Sunday, May 31, 2015

Last week of May - 2015

Roadside wildflowers
Our morning walk, up the hill
Our walking path, around Fort Mulligan 
Misty morning view from Fort Mulligan
A few words about our morning walks...   We get up at 6:30 am and try to be out the door
soon thereafter  (but it takes us old folks a while just to get our shoes and socks on!).   We walk past lovely wildflowers by the side of the road, up a hill, past the hospital, a little further up the hill, to Fort Mulligan, a small Civil War park.  We are treated to a beautiful view of the town of Petersburg and the surrounding hills.  There's a nice walking path around the park that is about 1/2
mile.  We go four times around, then return to our apartment.  This past week we have past 
by some baby groundhogs on our way up the hill.  They are so cute and not very afraid, we can get quite close.  We never have the camera at the right time though. There is an adult groundhog that lives in the park,  he has a good tunnel system but we see him sticking his head up watching us occasionally.  In "our" park besides the groundhog we have seen deer, rabbits, a skunk, a turtle, and lots of birds (our favorites are the blue jays and the cardinals).  Thursday we did see something a little unusual though.  As we came around the first bend we came upon a man lying in the leaves and bushes right beside our path.  He was face down, breathing heavily, and unresponsive when we spoke to him. Wayne ran down the hill to the hospital to get help, I stayed close.  Soon there were EMT's from the hospital, the sound of sirens, then two ambulances, and the police.  We directed them to the body, then stayed out of the way.  We watched them rouse him and get him on the gurney.  That's all we know.  Our walks are usually more peaceful than that.

Monday on our P-Day we got to pick strawberries in a friend's garden.  In the afternoon we helped with Bingo at the nursing home, we usually don't go in on Mondays, but they needed the help.  In the evening we went to our Home Evening group where I taught the lesson and provided Chocolate Lush for dessert.  Then visited a ward member in the hospital.  

Tuesday I got up at 4:45 am to get ready so we could pick up the Elders at 6 am and drive 1 1/2 hours to our zone conference that lasted from 8 am to 4 pm in Berryville, Virginia.  The Elders had neglected to set their alarms so we had to wait for them to get ready!  It was a good conference, our last with President Richards who will be released June 30th.  We helped Sister Richards fix lunch.  We made it home just in time for our service at the nursing home.  Then back up to the hospital to visit Ann again.
Fishing with Ron

We finally got some visits in Wednesday and taught a temple preparation lesson to Sonja. Thursday- more visits, then Wayne went fishing with his friend Ron.  They didn't catch anything but he said it was peaceful and beautiful.  I walked to the nursing home to help with Bingo, then to some apartments by the hospital to see some ward members there. Friday I spent most of the  day at the church working on genealogy.  Wayne worked on home teaching reports and other paper work.  I think he practiced music too.

Saturday was a fun day,  we drove 50 miles to Lost River State Park for Carter's 1st Birthday Party.  I visit teach his mom and grandmother.  He is a real cutie and his family had gone all out with Thomas the Train decorations and a barbecue lunch for the guests.  The park is beautiful.  Fortunately they had reserved a picnic shelter because it poured rain part of the time.  After that we got lost in the mountains taking a back way to our next party.  We finally made it to Jack and Deb's home for a graduation party for their niece Trisha.  We seem to be honorary members of their family, they are good to us and to the Elders.  We love them and sure wish we could get them coming back to church...

Wonderful meetings this Sabbath day.  During Sunday School time we taught temple prep to Mariah, a college student who will be married the end of July.  Busy day, picking up people and taking them home.  Wayne is home teaching now.  We need a day off, so we are going to get out of town tomorrow, I think up into Amish country in Pennsylvania.  Should be interesting.  Tuesday we have a Senior Couples Dinner to say good-bye to the Richards, at the mission home in Ellicott City.  We are healthy, happy and very busy.

Our thoughts are with our beautiful granddaughter Katelyn who graduated from high school last Thursday.  We are so proud of her.  Now she is off to Disneyland with some friends!  
On our drive out to Lost River State Park we saw all these cows
huddled under the one tree in their pasture, taking advantage of the shade!

Carter, Ariann, Chris - at Carter's 1st Birthday Party

The Smash Cake

Elders Saunders and Gorman with Jack & Deb's missionary board

Trisha with Deb & Jack

Trisha with her adoring aunts and uncles
Audrey Jean, Dot, her father Tom, Jack, Susie

Elder Saunders with Hunter

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day 2015, Let's not forget our American heroes!

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you --  Jesus Christ and the American soldier.  One died for your soul, the other died for your freedom."

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!  And thanks for our soldiers, past and present. 

John F. Kennedy: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Rainbow over our Petersburg West Virginia Ward Campout,  22 May 2015
Where did the week go??  Well, it is gone.  We had our normal chores on Monday, then picked up a couple of single ladies and took them to our Family Home Evening group where we watched the John Tanner video and ate cupcakes.  We had a couple of very intense rain storms Monday, one when we were driving home from FHE, but we survived.  And we enjoy the lush greenery all around that is a result of the frequent rains. 

Tuesday we spent the day in Woodstock at our District Meeting.  In the  evening Wayne had a meeting, I worked at the nursing home and made a few visits.  Tuesday was Transfer Day! Our Elder Sloan left us and we brought home to Petersburg Elder Gorman from South Africa.  He is very interesting, with a strong British accent.  We will enjoy him.  The trip to Columbia, Maryland, was awful.  It usually takes us three hours, which is bad enough.  But this time it took five hours, because of roadside work near Harper's Ferry and a freeway accident near Mount Airy.  Very frustrating.  We love the transfer meetings, seeing the brand-new missionaries and hearing the testimonies of the departing ones - we missed all that.  But we did get to visit for a few minutes with the three Elders going home who had served in Petersburg, they become like family to us.  We are proud they are Returning with Honor to their homes and moving on with life.  
Elder Briggs

Elder Rodriguez

Elder Farr

It was a long day, but we got home in time to do indexing at the Church, then teach a Temple Prep lesson to our friend, Sonja.  

Thursday I was to go Visiting Teaching with Janet, but she called at the last minute to say she was ill.  My wonderful companion volunteered to go with me, even though I assured him I would be fine on the long (55 mile) drive out to see Crystal and Ariann.  Alone.  By myself.   But he insisted, so we went together and had a lovely morning.  We made a few other visits, then I went to our very nice Relief Society night meeting (picking up a couple ladies who needed the experience, too).  Friday Wayne went to the dentist (our Bishop) for a check-up and cleaning.  I helped my friend Wanda with genealogy at the church.  Then we went to our ward campout, for a fun evening of food, games, horse shoes & corn hole, campfire, and devotional.  We saw the most beautiful rainbow and the first fireflies of the year!  Awesome. We didn't camp out, but went back again Saturday morning for breakfast.  Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful setting.  The rest of Saturday was spent in visiting ward members, picking up groceries at Wal-Mart in Moorefield,  then home for lesson preparation. I'm a regular Relief Society Sunday teacher and it is my assigned week to teach.  Wayne got a call Saturday afternoon asking him to teach priesthood Sunday morning - he is such a good teacher, they ask him a lot.  He even taught Primary this morning, too, when the teachers didn't show up to teach.  What a good sport!

Anyway, we have had a good week.  And a busy one.  We also just got some great news - our friend Katja has decided to get baptized in the next few weeks and wants Wayne to baptize her!  Yeah!  Katja is married to Dwayne, who was inactive and recently out of the Army.   Wayne tracked him down several months ago when he met his sister at the Food Pantry, recognized the name from our ward directory, and asked if she was related to Dwayne.  The sister gave us Dwayne's address, we met them and became friends, and the Elders have been teaching Katja and their oldest daughter, Lisa.  Our daughter Angie and her family met Katja and Dwayne and their kids when they visited us recently.  We are very excited about her decision to be baptized, I don't think the family has missed a week at church since we met them.  They feed the Elders every week, too.  Dwayne received the priesthood a couple weeks ago, passed the sacrament last week, and got a calling today.   It's great to see their progress.  And hopefully Sonja (who Wayne also baptized, last April) will be ready to go to the temple before we come home.  Special experiences for us.  We are so blessed to be here.  

Beautiful West Virginia countryside

Corn Hole at the ward campout

Ward member Jimi with Elder Saunders and Elder Gorman

Around the campfire

View from the freeway

Just a few miles outside of Petersburg - so beautiful

Sunday, May 17, 2015

No adventures - just a normal missionary week

We  have just completed a rather busy week, with many opportunities for service so not so much time for visits.  But it's all missionary work - or as our younger friends would say,  "It's all good!"

Our Monday (Preparation Day) was pretty normal, with chores and such.  In the evening we picked up a neighbor, Becki, and went out in the country to our Family Home Evening group, where Wayne gave a good lesson using our current favorite Mormon Message,  "Bearing Our Burdens with Hope" that uses Elder Bednar's recent example of the traction of a load.  We had a nice fruit salad for a treat, plus good conversation.
Tuesday, bright and early, we picked up Becki again, plus another ward member, Theresa, and made the drive to the Washington, DC, Temple. Another couple that had planned to go with us cancelled out at the last minute. Another car, with three people, also went.  The traffic was pretty congested at times,  I don't know why, on a Tuesday morning.  We look forward to soon living in Meridian, Idaho, where our house is only 10 minutes from the Boise Temple!  But the DC Temple is beautiful and once we got there we had a lovely experience.  On the way home we grabbed a quick lunch at Wendy's, then made it back to Petersburg in time to help out at the nursing home for an hour in the evening.

Wednesday Wayne's service opportunity was fishing, then singing with his friend Johnny.  I spent the afternoon helping my friend Wanda with genealogy and an hour in the evening at the church indexing. Thursday and Friday we had assignments at the local food pantry, we always enjoy that when our ward's turn rolls around.  Also Thursday and Friday Wayne sang at the nursing home.  In between assignments we did manage to visit a few folks... but not nearly as many as we do in a more normal week.

Today (Sunday) was our ward conference.  So fun to have our wonderful Stake Presidency and many other stake visitors in attendance, to speak, teach, and fellowship with our ward.  Because many of them have to travel quite a ways to get here, and also to enjoy a little more time with them, it's a ward tradition to have a potluck meal after church on ward conference Sunday.  So that was fun too,  there are some very good cooks in the Petersburg Ward.  The meatballs and the brownies that I contributed were completely devoured too.  It has been a great day, and week.  The weather this week started out very hot,  then a few days of rain,  today the humidity is very high.  We Westerners still haven't gotten used to that.

Thanks, Karli, for the pictures of your beautiful daughters.  And for the weekly emails.  I did laugh when I read today's, where you said you look forward to reading of our adventures...   You are kind, but we know we are boring.  We just plod along, hoping to be useful is some small ways.  And to bloom where we are temporarily planted, here in Petersburg, West Virginia.  (and we do love it here)

Thanks, Darin and Laura, for the fun pictures you sent last week.  Your kids are growing and changing so much.  And we rejoice with you in Darin's new job opportunity as the middle school science teacher in Logan, Utah.  Sounds like a great school, they are lucky to have you, and to have your awesome family.

Happy, Happy Birthday to Angie this coming Thursday. You amaze us with all you do for your family and others, hope you get a little spoiling on your day.  Thanks to all our wonderful, supportive, encouraging children & their spouses, and our grandchildren for your email and letters. We sure miss you.

I love the Relief Society/Priesthood lesson for today on the Power of the Word.  I am so grateful that our children and their families have made scripture study a priority in their homes.  It is a powerful habit.

“The word of God, as found in the scriptures, in the words of living prophets, and in personal revelation, has the power to fortify the Saints and arm them with the Spirit so they can resist evil, hold fast to the good, and find joy in this life.”           - President Ezra Taft Benson

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day,  what a blessing to have had wonderful mother, Marge, and an amazing mother-in-law, Clora.  Our daughters - Karli, Julie, Angie, and daughters-in-law - Laura, Sara, and Amie, are also wonderful and amazing. And patient, kind, talented, spiritual, smart, fun, and loving.  Our precious grand-children are in good hands.  We see too many sad examples around here of dysfunctional families, how fortunate we are...

Our week has been fun, and productive, I think. My crazy friend Traci, who calls me Mom, had a  little birthday party for me last Sunday. Mostly it was for herself, since her birthday was the day before mine. She loves parties and attention, me - not so much.  But I participated, even wore a party hat!  The best part of the day, however, was skyping with some of my kids and grandkids and enjoying their cards, drawings, phone messages, and all.  Wayne fixed me a nice Sunday dinner, then I got to choose the activity for Monday.

Monday, we began the day with breakfast at a local diner, then about a 60-mile drive to Front Royal,

Virginia, to the Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive begins.  This 105-mile section of road goes along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with many scenic overlooks on both sides of the road.  The views were spectacular and while the road was very curvy, it wasn't too scary.  There was even a tunnel to go through.  We saw numerous hikers, as the Appalachian Trail goes through the Park.  It really was a beautiful and interesting drive, I'm glad we managed to find a time to travel it.  A few more of our pictures will be found at the end of this blog, but they really don't do it justice.  It's one of those places that "you just have to be there...".

We made it back to Moorefield in time for one more birthday celebration.  Wanda, the lady that I help weekly with genealogy, and her sister, Sandy, wanted to take Wayne and I out to dinner.  It was very nice, except for the part where the waiters came and sang "Happy Birthday" to me!  

The rest of the week was pretty normal.  Quite a few visits.  We found three people who were just unknown names on our ward directory that we have been trying to locate for a while.  One of them didn't want any more contact with people from our church and wants her name removed.  One of them has been inactive for many years after she was offended at her daughter's baptism, there was a colored flower on the baptism dress, so it wasn't acceptable because it was supposed to be all white.  She has let that offense prevent her,
her children, grandchildren, and generations on become separated from LDS Church.  And she is still hanging on to that offense.  Sad.  The third woman was happy to see us and wants to come back, we will help her do just that if we can.  One afternoon we visited the country home of Darlene and sat in wooden rocking chairs in her peaceful back yard, admiring the lovely view, with redbuds visible on a far hillside.  We tried to get a picture of the bluebird that came and went, but it was too fast.  One evening we had dinner with our friends, Sandy and Baxter. As usual, Sandy fixed us a delicious meal, including home canned pickled beets and apple butter, corn and beans.  She let Wayne cut me a large bouquet of lilacs to bring home too. We went to meetings, worked at the nursing home, worked on genealogy and arbitration, etc.  We enjoy our morning walks, even though the pollen in the air just now is making my eyes itch and water.  

Church was awesome this morning.  I picked up my little friend JoAnn who is valiantly returning to activity. Our good friend Dave, who we visit nearly every week and is having such health problems,  managed to come to sacrament meeting this morning with his wife, son, and granddaughter.  This is a first for him and his son since we have been here.  He kept telling us we would see him in church before the end of our mission! We were thrilled.  Our friend Katja and her family were at church again,  she is close to setting a baptism date I think, maybe her daughter Lisa, too.  Her husband, Dwayne, who has been inactive for many years, received the Aaronic Priesthood this morning and was very excited about that, he unexpectedly asked Wayne to do the ordination.  What a good day.  Next week we are taking a full van of ward members to the temple, working at the food pantry, Wayne is singing at the nursing home a couple times, and so on.  Time sure flies when you keep busy (and are having fun).   Have I mentioned that I have the absolute best companion? He made me great taco salad and strawberry shortcake for dinner today!  

"Be true and faithful. Live your religion. Stand straight and be firm---and if there's a little wind blowing, just put your face into the wind and go forward. And when you can't go forward, just stand. Just plant your feet and stand immovable for a while if that's all you can do. Be faithful and be true and love the Lord, because He loves you."   - Jeffrey R. Holland

One of the largest chicken processing plants in the country, 13 miles from Petersburg

A common sight on the road, chickens on their way from the farm to the plant
A large reminder that chicken is king around here

More pictures from the Skyline Drive

A pair of blue jays frolicking by our front door