Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blessed Honored Pioneers

Pioneer Day is an official holiday celebrated on July 24th in the state of Utah. It commemorates the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, where the Latter-day Saints settled after being forced from Nauvoo, Illinois. 

Although I may not come from pioneer stock I am proud to be a first generation pioneer. 
As such I feel that it is only right at this time that I offer my heartfelt thanks for the sacrifice of those early Saints and for their valuable lessons of faith and courage.
I may not be an ancestor of those faithful saints, but I have been blessed to know and love some of their posterity and for that and the legacy they left behind I will be forever grateful.

We recently received a care package
for one of our new sister missionaries from her family in Japan. 
At first we were ready to throw the United Postal Service under the bus for the poor condition the box was in.  Until we discovered that the family members had lovingly filled numerous baggies with ice hoping to keep the contents (including squid) refrigerated during it's long trip to the States.   The problem resulted when the ice melted and the baggies leaked, so we were left with a very soggy box and various containers that would now need to be hand delivered.

 All work and no play might make Elder Patten and Elder Busath dull little boys!
No worries here...

This month is such a special one; it's birthday time for you.
We'd really like to celebrate your happy day with you.
Zip-a-dee-ay and heigh-dee-ho, here's something we can do.  We'll sing a song that we all know, Happy Birthday to you!
 It's birthday time again in the Senior Missionary District and so we celebrated Sister Clare's and Elder Busath's 29th birthday, one more time!

 "Dr. Doolittle" ducking his other chores.

Elder Gordon doing something a little different this time. 
Instead of opening and furnishing a new apartment like we normally do
we were closing down and vacating an apartment.

Ta da!

Parting is such sweet sorrow. 
After serving honorably for 12 months assigned to the LDS Employment Service Resource Center, Sister Vaden and Sister Dane returned home last week.  With no one to replace them (as if that were even possible) we had to close down their apartment and store all their furnishings at our local storage unit with hopes of needing it sometime in the future.

The one silver lining in having to close down the Sisters apartment is that we now had furniture to set up temporary living quarters for Elder and Sister Spencer, from Salt Lake City, Utah who had been called to serve in the Mission Office to replace Elder and Sister Gordon and would be arriving around August 6th. Since the Gordon's would not be leaving until August 15th, to enable them to provide necessary training to the Spencer's, and it was days before the arrival of sixteen missionaries and the departure of twelve we ran into a housing problem.  Fortunately Elder and Sister Bean (whose daughter is married to the Spencer's son) offered to put the Spencer's up in their own apartment.  So we quickly moved one of the beds, a dresser, a nightstand, a chair and a lamp  from the Sister's apartment to help make the Spencer's feel welcomed.

 Elders Stewart and Stanford, happy helpers!
Service ever was their watch-cry, love became their guiding star.

 My heroes!
Elders Fuller, Vaughan, the Hulk, Stewart and Stanford

Courage their unfailing beacon, radiating near and far. .

Elder Gordon recently received a bike for one of our arriving missionaries shipped all the way from Utah in a wooden crate. Now what to do with the crate?
Every day some burden lifted,
Every day some heart to cheer.

Every day some hope the brighter, blessed, honored pioneer!

In our Senior Missionary District of twenty two 
there are only six of us that are not from Utah. 
Elder and Sister Bevans are from Cardston, Canada,
Elder and Sister Clare are from Queens Creek, Arizona
and we, of course, are from Sacramento, California. 
As a result we try very hard to be sensitive to family traditions. 
On Saturday, for our senior activity, we celebrated the 24th of July on July 26th with a barbecue. Unfortunately there were no parades, no pie baking contests or quilting bees, as many had come to expect, but we had a wonderful time just being together
and the food was fabulous!.

Telling tall tales...
Sister Nielson's very first time at the wheel of a golf cart. 
Elder Western looks like he might be ready to offer a few pointers,
but everyone arrived safe and sound
and she was ready to take another spin around the park!


Elder and Sister Boynton looking for gators and catfish and cranes, oh my!

The Gordon's beans are good to the last drop!  Just ask Sister Berry :)

The women's group at the Holiday Travel Resort in Leesburg decorated the recreation room prior to our arrival. We thought it fitting that they chose to decorate the room with beautiful hand made quilts. Perfect for our pioneer celebration.

Sisters in Zion

After a delicious lunch and a lively round of miniature golf with not one,
but four holes in one (two by Sister Bevans), it was time to call it a day
and head for home. Warm, tired, but happy!

Each of us has a heritage-whether from pioneer forebears, or others who helped shape our lives.  This heritage provides a foundation built of sacrifice and faith.  Ours is the privilege and responsibility to build on such firm stable footings.
Image result for wally gator images
What legacy will we leave behind?
Have a great week, we'll see you later...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
And the dreams that you dreamed of once in a lullaby
Oh somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebird fly
And the dreams that you dreamed of dreams
Really do come true

Someday I'll wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me
Oh somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dare to
Oh why, oh why can't I?
Well, I see
Trees of green and red roses too,
I'll watch them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.
Well I see,
Skies of blues and, clouds of white,
And the brightness of day, I like the dark
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people passing by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I... I love you.

I hear babies laugh and I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than we know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.
Oh someday I'll wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

 Our Poinciana Branch missionaries,
Elder Brown, Elder Giraldo, yours truly and Sister Gruber and Sister Hernandez

Happy Birthday to Sister Western

 A person or persons, who so far prefer to remain anonymous, distributed numerous postcards to honor me with 60 years of memories.  The first one arrived a few days ago much to my surprise and more have arrived every day since.  As the one who processes the Mission mail the arrival of personal letters is a very big deal and always cause for celebration! Thank you to those who have taken the time to write me and a big thank you to you who orchestrated this kind gesture whoever you are!

 The monthly missionary proselyting materials have arrived. 
As a result Elder Busath and Elder Gordon are helping the Fed Ex man load up a pallet to store the materials until we have a minute to organize it into six zones and then distribute it accordingly.


We are on the "look out" for a new house for our Poinciana Sisters. 
Unfortunately there are simply no apartments in Poinciana so we are trying our best to find a small, suitable house in a desirable location-not always possible I am sad to report.

 Just another possibility to consider...

 In contrast, the Elders in Oviedo are also in search of a new home and it just so happens that there is a brand new apartment complex opening up very close to their current and less than desirable remodeled motel/apartment.

Okay, so it is the model apartment, but even without the bells and whistles it is beautiful and 100 times better than where they are currently living.

On the road again...
The Goldenrod Elders, Duffy and Bateman, texted me to report that they recently received a kitchen table and chairs could we come and get them? 
Since we are always in need of kitchen tables and chairs we paid them a visit only to discover that they also had a abandoned bike that needed a home.  

Poinciana Sisters, Gruber and Hernandez
Friday morning we had the privilege of attending an early morning session at the Orlando Temple with the missionaries in the Hunter's Creek Zone. 
The young missionaries have the opportunity to attend the temple only twice a year, January and July so this was a very special day indeed.

 Later in the week we had to pick up a late arriving bike at Bike Works for one our new missionaries as we headed for yet another assignment-moving day in St. Cloud.


The "iPad Traveling Trainers" in St. Cloud, Sister Conant and Sister Low, needed to move from one rental house to the house next door. Who are they gonna call?

 The Elders and Zone Leaders in their District, that's who!
Elder Thompson, and Elder Ferguson, Elder Jeppson and Elder Gottfredson, to the recue!

Accidents do happen, even to Senior Missionaries :( 
Elder Nielson was hit recently while traveling down OBT minding his own business. 
A young woman, apparently in a hurry to be somewhere fast, cut across three lanes, smashing into Elder Nielson's car to get there.  "There" being the local Emergency Room where she was transported following the accident. 
It appears that Elder Nielson's car is a total loss.
Happy Birthday to my eternal companion, Elder Busath!
When we arrived at the Mission Office following our early morning temple session, our very own "Food Fairy", Sister Berry, has this beautiful cake waiting to greet him.

That evening, following our help in moving the St. Cloud sisters, we received a dinner invitation to join President and Sister Berry Dutch treat at Azteca, a local Mexican Restaurant.  Never ones to turn down a meal, we readily accepted.  What resulted was an impromptu birthday celebration with President and Sister Berry, the Nielson's, the Bean's and the Gordon's.

Saturday we spent our "P Day" with the Gordon's at New Smyrna Beach. 
The weather was warm with a cool ocean breeze.  In a word-awesome!

 Our first stop, the New Smyrna Beach Saturday Morning Farmer's Market.
A little small in size, but plenty big enough to house all the delicious fruits and vegetable we would ever need or want.

Make new friends, but keep the old,
Those are silver, these are gold;
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.

Friendships that have stood the test--
Time and change--are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray,
Friendship never knows decay. 

 Once we had finished wandering through all the quaint little shops
(to beat the heat and humidity or so we told ourselves)
we were more than ready for a BIG, juicy hamburger at Breakers Restaurant
along the beach.

I just couldn't resist the call of the Atlantic Ocean any longer. 
Saturday I decided to venture out and see what all the fuss was about. 
Pacific Ocean versus the Atlantic Ocean, inquiring minds wanted to know.
The results are in!
I have to admit that after today to my surprise
the Atlantic Ocean definitely beats the Pacific Ocean by a tidal wave!

I am a huge fan of the warmer water and waves that simply would not quit. 
I swam forever thinking I would eventually find some calm water to float in.  But it wasn't physically possible so I kept myself plenty busy jumping and diving under the waves.
 Exhilarating and exhausting both at the same time  :)

 It may all be all due to geographical location, but the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz and in San Diego with it's cold water and mini waves simply couldn't hold a candle to the Atlantic Ocean at New Smyrna Beach, sad but true.

 Now you see me...
Now you don't...

Elder Busath's birthday festivities continued throughout the weekend and he ended his birthday celebration very happy and appreciative with numerous well wishes, welcomed gift cards, homemade pictures, a 64 ounce jug and a lemon cupcake with a candle so that all his wishes would come true.

Elder Busath had a birthday, shout hooray! 
One year older and wiser too, Happy Birthday to you!
 " It is possible to be grateful that no one that you would willingly associate with would say to you..."Be more mature. Be well-balanced, be well adjusted..."  To have the heart of a child is not a disgrace.  It is an honor... and it is never a reproach that one has kept a child's heart, a child's honesty and a child's freshness and nobility."
Ernest Hemingway 
Oh somewhere over the rainbow
way up high
and the dreams that you dare to
Why, oh why can't I, I?
See you later.............alligator