The Journey to Freedom

The Journey to Freedom

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Day of 2014

On the way to the temple for the second time in as many days, we had to stop at Wells Fargo bank to try and straighten out some things.  I have been reading Every Day Missionaries by Clay Christensen in hopes of being a better missionary.  I always feel so awkward about talking about the church and yet I hold the greatest gift I could give a person.  One of the things he suggests is just using our Mormon lingo and talking very comfortably about the Church.  If we bring it up in every day conversations if a person is interested they will walk through the door and start asking questions.  So I decided to try it out today.  The bank officers was from Puerto Rico.   We  talked to him about his New Year Eve activities for the night.  He was going to some bars with his family.  He asked what we were doing.  I told him we were Mormon missionaries and we didn't drink and our family was in Utah.  I told him if we were home we would play games and watch movies and eat tons of junk food.  But we were probably just going to bed early. Then I told him we had a daughter that served a mission  Puerto Rico and another daughter that went to Spain, and a daughter-in-law from Mexico, and a son who served in Chile and a son-in-law that served in Argentina. I told him about how everyone makes fun of the daughter's Spanish that served in Puerto Rico.  I said I don't want to insult your Spanish but they call it shot gun Spanish.  He laughed with us and said they are right we speak really fast especial compared to South American countries.  We left laughing and not being awkward at all.  He didn't walk through the door and ask any questions but he knew who we were. I think if we ever worked with him again he would remember us.

So the missionary tip:  Use Mormon lingo and just be happy and proud that you are a member and see if they person you meet wants to know more about the church.

Being thrown out of the Barlow Center for two days has felt like a vacation.  We decided to go to the temple again today since the temple is going to be closed for the next two weeks.  It was a wonderful session.  On the way in we met the mission president from the Washington DC South Mission, Pres. Riggs.  He had brought missionaries that were going home to the temple.  We had a really nice visit with him.  He is done in June of 2015.  I asked him what he did for a living and if he would be okay when he got home.  He is a lawyer in Arizona.  He said the Lord has blessed him and directed his life.  Pres. Riggs said when he graduated from law school that he was going to run a one man office with a para legal. But business got so busy that he had to keep hiring people and now there are many lawyers that work for him who are bishops and stake presidents. One of his partners is leaving to be a mission president.  I thought that was such a cool story of  how the Lord has prepared this young mission president to be able to serve. He looks like he is about 32. There were so many people at the temple today that Elder Anthony got three other missionaries to do cards.  I found six other ladies to do cards. After the session we did initiatories. So this was a great day.

We went out to lunch after and stopped at Costco. So how are we spending  New Years Eve?

 This evening has been filled with raucous activities.  We did laundry, opened a bottle of bubbly (diet ginger ale), watched While You Were Sleeping, and ate some tortilla chips and salsa.  Nothing is too good for New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Don't be jealous.

They were suppose to be shampooing the carpet today and we were told not to come to the Barlow Center to work because we would get in the way. We did our regular schedule in the morning but Instead of stopping my scripture study I got involved in identifying principles in the scriptures.  I am on D&C 88.  I have color coded nine doctrines.  (The Godhead, Plan of Salvation, Family and marriage, Revelation/ prophets, Atonement, dispensation/ apostasy/restoration,   priesthood and priesthood keys, Covenants, and commandments.)

I decided to take the Godhead and start listing what I have learned about the Godhead and put it on a spread sheet.  I finally stopped at 12:00 because we had to leave to go to the temple.  Wow that was so much fun.  We did an endowment session and sealings because they are going to close the temple the first two weeks of January.  Then in September they are going to close it for 6 weeks.  That is going to be really hard for me.  It was never a problem having a temple close in Utah Valley you just go to another temple.  There is no way we can get to another temple so I guess we will have to try and make up the ordinances we would miss.  Maybe we can do some extractions.

After the temple we stopped for a couple of groceries and grabbed a quick hamburger and then the plan was we were to pick up the Elders and one of their investigators and take them back to the temple for musical show at the visitors center and then they were going to have a discussion.  We got to the address but we couldn't find the apartment building.  We called so they could give us some directions and they had forgotten to call us.  The investigator couldn't go and someone else had taken them to the temple so they didn't need us to give them a ride but they had forgotten to call.  It didn't hurt our feelings not to have to drive back to the temple.

I can't believe that I got to just study this morning uninterrupted. On the way home we got a telephone call that they didn't get the carpets shampooed on our floor and now we can't go in tomorrow.    

Monday, December 29, 2014


The deep cleaners are at the building for the next three days.  Our lady that cleans the building Susana had to bring her daughter to work because she wasn't feeling well and is out of school.  So I grabbed her and she and I took down all the Christmas decorations in the front foyer.  She was my runner and a big helper.  She helped me throw out a huge stack of books from the library that we cleaned out.  The day was spent getting things ready for the cleaners to come into that area to clean.  Elder Anthony was working with the keys and did something that messed up the system again and we had to have a key man come in this afternoon. So that was a mess today. Elder Anthony bought Susana, Natalie her daughter and he and I a Subway sandwich lunch.

Susana had to clean out the dryer vents.  The birds like to build nest at the end of the dryer exhausts.Look what she dug out of the vent.

This bird was  very dead.  It was stuck way up inside the vent and it looked like is was still alive when I first saw it.   There is always a new adventure.

 We were glad to come home tonight for a quieter evening.    

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Orem, Utah is Boring

 Our young single adult ward did not hold meetings today because so many are gone for Christmas and we were instructed to find another ward to attend.  We went to DC 3rd.  This is the ward that our married interns go to while they are here.  We decided we should try out the bus system to see what the married interns needed to do to get there and be on time.  We had to transfer and we walked to the second bus stop.  There was a homeless lady there with her cardboard house waiting at the stop.  We found out that we had another 8 minutes before the bus we needed would arrive.  A beautiful woman and her daughter came to the stop.  They may have been going to Church, also. They were dressed up.  As soon as they walked up the homeless lady started to talk to them.  They were ALL from Uganda.  The lady and her daughter moved away from the homeless lady but the homeless lady followed them.  The homeless lady was yelling at the lady and her daughter about religions in America were just profit centers.  She just kept yelling.  Finally the lady with the daughter had had enough and she said that wanted nothing to do with the homeless lady. The lady with the daughter said, "I have a father in Heaven and he is the one I answer to and what people do here has nothing to do with me."  The homeless lady would not stop yelling and the nice lady turned and said, "You stop talking.  You are possessed with a devil and I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to stop your yelling."  This heated exchange went on for several minutes.  We decided to walk to the next bus stop.  When we got on the bus there was the homeless lady with her box and the beautiful lady and her daughter sitting quietly.  The pretty lady looked at us waiting for our reaction. I said, "You were in a tough situation back there."  She acknowledge that it was a weird situation.  We sat down and started admiring the buildings and all the churches we were passing when the black man in front of us started talking to us.  He said, "I am a member of your church."  He was a very kind man and has been a member of the Church since 2006.  As we continued further on the bus we passed this very cool looking Church that belongs to the Unification Church.  They have scaffolding up on the steeple and around the side.  It is a land mark to us.  The member sitting next to us saw our admiring glance at the  building and explained that that building was the first LDS ward house built in Washington DC.  To say the least, we were shocked.  (When we are in the car coming home in that direction we always turn at the church.  Elder Anthony has said if they ever take down the scaffolding I won't know where to turn).  He explained that it was the only ward building ever built that had the angel Moroni on.  We had heard about this building but we didn't know the story behind it or where it was located. Of coarse the angel Moroni is no longer on the building.   So I looked it up on the internet.

This might be boring to some but I would really like to keep a history of this beautiful building that we pass so often.

By: Reed Russell - September 26, 2012
Reed Russell has assembled this historical record – so lavishly illustrated – of one of the most interesting buildings in 20th century Mormondom.
2810 Sixteenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

First picture was taken in 1935 the next 2012

A midst opposition from Protestant ministers, the land for the Washington Chapel was purchased from Mrs. John B. Henderson and the deed was sold to President Heber J. Grant (as trustee for the church) on April 9, 1924.
Building commenced in 1931 under the direction of two Mormon architects: Don Carlos Young, a grandson of Brigham Young, and Norwegian immigrant Ramm Hansen. (Other buildings designed by their firm include the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City, the temple in Mesa, Arizona, and the Federal Reserve Bank in Salt Lake City.) The construction strongly echoes the design of the temple at Salt Lake City with a single spire terminating in a ball on which stood the figure of the angel Moroni. The ten foot tall Moroni, fashioned by Torlief Knaphus, and covered in gold leaf, was a replica of the angel atop the Salt Lake City temple – making it the only chapel in the Church ever to have a statue of the Angel Moroni on top. Estimated cost for the building was $275,000.

This is the angel Moroni statue that was place on top the chapel March 1933.

The Angel Moroni statue is now in the Museum of Church History and Art. 

The Boston Evening Transcript (18 November 1933) said:
“Much attention has been given to the beautiful exterior facing of the building. It is Utah birds-eye marble all of which has been shipped from mountain quarries in the State. It is the only edifice in the world built of this material, which furnishes a glowing warmth and richness to the entire structure. The marble has a satin hone finish and at different times of the day reflects various hues. After a heavy rain the effect is that of highly polished marble which changes, as it dries, into hazy purple. The marble was quarried at the summit of a mountain 9000 feet high, and hauled on mountain roads four miles to the base of a canyon 3000 feet below … The milling of the marble has been a phenomenon of accuracy and those who have witnessed its perfection exclaim over its precision. There are 16,404 blocks of marble in the exterior facing of the building.”
Mahonri Young, also a grandson of Brigham Young, designed the mosaic of Jesus on the Mount of Olives which stands over the main entrance.
The Cultural hall then and what is there now. Seating could be increased from 300 to approximately 700 by removing the partition between the cultural hall and the chapel. 

Mosaic of Jesus on the Mount of Olives by Mahonri Young.

Mahonri Young  looks like he has a word of wisdom problem.

This was the beautiful coffered ceiling, and in the the chapel there are nine large round arched windows, each encasing a circular panel of stained glass. 

On the east the three circular windows show the Hill Cumorah in the center, with a map of the North American continent on one side and the Rocky Mountains on the other. The southern windows have a map of the South American continent in the center and ancient Mesoamerican temples on either side. On the north, the European continent is in the center, flanked by immigration scenes from the early days of the church.

Originally, a large, leaded white glass chandelier shaped in the form of a cross was in the chapel. It had a spread of approximately fourteen feet and a drop of four feet. At some point it was removed. Also since removed was a gymnasium in the basement.

Other spaces include the unusual dining and kitchen facilities, meeting rooms, and a baptismal font.

Senator Reed Smoot.

On April 21, 1932 the cornerstone was laid with Senator Smoot presiding, and the dedication took place on November 5, 1933.
All three members of the First Presidency (Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and J. Reuben Clark) and four members of the Council of the Apostles, including Senator Smoot, took part in the ceremonies, with approximately 3000 persons in attendance.

President of the Washington Branch at that time was Edgar B. Brossard, a member of the U. S. Tariff Commission. Music was under the direction of Edward P. Kimball, senior organist of the Salt Lake City Tabernacle, who had been sent to Washington to become organist of the new chapel. Until his untimely death in 1937, Kimball gave free organ recitals in the church six nights a week (over 1,000 in all), a custom continued by his successors, one of whom was Alexander Schreiner, until 1949.

This is a picture  by Al Rounds.  What a majestic building.  In 1940, the brand became the Washington Ward. During World War 11, the church sponsored Saturday night dances in the cultural hall.  After the war, it became know as a singles ward resulting in 125 marriages in four years.   

Standing in front of the ward in 1945 is Elder Joseph Anderson, Elder John a Widtsoe, Elder German S. Ellsworth, President George Albert Smith, Elder Thomas E. McKay, Elder Edgar B. Brossard, President of Washington Stake.

The fortieth anniversary of the church in 1973 found the physical structure of the building deteriorating. The porous marble had not held up well in Washington’s humid climate. Acid rain, and exhaust fumes from automobiles further hastened its disintegration. One report estimated repairs would cost $450,000.
An expense of that magnitude for a rapidly diminishing congregation was not acceptable to authorities in Salt Lake City. The final service in the Washington chapel was held on August 31, 1975. In September 1977, after the building had stood vacant for two years, it was sold to the Columbia Road Recording Studios, Inc. The next day it was sold again – to the Unification Church. Before the building was turned over to the new owner, the statue of Moroni was taken down, and the contents of the cornerstone were removed. It was dedicated as a Unification Church on December 4, 1977 by Reverend Moon.
Regarding the quick turn around of the property by Columbia Road Music Studios, they bought it for $300,000 and sold it the same day for $475,000.

This square building next to the church is the Scottish Rite Freemasonry building.  

You can't read very well what is written here but it says, "The Glory of God is intelligence." 

The current-day photos were all taken in August 2012. Perhaps my strongest feeling regarding this amazing structure is a profound concern for its future. There seems to be, at present, a handful of members of the Unification Church who are just living there. They acknowledge that the building continues to suffer; there is standing water in the basement, several cracks in the walls and the staircase leading up into the spire has been closed after some substantial damage from last year’s earthquake.

Isn't that a sad ending to this beautiful building.  

To add to that excitement we went to church.  This is an inner city ward that our married interns attend.  They bring in leadership from other areas to help run the ward.  There were several ladies in sacrament meeting that added their amen to the speakers comments.  At the end of the meeting if you were visiting or new you stand and introduce yourself.  There was a lady that hadn't been to church for a year and had come back.  

In RS there was a sister dressed in a Chinese silk pants suit with a Santa hat and sunglasses.  She was a very involved sister.  She would give her amen and interrupt the meeting to ask someone to talk slower.  She was upset if people got up and moved around because she couldn't focus on what was being said.  Before we had finished the opening announcements the sister that had come back to church after a year broke in and told the lady in Santa hat that she was the reason that she had left the church.  She wanted her to sit quiet and stop being so bossy.  Well, a yelling fight commenced.  The RS  counselor got up and told them to stop.  A lady came over to the sister with the Santa hat and put her arms around her and tried to get her settled down.  The counselor told the recently returned sister that they would talk after church that we would go on.  The member of the RS Presidency conducting said,  "Sisters I am sorry we have had this upset.  We are all here trying to do our best and we don't want anyone offended because of different opinions."  Then she suggested we sing a hymn again to get the Spirit back.  For sure the Spirit was gone!  So this other older black women who had no teeth got up and had us sing a song that was about  not judging each other.  It was not a hymn but after she got us to sing it twice  everyone settled down.  

The RS presidency counselor conducting and another sister walked out after the lesson started with the sister that had just come back.  While they were out the lady with the Santa hat got up and took 10 min. of the lesson talking about a book that dealt with a lady that helped homeless people.  The lady with the Santa hat had been a homeless person and had been in jail for drugs and she was now trying to come back and go to the temple. As short time later, the lady that had come back to church after a year came in with the other sisters and I was glad she had missed the 10 minute rant.  She sat on the opposite side of the room by a sweet black lady that had spoken in Church that day and give the lesson in our Sunday School class.  

The lesson was already 10 minutes late when the RS presidency counselor conducting got up and ended We didn't have a closing hymn.  When the meeting was over the lady that had come back to church hurried to the front of the room and apologized for her out burst of anger.  She said, "I am really not that kind of person and I am so sorry I acted that way and let things get to me and I want every sister here to forgive me."  Well a bunch of sister went up and hugged her.  I couldn't get out of my row and I gave her a big hug and told her to please come back that this ward needed her. 

 I don't know what would happen to this ward without the missionaries there.  They have four or five senior missionary couples in the ward and about 6 sets of full-time Elders.  

A sweet lady sitting next to me was a new convert as of June 2014.  She came from some country in Africa.  She had walked out for a minute during the out burst and didn't know why this lady was apologizing.  She turned to me and asked, "What happened?" I gave her a quick explanation.  This same sister was out at  the bus stop when Elder Anthony and I arrived.  We talked to her and another member.  She is here working for her embassy as a cook.  She has lived here 6 years and met the Elders and joined the Church.  She converted from her Muslim  background to Christianity.  She is trying to get her three children to the U.S.  She loves working for the embassy and has no plans of returning to Africa.  She told me that her life has changed for the good because of the Church.  Even the way she sees life has changed for the better.  She said missionaries came to my door in Africa but she would not let them in.  I said, "it looks to me like you had to come here to join the church."  She agreed.  She is trying to get her children to go to church in Africa.  

Sundays in Orem were never this exciting.   

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Interns

We got our list of the new interns and we have been busy all day long trying to get ready for them.  Getting the keys ready for each students, names on doors, emails put into my contact list in the computer and in both of our cell phones with their information takes time. We know that the more things we get done now will save us time in the long run. Just working with their names makes me excited to meet them.  After you have typed a persons name about 3 or 4 times you start wondering what that person is like.  Dara told me that one of our interns comes from Cherry Village.  They live in the home that Popes use to live in.

It was so nice today that when we finished today we decided to go for a walk.  It was a little late but it was so nice we had to get out.  I wish this would be our winter weather but I am sure it will get cold again.  

George Town buildings.  We walked down into George town today.  

Friday, December 26, 2014

Work day

We got to bed so late last night that our start for the day was also late.  We did get some quiet time at the Barlow today and we both got a lot of work done.  We took a few minutes off around noon because it was warm and took a walk.  Georgetown was buzzing with people.

We are getting excited to meet our new interns.  We got pictures today and names.  The last minute preparations are about to begin.

We came home for dinner and I decided to cook a big ham we got on sale that has been sitting in the fridge.  We got it for half price so we decided to cook it and cut it up so we could freeze parts of it for later.  I was also working on things we could make for students after class.  One of those items will be red beans and rice.  I will have the meat ready and the bones cooked down.

There was no one in the Barlow today but us. So it was very quiet.

Crystal made me a calendar for Christmas.  I hung it up in my office today. 

I have had Gabe on my mind.  Lisa sent me this picture.  It gave me peace to know that he was visited for Christmas. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Best Mission Christmas

Merry Christmas.  We have just concluded our 14 hour day.  We are tired and so happy.  We left this morning at 8 in the morning to get to the visitor center at the temple for our mission conference.  For the first time since we arrived in DC we drove without hardly any other cars through empty streets in DC.  In DC Elder Anthony jumps from one lane to another like dodgem cars.  They do not have left hand turn lanes so if you are in the left lane you have to wait for traffic coming toward you to turn left or watch and jump into the right lane so you aren’t stopped and miss the light.  That holds up the whole lane.  Today Elder Anthony drove all the way to the temple in the left lane.  It will never happen again I am sure. 
Our mission president and his wife are wonderful people.  They conducted the meeting as if we were their family and we did what they normally do on Christmas morning.  Instead of being in PJ we were all in suits and nice clothes which was very different for their family.  They showed the nine minute version of the nativity.  They had their four children bear their testimonies and share their feelings about Christ.  Their oldest son said that our opening song had been Come All Ye Faithful.  He said I feel today that I am with the faithful. All of us have left our family and we are the faithful that have come to serve the Lord.   
The missionaries gave the mission President and Sister Cook a gift for Christmas so they opened their gifts.  The missionaries gave them two really nice shirts that said Charlie Mike on the back, a gift certificate for dinner, and a big framed picture with all their signatures on. President Cook also talked to us using the scripture in Matt. 22 where the Savior asks, “What think ye of Christ?”  He told of a man that came up to his family when they were out for dinner and said, “Keep being a witness of Christ”. President said we must never stop being witnesses of Christ people are watching. The man was not a member of the Church.   We sang a hymn and closed the spiritual part of the meeting.  We then as a mission watch the movie How to Tame a Dragon 2. It was not a movie I would pick but the missionaries loved it so it was fine.
After the movie we went over to the stake center next to the temple.  The Pratt family with some of their friends fed about 300 missionaries a full Thanksgiving dinner, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls, salad, jello, dressing, and desert of pumpkin, apple pie, or brownies.  This family provides this service and all the food every year.  I asked one young lady in line if she had opened her presents yet and she told me that they had to be at the stake center at 8 and they hadn’t.  What a sweet service to give.  I can’t imagine what that dinner cost them.  After we had a talent show.  It was filled with humor and fun.  President and Sister Cook gave the whole mission a Christmas gift from their own money.  We each got a T-shirt with the mission emblem on the front and Charlie Mike written on the back.  Our mission president is a retired three star general. (His wife is an attorney.) Charlie Mike in military terms means “continue the mission”.  He always says to the missionaries Charlie Mike or continue the mission.  Then they gave each missionary I really nice water bottle.  We finished our time with the missionaries at 3:30. 
We found a quiet place in the stake center and was able to face time or skype all of our children and see all of our grandchildren but Max and we finally connected with David, Stacie and Max after we got home.  It was so great to talk to our loved ones. That was the very best part of the day. Many of the missionaries found places to call home. 

 We finished seeing our wonderful grandchildren just before we had to report to the visitor center to work.  They needed helps to man the visitor centers because the sister missionaries did the free concert tonight.  My job was to count how many people came.  Elder Anthony was the greeter.  I thought it would be dead tonight and we would be bored, NOT so. I started using the counter at about 1500 visitors.  That was at 6:15.   I turned over the counter to a sister missionary at 9:35 it was just a few short of 5000 and the visitor.  The center did not close until 10:00 p.m.  I was totally amazed to see the people just pour in.  They came from every country.  Elder Anthony was so great at welcoming them.  People loved being greeted.  One man came over and said five years ago there was a man like you that was so nice and greeted people outside in a wheel chair.  Do you know what happened to him?  Of course we didn’t.  An Elder came up and said Elder Anthony you must be someone special like a VIP.  Elder Anthony said everyone that comes in is a VIP.  They had two concerts with the sister missionaries and they were both packed and we ran out of tickets.  I had a lady come and asked me who the man on the temple was.  I had to quickly explain.  Three people wanted to know how they could get into the temple.  Elder Anthony grabbed an Elder and had him explain because he was too busy to stop.  It was a great experience and Elder Anthony greeted until he could hardly talk and his hand was worn out from shaking hands.  One lady who was a member told me that a lady had come to her and told her that this was the best Christmas she had ever had.  She couldn’t believe the lights and everything was free.  What a wonderful experience.  We got home at 10:00.  Once again the streets were quiet and it was an easy drive home. We are tired tonight but happy and content. 

I know I keep adding temple pictures but it is so beautiful that it takes your breath away.  It looked so pretty in the blue ski this morning.  

This is Elder Eyring.  Hist brothers name is Henry B. Eyring.

The Chinese Elders went all out on their part of the program. 

Can you believe how many people they are feeding for Christmas. 

Talent show pictures. 

Pres. Cook doing the slap dance with the elders. 

Entry for December 24

The day before Christmas was an interesting day in the lives of the two missionaries in Washington DC.  Most people would consider the day boring or uninteresting.  If you are one of those people you can stop reading now but for us it was one of those days you really need to catch up on all the loose ends.  We began the day by sleeping in until 7AM.  Mom fixed a big breakfast of ham and eggs.  When we finally got rolling we spent quite a bit of time cleaning the condo.  Even though I tease Mom about the fact that the condo looks like the Merry Maids just completed their work, we still had a few things to do to keep it in the condition that Mom expects.  Along with our adventures in cleaning we also did some laundry.  Once we had these tasks nearly finished (it seems like we can never get the laundry completed) we both started work on some Barlow Center odds and ends.  This took another four hours. The difference was we stayed home and worked.

We went for a short walk.  We bought the wrong belt for our vacuum so we returned it and got the right one.  We stopped at Trader Joes for lettuce and Belgium chocolate bars.  That seems like to completely different food goals.  the fresh air was great and the walk was wonderful. 
Several days ago Mom and I found some sirloin steaks at Safeway for 50% off and another 50% off of that.  We decided to really fix ourselves a treat so we prepared sirloin steaks, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli and green salad.  Just as we were finishing dinner we got a text from Irving, a young man from the ward who is from Mexico.  He said that he had decided to take us up on our offer and spend Christmas Eve with us.  We quickly saved some of our steak for him along with other odds and ends from our meal.  In addition, Mom made a big batch of chocolate chip cookies. that made dinner guest 56. 

One week ago Mom and I set and appointment for a date to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve.  So we met Irving at the Barlow  Center at 8PM and watched the show while Irving ate dinner.  The show finished at 11PM and we all left.  Mom and I headed back to our condo.  On the way home we were amazed.  The temperature was 57 degrees.  It was delightful to be outside.  We wondered what it was like back in Orem.

When we arrived home we opened our Christmas presents.  We got a calendar from Jake and Crystal with family pictures and birthdays noted.  It made us both homesick.  Then we opened our present from Adam and Lisa.  Inside we found two Christmas stockings that we wished we had had earlier.  The stocking looked like a missionaries shirt with a name tag.  Mom then forced me to open my presents.  She gave me some really nice fleece lounge wear.  I gave her a new watch.
Our greatest gift this year was just the love we have developed between the two of us.  We feel like the luckiest people on earth and we thank our Savior and our Heavenly Father many times daily for that gift.  Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

5 Minutes

Five minutes can make a half hour difference.  We left about 10 minutes earlier than a week ago to get to the temple and made it to the temple 20 minutes earlier.  We left at 6:55 and we beat the bad traffic out of the city which made all the difference in the world.  It was a cold, over cast, and drizzly day.

It was raining outside but inside it was warm and inspiring.  I had a thought hit me today.  Moses 4:26 says that, "Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living." We are symbolically Adam and Eve.  When we are sealed to our husband we are the mother of our husband's posterity.   There is a wonderful article about women and the priesthood that opens up the importance of the role that women play in the plan. I would recommend you read this.  I really enjoyed seeing her perspective.

I so love the temple.  One of the temple workers quoted a verse from the D&C 109:22. This verse is from the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.  It is a promise about attending the temple.  "And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them."  What a cool promises to be reminded of today.

Going straight to the temple and straight home and getting through the traffic without hitting any really terrible traffic takes four hours.   On the way we were listening to Christmas music and I heard a song that made me cry as I remembered our tradition.  We always had what we called a crown cake.  It was Jesus' birthday cake.  As we had our in-law children join our family I think they thought it was strange that Christmas morning for breakfast we always had crown cake for breakfast and before we could eat it we would sing happy birthday to Jesus and blow out a candle. I wanted my grandchildren to be introduced to the birthday song so they would remember that Christmas day was not presents but Jesus' birthday.

We only worked about four hours at the Barlow Center today.

My knee is feeling better today.  I called to get the results from the MRI but they will not give them to me.  Only my doctor can tell me the results and he won't be in until after the New Year so it will be awhile.  In the meantime I felt good enough to go walking through some stores.  We took the bus to a pretty exclusive area to just walk around the stores:  Neiman Marcus, Sack 5th Avenue, World Market, JT Max, H&M, William Sonoma, and The Container Store.  It was fun just looking.  Neiman Marcus had a beautiful gray fur coat for just 20,000.00.   They had a cute suit coat on sale for 947.00.  It had been 1500.00.  You have got to be kidding.  We topped off our adventure by going to McDonald's.

I love getting Christmas cards. We got a special gift from Hilton and Laura Lui.  Laura is a young lady I taught on my first mission to Hawaii.  Now I am being blessed with their sweet generosity.  It has been a good day. We ended the day by watching the Christmas Carol.  We watch the Christmas Carol every year.(The 1938 version starring Reginald Owen).  It wouldn't be Christmas without  fulfilling a few of our traditions.

Monday, December 22, 2014


Today we followed our regular schedule until about about 2.  My MRI was at five and it was going the way local traffic would be leaving the city.  Because we were worried about being able to get to Bethesada at rush hour we left early and went out to eat.  We got the MRI and I have even looked at the pictures but they mean nothing to me.  They are suppose to call my doctors office and give them the results.  He is out for Christmas break so I don't know if I will be able to find out what is going on.

Picture of my knee were the doctor has given me shots.  Not to attractive is it. 

This is a MRI of a good knee.  Will see what my MRI says. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Opportunities

When you serve a mission you do things that you have never done before.  Today was one of those days.  After we arrived home from Church we were starving as usual and ready to eat.  We didn't have students to feed and we had a simple quiet meal together.  After dinner we had decided that today I would stay down and try and give my knee a chance to heal. So after dinner I put on some warm comfortable clothes got a throw and put over me and read.  Any one that knows me well knows it is hard to hold me down to just read.  I usually start reading and I think of dozen of little projects that I need to get done or people that need to be called.  Most everyone that we are around (young adults) have left or are leaving for Christmas this week.  There was nothing demanding my attention and I curled up on the coach and read. I am reading the biography of Bruce R. McConkie by his son Joseph Fielding McConkie.  Who would have thought that a mission would provide the setting for me to be able to just sit down and read for pleasure.  That is embarrassing to admit to those that regularly devour books.  Sitting still has always been a hard thing for me to work in.  I liked it.