Search This Blog

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Packing is NOT for wimps....

It really isn't! and I feel like a wimp!

Yes I have reached the point where sorting is no longer a viable option. My dream of having everything neatly packed together with like items is quickly fading. In fact our mountain of boxes contains a few boxes with rather odd combinations of items. The only good part, besides the fact that the boxes are getting filled, is that I am labelling them very well so we will actually know what is in the boxes.

It will be some crazy party when we unpack in 2 years! Wow!

We are still surrounded by empty boxes and will actually have more than we need to finish our packing. So may people have generously saved boxes for us. We also found out that our local U-Haul store has a recycle bin where people can put their used boxes for those who need them. We have been happy recipients of several great and otherwise expensive  boxes from them. But it is still expensive to pack. We have spent over $500 buying packing supplies: tape, bubble wrap, wrapping paper, file boxes, other big boxes, etc. I can't believe how quickly it adds up. We are so grateful for everyone who saved boxes. That has saved us so much money!

I am optimistic that by the time we are finished packing on Saturday pretty much everything will be packed. That will leave the next week or so  to go through journals, sort some pictures and take some things to the safety deposit box, work on closing accounts and changing addresses, shampoo carpets and get the house cleaned and ready for the renters to move in.

Then we will have some time for more study of our self-reliance materials. One would think we could do more studying in the evening after we were finished our day's packing but it seems our energy is long gone by that time of day.

It is really crazy to think that we are actually leaving. We are actually leaving the country for TWO years! In less than 2 weeks we will no longer be sleeping in our house. We will be living out of suitcases first at our daughter's in Everson  and then at our son's in Salt Lake City and then in the Mission Training Center for a few days before we fly to Sydney on December 8. We fly from Salt Lake City to LAX Thursday evening at 8:30 PM and then to Sydney where we arrive Saturday morning. We lose a day in the process. The first leg is only 2 hours but the leg to Sydney is 15 hours!!!

Thank goodness for compression socks and the chance to walk up and down the aisle from time to time. And our flight will be at night so we may actually be able to sleep. And it will be summer when we arrive in Sydney. Since it is rainy and dreary here today that sounds pretty nice.

We are excited, and intimidated, about serving in this mission capacity. We are grateful the Lord has enough faith in us to give us this opportunity. But we know that there is no way we can do it alone and look forward to the blessing we will be given as we are set apart by our Stake President on November 20. We know that with the Lord's help we will be able to do what is required of us.

It is humbling to realize how much the Lord loves all His people.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Shortening the "To Do" list...trying to keep the panic at bay

We got back Saturday night despite storm warnings that we were worried would have prevented our flight. But the winds had abated so all was well. There were only a few small branches in our yard after Friday's winds.

Three weeks from tonight we expect to have everything moved out of our house. That means lots to do between now and then.

Our "To Do" List is still pretty long, filled with lots of vital little things that must all be accomplished. Who thought I would be worrying about our taxes in November? But I have to get those records ready before we leave plus worry about closing or transferring some accounts, etc

I had hoped to get some family history documents scanned as well as some family pictures but I am having a paradigm shift.  Hopes, wishes and non essentials are being culled from my list. So without counting hopes, wishes and non essentials, I am down to a family history project that should be done this week, a smallish scanning project of my mother's photo albums in those horrible sticky magnetic type pages, and reading  through a few years of Steve's journals to find the special events needed to write about our trials and miracles during those years to give to our families this year. And then there are the essentials... that list can't be culled.

The panic is abating as I exercise faith that all will all be done "well enough". The rest we must leave  to the Lord because there is really nothing else we can do.

We are enjoying our weekly training sessions via Skype. We are learning so much about the Self -Reliance Program. It is so amazing and will be such a blessing to those who take advantage of these wonderful initiatives. I am so grateful for the love and concern of our inspired church leaders. We are so grateful for  our testimonies of the Gospel. We are so grateful for our Prophet and those who work with him. We are grateful for the opportunity we will soon have to serve as self reliance missionaries.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Visiting family...Self Reliance Principles... Star Valley Temple

Time is passing so swiftly. We have 48 days until we report to the Missionary Training Center and begin our mission. These past several days we have taken a break from our mission preparations to visit some of our family. It has been nice to forget about the packing for just a little while and to enjoy family association.

We flew to Utah and were able to spend time with some of our children and their families. It is always a joy to see them. Our flight was late enough that we only caught a few minutes training of our weekly Skype session. In that training we were assigned to teach a principle of self reliance found in the My Foundations booklet to our family. We presented the principle of  Solving Problems and also the principle of Using Time Wisely as we met with our families. I love how these principles are set out in the booklet that help us understand. Even the children were engaged as we all learned.

The temple on the hill as we prepared to go in the covered wagon.
Then we drove to Star Valley Wyoming to spend time with Steve's brother and sisters and their spouses. It had been years since they had all been together in the same place and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with them. The Star Valley Temple open house was drawing to a close but we were there in time to attend before it was over. 

Steve's grandparents had settled in Star Valley in the early 1900's. So it was significant and historic for the family to witness the construction of a temple in that beautiful place. There were covered wagons that transported us from the gathering area to the temple. It was a chilly day with snow flurries but a great experience.  

All 8 of us in front of the temple.

Steve in front of the Star Valley Temple.
Now we are back in Salt Lake where Steve and his sister are attending the British Institute class about Welsh research. Those Welsh ancestors are very elusive so it is nice to have some assistance in learning the correct research procedures. I have been finishing up some shopping for some final clothing items to take with us to Australia. In a few days we will return home to finish up the final packing and moving details so our renters can take possession of the house.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Seasons ...endings and beginnings

There are seasons in our lives. They begin and they end. There is something bittersweet about endings.

Friday ended our season of working in the temple. Since the Vancouver Temple was dedicated in May 2010 we have spent many happy hours in the temple,  learning and serving. The first 4 years Steve and I served as our Stake Temple Cleaning Coordinators. That meant we were in the temple every Thursday evening supervising  various wards as volunteers cleaned the temple after everyone else went home. Yes, the temple actually does get dirty but it never stays dirty because there is a crew of volunteers that clean 4 times a week - cleaning and restocking the bathrooms, vacuuming and dusting, and steaming the tile floors. So, it always looks pristine as the Lord's house should. It has also been my great joy to serve as an ordinance worker. For a few years I was there every Tuesday morning. Then after taking a few months leave I came back every Friday morning along with Steve who was then retired and had more time.  We worked with wonderful people as we helped the patrons have a positive experience.
Vancouver British Columbia Temple

What a blessing it has been to spend so much time in the temple. How wonderful to feel comfortable in the Lord's house. Truly it is a place of peace and serenity. It has been a great experience to serve under 3 temple presidencies and to see how very hard they work to keep everything in order.  We will miss our association with all of the wonderful friends we gained during our service there. One cannot find a better group of people. But now we are preparing to begin our  next season as missionaries.

Our daughter and her family came over to pick up some of the things they can use as we empty our house. Our 9 year old granddaughter had been telling her mother how she loved being at our house for Christmas and was surprised when her mother told her we would not be here for Christmas this year as we will be celebrating Christmas in the warm weather of Australia. I realized that this granddaughter has spent every Christmas of her life in our home. So, there is another season that is ended or at least suspended.

The trailer almost loaded and ready to go!
And our house is SO empty. The young men from the church came again to bring more boxes to storage. They managed to empty the boxes from our very full family room in about 20 minutes. After all of the hours and days we spent packing it was startling to have the boxes gone so quickly! We are so grateful for their help and for the trailer provided by our home teacher and friend.

Just one more moving day, probably the 9th of November. That also marks an end of a season. We have lived in this house for about 15 years, and although we intend to live here again upon our return it seems surreal. I guess even a temporary move is still a move.

But it will not be as sad for me as the day we left our house in Texas in 2001. I broke down as we shut the door for the last time realizing that the parenting part of our lives was over - all the little arms around my neck and so forth. Then after driving away we just had to go back so I could take pictures of the little notes some of the girls had written on their bedroom shelves. The notes said "I love you" in their little girl scrawl. No, this will not be so sad. We are excited for this season of missionary service that is almost upon us.

We are learning more and more about this amazing Self Reliance Initiative. The pilot programs have been very successful and people who participate are having major positive changes in the lives. We love our Monday Skype sessions that give us an intro to what is to come. Last week we discussed the Study Buddy program. What a great concept to pair lower performing students with those who are proficient as mentors; and finding a way of helping students learn the importance of completing their homework and giving them help if they need it.

All the while we are learning how seriously the Lord feels about helping those who need help to improve their circumstances through education and training. And how much the Lord loves ALL His children regardless of their circumstances and wants to help them. We look forward to this opportunity to serve the Lord through this missionary experience.There is so much we will learn.

Until next time...have a great week!