Wednesday, October 3, 2012

She's Off To The MTC!!

Our daughter Kathryn (center) went into the MTC today. She will be serving in the Guatemala City North Mission. After three weeks in the MTC in Provo, she will travel to Guatemala where she will complete her MTC training. 
Here she is by the MTC with her drop off party--My dad, Michelle, Kristen (both daughters) and Kristen's husband Peter. In front, under the blanket are Kristen's twin boys. 
We so much appreciate you all giving her a nice send off!!
We are so excited for her. After serving a mission myself, I know this will be an experience that will bless her life forever. 

And mostly I can't wait to start getting her letters!! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guadalajara Mission Blog

I have not had time to keep up this blog, but I did update our mission blog (finally!). You can go to it at

I have some pictures of our house, the mission and what we have been doing the past three weeks.

Before coming I made it a goal to look for the miracle in our lives every day. I haven't seen a miracle every day, but I have seen several. For one thing I totally LOVE Mexico. This is a miracle because I lived in Mexico City for 6 months right after we were married and it was not a positive experience. It took me 25 years before I had the courage to go back to that city.  So, I was nervous about moving here.

BUT . . . I have loved it all. I don't even really mind the traffic.

Second . . . I have a bad back that has caused me a lot of grief over the years. I am still having problems with it, but nowhere near as much as I did before the mission. I think that is pretty miraculous.

And third . . . you would have to know the story behind this to truly see the miracle, but I have never wanted to speak Spanish in front of my husband due to a bad experience I had with him when I was in the MTC and he was my language tester. Consequently I forgot most of what I learned.

However, from the day I arrived I have been willing to try. I speak all the time, I just don't always make sense. I think the language has been the biggest challenge for me, but I am plugging along with it--and that is pretty miraculous too! I just feel bad for the sick missionaries who have to try and communicate their illnesses to me while I am learning their language.

I have also been very blessed to have my daughters here with us. After being gone all day long it has been nice to come home to dinner waiting for us on the table. They have been such troopers, going to different wards every Sunday, all of which only speak Spanish, helping cook food for the missionaries, memorizing their testimonies in Spanish for zone conferences  . . . It will be very lonely when they leave.

But in the meantime, all of this is bringing great . . . joy to my journey!

Friday, July 6, 2012

How We Are Spending Our 30th Anniversary!!

Five years ago we celebrated our 25th anniversary by taking our five children to Israel for 10 days.
We had such a wonderful time and enjoyed being together in the Holy Land.

But what a difference five years can make!!

Today is our 30th anniversary. Our family of seven has become 16 officially and this year we are celebrating in Mexico!!

Are all of our children with us this time?  . . .  No. Just these two.

Are we celebrating by hanging out at the beach? Well, not exactly.

Visiting the Mayan ruins? Ummmm no.

It is better than that!! We are having zone conferences!! Today we met with two zones, one in the early morning and the other right after that.

And it was pure joy!! After one week in Guadalajara, we have met three zones, and are learning to get around the city. This coming week we will be headed out of town for a mission tour. We are loving our time here and can't wait until we have met all our new "children"--all 147 of them!

Kind of makes you wonder what the next five years will bring . . . :-)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

We Are Here!! Life in Guadalajara!

We have arrived!! After a wonderful five days of MTC training where we feasted both spiritually and physically, we packed our bags and flew south to rainy Guadalajara, Mexico!  We spent last evening with the outgoing mission president and his wife and much of today getting unpacked, and learning our way around the city.

And Wes is having to get used to being on call 24/7 (with the phone ringing very frequently) while I have been praying no one will call me with an illness until I learn the language and get a nursing degree.

In the meantime . . . here are a few pictures from the past twenty four hours!

Here we are with all our luggage at the Phoenix Airport with our 8 suitcases. (Four of them were mine:-)

And here we are a few hours later,  meeting the outgoing president and the office staff.

Dinner at the mission office with the staff.

A picture of our new house. The previous one was over 40 years old and so the church just bought this one--three days before we moved in. They did an amazing job getting it livable before we arrived!

Here is my "office"  (I don't really have any where to put all my study materials, computer, teaching supplies etc, so I plan to take over the kitchen.

And here is Wes' office--taken from the family room. It has some really nice built in bookcases across one of the walls.

And here is the view from one of the balconies. We have two balconies. One just has a viewing area and the other has a table and chairs for eating. We may just eat our breakfast out there every day for the next three years. :-)

Okay--here are a few of my favorite pictures from the past week as well. Doesn't she look so cute!! I am so glad she is here with us in Mexico!

This is from our setting apart with Elder Oaks and Elder Gonzales. We had all of our children there and my parents. It was a very sweet experience.

And I just love this picture!! All six of the grandbabies--in a circle of Love!!

Yes, I had to go off and leave these two little guys!! So sweet and precious.

Our four generation picture on the day of Emmitt's baby blessing.
 I miss them all! But tomorrow we go to church and then Monday we start regular missionary days. We are looking forward to that!

Love to you all!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Twins Are Here!

We have left Arizona! We actually left on Monday and have been staying in Utah this past week. Our main reason for leaving early is because . . . Kristen went from this . . .

to this!  5.12 and 5.14 pounds of joy!!

 After a five day separation during a NICU stay, they were finally reunited, and apparently glad to be so!! No matter how far a part we put them in the crib, they manage to wiggle and wiggle until they are next to each other. SO CUTE!!

I am totally in love! And Grandpa is pretty proud too!!

We have been having so much fun holding the babies. But truthfully, it breaks my heart to think about leaving them.

Still, we are grateful we have this week to be with them, since doing so brings . . . great joy to my journey!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ten Days and Counting!!

In just ten days we will pack up our few belongings and head to Utah. We speak in church on June 10 and the next day we leave.

While in Utah we will pick up our Mexican Visa's from the consulate (Hooray!! They came on time!:-) help take care of Kristen and her twin babies that are expected to make their arrival any day now, bless three grandsons, go to the temple with a daughter for the first time, celebrate (a few days early) our 30th anniversary with our children, be set apart for our missions by Elder Oaks, and attend four days of mission president's training . . .

And then we will come home, spend the night and fly out the next morning to begin our mission.

So I cry a lot. Not the bawling your eyes out while curled up in fetal position in the corner of the room type of crying. Just the kind where your eyes fill with tears and then spill down your cheeks. I cry when I am eating lunch with a dear friend for the last time in three years, I cry when I am boxing up cherished memories. I cry when my daughter calls to tell me about her doctor's appointment and I know I will miss out on the first three years of her children's lives. And I even cry when I am at the store and a clerk asks me if I want to join their reward program and I have to say no because I am moving out of the country.

But, all my tears aside, we have had some very good things happen in our family this past month.

1. Michelle graduated from High School. She was 11th in her class and so got to sit on the front row. We are so very proud of her and know she will have a great time at BYU in the Fall (hopefully not too great a time though, as we do expect her to maintain those high grades! :-)

2. Michelle also was asked to speak at seminary graduation. It is nice that neither Wes nor I are involved in the seminary program anymore so our kids can speak without it looking like nepotism. :-) She did such a great job!! It was fun to hear her, and we appreciated all the family members who came to support.

3. And in other big news . . . our daughter Kathryn received her mission call to the Guatemala City North Mission! We are so excited for her!!  She enters the MTC on October 3, so she will be able to spend a couple months with us in Mexico before she leaves. I am so happy for that. A fun "coincidence" is that her former roommate got called on the same day to the same mission and they enter the MTC together. How nice to go on a mission with a friend!!

4. We have been able to spend some sweet time with good friends and family members. I have been "collecting" mental memories these past six months to take with me. I am grateful for the love and support of so many. Having such dear friends and loved ones here at home makes it hard to leave, but on the other hand,  I have realized how blessed we are that we have people in our lives who we love so much!

And of course I know that the next three years will bring many more wonderful people into our lives that will bless and enrich it and so I am looking forward to that . . .

Now if I can only finish getting the house packed up! :-) (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Susan for your help yesterday!)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Random Ramblings of My Life . . . or Congratulations, Yikes! And How Am I Going to Do That?

Truthfully, I should be cleaning. Or at least I should be finishing the cleaning job I started about an hour ago. But here is a confession. I am an 80 percent-er. I will give my very best effort until a job is about 80% done and then I totally lose interest and wander away, quit, take a nap, or, in this case, write a blog post.  I am afraid if I don't change I am destined for the terrestrial kingdom.

But . . .  so many things to write about. . . . For example, take my son Ryan. He will officially graduate from ASU Thursday--with honors!! He isn't walking though due to the fact that he is already working full-time, but this is a huge accomplishment for him and we are SUPER proud of all he has done.

(He is the big one:-) I LOVE this picture of Ryan and his first son, Enoch. It just warms my heart.

And see these girls?! They are my babies. 
The one on the right is going to graduate from high school in about three weeks. She will then go to work for her father full-time and leave me home alone to do all the packing and cleaning. 
But I am not bitter . . . :-)

And see the one on the left . . . Well, she is going on a mission!!  
She is still waiting to meet with the stake president, but her papers are in to the bishop. We are so excited for her. That means there will be three of us in the family serving full-time missions at the same time. But it also means that by the time she gets her call, I will have about three weeks to move out of my house, help Kristen with her twins, buy everything Michelle needs for college, and get Kathryn all ready for her mission.

And considering I am an 80 percent-er, it also means that after about 2 1/2 weeks I will be ready to run away to oh, I don't know . . . maybe Mexico. :-)

Okay, time to get back to work. There are still closets that need cleaning, drawers that need sorting, dishes that need packing . . . 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Babies, Babies, and More Babies!!

The past few weeks have been busy and filled with "grandma" fun!!

First--my oldest daughter Camille came to visit and stayed for two weeks!! That means for two weeks I got to spend time with our little three year old diva, Carly!

And hug and kiss all day on her baby brother Camden!! It was so much fun to have them with us and we are missing them terribly! Look at this sweet little face!

On the day Camille's family returned to Colorado, this little guy got a new baby brother!! At first Enoch wasn't too excited about the new addition to his family, but he soon warmed up and now he loves him!

I don't usually post pictures of new mothers, but here Kali (our daughter in law) looks so beautiful I was sure she wouldn't mind! It is hard to believe she gave birth just minutes before!

And here is the new little one. Emmitt. So cute and so tiny!! He looks bigger in this picture than he appears in real life. I guess 6 pounds just isn't all that much when you think about it.
But that is not all . . . I have more grandbaby news!! Here is our daughter Kristen at 28 weeks with twin boys!! She is doing great--still teaching school all day--and could even hike up a hill with me and go for a walk in the rain!
I went to Utah last week to spend a few days with her during her spring break and while there we had a baby shower with her family and friends--hosted by my three sisters who live there. They did such a great job and it was a very fun night.

My sister Melissa, cut out these little onsies from different patterned paper and on the back we wrote a question from a list of twenty most often asked questions of new mothers. On others we just asked for advice. Each guest took one and wrote their answer on the back. It was so much fun to read their comments.

One of my favorite comments was from my niece, Aleena, who is also a mother of twins. Her best advice--have low expectations!! She said, "Don't expect to ever get a shower, so if you do, it is a great day!" "Don't expect to make your bed, so if you happen to find time to make it, you feel you have really accomplished something!"

Another question was, "What do I do if my husband complains he isn't getting enough attention?" The answer was, "Hand him a baby to keep him company!"

AND . . . I saw a diaper wreath on pinterest and decided to make one myself. Although, truthfully, I just bought the supplies and my daughter Kathryn assembled it. We thought it turned out so cute!! Only now Kristen doesn't want to take it apart to use the diapers.

The weather had been awful during the day so I was worried no one would come, but thanks to it clearing up and faithful family and friends, we had a great turnout.
And thanks to my sisters, we had delicious food!!
But even fun parties must come to an end! Thanks so much to everyone who attended or contributed towards gifts. And a special thanks to Ruth, Becky and Melissa for the food and decorations . . .

And especially to Melissa for letting us have the shower at her house--where she then got stuck with the dishes. :-)
These past few weeks have been so sweet for me. And we look forward to meeting the two new little boys soon. It will be so hard to leave them all for three years but . . . just thinking about them brings . . . joy to my journey!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Totally Random Thoughts and Pictures

So here is a question . . . you know when you go to post a comment on someone's blog before being signed into your own and they ask you to choose an identity? Am I the only one, or are there others out there who wish they gave us more choices?

Occasionally I think "anonymous" doesn't sound too bad. There are times when I wish I could be anonymous. But personally, there are days when I really wish I could click "Astronaut" so I could escape the world for a day or two. Or how about "Beach Bum". That sounds nice--especially if I also get to choose the beach. Some days I dream about clicking "Wealthy person with personal maid and cook". Today I am thinking "Mountain Biker in Moab" sounds good.

But instead I just get to click "google account" and remain right here on the couch--still surrounded by Spanish books and closets that need cleaning. :-)

However, before I face either of those things (closets and Spanish books) I have a few pictures I wanted to post that make me smile.

Ever think about getting a face lift? I think about it all the time. In fact I would except for two things. #1. Cost. #2. My husband told me if I died due to complications from the surgery, he would post on my tombstone, "Died From Vanity". But here I am experimenting to see what I would look like with a little nip and tuck. Twenty years younger, right?! :-)

Love, love, love this picture!! Prom was last Friday night and Michelle looked like a princess!! Cinderella, in fact. She did her own hair and I just had to take a picture of it!! Isn't she gorgeous!

This picture is for my friend Lisa. She is great at always encouraging me to develop my talents and so for my Christmas gift this year she took me to a knitting class. I am pretty sure this (below) is now my future!

And this picture always makes me smile. The nice weather in Phoenix makes everyone want to be outside--including our grandson Enoch and his three "brothers". (It is no wonder Enoch learned to bark before he could talk.:-)
And lastly . . . this is what happens when a bunch of girls (my daughters) have been up too late at night together. Dave (Camille's husband) is the one asleep on the couch.

And with that I had better get back to work.

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Long Ago Promise and Interesting Coincidence

I have so many things I could write about. There are even some things I could complain about. And some things aren't even mission related!! But I think I will wait and write about those things later, and instead put in print a couple interesting stories.

While we were waiting for our mission assignment to come, I spent a great deal of time praying--and even fasting--to have a confirmation when we opened the envelope that where we were called, was the right place for us to go. Often while praying, I would have a sense of peace and even excitement come over me--which made me think that we might go to Costa Rica since that is where my father served and I lived as a child--and it was where I hoped we would go.

However, when we opened the call and saw it was to Guadalajara,--as you know --I was a bit disappointed. However, I also knew that it was the right place for us--and that I had known that for over 30 years.

While getting ready to turn in my mission papers as a young college student, I was sitting in sacrament meeting when I heard a voice very clearly say to me, "You are going on a mission to Guadalajara." I had never even heard of Guadalajara and didn't know where it was or if there were even a mission there. I leaned over and asked my roommate if she knew where it was and she said, "I think it is in Mexico. Why?" I answered, "Because that is where I am going on my mission."

About a month later I received my call to Ecuador. I was a little puzzled, but since my father was familiar with Ecuador and loved it, I was excited to go there. And when I arrived in the country I had several experiences that verified to me that I was in the right place.

But I have always remembered the impression about Guadalajara. I never thought I would go there, I just thought it was funny I once thought I would.

And then we opened this mission assignment. After things calmed down, I went in to another room to call my daughter in Colorado. As I began to tell her about the assignment, I was overcome by the Spirit testifying to me that Guadalajara is exactly where we are supposed to serve and that I had known that for 30 years. Even writing about it now, after a couple weeks have passed, still makes me cry. I find it so interesting that a prayer I offered just recently (to receive a confirmation that we were going to the right place) was answered long before I even knew to offer the prayer.

And quickly . . . my second story--an interesting coincidence.

When I was twenty years old, I went with a friend to the Mormon Colonies in Mexico. While there, I met a young woman, "PJ" who was eagerly waiting for her missionary to return so they could marry.

So here is my series of interesting coincidences with "PJ". First of all, our fathers served missions together in Argentina. Then our husbands served missions together in Mexico, Merida. And now she and I will serve as mission moms together in Mexico.

Do you ever get the feeling that there are some people you were just meant to be your friend? And I am really glad we have kept in touch over the years. Thank goodness for the annual Christmas card! :-)

Truthfully, I don't believe in coincidences. I think God has His hand in our lives much more often than we may give Him credit for.

And that thought brings great . . . . joy to my journey.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

We Have Our Mission Assignment!! We are going to . . .

We finally received our mission assignment!! After being called to serve as a mission president (Wes) and companion (me) four and a half months ago, we have been very eagerly waiting to hear where we would be going the end of June.

We were sent a list by the church with 30 possibilities and so we spent the past several months studying each place, (love google earth!) and making guesses as to where we will live the next three years of our lives. In fact we even put up a map and had family and friends submit their guesses, the winner getting dinner at a restaurant that serves the cuisine of that country.

And we have a winner . . . . our friends Jenny and Cory, who, along with Wes, chose . . . (drum roll . . . )

Guadalajara Mexico!!!

Okay, truth be told, I was a little disappointed initially. I have lived in Mexico and was hoping for a new adventure (as you might be able to tell by the look on my face.:-)

But after checking out the city and the mission boundaries--which include Puerto Vallarta!, my feelings have changed.

Did you know that Guadalajara boasts the largest market in the western hemisphere?!

It is the birthplace of both Mariachi music and the Mexican Hat Dance :-)

It has perfect weather--no heating or air conditioning is necessary.

It supposedly has some of the country's best food.

And besides beautiful architecture in the downtown area, and wonderful parks all through the city, it is also just a short drive from a huge lake and a canyon that is supposed to be filled with waterfalls and great hiking trails.

It almost makes me wish we were going there on vacation instead of to work as missionaries. :-)

Viva Mexico!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's a boy, and a boy, and a boy . . .

No, we are not having triplets, but we do have three baby boys on the way!! My daughter in-law, Kali is expecting a little boy in early May. And today Kristen found out her twins are both boys!!

So, when you add those three to Camden, (5 months old), and Enoch (1 year), we will have five grandsons born within 18 months!! After only having one son, Wes finally gets his boys basketball team!!

But poor Carly. She is the oldest grandchild--at 3-- and will have to wait a few years before she gets a girl cousin to play with at family reunions. But I am already planning fun days with her, while grandpa watches all the boys. :-)

In other news . . . I have been busy trying to re-learn Spanish. Vocabulary is coming back rather quickly, but I am pretty sure I never really knew or understood the grammar. That is progressing much more slowly.

But I have good help. Twice a week I meet with a man in our stake and his wife for tutoring. The man, Grandpa C, taught Spanish in college and is a great teacher! I am so thankful for him as he helps me make sense of it all. And learning with his wife is so much fun.

In addition, I have tutoring from the MTC, via skype, three times a week. This is not very much fun! My tutor is nice, but really thinks I am better than I am and it ends up being very frustrating. The tutoring sessions are each an hour and about at the 45 minute mark I have to start holding back tears.

Today was a good day though. I was supposed to converse with a lady from Chile for 12 minutes, then discuss our conversation and get pointers on how to do it better, and then converse again, hopefully making the corrections. But she was very enthusiastic to share with me all about her country and her conversion. I loved it!! She was so sweet and fun to visit with. (Although I didn't understand everything she was telling me:-) And the time passed by quickly, with me actually having to say very little.

That was a relief! But next week I get a break due to my having gum surgery.

Not fun.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Response to KMS

Dear KMS,

I don't know your name and I can't find a way to reach you other than posting again, so I hope you are able to read this.

In your comment to me you asked if I wanted to go on the mission and if I could just say no. The short answer is yes, I want to go, and yes I could say no, but I never would do that, even if I weren't happy to be going.

Usually married couples choose to go on a mission (or not) and choose the time they want to serve. They then fill out medical and dental forms to show they are capable of serving without serious medical issues, are interviewed by their church leaders and then wait for our prophet (leader of our church) to send a letter back telling them where they will go. In these instances, couples serve anywhere between 1 and 2 years at their own expense.

My husband and I have always planned on going on a mission, but our plan was to leave in a few years. In our case, we did not turn in papers requesting a mission call, but instead were asked by our church leaders to go and serve for three years.

Since we believe that our prophet speaks for God, we also then believe that it is God's will that we go. We could, of course, say no, but then we would be going against God's will for us, and we do not want to do that.

Now that said, I will admit that I didn't readily embrace this assignment. My mother is in poor health, and my children are having babies. The thought of leaving them all for three years was heart wrenching to say the least. But I am also getting very excited. We could go to any of 30 missions in 12 different Spanish speaking countries. And at a time when my baby is graduating from high school and leaving home, I will help my husband care for around 400 young men and women (over the course of the three years) who are away from their homes serving as missionaries as well. We will also get to learn a new culture and make new friends.

I have always loved traveling and new adventures and this is like the ultimate adventure trip. :-) So I know I will cry a lot when we leave Arizona, but I am confident that I will cry just as much or more, when we have to leave our area of service and come back.

Because I am sure the mission will bring great . . . joy to our journey.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So, If Anyone Is Still Out There . . . We Are Mission Bound!

I quit posting nearly three months ago. That was the same time we received a call to serve a mission.

Since then my head has been in a whirl, first trying to celebrate the holidays, put together the ward Christmas party, attend two weddings (one out of state) enjoy all my kids over Christmas break, and worry about my mother who was in the hospital again. While also crying over the thought of leaving my kids and grandchildren behind for three years, (did I mention our daughter Kristen, who got married last summer is expecting twins in July?) going to the dentist and having numerous medical tests, wondering what we will do with our house for that long, and trying to re-learn Spanish.

But rewind . . . . let me go back to the beginning.

Last fall Wes and I thought it would be a great idea to visit our kids in college so we decided to take a trip to Utah at conference time. Then one day, about a week before our trip, we received a telephone call from Elder Oaks' office. He wanted to meet with us while we were in Utah for conference.


Frankly, I was a bit nervous about it all, but also excited to spend some time with an apostle. During our visit with him he told us that Wes was being considered for a calling as a mission president but that they interview many more than they call. However, if we were to be called, it would probably be around December.

A week later we received a phone call from the missionary department asking us to fill out mission papers--which of course included medical and dental. So we began the process, still wondering if it were all for naught. Then about two weeks later, we received a call requesting that we meet with President Uchtdorf. We did and he extended the official call for us to preside over a Spanish speaking mission with service beginning June 23.

We still do not know where we are going but hope to find out in the next month. We were sent a list of possibilities though, and there are 30 missions on the list. About 10 of them I would be thrilled with. Another 6 I would have to pray very hard to be enthusiastic about, and the rest I really don't know enough about to have strong feelings either way. Not knowing is killing Wes, but I am okay waiting to find out. There is one place I really do not want to go, but it is where Wes thinks we will go, so I am happy to live a few more weeks in content oblivion.

For the past seven years Wes has served as the president of our stake. This coming Sunday he will be released from that calling. We have had to keep our new calling a secret until just this past week, when his release was announced. That has been extremely hard for me, as I have felt I was carrying a huge burden all alone.

Now that it is public I feel much better, but I am also sad to see Wes released. When they read the letter in church this past week, I sat and cried. He has served in the stake presidency for 12 years. It will be nice to sit by him in church again, but sad to see this time of our lives come to an end. I have absolutely loved my association with the counselor's wives, the high council, and bishop parties we held each year, and I will especially miss our annual bishop's wife luncheon in the fall. That is always a highlight of my year.

But now we will put it all in the past as we embrace this new adventure. I served a mission in Ecuador so I did know Spanish at one time, I just haven't spoken it since. But I am now working on it--along with studying Preach My Gospel along with a large stack of other books we were sent to study before beginning service this summer.

So that is where I have been. With my head spinning in the clouds all the while trying to get my feet back on the ground. But I have missed everyone and hope to get around to "visit" soon.