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week 19

Feb 8, 2016 in blythe's mission | 0 comments

Sister Ward is all settled in to her new living quarters and doing wonderfully well. We have heard from some moms in her mission that her YSA Bishopric is super fun and the ward is really active in trying to share the gospel and build relationships, so I think it will be a great experience for her.

The YSA Ward Bishopric…looks like a bunch of crazy guys!

Saddleback YSA Bishopric

Alright, so I love my new areas. Yes, multiple areas. It turns out I am covering both the YSA ward, and a family ward, and we also are temple tour sisters this transfer. My new area is bigger than my whole old zone! I cover both my old stake and this stake, so we are everywhere.

Yes, the YSA bishop is pretty hilarious. We had to leave Ward Council early to make it back to Las Flores in time, and he pulled out the scripture about not being able to serve two masters. Haha :D We’re looking for a scripture to throw back at him about God being over all, or something. :) He’s pretty great.

We are super busy. We go to all the YSA and Institute activities and classes and it’s super fun. Sundays are crazy! They usually are on your mission, but since we’re covering two wards, it’s even crazier. One ward starts at 1:00 and the other starts at 2:00. We have to go on splits every week so we can be at both, and the whole first half of the day is filled with meetings. We have zero time. We are super busy, which is good as a missionary. :) We have received several really solid referrals from members this week for people for us to teach, and we were also able to pick up a new investigator. His name is Emilliano and he’s 14. We have been stopping over there and showing him some of the Mormon messages, and he really likes them. We were able to teach him an abbreviated version of the restoration, gave him a Book of Mormon and he says his mom could possibly be interested. It’s been really cool getting to work with all these new people.

I really like my new companion. Sister Christensen is really chill, and we just go for it. It works out. Super excited to work with her.

This transfer is the first where I actually had friends going home. It was tough to say goodbye. I actually got to go the morning they were leaving because Sister Hall, the sister I replaced, was going home. So we got to drop her off and got to see everyone going home. (Sister Hall trained Sister Shumway, by the way.)

Love you!!!
Sister W.

three in a row

Feb 7, 2016 in family | 0 comments

This is the third Sabbath in a row I have missed church because of this ridiculous coughing/sneezing/ear infection/fever illness. After feeling much improved by Wednesday of last week, I crashed again Thursday night with fever, chills, body aches, and horrid coughs. Everytime I think I am better and start doing the normal (albeit scaled-back) duties of life, my body falls apart again and sends me back to square one on the sickness front.

I spent Friday in bed until that evening when I dragged myself out to go to Keziah’s play. Armed with cough drops, tissues, breathing oils, and my water bottle, I made it through. Saturday was the same, in bed all day until the play. Now it is Sunday and after a third day in a row in bed, I am finally feeling a wee bit better.

My mama and sister and her kiddos came to visit for the weekend so they could see the play. Even though we didn’t get to do anything fun because I was so sick, they were able to take care of me and let me sleep for hours on end.

I am really missing partaking of the sacrament and the fellowship with my ward members. Surely I will be better soon, right? I am resting, drinking gallons of water, giving my body all sorts of herbs and supplements, and while I can tell it is all helping, it is sure a slow process. I don’t think I’ve ever been sick for so long.

week 18

Feb 2, 2016 in blythe's mission | 0 comments

Blythe is being transferred to a new area for the first time since she arrived in California back on September 29. I think she is sad to leave the many people she has come to love, but is handling it well and ready to get to work in a new area. We are hoping she was able to pack up all her stuff tonight quickly and easily. She really hates packing. So moving to a new apartment today was probably really hard for her. We are trying to put together a little Valentine’s Day package to send to her and the ideas on Pinterest are all a little WAY overwhelming to me. I think maybe a Jamba gift card will suffice!

Well, I’m leaving my area. :( On Tuesday I will be going to the Young Single Adults ward. My new companion will be Sister Christiansen. She just barely finished her training, so I am again greenie breaking. :) The YSA ward is supposed to be really awesome and conveniently I’m still covering this area because the ward boundaries are both Mission Viejo and Santa Marguerita, though I will officially be in a different zone.

Yesterday at church the bishop was gone, so it wasn’t announced in sacrament meeting that I was leaving. All throughout the day, one by one the word got around and it was announced in the classrooms, so people kept coming up to me and like “You’re leaving?!?!?!” and there were some tears. :( And hugs. This ward has become home to me.

There was a mission farewell for Luke Taylor, who’s going to Japan Negoya Mission, and his talk was wonderful. They had a lot of non-member friends there and the spirit was really strong. At the end they sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.” He’s up there crying and I’m down in the congregation trying not to cry, and we both have our tissues out, and I’m wondering why on earth they needed to sing that song of all songs. I always cry when they sing that song. Actually, no, I really did appreciate that song, and I love it. It was kind of cool to have that song for my last Sunday, even though it was more for Luke than me, of course.

It was cool to have everyone tell me how I have strengthened them and to see the difference I made in their lives. That was good to know that I was making a difference here. To see how much they don’t want to lose me is probably the biggest testimony that I have done some good here. I have not had baptisms, and only a very few of the less actives I’ve been working with have actually come to church, but that is not the measurement of success. I have been able to build real relationships with them, and come to love them, and that’s what really matters. I’m going to miss it, but I think this new ward will be wonderful too. The YSA wards are some of the busiest and my area will be huge. It’s going to be crazy!

By the way, there’s a house we found that is decorated like Jurassic Park with huge metal dinosaurs and the gate and everything.

Love you all.
Sister W.

the cold that won’t quit

Jan 31, 2016 in family | 1 comment

After a few days of getting better, I am back in bed and living in snot-city again. Okay, to be honest, the snot volume isn’t back to where it was last Sunday, but it has dramatically increased in the past 12 hours. My neck is kinked and super sore, so I am lying in bed hooked up to my TENS unit, smothered in oils, with my tissues and Miracle Salve nearby.

Annes is sick as well, waking up with a fever and sore throat, so she and I are hanging out while everyone else is at church.

This is so rare for us, I don’t know what the cow is going on. Richard has been ill…probably with walking pneumonia for nearly 2 months. I am sick and now Annes is sick as well. We hardly ever get sick and when we do, our supplements, oils, and energy work take care of it lickety-split. But this time, it is hanging on.

Last night we all went to see Keziah’s play – SO FUN! It is an adorable story and we all laughed our heads off. Well, I didn’t actually laugh. I also didn’t clap as it took far too much effort to move my arms to clap. I mostly just laid there and smiled on the inside. I was so exhausted by the time we got to the play, I could hardly move. But everyone else laughed and enjoyed themselves.

The last few days…iFamily starting, Liberty Girls Kick-Off Party for the new semester, gym on Friday, errands and the play on Saturday…kicked my butt and now I need to take a few days to rest this body and let it recover all the way from this cold.

annes and the police station

Jan 27, 2016 in children, family, homeschooling | 1 comment

Miss Annes is full of zest. Chock-full of curiosity, stories, creativity, enthusiasm, and is about as cute as can be. Everywhere we go people love her. Except for the few people she drives absolutely banana-cakes with her “muchness.”

Today was the first day of iFamily, our awesome homeschool group. She is in a Community Explorations class this semester where they go out to different businesses and community entities to learn about how they function and what they do to make our community great. Today was the Police Station. Annes gave a Texas-sized shout of “Hurrah” when she found out. Unbeknownst to me, she is a little over the top curious about all things police-y because of her current obsession with Adventures in Odyssey mysteries.

When she returned to iFamily I asked one of her mentors how it went and if Annesely was well-behaved. She gave me a huge laugh and said, “Annesley is the best part of my day, I love that girl! She is FULL of life!” Thrilled with that response, I asked her to tell me all about it.

She reported that on the way in to the Police Station, Annesley said, “Oh no! They won’t let me in! They have metal detectors and look at my boots!” Her mentor said she thought the little piece of metal on the end of her cowboy boots would be just fine. Annesley responded with, “Oh, are they not very sensitive?”

At some point the police officer must have been talking about roadblocks and Annesley asked if there was a robbery because why would you ever have a roadblock without a robbery?

The third comment was “Do you deal with a lot of counterfeiters?” The police officer said no, not a whole lot. Why?” Annesley said, “Well, I know all about making counterfeit money!” She actually has no idea how to make counterfeit money, but she has listened to her Adventures In Odyssey CDs about a counterfeiting ring about a hundred times since Christmas so she thinks she is pretty much an expert. However, I would hope she would be a so-called expert in catching the counterfeiters, not copying their trade.

I’m tickled she has such fun opportunities for learning and mentors that appreciate her enthusiasm for life. I just hope the good officers don’t set up some kind of sting operation to bust us for counterfeiting.

slightly better, but still under the weather

Jan 26, 2016 in family | 1 comment

Oh my goodness, the snot. The sneezing. The pressure in my head. iFamily starts tomorrow and I am far from ready. I am trying to pull it all together today because I am feeling significantly improved from Sunday…but significantly better still isn’t well…it is more like barely functioning instead of looking like death warmed over.

A batch of laundry done (underwear…we were all desperate for some clean underthings). The sink cleaned out. A few emails sent and Blythe’s letter posted. Children listening to audio books and drawing and cleaning out the car and cutting wood in the garage.

And I am done. Ready to go back to bed for the rest of the day.

I think I will take a little nap and then try again in a few hours. I still need to print off cover sheets for my Math Alive-EUREKA students’ notebooks, study some background information on Archimedes’ life, prepare our in-class activity, and make our Challenge of the Week sheets for each student to take home. Then the car needs to be vacuumed and filled up with gas (surely Richard will do that for me when he gets home!) and all the children’s bags need to be packed and lunch food assessed, perhaps restocked, and packed.

And I need to get better.

Stat.

week 17

Jan 26, 2016 in blythe's mission | 0 comments

We have been praying hard for our missionary this week. I know her heart has been hurting so much. It was lovely to hear from her on Monday and see that her spirits are lighter and she knows she is in God’s keeping. We were able to mail her some exercise videos this week that she can do in her apartment and she is super excited to be able to do something a little more engaging than just the push-ups, sit-ups, and other boring stuff she has been doing.

This week has been really good. My companion and have been able to work our struggles out and this last week has been great. I know it was the Lord working through us, because we, or at least I, couldn’t have done it.

Transfers are next Tuesday and we’ll get the call this weekend. I am praying so hard not to be transferred right now. Of course, I would never want to leave this area, but I really hope I can stay to help the Collins right now, because Sister Hollenbeck barely knows them since we haven’t been able to go by as much lately. But whatever happens the ward is still stepping in and helping and they’ll be alright. I was thinking of the verse that says “I have finished the work thou sent me to do” after the funeral. Leslie brought all those kids here and I believe that she has finished her work from God. I want to be able to say that when I go home that I have done all that I was called to do.

The funeral was very nice. The local Presbyterian church put it on and the room was packed. A lot of the ward members attended. It was a beautiful service, but also sad, because they don’t know about the plan of salvation and the opportunity they have to be united eternally, to be a family after this life. The three wards that have been in contact with Leslie’s family and a lot of the stake came together to put on the reception afterward and it was really good. There was the most beautiful sunset that evening too.

Random little miracle. Early last week after we’d found out about Leslie and we’d been having problems and I was having a hard time, we were contacting and I was really thirsty. I didn’t want to sound like I was complaining so I didn’t say anything for a while. Eventually I just said I was thirsty and Sister Hollenbeck said she was too. Within about a minute a water delivery truck pulled up and the guy asked if we would like some water. He gave us a bottle each, and we talked to him for a minute. He said he always tried to give the missionaries water when he saw them because he knew we walk a lot. So God really is looking out for us. :)

Love,
Sister W.

thank heavens for puffs plus

Jan 24, 2016 in family | 1 comment

I hardly ever get sick, but yesterday I woke up all stuffy. By evening I had a runny nose, but still felt fairly okay and was able to make it to the temple to do sealings (107 completed last night!). By the time I got home, I was wiped out and laid awake most of the night blowing my nose and reapplying Miracle Salve to my sore nostrils.

Now it is the Sabbath and I am definitely sick. Beside me on the bed is a heaping pile of used Puffs Plus tissues, Catalyn, echinacea, zinc, vitamin c, Breezy and Life Force essential oils, my water bottle, and oodles of genealogy paperwork I am trying to sort through in between sneezes. No ribs have come out of place during the sneezing, WAHOO!

I am really hoping this cold moves on out super quick. iFamily starts on Wednesday and it is Play Weekfor Keziah for the next two weeks…which means lots of long days, late nights, and tons of fun as we watch the kids we love put on great performances. I need to be all better quick as a flash!

week 16

Jan 20, 2016 in blythe's mission | 2 comments

Our girly is hurting. She could use oodles of prayers and love. Please pray for her companion and for Leslie’s family. Please pray Blythe will know how to comfort Leslie’s family. Please pray that they will experience the peace of God and feel wrapped in His arms of love.

On another note, I apologized to Blythe this week for the many times I was angry or exasperated with her when she was a teenager. She responded with such a lovely…and grownup note of love for me. “You don’t need to apologize for anything. If I had any other mom I would have a very different life. Few other people would have adjusted so much to fit my needs and few other people are as dedicated and passionate as you. You’re awesome. I’m sorry for all of it. :) It wasn’t nearly as bad as a lot of people experience as teenagers. Love you <3" I cried happy tears. My girly has learned a lot of wisdom in the past four months.

So I have some bad news. Leslie passed away on Thursday night. In case anyone doesn’t know, she was one of our investigators. She has seven kids and has been battling cancer for two years. I am overwhelmed a little with the responsibility to help their family get through this time, but we will try our very best to support them and love them. We didn’t find out until Friday night, and I had to make the calls around to the other missionaries who had worked with them. I feel so sad for them. Friday through Sunday were really hard. I felt very unproductive, and I came to that point like where I really did feel like I was wasting my time, not because there’s not work to be done, but because we can’t seem to do it. Saturday was hard. We didn’t make a lot of visible progress and I was still thinking a lot about Leslie’s family, and it was just a bad day. It is sort of scary, because Leslie had priesthood blessings that promised healing, and they were not fulfilled in the way they expected them to be fulfilled. Now I have some understanding of it, and know that those blessings were not wasted, or even unfulfilled, but I’ve been worried how to explain all of that to them, as they probably don’t believe in priesthood power and now have reason to believe that it’s not real. But it’s been cool because as I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve been able to find other ways to teach about eternal families, like focusing on the temple. When I was thinking about the questions they might ask about why the blessings didn’t heal her, I thought about how ancient Israel was waiting for the Savior to save them from their physical enemies, but that He really came to save them spiritually and how those blessings she received were not wasted.

Cevik’s back in town, and we taught him last Sunday. When we invited him to be baptized he said they weren’t really interested in converting, but he wants to learn more and says he will read the Book of Mormon. We also gave Minoo a Farsi Book of Mormon and she says she’s been reading it.

We went to the temple on Friday Morning and I had a really sweet experience there. I was one of the last to leave the celestial room. When everyone started heading out, I was just thinking how I just didn’t want to go, that I just wanted to stay right there and feel the peace. As I was thinking this, I felt the words “I am always with you” and I knew that He would be with me, even though it was hard, and even though my companionship relationship is hard. That came at a time to prepare me for the challenges the last few days, because later that day everything started sort of falling apart. Then that night we found out about Leslie and the next day was just was hard. Sunday I was still having a hard time and I just did not want to get up early and go to meetings, which are of course earlier since church starts at 9:00 now, and we hadn’t finished progress records. But in ward council that day Brother Nielson said to put us missionaries on the prayer role. I think that is the first time that has happened and the prayer for us was exactly what I needed. I’m sure he was inspired. The day before when I’d felt so useless, I’d heard something or read something that was talking about how Heavenly Father takes us as we are and works with us so we can become better. Then in Ward Conference on Sunday they referenced the quote “Our direction is ever more important to Him than our speed.” Those things are exactly what I needed to hear at those moments.

With the last couple days of these challenges, I have had multiple witnesses that God is mindful of me in my trials and is watching over me. Thank you for your prayers and faith.

My ponderizing scripture is 1 Nephi 13:37: “And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.”

Love you all.
Sister W.

the magician’s nephew

Jan 16, 2016 in books, family, homeschooling, language & literature | Comments Off on the magician’s nephew

We started our reading of The Chronicles of Narnia on New Year’s Day and we finished last night after the children begged and pleaded for me to finish the last two chapters in one sitting. They couldn’t bear to wait another day to hear the ending of The Magician’s Nephew.

Ah. It is like breathing life into my soul to read Narnia to my children. Blythe was obsessed with Narnia from about age six to eight. Obsessed. We read it over and over and over and listened to the Focus on The Family Dramatized version for years. The story of Aslan, Lucy, Peter, Mr. Tumnus, Caspian, Shasta, the witch, Tirian, the ape, the dwarfs, and all the rest are part of our family culture. So it isn’t that the stories are new to Fisher and Annes. But in a way they are new. I have never read them to them. They have never been through the story beginning to end. They have never experienced it all unfolding before them. I guess I thought that because it is all around them because of Blythe’s great love for the story and the movies coming out several years ago that they didn’t need me to read it to them. That they knew it all.

But they don’t. There is so much they have missed because they were too little when Blythe was still listening to the stories all the time. They have grown up with the characters and basic story line, but they have missed the greater wisdom of this epic adventure that grows as they identify with a character, feel the hard choices, pain, and joy, and face their own character flaws and strengths as they consider what they would do in the same situation.

And so we read each night and the story unfolds before them and wraps up their imagination in the lovely world of right and wrong, courage, friendship, faith, sacrifice, and always, always Aslan calling to their souls.

I’m so glad God gave me the prompting back in November that this should be our next read aloud. It is proving to be a delightful journey.

Favorite lines this time through:

“Oh, I see. You mean that little boys ought to keep their promises. Very true: most right and proper, I’m sure, and I’m very glad you have been taught to do it. But of course you must understand that rules of taht sort, however excellent they may be for little boys – and servants – and women – and even people in general, can’t possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny.”

As he said this he sighed and looked so grave and noble and mysterious that for a second Digory really thought he was saying something rather fine. But then he remembered the ugly look he had seen on his Uncle’s face the moment before Polly had vanished, and all at once he saw through Uncle Andrew’s grand words. “All it means is that he things he can do anything he likes to get anything he wants.”

Such wisdom young Digory is gaining! He knows that it is not just for a code of conduct to only apply to some people. He knows his uncle is behaving abominably and a little seed is planted in his heart to not do the same. In the end, his greatest joys come because he learns and obeys that lesson.

“In Charn [Jadis] had taken no notice of Polly (till the very end) because Digory was the one she wanted to make use of. Now that she had Uncle Andrew, she took no notice of Digory. I expect most witches are like that. They are not interested in things or people unless they can use them; they are terribly practical.”

How am I using people? I so want to love people, not use them.

“Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.”

Hmmmm.

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

I have found this to be so true. I see in others parts of my own soul reflected back at me. Perspective is a crazy thing. It can be incredibly false and powerfully true. Praying to see as God sees has made a huge difference in my life.

“You know me better than you think, you know, and you shall know me better yet.”

All of us know God. Our souls yearn to be with our Father again. Knowing Him is my heart’s desire.

“Look for the valleys, the green places, and fly through them. There will always be a way through.”

Always. Always. Always He will provide a way through the hard, craggy mountains of life.

“But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it.”

We become what we desire, but that doesn’t mean the end of the road will be what we want.

“But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh, Adam’s son, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good!”

How do I make myself unable to hear His voice? What do I need to do today and each day to better hear Him.

“Things always work according to their nature.”

We live and multiply and work according to who we are. We can only pretend for so long, but the truth of who we are always comes out. At the root of everything, we are children of God and if we can let that truth grow within us, we will live as children of God.

“Child, that is why all the rest are now a horror to her. That is what happens to those who pluck and eat fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way. Oh, the fruit is good, but they loath it ever after.”

Oh. Oh. Such wisdom. Takes my breath away to think about it.

“Glory be!” said the Cabby. “I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.”

The glory and majesty of God’s power is beyond my comprehension. I want to be a better, truer, more kind, obedient, and daughter. Oh, heaven help me.

Tonight we will start The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. What a joy it is to share Narnia with my little ones!