The Journey to Freedom

The Journey to Freedom

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Don't Stop

Our Thursday's mother class is not taught in the summer because their children are out of school and many go on vacation.  So after this semester we are done teaching them until next fall.  One of the mothers came up to us today and asked how much longer before the semester ended.  I told her we had two more weeks.  She said will you please teach us through May until our kids get out of school in June.  You can teach us anything.  She said I love Thursday.  We will talk to the other mothers next week.  We have talked and if the rest want to we will continue until the second week of June with them.

Melissa came over for a blessing tonight before she goes to Africa.  I also made a huge stock 16 quart pot of taco soup for Sunday dinner between conference.  We got the condo cleaned the laundry is almost done. This is going to be a busy weekend.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Sacrifice= destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else, something given up or lost.

Last night I was talking to a young lady and telling her about the miracle that we got the mission call to Washington DC and the Barlow Center.  We have no doubt that this is where we are suppose to be and that this was the time we needed to be here.  She said you have been willing to sacrifice and come here.  How could you call what we are doing a sacrifice.  I looked up the definition.  The only way you could call our service a sacrifice was giving up time with our grandchildren.  But to call our service a sacrifice would not be a good description.  There are times we walk in wonder that we are here.  There is nothing we would rather be doing.  What we have gained has far out weighed any thing we have done.  What greater joy can we have than to teach and testify of the Savior, His work, and His life.  What greater joy is there than to see the gospel change lives.  We have been given a chance to work with each other in a cause that we love.  That is not a sacrifice that is called a blessing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

18 Months

Today is our 18 month anniversary.  We chose to stay 23 months or we would be released today.  It is a good thing because we have so many projects in the works right now for the Barlow that have to be finished off while Elder Anthony is here.  This morning he arranged for the carpet to be delivered and installed.  He did a lighting proposal and got the okay for the students rooms and is presenting the proposal for the outside lights.  He made several calls into BYU. The big boom was in again this morning and 2 more air conditioners were put on the roof.  In the meantime I had a student ask if I would talk to her and give her some advise.  We talked on the phone for an hour.  I got the emails out for all the institute classes taught in the area on Tuesday.  It was a busy morning and all that was done before 11:20 when we had to leave for a chiropractic appointment. Then he headed to the temple and got to serve as the witness couple.  We ate after that and headed over to the stake center and look at emails for an hour before class started.  We are not ready to go home yet. Nor do we feel like we have accomplished what still needs to be done.

Our work is not done yet!

Monday, March 28, 2016

No Parking

In trying to get everything done yesterday I stay up way to late.  Today we were dragging. We woke up to cold and rain.  Later in the day it warmed up and we had some sunshine but I think that is going to be it for the next few days.  We didn't have our first two meeting this morning so I was able to finish getting my lesson ready.  I think we are both kind of wiped out but I am hoping to get to bed early tonight.  There was a lot of excitement going on this morning at the Barlow.  No one could park in the back until after noon.  They had a boom out there loading the new air conditioners up on the roof.  They have a couple more to put up tomorrow.

The new floor is coming to a completion in the next two days I hope.  

I took 497 pictures this weekend.  After we taught Elder Anthony worked over at the Barlow and I stayed in the condo so I could get them loaded on Facebook.  Our interns like to pick out pictures they like and add them to their albums.

Yesterday our Easter program was so well done.  I love the musical talents of the young people we serve with.  It is incredible. I love every week singing in sacrament meeting with these young people.  Singing brings the spirit into our meetings every time.   The Hymn we sang yesterday had these words in it, "No more can Satan harm us, Tho long the fight may be, Nor fear of death alarm us, We live, O Lord, thru Thee."  It hit me that because of Christ Satan has already lost.  He has been defeated.  I will in this life have to continue my own personal battle but I need have no fear of him because Jesus Christ has already won the victory.

As we were reading in the Book of Mormon a couple of weeks ago I had another thought hit me. Jacob says, "the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream."  That is what I have felt many times as I have grown older.  It is like my life has been a dream.  It is passing so quickly.  I have no desire to go back and relive it but I am amazed at how fast the years pass.  I know the day will come quickly when we are back home wondering if we really did do all we have done here.  Or was our living in Washington DC just a dream.  

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Catch Up

I haven't blogged for a few days.  Thursday night at 2:30 a.m. in the morning we get a call that woke us up telling us that their ceiling was falling in.  The guys installing the VAV's had left a pipe leaking. Elder Anthony said is the whole ceiling falling down or one tile.  It was one tile.  Elder Anthony knew what it was but we couldn't do anything about it at that time.  So we told them to put a garbage under it and we would talk to the installers in the morning.  It was hard to get back to sleep and at 6:00 a.m. the alarm went off.  We jumped up and flew to get cleaned up for the day walk down to Bruegger's Bagels to pick up the bagels for breakfast.   We always pre-order because we buy 5 dozen.  We walked back and had things set up with juice before the students came down.  The bus arrived at 8:00 and we were off to Valley Forge.  These trips are always so great.  My heart is constantly touched with the miracles that occurred to insure this nations freedom. We stay over night at the Freedom Foundation.  They have 56 acres of land dedicated to the Medal of Honor recipients from every state.  They have three huge statues of George Washington.  In each case he is praying.  I have learned to love and admire that man.  He was the real deal.

We sleep over night at the Freedom Foundation.  We are up early for breakfast and on the bus to Philadelphia by 8:00.  We have the students in line to see the Liberty Bell before it opens at 9:00.

 Then we get them back to the Constitute Museum for the production of We the People.   I love that presentation.  I have yet to see it without getting chills.  It ends by the guy asking, "What will you do with the freedom you have been given."  When you watch the news you always wonder if we are on a crash coarse to losing that freedom.  I really enjoy that museum.  It has so many great interactive things.  They also have an original Bill of Rights. From there we go to Constitution Hall where the signers of the Constitution battled out our Constitution which governs us today.

Constitution Hall

This is the seat George Washington sat in to preside over the meetings.  Benjamin Franklin sat and looked at the half sun on the back of the chair.  When the meetings were over he made a statement to the effect.  As I have sat and looked at the sun on the back of the chair I have wondered if it was a setting sun or a rising sun.  I now know that it is a rising sun.  

After this we allow the student to break up and go see what they want to see.  Some like to go to the steps where the Rocky show has him running up the stairs.  The new Philadelphia temple is there as well as  Benjamin Franklin's grave, Christ's Church, and other great historic sites.  But you can't start until you go to Jim's and get a steak Philly sandwich.

Another fun place to visit is Reading Terminal Market.  The Quakers have a doughnuts shop there with the very best doughnuts.  The line is so long.  They make them right there.  I had an apple fritter that we had to wait 15 minutes for because they had run out and it was still hot when I got it,  yummy.  

We didn't get back until 8:30 and we had some local students waiting to get in for women's conference that started at 8.  We were late starting but we really enjoy it.  We had refreshment for those that showed up.

The trees are amazing.  These are some of the flowers we saw yesterday.  

This morning I got up early and baked small loaves of banana bread for our neighbors for Easter.  We got those delivered before going to Church.  After we took a treat over to our interns for Easter.  We came home and made our Easter dinner of ham and aspargus.  I baked bread for lunch tomorrow when we teach.  We will have peanut butter sandwiches.  I hadn't even started on my lesson for Monday so I tried to pull that together.  The best part of the day was talking to most of our grandchildren.  We couldn't get Justin's family.

The trees looked so beautiful around the ward house today. 

Our little banana breads.

Bread for class tomorrow and hopefully Tuesday. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hurry Up and Wait

This started out the typical Thursday.  Into the Barlow for a half hour and then off to our class in Alexandria.  We only had four people come to class today.  We didn't know it was spring break and someone had said I bet we won't have class today because it is spring break.  So the majority of our class didn't even come.  But the class went well. Those that were there really enjoyed it and it was a lot more quiet with only a few children there.

We had an appointment to have our oil changed on the car.  So we got a bite to eat and headed to the dealer.  We had an appointment but we were told it would still take 1 1/2 hours.  Then they found a nail in one of the tires and that took another 40 minutes because they patch if from inside and they have to wait for the glue to dry.  We still needed to pick up groceries for Women's conference on Saturday evening. We will have refreshments after.  Then we have to bring in the bagels and juice for breakfast tomorrow before leaving for Valley Forge tomorrow morning.  We didn't plan our day to sit in the Toyota dealer for over 2 1/2 hours.  That put us in after work traffic, sitting.  We had to get home and get the laundry done because we were out of underwear.  So as fast as we have gone today we have hit a wall and had to sit and wait.  Now we have to wait for the washer and dryer.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Follow Up

My friend Richard Norby that was hurt in the terrorist attack yesterday had an post on about his condition.  Richard Norby, a missionary serving in the Paris, France mission was injured in the bombing of the Brussels Airport on Wednesday 22 March 2016. He sustained several wounds from the shrapnel, second-degree burns to his head and neck area, along with more severe trauma from shrapnel to his lower leg. After a lengthy surgery, he was placed in a medically-induced coma, and will remain in this state for the next few days, with a lengthy recovery expected. His wife, Pamela Norby, was not at the airport at the time of the attack and is supporting him during this challenging time. They served as mission presidents on the Ivory Coast from 2003 to 2005.  This news has made me a little down today worrying about him.  You just never know when tragedy is going to occur.  

The contractor over our remodel shared a cool picture with me.  This picture shows all four season on the same tree in Tidal Basin. 

This weekend is the peak of the cherry blossom.  Everyone liked to view them from Tidal Basin.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This has been quite a day.

We went down to exercise this morning and there were a couple of guy on the tread mills that greeted us with the news of the Brussel terrorist attacks.  As we watched the news are heart were sadden at the meaningless action of the terrorist.  But tonight that attack became personal when we heard that four missionaries were there and three had been seriously injured.  That brought the story home and made it even more upsetting. Then as I read about the three missionaries that were hurt I knew one of them.  Richard Norby was my assistant area director when I taught.  He is a retired S&I guy.  Then my it became personal.

Brother Norby is such a good man.  Our prayers go out for him and his wife.  
When we walked into the Barlow today we had a repeat of yesterday.  The floor guys were there and wanted us to see the pattern of the marble that is going in on the floor.  The contractor came and wanted Elder Anthony to see how it was going to turn out.  The plumber was there working with B2 Air and they were ripping the students rooms apart putting in the new equipment.  They had a sheet rocker behind them trying to get some massive holes repaired that they had to cut in the ceiling.  They were worried they would have to cut a hole in the new ceiling.  In the meantime the guy that is going to be cementing the parking stalls came to give a bid and Elder Anthony was out with him.  He informed us that when they do the work no one can park there for 2 weeks.  We only have 10 parking spots.  Right now the contractors are using up 3 to 4 and the employees are a little upset that their places are gone.  Elder Anthony was trying to get everyone a spot to park.  One of the floor guys made the mistake of parking in a no parking spot and was ticketed.

In the mean time Elder Anthony goes to the Public Affairs floor to tell them no one next week can park on the west side of the building because they are bringing in a crane to hall the air conditions up on the roof.  One particular employee gets all mad because it is inconveniencing her and she wants to know why they have to take her spot.  Elder Anthony is trying to keep her calm and explain the situation and she said why can't we assign them places.  The receptionist for them comes down a little later I think to see Elder Anthony who hasn't been in his office all morning and comes to my office.  He said I am amazed to watch your husband handling all the things he is handling and handling the people.  I tell him that Elder Anthony is amazing that he is uses to having a dozen balls balancing all at the same time and that he really is amazing working the distraught people. Ben said I am going to watch your husband closer.  I think he can teach me a lot about how to work with people.   In the mean time I am handling the CES things, rolls, emails, announcements, and reading assessments that have been turned in.

In the middle of the chaos we have to leave because I have an appointment to get my haircut.  We had planned to leave a half hour earlier so we could eat our lunch before he left but there is not time for that.  We are 15 minutes later leaving for the haircut than we should have. We fly out of there and  get to the hair cutting place 5 minutes early.   We are next to Costco and need a couple of things which we grab and we grabbed something to eat as we drive over to the temple.  This is our last chance to get something to eat for the day. We arrive at the temple 5 minutes before the session and are sitting down 30 second after the hour.  They didn't start without us thank goodness.  We fly from there to the stake center to watch the broadcast from BYU-Hawaii that Chad Webb, the director of CES, is giving.  We were 15 minutes late picking that up.  Then the Stake Presidency arrive for temple recommend interviews and visit with us for a few minutes before our class started.  I had left over fried rice so we took it and the kids loved it but they didn't leave until after 10:00 so it was almost 11 before we got home.  I feel like we haven't had time to breath today.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Beehive of Activity

We walked into the Barlow today and there were jack hammers going on the cement floor.  Men where on ladders painting.  B2Air from Salt Lake City were here with the air exchangers, the sensors for the rooms and the VAV's.  They had a crew of four guys hauling in stuff.  They will start installing them in every room.  We really felt like we were in the way.  I sent Scott an email tonight.  I told him I thought he should see his money at work.

The Painters.

The floor guys.

The VAV's.

Two unused rooms were stuff with things to install in the student rooms.  

The Floor guys have gone home for the day.  They start at 7:00 in the morning.  That is new cement. 

The walls are really starting to come together.

We had a missionary activity tonight for Family Home Evening.  We passed out flyers to invite people to the production Savior of the World in honor of Easter.  Elder Anthony and I passed out flyers down by the Kennedy Center.  We thought people going to plays would be most receptive.  However we were in a seam so there wasn't a lot of people around but we found some.  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

First Day of Spring

Today was the first day of spring but it was cold and raining.  We have had some really nice days but this wasn't one of them and this coming week looks colder.  Missionaries only have so many clothes.  I have 6 winter skirts and 6 summer skirts.  You wear them over and over again. I wanted to wear something more spring like but because it was cold I pulled one my wintry outfits.  Elder Anthony laughs at me.  I have on my 32 degree shirt, then my turtle neck pull over, then my sweater and I wear my coat.  He thinks I am crazy but I hate to be cold.  You can always take off a layer but a seldom do.

We had ward conference today.   So we started an hour later.  It was really good.  There was a story told there about a young lady that was seeing an LDS psychologist.  She had grown up in an extremely abusive home where she was abused physically, mentally, and verbally.  She found the church and ended up marrying a really good man.  But church was so hard for her.  She said she would have to get up and leave when she saw dads with their daughter in a loving relationship. She said she was grateful she had boys because it hurt so much to see good fathers interact with their daughters and she wondered what she had done wrong to be put in a home like she grew up in.  She was so sad to see others and wanted to know why?  The psychologist gave her a blessing one day and he saw in that blessing that she had agreed to take all the abuse that had been in that family and handed down from generation to generation and absorb it and not let it be passed on any longer.  That she told the Lord that she would go to that family and stop that practice.  It makes you wonder if we were aware of the hard things that would happen to us in our lives and if we agreed to that test in order to move the work of the Lord forward.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bus Ride

We use the bus or the trains as often as we can.  It is not fun driving in DC and there is no parking when you get to your destination.  Today was a cold rainy day.   Elder Anthony had a chiropractor visit this morning.   It was suppose to start raining just after noon.  We decided to take the umbrella and the bus.  We had to stop at the store while we were out.  If you get on the bus you can get off and on as often as you want for two hours from the time you got on without paying an additional amount.  We headed to the doctor,  finished got the bus,  stopped at the store,  got the bus, went to the transfer point,  caught another bus,  got off and had to walk only a couple of blocks to get home and did it all in just two hours.  The was just starting when we walked into our building. The rest of the day we worked on lessons and I made the fried rice for our class on Monday.  I have also been working on labeling our pictures.  I should have been doing that along the way.  Now I have a huge job ahead of me.

Fried Rice for Monday

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Walking

After working in the Barlow all day we were dying to go for a walk in the sunshine.  We decided I would try a recipe that I want to make for class on Monday, fried rice.  We needed a couple of ingredients. We decided to walk to Safeway from our condo.  It is a mile and a half from where we live.  We wanted to walk up through the houses in Georgetown.  The trees are blossoming and the flowers are coming out.   We walked by the Dumbarton Oaks Museum and it was free.  So we went in a spent well over an hour.

The Spring flowers are spectacular. 

Some of the home in Georgetown are so big and beautiful.

We walked past the cemetery and the trees were so lovely we couldn't help going in for a few pictures.  

Mildred and Robert Bliss were collectors.  Robert was a diplomat in the Foreign Service.  Mildred Bliss inherited a fortune from her family's investment in patent medicine.  They started a collection specializing in Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art.   They also have a library of rare books.  The collection is amazing.  Robert graduated from Harvard and Harvard University is the owner of the grounds now.

Music Room 

They had many mosaic floors and even some hanging on the walls.

This is a mosaic.  It was hanging on the wall and reminded me of a quilting pattern. 

I loved this floor.  It looked almost like carpet but check out the close up. 

Library of rare books

What a great find just walking to the store.