Jeff and I have been called as Stake Missionaries, and have been assigned to attend and serve in the Shawnee Branch for the next 18 months. It was a difficult calling for me to accept because I am concerned about Rachel and Gabi. I don’t know any of the kids in Rachel’s school, so the only friends of hers that I know are the kids at church. Gabi’s best friend is her cousin Rose, and they love being in the same primary class. Anyway, I really struggled with accepting the calling.
Every Sunday, I have the girls watch an animated movie from the scriptures. Last Sunday, Rachel chose to watch the movie from the Old Testament where Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac. Talk about a challenging assignment to accept! Although it was difficult, Abraham was willing to obey, and at the last second, an angel stepped in, and commended Abraham for his obedience, and renewed the promise that Abraham had received that his descendents would be numberless, like the sands of the sea.
I thought a lot about Abraham and Isaac. If Abraham could be obedient to the point of sacrificing his own son, I decided that I could attend church with a different congregation for a while. My job is to be obedient, and have faith in Heavenly Father to look after my children.
We attended the Shawnee Branch today for the first time, and both girls did great. They both made new friends, and are looking forward to seeing them again next week.
I don’t remember the last time I went to see the Hill Cumorah Pageant. I have been many times to Palmyra and its surrounding area, but to actually see the Pageant has been a very very long time. On a whim, I wanted to go, asked Jeff what he thought. He thought we could do it, so with very little planning, we packed the girls and headed to Palmyra on Friday after Jeff finished his work day.
I hoped we could make it as far as Kirtland, OH which is a nice halfway point to break up the drive. As we drove that evening, we went through some serious thunderstorms. We made it to Kirtland at about 1:00 in the morning. Unfortunately all of the hotels there were sold out. That’s when it occurred to me that possibly all of the other people who were going to the Pageant had the same thought as I did, and spent the night in Kirtland. So we drove on. We checked out a few other hotels on the way, all of which were sold out. We did find one that had one spot left, and it was a suite for $150. We drove on. Finally at 3:00 in the morning I found a Super 8 just before we got to the New York State line that had room for us. We got everyone in bed as quickly as possible, and we slept.
We woke up the next morning and drove on, and arrived in Palmyra at about 12:00 noon. First we went to the E.B. Grandin Building which is historically significant because it is the print shop where the Book of Mormon was first published.
Then we went to the Joseph Smith farm where we toured the log cabin, the frame house, then walked through the barns and finally through the Sacred Grove.
Lastly we went to the Hill Cumorah. We started out in the visitor’s center. We sat down in the foyer, and Rachel fell asleep in my lap. After a while Jeff held Rachel. He was tired too, and needed a break, so Gabi and I climbed to the top of the Hill Cumorah. After we came back down, Rachel woke up, and we all climbed one more time to the top of the Hill Cumorah together.
We waited for darkness to fall, meanwhile the cast members of the Pageant mingled with the audience to welcome us, to take pictures and to proselyte.
At about 9:15 the Pageant began. With the opening trumpet call, I immediately felt tears in my eyes, and I remembered the many times I have heard that music in my youth and childhood. The Pageant has changed significantly since I last saw it, but we all really enjoyed it.
After it was over we drove to Ithaca College. On our way we passed through Trumansburg, which was where my family lived when I was born. I was 3 when we moved away. My sister Luella and her husband Tony are teaching at a string summer camp at Ithaca college, and their sons are participating at the camp. They had an extra dorm room, and they let us crash there. We woke up the next morning and went to church at the Ithaca Ward, which was the ward my family belonged to until I was 11 years old. I saw and spoke with several people I knew when I was a young kid. It was very nostalgic.
Later that afternoon we headed back home. We were pretty tired, so we found a Red Roof Inn shortly after we got past Cleveland. We got up the next morning, and continued on our journey. Again we drove through heavy rain for a while, but we finally made it home a little before 3:00 p.m.
Yesterday Rachel turned 5 years old. It was a very busy day! First she went to someone else’s birthday party, then she had her own family birthday party. I made her a princess cake. She got lots of awesome presents, including a fishing pole, Mario cart, a new pink coat, rain boots, sneakers, Sunday shoes, art supplies, and various other items.
|My masterpiece princess cake|
|Rachel appreciated it|
|Rachel gushed over each and every present she got. Everything was “this is what I always wanted!”|
|Gabi was exhausted at the end of the day with so many festivities|
Perhaps the best present of all wasn’t even hers. Her Grandma got a puppy last night. It is a cute little tri-colored 7 week old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I think she will love seeing this puppy grow up, and I’m glad we can enjoy it at Grandma’s house, and not ours. At least not for now.
|Grandma’s tri-colored 7 week old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel|
|Rachel loves it|
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of Mitt Romney for president. A few months ago I had the remarkable opportunity to attend a fund-raising event for Romney that was held at the home of John Schnatter, the founder and owner of Papa John’s Pizza. I hadn’t posted about it here yet because we only finally got our official picture in the mail a week ago.
|The Official Picture|
|I took this picture with my phone. I think it is a great picture.|
|Signing my copy of No Apology|
There is a lot more of the story to tell, but I don’t have time right now.
We embarked on a new adventure last Friday. We went camping. Jeff and I both enjoy camping, but that was the first time we had done it since the girls were born. The campsite was not far away, so we figured worse case scenario we could leave if it didn’t go well. Plus, it was just one night, so it wouldn’t be too much.
We cooked hot dogs over the campfire, we hiked around a little, we unexpectedly came across the tamest deer I have ever seen in the “wild.” Rachel kept moving closer and closer with no regard for the potential danger. I kept calling to her to be careful and not get too close, but the deer did not react at all. Finally we all took pictures around it.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well the girls slept. The both went to sleep later than normal (to be expected), and Rachel woke up much earlier than expected, but Gabi slept well into the morning. We got up and had breakfast, took down our tent and packed the car, then enjoyed a little more nature. Gabi and I made our way to a frog pond. I was trying to show Gabi a turtle, and as I got closer and closer, almost touching it, I slipped and fell and landed in the frog pond. Fortunately the only person to see me was Gabi, and she is still young enough to be concerned at my distress, not amused by it. The battery in my phone was completely worn down by this time, so we couldn’t even capture the results on film. Sorry for your loss. But trust me, I was soaked. And muddy. To make it even better I lost my shoe when I fell in, so I had to go back in again to retrieve it.
Fortunately it was time to go home anyway.
All in all, it was a good trip, and a learning experience, so hopefully we will go camping again soon.
For Christmas, Rachel and Gabi got kits to work outside in the garden, including a bag, work gloves, a little trowel and a rake. Since we are enjoying unseasonably warm weather right now, the girls wanted to do some work in the flower garden.
After a while they moved their work project over to the driveway, and did some remarkable landscaping with the gravel.