is 74 and has smoked and chewed tobacco since he was young.  Doris has been to the temple, but is waiting on him so they can be sealed.  Good lesson and he expressed a desire to quit, but he said it would be very, very difficult.  We will encourage and pray.  Doris had crocheted me a lovely scarf.

Thursday we made a very productive early morning visit, had a long coordinating meeting with the Elders going over the ward roster, Wayne had a practice session with his buddies rehearsing for the ward activity,  then in the evening we had a meeting with the Ward Mission Leader, the Bishopric, and the Elders, discussing missionary work in the ward.    Oh, and the mission office senior missionary stopped by delivering a new bookcase (very large) and we finally cleaned and rearranged our study room.  We had had boxes of supplies around on the floor, so we can now set them out in the bookshelf.  We rearranged the desks, too, and it looks very nice and is more convenient.  I got frames for a couple pictures we had tacked to the walls, too.  Good project.

The nursing home where we volunteer several times a week is closed to visitors and volunteers for a while because of a flu outbreak.  We miss being able to go there.  And Wayne was supposed to sing there Friday night.  He is disappointed.  But it's just as well, he is coming down with a cold and needs to rest.  I made several visits by myself Saturday while he napped, then also saw a lady in the hospital.  Made numerous phone calls, and typed and printed the ward bulletin.

Good thing he rested up, because today (Sunday) was a very long day for us old folks.  Wayne had PEC at 8 am, then we had our regular three-hour block.  I taught Relief Society, it went very well, good participation.  We had a pretty good turnout at church,  only one of our three investigators showed up, but we had several less-actives attend.  After church we had the four Elders over to our apartment for dinner (chicken enchiladas - they loved them), then we took Elders Mordecai and Plumb on visits.  We took dinner to the Parks (less active husband John who is singing with Wayne for the ward activity this Friday,  wife Audrey is taking the discussions and close to baptism),  visited an older single lady Helen Mongold in Moorefield, then taught a third or fourth lesson to investigator Sonja who hopefully will be baptized in March.  We drove out in the country to Jane Halterman's.  She had called me earlier in the week, saying that she was going to have surgery next Wednesday and could we come out and bring the sacrament and give her a blessing.  It was a good visit, the Elders did well, and Jane appreciated it very much.  Next we visited Woneda Kenney in the Baker Nursing Home,  she is doing much better and also appreciated the visit.  She get very lonely.  Then way, way out in the country past Mathias for another lesson with Connie Stever.  She is awesome.  Fun to chat with and is making great progress in her gospel study.  So almost an hour to drive back home and we were tired.  Wayne is feeling pretty good, but still stuffed up.  Looking forward to our P-Day tomorrow, but will have to work a bit at the Food Pantry.

Transfers are Wednesday and one of our Elders (Hartwig) will be leaving.  He is the last one that was here when we arrived in September.  It will be a busy week, District Meeting on Tuesday, working at the Food Pantry a couple days, driving three hours to Transfers on Wednesday, Blood Drive Thursday,  and our big ward activity on Friday.  We have encouraged more ward activities, so we hope this is well attended and goes well.  Hopefully we will find time for some more visits and missionary work as well.  It's good to keep busy, isn't it?  I keep reminding myself of the phrase:  It's better to wear out than rust out!   Also heard in testimony meeting last week my new words to live by:   There is no Growth in your Comfort Zone and no Comfort in your Growth Zone.

Thanks for the email Karli (and Dustin) and thanks Devin and family for the call.  Good to see you all - and for the songs by Naomi and Gage.  If anyone is reading this blog, please make a little comment, we'd love to hear from you, and know who is there and what you think....    Our love to all.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Back to snow...

Out our front door, looking towards the church.
We had two days - Saturday and Sunday - with sunshine and temperatures in the 60's.  So nice to get the snow and ice melted off.  We are glad that we got some country visiting done and meals taken to our invalid.  Because today ---  a snow storm, with more to follow, it sounds like.  Schools are closed in the county and the missionaries are grounded.  Except that a member of the RS presidency just called and asked me to make a hospital visit with her.  I used great restraint and didn't say that it was my day off and I didn't want to have to put a dress on!  I said, "Sure, I'd love to."

View from our upper level..  Aren't the trees pretty?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Opportunities to Serve

So if a BYU basketball game in Provo begins at 9 pm - how late does Wayne (in West Virginia, Eastern Time Zone) have to stay up to watch the entire game??  Well, evidently it was worth it.  I watched the first few minutes, saw 4 BYU turnovers, numerous missed shots, and they were behind so quickly by 8 points. So I went to bed.  Missed a great game, I hear,  but don't worry, we have it recorded...  We have finally had some warm weather here, I think it got up to 60 today so our snow and ice is almost all melted, but more snow is predicted this coming week.  Pretty good attendance at church today, with three non-members.  We get to go with the Elders to teach one or two of them this week.  Also will do the dreaded apartment and car inspections for our Petersburg Elders too, since transfer day is the 12th and we are supposed to do our inspections the week before transfers.  I've given the Elders a pretty detailed list of what I want done this time, we'll see if they comply.

We did have a pretty nice week.  Lots of opportunities to serve and that makes us feel useful and happy. We have had three ward members in the hospital and we visited them daily.  Our apartment is very close to the hospital and all the bishopric, priesthood, and Relief Society leaders live 10 to 50 miles away, so it works out well for us to do the hospital visits.  Wayne also drove one older gentleman home from the hospital and was involved in a ward clean-up project at his home yesterday.  Another day he gathered a couple guys together to practice music for the upcoming ward activity.  One evening he met our High Priest group leader out in Lost City to assist in giving a blessing.  I helped with Bingo at the Nursing Home one afternoon, gathered information for and printed the ward Sunday program/bulletin, and yesterday made a casserole for one of my visiting teaching women who recently had surgery.  After church today we collected meals from several RS sisters and delivered them  about 20 miles out in the country to this recovering woman.  We had a nice visit and she greatly appreciated the food and the attention.

We had a great zone meeting in Woodstock (70 miles away) Tuesday with lunch all together at Wendy's afterward.  We took the four Petersburg Elders in our van, and because I am really working on "Patience", I tried not to murmur when our district leader told us that he needed to be there for a meeting at 9 am, when the main meeting that the rest of us had to be there for didn't start until 10:30.  We made the best of it and made a quick trip to the Woodstock Wal-Mart, then had a good visit with our friends, the Kunz', who are assigned over in that area.

We had some special visits last week, with people we are slowly building relationships with.  They seem happy to have us return and we enjoy our time with them.  George and Mary Demand, a working couple who are very difficult to catch at home, actually made an appointment with us for Saturday and had fixed a nice lunch of soup and chicken sandwiches for us.  She is an inactive member, he is not a member.  He is friendlier each time we meet with them.  We had a good visit and left a message, scripture reading assignment, and an invitation for the ward activity with them.  They raise chickens and sent us home with a couple dozen fresh eggs - Wayne was very happy that I made deviled eggs for him last night.  

Friday night we went out to eat at a local Chinese restaurant.  After we had been there a while, a couple came in and were seated right across from us.  There weren't very many people in the restaurant and they asked us if we were driving the van with the Idaho license plates.  They drive truck across the country and were curious as to where we lived.  That led to a conversation that eventually led to the church.  Come to find out he was the son of a sweet widow member lady that we visit monthly, he lives right above her and we have tried to catch him at home a couple times.  Now we are friends and they said to be sure and stop by sometime ...   Coincidence or missionary tender mercy?!

Happy Birthday #7 today to Krista.  And to Miss Ellie Rose on Thursday, when she turns 10!  Official name finally released for our new granddaughter - Klarese Faith Thueson.

We had a  note from Darin that some of our Orton kin might be interested in:
"Our ward (Warden, Washington) was visited today by a sweet old lady who has family in the ward.  One of her great-grandchildren was blessed (a baby) today.  The old lady's name is Marylou Cox and whenever she visits she makes a point to talk to me and tell me how highly she regarded my grandparents.  She knew them when they lived in Warden all those years ago.  When I saw her today I approached her to greet her and shake her hand.  When she saw me she smiled and said that I looked like my grandfather.  That made my day.  I am thankful for him and the life he led.  It inspires me to be better."    Thanks for sharing that, Darin.

Take care all.