Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Home Sweet Home

What a great reunion with our wonderful children and grandchildren! Wasn't this such a fun banner on our garage. I should have gotten a better picture of it before it was taken down. I always have so many regrets when it comes to taking pictures! (Even though Scott thinks all I do is take pictures, I always feel like I didn't get the ones I wanted.)
BUT at least we got the most important picture - us with the grandkids! We also had a fantastic barbecue, THANKS for the fun party and Welcome Home Pete, Angie and BJ, David and Angela, and Sarah and Joe. Like Dorothy says: "There's no place like home!"

Abby, Lizzie, Scott holding Elise, Quintin, Eli, Jonah and me!
My children came the Saturday before and scrubbed the house and made this cute banner. I guess a whole army of friends from the ward came and pulled weeds out of the flower beds and garden spot and planted flowers! It looked so beautiful. I will take a picture of that sometime and post it.
Grandma getting to know Missy Elise Kristine Allen! (She was born just a few weeks into our mission)

Hanging out in the kitchen with friends and family catching up on the last year! That Pete, he always has to make a face! We love you Pete! Thanks for doing your best to take care of our house and dog! We were so happy to see Dutch still alive and the house still standing :) PS Pete, the driveway looked FANTASTIC!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Driving Home to Utah!

I can't believe it's been 4 weeks since I last posted! It has been a super busy time rearranging and de-cluttering and de-junking our home! Not to mention catching up with our grandchildren, children, parents, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors. So I will start with our trip home!

We drove home by way of Dallas and then up to the Oklahoma City Temple. We also went and saw the monument they built in Oklahoma City for the bombing victims at the Federal Building, it was so beautifully done. Why is it taking them so long with the 9/11 monument in New York City? Unfortunately, I packed away our charger for the camera and didn't get too many pictures of the trip home. Funny side note, the alarm on our clock/radio that we packed away, kept going off, we finally had to unpack a bunch of stuff to get to it to turn it off. I just figured that it would be fine once unplugged, I didn't realize it had a battery in it!
We spent our 2nd night in Colby, Kansas where we stayed in a hotel that was worse than the Bates motel!!! The next day we drove to Steamboat Springs, Colorado and had a wonderful reunion with Scott's parents. Karen and Kyle and Jayne were there and so was Clark and Wendi's daughter Sydney. It was a very nice and relaxing 24 hours, wish we could have stayed longer! We then drove on to Vernal and saw Dad and Lu. My dad is now in a Care Center and that was very hard to see him there but I know that Lu has done all she can to take care of him.

Beautiful skyline of Dallas, Texas

Our trip was a long drive, about 8 hours each day the first 3 days and then a 3 hour drive to my dad's and 3 1/2 the next day to Farmington. We did stretch it out but it was okay. Unfortunately the Monday before we left I started having some kind of wierd pain in my stomach that we are still trying to figure out what it is. I had such a bad attack in Vernal that we made an appointment with Dr. Hibbard and that was the 1st place we stopped when we got into Farmington. I've had 2 expensive tests on my gallbladder (that's really what I thought it was) but they were both negative and this week I'm having a test on my stomach to see if I have an ulcer. Scott and I have been doing some research and think it might be what they call the "MS hug", let's hope and pray it's not that because I don't think there's an easy fix for that! Luckily it's not every day and it lasts only an hour or two, not all day long like the first day I got it.

Life with MS is always a big unknown adventure!

Here's Sister Carrie's bear watching as we drive from Houston, Texas to Farmington, Utah. Sister Carrie, if you're reading this I want you to know that I love your bear and am taking good care of it for you!
Below is Elder Stringfellow tying Hermana Maxwell's bike to the top of our car! OH HOW WE LOVE AND MISS THE MISSIONARIES!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Beautiful End to a Wonderful Experience

I wish I had a picture to blog about right now BUT my camera is dead and the charger and the cord to put pictures on the computer and packed away somewhere in the car.

First things first! Yesterday morning we had our departing interview with President Pingree and it truly was so beautiful. He is such a loving, caring man and we felt that. He said that he felt impressed to tell us that the Lord wanted us to know that our service was accepted by Him and He was pleased by our efforts. We are so GRATEFUL that we have been able to have this experience together.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Feeding Frenzy!

All of a sudden towards the end of June I realized that I only had a few weeks left to feed all of the missionaries! I wish I could have had them all to my house, BUT I know that they only have so many miles and I only have so much energy. PLUS Scott (Elder Stringfellow)keeps reminding me that we're not running a restaurant here, you know!

1st of July Elders Scoresby, Tobchan, Trotter, & Keliipuleole
5th of July Elders Austin, Schultz, Mackey, Barker, Lewis & Jepson
8th of July Sisters Perez, Brookey, Cramer & Rodriguez
11th of July Sisters Porter, Casaday, Donkin, Coogan, Rivera, Perez and Pacific
13th of July Elders Scoresby and White
15th of July I didn't make this dinner but I got to help Sister Pingree serve dinner to all of the Stake Presidents and their wives, plus the counselors in the Mission Presidency and help clean up. That was fun to help with, Sister Pingree is going to do so great here! But I keep telling her she doesn't need to do it all, she's got to be sure to have people help her! Her girls were a big help cleaning up as well.

July 13 was also my last big group lunch for Zone Leader Council, it was held at the mission home, but that one doesn't really count because Sister Hansen and Sister Howe made the sweet n' sour for our Luau in June and we had so much left-overs that we used it for this meal and only had to make rice and salad. Sister Howe made the dessert, plus we had it at the mission home and it seemed easier for some reason. (Probably because the Howe's were helping with it also, they are our replacements and we showed them everything we do all of last week!) I never thought I would cook as much as I have this past year but I can honestly say I have loved it. There's just something about serving the missionaries who are serving the Lord that makes it just so worth it!

This is Sister Carrie who was baptized the first of April. We have become great friends and she calls me a lot to ask questions and advice. I don't think missionaries are supposed to give advice and I try not to say much but I do try to be supportive of her. She's got lot of adversity and obstacles in her way. I just try to love her. Today she gave me her very old red bear that her god-mother made for her many years ago. I really did not want to take it because it must have been very special to her, but I didn't want to affend her either and I know that she doesn't have much. She will always hold a special place in my heart and I will pray for her always, she represents to me what many people give up to join this church!

Here are the Pingree boys, they are so cute! the younger one is hilarious! At the dinner Friday night one of the Stake Presidents asked him his name and he told him a different one, totally straight faced and then told him he was a few years younger when asked his age! I think he's tired of answering those two questions! At ZLC meeting on Wednesday he kept climbing over the counter several times to get to the brownies, it was just refreshing for those of us who miss our grandchildren so much. It's going to be a little different around here, but different is good!

Elders Moreno, Hill (from Rexburg), Trotter, me, Elder Esplin, Sorenson and Reece. (We have 3 Elder Reeces, soon 2 Elder Trotters, 2 Elder Matthew Curtis', an Elder Segal and Elder Sagal! I know there are others with the same names...you should be the mail secretary, it gets interesting!

Sister Ang and Sister Brookey. Sister Brookey was with Sister Perez but there was an emergency transfer because one of their recent converts fell in love with Hermana Perez and she had to be transfered to a different area!

Here's Sisters Coogan, Rivera, Perez, Casaday, Porter, Pacific, me and Sister Donkin. they are all Spanish missionaries. sister Coogan's parents have disowned her for joining the church and especially for choosing to go on a mission. Sister Rivera, next to her had been working as a Sheriff's deputy in San Diego for 4 years before she came out on a mission! Every single person who is serving a mission has a story of why they are out here! Scott and I have a tradition that after dinner we ask each missionary to share their favorite scripture and to tell us why. It always ends the time with a very spiritual feeling and gratefulness that we get to spend this time serving our Savior as His ambassadors. It's all about LOVE, loving each other and loving our Heavenly Father and his Son.

Sister Cramer and Sister Rodriguez. I am so lucky to have been able to serve with so many fine young men and women as well as a few that were not so young! ;) he,he! I only regret that we are not able to serve with the Pingrees a little longer because they are just so wonderful. I must admit, now that it's closer, that I am getting a little trunky to see my family. I have missed my kids and grandchildren so much. Not being there to be with Angie and Elise at her birth, not being Jonah's preschool teacher, not being able to be more supportive of David and his family with all of his health challenges this past year, not being there for Sarah, and now with Pete moving just a few days after we get home (BTW Pete, congratulations on your job promotion and move to Chicago!) have all been sacrifices to my Heavenly Father but I'm grateful that we got to serve a mission at this time. It's been the best thing we could have done. I HIGHLY recommend it!!! A great BIG THANK YOU to my family and friends for their loving support.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Pingree Introductions

Last week was our first full week with Sister and President Pingree and their children and I am excited to have them here in Texas leading this mission. What a love for the Lord and a love for us the missionaries (young and old a like) they have. President Pingree expresses gratitude ALL OF THE TIME for all that we do.
We heard them speak on the 4th day of the Zone meetings and they still had an enthusiasim for telling about each other and sharing their testimonies of being called as missionaries. I guess I didn't really think about the children being called on a mission, but they were along with their parents!
Sister Pingree gave a great object lesson with 2 missionaries in running jerseys passing the baton. She talked about their differences and the ways they were alike and how they were in the race together working for the whole team. On the back of the jerseys were the names HANSEN and PINGREE and how the one did all he could for the team in running his laps and now he has passed the baton to the next runner to continue the race and he will do his best for the team. That's how I remember it. He had the runner with the Hansen jersey on run as fast as he could for 3 laps and then passed the baton. THEY ARE GOING TO BE WONDERFUL!

Elders Trotter, Moreno and Ordaz with President Hansen. You can just tell how much he loves these missionaries.

This is the Houston and North Zone (can you see me on the front row? I wish I had sat up a little straighter!)

Katy and West Zones

Cypress and Klein Zones

College Station and Spring Zones

Monday, July 4, 2011

Let Freedom Ring!!!

I am so grateful for this country and to all the men and women who have sacrificed so much for the freedom's I have! I am grateful that I can worship who, what and where I want; I am thankful for the safety I feel and for the laws of the land that help keep it that way. I know that our country is not perfect and it's definitely not run by perfect people, but I believe that we are all doing the best we know how with what we have at the time. There will always be those who tear down, try to get a free ride and step on and hurt whoever they have to to get what they want. But I believe that the majority of people just want to love their families, provide for them and live in a safe society. I AM GLAD I AM AN AMERICAN. THANK YOU GOD THAT I CAN LIVE IN THIS GREAT COUNTRY!!!

Fireworks curtesy of the Astro's baseball game we went to in May! There's a major drought in Texas and pretty much all fireworks have been banned this 4th of July! (Except downtown where I don't want to drive and fight the crowds. I'm missing my firework show in Farmington that I can see from my front yard!)

The Last and First Pictures of Presidents!

Just before President Hansen was taking President Pingree to his home, the AP's asked if they could get a picture of the two of them together! I was so glad, some historian I am! I forgot to get any pictures of the change. This church is so wonderful how change happens in leadership positions with much love and good will. Everyone wants what's best for the Lord's work to roll forward. And it will with much faith, love and charity.

What a beautiful family! At our first staff meeting on Friday morning President Pingree stated that the #1 thing on his mind is that the missionaries know how much they are loved; by their Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ, and by my him. Everything we do in the church is done because of love and with love. When the missionaries feel that love then they too teach with love and feel love for their investigators, their companions and for all of God's children! I know the missionaries are going to love President and Sister Pingree as much as they love President and Sister Hansen.