Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dec. 27, 2015

Last week flew by in a hurry!  We began our week by having our weekly meeting and afterward we had a surprise birthday for President Francis.  His birthday is on Dec. 23.  His sons are here from BYU Provo and they picked up lunch from Olive Garden.  It was very nice and fun! 
We had to purchase things for the mission party last week and Monday evening.  We were busy ‘making a list and checking it twice’.  Elder Spencer is in charge of mail and referrals.  We have received an enormous amount of packages for the young missionaries.  However, there were several that didn’t receive anything and some that had 10 or more packages.  I can see where that would be upsetting for the ones that didn’t get anything.  We have been purchasing gifts for the missionaries that didn’t get a package at all.  There were 11 elders and 9 sisters that didn’t get anything.  We were blessed that we had an anonymous donor that gave us $160 to help with the cost of gifts.  (that didn’t cover it, but really helped)  We also had 2 wards in Utah that sent packages.  One ward sent 6 gifts for guys and one ward sent 5 packages for girls.  That really helped too.  They called and offered to help.  (some people are so in tune to need)  Those packages went to those missionaries here from other countries.
On Wednesday we began getting ready for the party.  The Spencer’s and the Merrill’s cooked 106 lbs. of pork for pulled pork tacos and about the time we wanted to begin setting up tables and chairs a couple of local missionaries stopped by and said they had a feeling that they should stop.  We put them right to work and they were so much help. 
On Thursday the party began at 10:00 and went to 4:00.  The missionaries were so happy to see all the other missionaries.  It was a great time for them.  They put on 2 talent shows.  One that was chapel friendly and one that was cultural hall friendly.  They demonstrated great talents.  I wish I could have relaxed and enjoyed the performances, but I was worried about getting the food on the table and ready at 12:00.  We had chips and cheesy-salsa dip, pork tacos with all the trimmings and then all the senior missionaries brought the desserts.  (anything they wanted)  We had tons of food!  No one went hungry.  Everyone said they liked it. 

Elder Merrill and I like popcorn and had tried some purchased popcorn from the stores here, but nothing was very good.  We bought the really good 50 lb. bag from Sam’s Club and took our popper to the party.  (it was as good as we remembered)  He popped 2 giant tubs full of popcorn and the missionaries loved it!  (I mean those storage type tubs—not little bowls)  When the party was over the youngest Francis boy (just turned 12) poured all the popcorn into a garbage bag and took it home.  He loved it!  Now we have lots of popcorn and Elder Merrill will probably be known as ‘the popcorn King’ because we will have to serve it every where we go.  We were BONE TIRED when we got home and just sat on the couch and starred into space.  We had the Spencer’s come over and we watched Mr. Kruger’s Christmas and played a little Skipbo.  I had thought about making Gritmascoverpo (our Norwegian tradition on Christmas Eve), but decided that it would be something I would just wait for next year. 
We woke up on Christmas and waited until it was late enough to start calling our kids to see how their Christmas was.  I love Facetime.  It was so fun to see the things they were talking about and laugh with them.  It made us homesick, but we just pushed it aside for now and we shall ‘stay strong, be calm and carry on’.
I had invited 7 senior couples for dinner at 2:00 and 5 could come.  The Spencer’s offered to host the party because they actually have room for a party at their home.  We met and ate and then went on a tour of the Tomlinson Inn, walked (without snow) to the baptismal site for Brigham Young, and went to the Tomlinson cemetery.  It was a great day.  The Clark family has been living in the Tomlinson Inn but had moved to Connecticut to be near their son who received a full ride scholarship for music.  They were here for the week and opened up the home for an open house on Christmas day.  I talked Jacob into playing a piano piece for us before we left.  It was amazing.  He had taken familiar carols and put them together in a piece he had developed.  We all loved it!

On Saturday we did a little shopping and moved cars for the mission.  Elder Merrill was given the assignment to get the mission a new luggage/furniture trailer (the old one had come off the hitch when the President was taking missionaries to the airport last week and he didn’t trust it any more) and so Dennis found a newer, nicer one.  The old one is 9 years old and he couldn’t see anything wrong with the hitch, but the church authorized the new one.  He worked really hard to find this one and make the deal on it.  The dealer will give us $500 for the old one, and the Spencer’s want to purchase it.  (we thought it would be good to bring our stuff home, oh-well!)
We received many nice things from our family and friends.  Thank you all so much!  We have had so many blessings!  At church today Brother Lehman came up to Dennis and said, ‘did you drop this on the floor?”  It was a nice German made pocket knife in Christmas d├ęcor.  He wanted Dennis to have it.  What a great friend he is. 

Also, Sharon Grafrath (from Batavia) said she called and ordered candy from the Caramel Tree for her daughter in Colorado and talked to Chris for some time and she thought that he was number #1. 

It is a blessing to belong to a family and love each and every one.  That is what heaven is!  We are so blessed.  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dec. 20, 2015

This week has been a whirlwind!  We went to the Westfall building last Sunday night and our Stake put on a musical event that went along with Charles Dickens ‘Christmas Carole’.  The music was very difficult and the singers were great.  It was very good.  I don’t remember hearing Dickens in that much of a religious way before.  I guess someday I will need to read it and see what it really does say. 
Monday we had a good day.  Each day now we get tons of packages in for the missionaries.  We hold them until someone is going that way or they are coming to the office.  We are not holding everything until Christmas Eve (this week—can’t believe it!)   After work we went (us and the Spencer’s) over to the Smith Farm and they had a nice program there.  They had a short DVD, caroling and games.  We didn’t have the hot chocolate and cookies.  We left that for the ones coming.  It was a nice evening with a slow drizzle.  (umbrellas are great here)  Afterward we went over to the Hill Cumorah and saw their display of nativities.  It was nice, but we have seen so many more at the Visitors Center and Stake Center near the Temple in Idaho Falls.  Then we took Spencer’s to Nima’s to be initiated.  They liked their pizza pie!
This couple represented Father and Mother Smith in the log home
I found someone at the Hairzoo to cut my hair and took me in after work.  It was nice to get it shaped up a little bit.  She cut it quite short in the back, which was probably what I told her.  It does feel good to have it under control again.  (I really miss Becky and Jill)
We celebrated our 44th anniversary with the Spencer’s on Wednesday at the Cheesecake Factory.  Guess what we shared??  Of course, Bang, Bang, Chicken and Shrimp.  We are such creatures of habit.  We always order what we know and like when we go out.  It was a special time and we enjoyed it.  

We went a day early because we had a Temple appointment with the Haggerty’s on Thursday evening.  Bill fell and didn’t feel like going to the Temple so Leslie came and we did a session with her.  It was very nice.  I did one of her family names and she asked me afterward if I had any trouble with the name.  I said, ‘no’ and she said that especially gave me that name because it was Bill’s aunt and that the aunt didn’t like her.  She had done her baptism a year earlier and she felt that the aunt wasn’t happy about it and kept making Leslie feel weird.  She waited a year to do the endowment to see if she felt differently about things.  LOL   I asked why the aunt didn’t like her and she said that she had divorced Bill a few years ago because they just couldn’t get along.  They were divorced 2 years and then their daughter-in-law invited them out to supper and they both came at the same time.  They worked out their differences and remarried.  Crazy, huh?
We went shopping on Friday after work to get things for the Christmas Eve party for the mission.  We are feeding 200+ people pulled pork tacos .  I think I will be happy to have that party over.  I don’t think it will be that hard, but it will be LOTS of work! 
We had a baptism for a young woman on Saturday in Batavia.  She has been taking the lessons for a while and decided to be baptized.  She is very pretty and her family came from Arabia.  She has 2 really cute little boys and her husband is nice, but decided not to join.  They were a great support, however.  The baptism was very nice.  After the talks the Branch President welcomed her into the branch and said that he normally gives new members a quad.  However, this time was different; because she was young and had good eyes and because she had some lessons with Brother Stephenson and the Elders –Brother Stephenson was going to give her his wife's small quad.  (his wife passed away in Sept.)   It was so touching—this little gal sobbed when he handed her those scriptures.  They meant so much to her.  I was so glad that we had been in attendance.  
Elder Detlor, Elder Longhurst, Yasmeen and Justin with the kids, Elder Gibby and Elder Scott

President Francis with Bill Haggerty after the baptism
After the meeting we went out to Albion and did home teaching there.  We also got more ingredients for the party and then went home. 
Well, I am going to report on our Christmas ‘giving’ present.  We ended up unwrapping everything (for us) so that we would know who to give things to.  Today was our last day before Christmas at the branch.  We had so many nice things to give away.  (that was such a great idea our kids had)  We had to think about each gift and if it would be gladly accepted and used by our intended recipient.  We gave out many gifts today and I think everyone loved it.  We had 2 CDs, 4 Christmas DVDs, 5 Nativity DVD, 6 ties/gloves, 7games, and so on.  It was fun!
We are reading the New Testament now each verse seems to have such a familiar ring.  I have loved reading about the life of our Savior, especially at this time of year.  We are so blessed to have this information and be able to learn more about Jesus and our Heavenly Father.  Isn’t it interesting that Jesus says that if we know Him, then we also know Heavenly Father.  (Not that they are the same person, but that they are unified in their looks and actions) 
We have received some cards from our Grant ward members and we love reading them and hearing about their lives.  We love and miss them!  I still can’t believe Julie Browning is 75!

Happy birthday Kelly Hart (last week); Happy Anniversary Chuck and Janet (last week; and good luck and quick recovery to Barbara Hart (for her knee replacement last week)
The wind caught my umbrella and popped it inside out

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dec. 13, 2015

We had a great week!  We had Elder Schwitzer, from the Quorum of the 70, come to our mission to visit Monday-Wednesday.  He came to Buffalo on Monday and was there for their Mission Leadership Counsel and then a Zone conference.  On Tuesday he came to Rochester and had a Zone conference with the Palmyra Zones and Rochester Zones.  It was really good.  He talked about several things with the missionaries:
First, he discussed how Satan changes things that are wrong to appear right.  How making words appear good and not bad.  So many things that have been wrong in past years are now acceptable and approved.  That was so true—especially looking at society and how things are degrading so much.
Second, he talked about bring the 1 back to the fold.  He showed the picture of Jesus with the lamb about his neck.  He told how Christ had directed the Apostles to go leave the 99 and go after the 1 that was lost.  We are all asked to do this—help recover those that are lost.  He mentioned that how a lamb of that size would probably kick someone’s head pretty badly when they tried to get them onto their shoulders and carry them away.  He suggested that this lamb would have been injured, afraid, ashamed, depressed, or hurt.  This lamb couldn’t make it back to the fold on his own.  He had to be carried and helped.  Our brothers and sisters are the same—they need us to carry them and help them back.  It was very interesting! 
Third, he talked about the Book of Mormon and how much education Joseph Smith had when he translated it.  Joseph Smith didn’t have much more than an elementary education, yet he brought up the following incidents that are in the Book of Mormon:
1.      Military strategic plans
2.      Operations of government
3.      Jewish custom and rights
4.      The prophecies of ancient prophets
5.      Scriptural writing styles and then different prophet writing styles
I’m sure I didn’t get everything from this portion, but it was very eye opening.  He quoted so many scripture and explained things in a way I hadn’t thought of before. 
After the meeting, the missionaries left and we fed them a luncheon with 12 people.  I made Chicken Waikiki and we had salad and dessert.  Sister Schwitzer was so friendly and we all loved her.  She told of experiences of being in Russia as the Mission President (wife) and how she had been afraid and that the Lord had strengthened her.  We can do hard things with the help of the Lord!

We went to the Temple with the Haggerty’s on Friday night and the on Saturday we went over to Seneca Lake Camp with the Spencer’s.  We had a good time there.  The weather was around 60.  They loved it!  We went across the stream down by the amphitheater and when I went to cross to the next rock I stepped onto a rock with lots of moss.  It was so slick and I fell down onto my knee and I was afraid that I had messed it up, but I was alright.  I got a little wet, but that didn’t slow us down.  (my pants were a little green)  We went on to Sauder’s (the Mennonite store) and looked around.  They have things I haven’t seen before in regular store. 

We then went over to the Whitmer Farm in Fayette.  We had a great tour there and heard so many things about the restoration of the church.  It is a wonderful place to go and learn about the translation of the Book of Mormon.  
We went over to Batavia after we got home and went to the Haggerty home to help them get ready for the Branch Christmas party.  It was a huge Turkey dinner and there was SO much food!  Sister Lehman and some of the Primary ladies had chaired the night and had gone all out!  It was very nice and there were so many people that I didn’t know or recognize.  We had several investigators and some that were family members of the branch members.  I think it was very successful.  There was a part of the program that was especially fun, Elder Merrill was one of Santa’s helpers and passed out presents to the kids.  He did a good job and one little girl was so sweet and gave him a gift. 

We have so many blessings!  We live in a wonderful country that had freedom of religion and allows us to make choices for ourselves.  We have the gospel in our lives and that enriches everything we are or do.  We have the most wonderful family; extended and immediate.  We have all the necessities of life and to spare.  We have the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and they WANT us back again.  How great are our lives??
We pick up a sister for church each week and we thought it was weird how the landlord had cut the bushes.  They are cut down low and some of the bush is left going through the fence. LOL  Also there are lots of stray cats in the backyard and someone has bought igloos for them to live in.  

Someone got a little (alot) carried away with Christmas gifts to us.  Thank you so much!  What a wonderful idea; the 12 days of Christmas and 1 for us and the others for friends here.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Dec. 4, 2015

Dec. 5, 2015
On Monday, Nov. 30, we had our office meeting and following it we held a birthday luncheon for Sister Workman and Sister Spencer.  I had lots of left overs from Thanksgiving and they actually tasted pretty good.  Sister Francis made barbeque chicken and I made ‘Mormon’ potatoes; with the left over rolls, pies, and jello--it was a feast. 
We went to the Temple on Thursday night with the Haggerty’s.  We did sealings and it was very peaceful and calm there.  There really is a tangible spirit while doing sealings.  Those people can either accept or reject this wonderful blessing.  Sister Haggerty had some of her relatives work done, and it is a special thing to do this for someone you are related to.
Dec. 1 was the first accident of the month for Elder Merrill.  Please learn how to back up without hitting other parked cars!  How does an Elder back into a parked car with his companion behind him guiding the way??  Makes me wonder—was this how it actually happened? 
We are all excited to have the Steve and DeAnna Aldrich come to the mission in January.  I know that they will be able to help in many ways.  The senior couples really do so much good in the mission field.  They are called as MLS missionaries (Member Leadership Support) and so they aren’t’ asked to proselyte (but they can).  They help with the ward/branch and help fellowship, support the young missionaries, do what the Bishop asks and find ways to bring back those that are less-active.  The MLS missionaries here do such a great job.  They have found many creative ways to help others.
Sister Spencer told me about her father joining the church.  The kids of the family were first to join during their late teens and early twenties.  Their mother was later baptized and their father held back.  He was baptized at 84.  He was asked to speak after his baptism and he told of how he had watched his family and the things they did and how it hurt him each time his wife went to the Temple without him.  He said how sorry he was that he stayed on the outside looking in.  A good friend to Sister Spencer was at the baptism and hadn’t been baptized either.  She heard that short sentence and asked the missionaries to baptize her also.  She didn’t want to be on the outside looking in either.  Sister Spencer says that her father loved to tell people that he hadn’t been a member for 1 hour before he had his first convert.
Last Sunday a brother from our branch asked if I would talk to him privately.  I said sure.  He began by telling me that he really wants to go on a mission, but that his wife doesn’t.  He then proceeded to tell me that he doesn’t love his wife and that their marriage was just a marriage of convenience.  He said that he had a son and was single and she had a daughter and was single, living with her parents.  They married to help their children.  They have been married 35+ years and have other children (and they are married in the Temple).  I listened and then told him that I didn’t think that she would want to go with him on a mission if she didn’t feel that he loved her.  I suggested that he work on looking for things about her that he liked and then find ways to show love and support for her.  I don’t see how anyone could come on a mission as a couple and have a good experience without love for their companions.  I told him that he needs to build a better relationship at home and then she may want to spend 24/7 with him.  We all need to look for the good in our companions.  It is so easy to see ‘the mote’ (criticize our spouses)  when we really have a ‘beam’ in our own eyes.  I am so blessed to have a companion that treats me with love and respect.  It has been a great experience to share so much time together.  (However, our desks are not side by side, lol)  I have been so impressed with how quickly Elder Merrill has caught onto the computer programs and how efficient he is in doing his job. 
Addie cut her own hair this week.  I had to laugh a little (sorry Jill).  Jill cut her bangs to the skin 2 times.  She was probably Addie’s age or older.  She hid behind an overstuffed chair and chopped them off.  The first time I was shocked and she didn’t seem to be bothered by the look.  The 2nd time I took her to the mirror and asked, “is this really what you want to look like?”  She took a good look and started to cry.  She didn’t do it again.  (well now she cuts lots of hair; must be getting it out of her system)

The AP’s (assistants to the President) are coming over tonight for dinner.  We are going to have shepherd’s pie.  Hope they like it.
We went to Bergen today and had lunch with some of the senior missionaries.  We had a good time and a good lunch at a diner out of the way.  Great P-Day!
Elder Merrill, Elder & Sister Woodhouse, Elder & Sister Workman, Elder and Sister Spencer
Elder & Sister Woodhouse, Sister Merrill, Elder & Sister Workman, Elder & Sister Spencer
It looks like our new shop is coming along pretty well.  It is fun to get the pictures of the progress.

Happy Birthday Karsten Jagielski!  He is 16.  We are so proud of you!  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nov. 28, 2015

Another one bites the dust (weeks).  Hard to believe!  Happy Thanksgiving (after the fact)  We ate at the Haggerty's and it was very nice.  I took rolls, a jello salad, a chocolate and coconut cream pie and a bought pumpkin pie.  The price of the pumpkin pie was $5.00 at Sam's Club and I figured that I couldn't make one for that price.  The 4 Elders were there also, so we had a big crowd for a small kitchen.  We had lots of food and I think that everyone liked it.  It was funny how the Elders ate; one ate his slowly and I thought maybe he didn't like it, (but ate it all) and one wolfed it down without a breathe in between.  The fast eater is a very nervous young man, really cute and funny, but nervous.
Playing Tenzie-Sister Merrill, Elder Peters, Elder Detlor, Sister Haggery, Elder Rushton, and Elder Scott
We should have gotten a picture of Brother Haggerty, in the other room in a turkey coma.
Intense game--they didn't want to lose (New Jenga game in the center of the table)
We talked about being thankful for what we have and this message was shared with us by Sister Spencer when we had FHE on Monday night.
Think about everything you thanked Heavenly Father for in your most recent prayer.  Think hard! Now, imagine getting up tomorrow and having only those things that you thanked Him for.  That makes you think, doesn't it?  Everything is from Him and we are nothing without Him.  Let's be thankful.  'In nothing is God more offended than by him that doesn't give thanks' (paraphrased)
I talked with Brother Selvage yesterday and I asked him about his Thanksgiving dinner with the other site missionaries.  They had all gotten together and had dinner at the Palmyra Inn.  Here is what he had to say, 'when you get that many ladies (older) with that much experience and ask them to do a nice dinner--they come up with their very best recipes and try to out do each other.'  He said it was fantastic!
Tomorrow is our Primary program.  There were 6 kids there last Sunday.  I hope we have enough to be heard when they sing.
We went to work half of the day yesterday, (black Friday) and then we ran a few errands.  We thought that Macy's had some good buys.  It is a  large store here in the mall.  We have some missionaries here from other countries and the President asked that we get some some gifts on hand in case they don't get anything for Christmas. Now I would like to apologize to Greg for his lack of gifts on his mission to Africa.  We crammed what we could think of into a box and it wasn't very much or very good.  He reminds us that everyone else had piles of gifts and he had his little box.  I'm sure that the postage for the box out priced the contents inside.  We are sorry!  I see now that it is a lifeline to home to have things arrive and that it means a lot to the missionaries.   I hope his mission president didn't have to subsidize his happiness.
I've had a big frustration the past 3 weeks.  A fellow that was the financial person a few years ago took it upon himself to install Time Warner Cable in all the site missionaries apartments and have the mission pay for this service.  The contract ended Oct. 23 and we have been trying to get 16 apartments to give up equipment (equipment they charge $300 for if not returned) and have TW turn off the service.  Another senior elder got involved and it has made it very difficult. (however, TW has been part of the problem also)  I think we are just about at the end of this fun.  I sure hope so.  It's funny how this all was perceived.  Some thought I should lessen their mission cost because they weren't getting this service now.  Funny how we all see the use of sacred tithing funds!  I can feel my blood pressure rising as I type. (will stop now)
On a drive the other morning we saw this site:
This deer must have decided to die on the front porch.  However, when I rolled down the window it smelled like it wasn't fresh kill.
Life is good, we are blessed beyond belief, and Heavenly Father loves us all!

Happy birthday to Becky, Jaquel, Cruze!  Happy Anniversary to Butch and Janice (mom and dad)! We love you all! and anyone else that had a birthday or special occasion last week.!
Hey we just looked outside and we are going to have to run--they are here for us!

LOL!  Just a driver waiting for a client and stopping for a few minutes.  Elder Merrill went out and talked with him and he didn't know who Brigham Young was.  Guess he didn't want information on the John Young home.
Mormon 6:19
O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the way of the Lord!  O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Nov. 21, 2015

It's hard to believe that it's almost Thanksgiving!  We are still wearing light weight windbreakers or just our dress clothes.  The weather is looking a little more like winter is coming though, the sky is gray and it is a little dreary.  We had a big windstorm the other night and I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  I didn't know when we would have lift off, and then---there was a huge clatter on the front of the house and I woke Dennis up and he said--it's just the chairs on the front porch being blown around.  Well, the next day--the railing on the porch was broken off and the chairs off the porch with it.  It was a BIG blow!

We had a good week and received 4 new missionaries to the field this week.  We got 2 elders and 2 sisters. We sent home 2 sisters and the 2 older sisters from the office.  It is a mixed emotion thing when they leave; they are excited to see their families and friends, but sad to leave the mission and the things they have done here and the friends they have here.  It is a great experience to be a missionary. It's still a great thing to witness the new missionaries being welcomed with open arms to the mission by their new companion and the rest of the missionaries.  Everyone is welcomed and loved!
We fed the new missionaries shepherds pie, fruit salad, bread, and angel food cake with orange sauce.  They are so tired when they get to the mission home; they can hardly think.  (I've seen that look when Annette came--her eyes were twirling in her head before she got into bed; they flew all night and didn't sleep that much and then they got here and we kept them busy all day)
We went to the Temple on Friday night and did sealings.  It is a great opportunity to go back to the Temple and listen to the blessings promised in those ordinances.  It is hard to comprehend all that the Lord has to bless us with, but--(here is our ponderizing scripture)
1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them at that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit, for the spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
On the way home from the Temple we received a call from 2 sisters that had a deer jump out and run into the front of their car.  They were upset, but their car still ran and Elder Merrill had them drive it on to their apartment.  We drove down to Canandaigua Saturday morning to see the damage and what would need to be done.  The car is in pretty bad shape and Elder Merrill told me to meet him at the car repair shop.  I took the Sisters back to their apartment (they couldn't get into park in their normal spot because someone had an accident in front of their apartment) and started off to the shop, and Elder Merrill called me and asked me to come back to where the car was parked.  He couldn't get the car started.  It had a sensor that was messed up and he had to get tape out of our car and wrap it.  It then started and we took it to get an estimate.  (which is going to be high)  It really was a miracle that the sisters made it home with their car.  They were about 2 miles form their apartment and that car was in tough shape.  I know that the Lord protects His servants.

We finished up reading the Doctrine and Covenants this week.  I wrote down the things that would be what we could do to live better from each chapter.  It is very interesting how we can take some of the chapters that talk directly to people of that day and they are given advice that fits us.  We can liken the scriptures to ourselves!
Adison is healing and still continues with the scrubbing of her little leg.  She is doing much better and Jill feels that it will heal well.  There are 2 spots that were deeper than the rest and they will probably scar.  We are so glad that she is doing better.  Jill reports that Sadie is doing some better and is hoping to leave the hospital soon.  That is all we know about her condition.  The Workman's (our housing coordinator/nurse) have a 15 year old granddaughter that had thyroid surgery this week and it was cancerous and they thought it would be contained, but there are lymph nodes involved with the cancer also.  We are praying for her also.  They thing that she will need chemo and radiation.  We don't have to look very far to feel pretty happy with our own situation and then hope that we will be able to be valiant in the trials we will be asked to endure.  It's interesting to see (and not funny at all) how quickly our bodies TURN ON US.  One day they work so perfectly (almost) and then they start having little problems.  We will have to take what comes and love it. (easier said than done)
Happy Birthday to Janet Summers--you are one year older!  Yahoo!  We hope you had a great birthday!
We are enjoying the Spencers.  They took the place of the Sisters in the office.  They are from Mesa, Arizona and are afraid they might freeze to death here this winter.  I hope they can keep warm enougth!
They are very kind and thoughtful.
We are so blessed!  We have such a wonderful bunch of kids and grandkids.  They began building us a new home this week.  The Jagielski family will buy our home and continue to live there and we will come home to a new home.  We learned a long time ago that our kids have much better taste than we do and so they are going to make all the decisions on the home.  We have lots of faith in them and love for them.  Kim and Willie helped with building a road into the building site and then Chris fired up the CAT to help with the spreading of gravel.  The shop will be the first thing to be built.  Chris and Brad are going to be part owners of the shop as they both have things they want to store.  We feel that this will work out great for all of us.

Chris the CAT Skinner
Kim making the road
I am playing the music for the Primary program next week and I am worried about the volume that they will be singing.  There are only about 10 -15 kids and they don't know the words very well.  The Lord  helps the Primary programs--we will hope for the best and leave the rest to Him.
That reminds me of the miracle we saw in Jamaica about 12 years ago.  President Hinckley was going to visit there and Chris wanted to go back and see that happen.  (they had never had a Prophet come to Jamaica)  We arrived early at the amphitheater in Kingston to get good seats and wait.  While we waited there was a small choir practicing on the stage to sing for the Prophet.  They were terrible!  I was worried for them.  It was electrifying with President Hinckley and President Faust arrived.  Everyone was so happy to see them and honored them so much!  The meeting was great!  BUT--the choir sounded like angels singing.  There was such a transformation; could it be the same people that had practiced just a few minutes earlier?  It was so beautiful.  The next day was Sunday and we went to church where the same choir provided a number for the meeting.  I was excited to hear them sing again, but it was back to the choir that had practiced the night before,  Not that great!   Miracles happen on a daily basis--look and you will see!
We got a picture of the leaf vacuum.  Here it is:

A funny:
We went out to dinner with the Spencers on Saturday night to the Macaroni Grill.  We each ordered 1 dinner to share with out spouse.  We got our meals and they kept saying how good their meal was.  We got talking about what we had ordered and realized that we had gotten the meal ordered by the other couple.  We laughed and decided that the meals were just great the way we got them.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Nov. 14, 2015

We have had another great week.  We got the new couple for the office on Monday, Nov. 11th.  They are very nice, and I will get a picture of them next week.  We had a nice luncheon for Sister Paskett and Sister Kennedy after our office meeting on Monday.  I think that they enjoyed it, but Sister Kennedy kept accusing me of trying to kill her by putting candied almonds on the Mandarin Salad.  (everyone else loved the salad)
Sister Paskett, Elder Merrill, and Sister Merrill

Elder Merrill, Sister Paskett, Sister Kennedy, Sister Merrill, Sister Workman and Elder Workman
The weather was nice most of the week.  We did have some rain, but on Saturday it started to get cold.  It looks like we may be starting winter.  I may have to get my coat out--dang!
We stopped and took a picture of how leaves are raked to the sidewalks here in Rochester.  They have a huge truck that goes around neighborhoods and sucks them up with a giant hose.  Seriously--a giant HOOVER picks up the leaves.

We have also seen this week a truck that brings new meaning to, "Bring out your dead"  (the funny, crazy line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail)  We passed a pickup full to the top of the bed with dead deer.  They don't let them stay on the side of the road as road kill, someone actually has the horrible task of gathering them all up and getting rid of them.  So, I won't be complaining about my joy ever again!
As we drove by an Amish area we noticed the corn tied together for their harvest.  Their lives may be less complicated, but not EASY.  This harvest method looks very time consuming.

Elder Merrill had 3 more Zone meetings to attend this week and he took this picture of the Zone in Batavia (the one we belong to).  They are sitting there reading, waiting for the meeting to begin. What great guys!

We drove over to Sam's Club this afternoon to get supplies for our transfer meeting on Monday.  We do a dinner for the new missionaries.  We will get 4 new missionaries and will lose 2 young sisters and 2 older sisters (our friends across the street).  On our drive we saw a large grassy area covered in geese.  We also saw these geese trying to get a drink in the Sam's parking lot.  We walked up to about 4 feet away from them and they didn't try to run off or fly away.   I had to think of my dad and the love he has of hunting ducks and geese.  I think I may be getting a little homesick!

We went to the Temple on Thursday night with the Lehman's.  They are such nice people and we love visiting with them.  I love hearing stories of their life and adventures.  He is always thinking and told us that he took gifts to all the veterans he knew on Veteran's Day.  (he was in Vietnam and understands the sacrifice)  I thought that was so nice and such well deserved recognition.   I'm thankful for all those that have spent their time in the service of our country.  Thanks Rob Jagielski!
Jill called yesterday and we talked about her friend Sadie Shippen Shanz.  She has a little boy that had cancer when he was about 7 months and had such a long, hard battle.  She was pregnant with a little girl last summer and lost that baby and she had to have brain surgery on Thursday for a tumor on the day that her baby would have been due.  We don't know too many details, but she will need lots of brain rest at this point to recover.  Our heart and prayers go out to her.  Jill asked me why Sadie has had so many trials and difficulties.  I don't know the grand plan, but in reading D&C 122 this morning it seems that it may have been written for that question.  Even if we are asked to go through  many trials, it is for our good and understanding and that the Lord, himself, suffered everything.  Everything will be compensated!
Adie is such an incredible little girl.  She has had to have her leg scrubbed 2 times each day to keep from getting too bad of scars from her 2nd and 3rd degree burns.  I asked Jill if Adie cried when she did it for her.  She said, "Yes, she did, but I don't do it for her.  She does it herself." She carefully takes all of the skin off 2 times each day and doesn't fuss about it at all.  I'm so proud of what a little 'tough' girl she is. I told Jill it made me cry to think of how it hurt her and she said to tell grandma not to cry " I'm tough".
Life is good, life is a TEST.  We need to endure to the end.  The best is yet to come!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Nov. 8, 2015

November 8, 2015
We have had a great week, once again.  The weather this week has been in the 70s, but we are supposed to get colder weather and rain next week. 
Last Sunday we were saddened by the announcement that one of the Hannah boys (the family that had caused the problem the Sunday before) had a ruptured appendix and was hospitalized in the Buffalo hospital.  Everyone had a few different thought for the family last week.  They kept him in the hospital until Wednesday and then sent him home.  They didn’t do surgery, but have him on lots of antibiotics.  They weren’t to church today, so I don’t know more about his situation.  Several people have seen him and said that he looks fine.  I don’t know what strategy they are using for his recovery—some said just antibiotics is the only thing, some think they will do surgery after the antibiotics have done their job.  I hope that he will be alright.  I just remember how sick Cindy was and Zach Gneiting this summer.  They were so careful with Zach. 
It is deer season again.  Not only are they being hunted, but the highways are taking many of them.  We counted 10 on the way to church and back that were dead on the side of the road.  That seems like a lot of deer when you consider how many more miles this state has that we weren’t able to count. 
Elder Merrill went to Zone meetings last week to prepare the missionaries for winter driving.  He was going Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to meetings out of the office.  He will go again this week to 3 more.  He really enjoyed being with the missionaries and trying to help them understand snow and ice safety.  He did double duty on Thursday and went early in the morning to the Bishop Storehouse to unload a semi.  The Batavia branch had an assignment for 4 brothers to help with this project and he and 1 other man made it to help.  They got the job done despite the shortage of help.  (Super men!)
Here is a picture of a semi load of cabbage at a sauerkraut plant.  Dennis was standing there just staring and a man walked up to him and ask, “Can I help you?”  He answered that he was from Idaho and hadn’t seen anything like this before.  They both laughed and the man gave him some statistics.  They have been taking cabbage in since August and have about another month to go.  They process 800 tons of cabbage a day into sauerkraut.  Dennis told him of potato harvest and other Idaho things.

We had MLC (Mission Leadership Council)  on Friday and I was asked to do the mail portion of the meal.  We had 32 people and we made chili and corn bread.  Sister Kennedy made a salad and Sister Paskett had ice cream and a cookie.  Chris had told me about serving the kids from BYU-I with 115 lb. of chili and that they hadn’t left any.  He said everyone had loved it and I thought about trying my hand at chili too.  It has been quite a while since I have made chili and I think it was medium good chili.  (I made about 30 lb. of chili and it was almost all gone)  I don’t think I want to go up against Chris in a throw down.  It seemed harder than it should have been to get it to taste just right.  So, there are fallacies in getting older:
  • Things are not easier to do, and things do not just fall into place
  • Food still tastes good, and dieting isn’t easier
  •  Pimples still occur
  • Pantyhose are still ridiculous, but better than a stiff old girdle

Anyone that would like to add their feeling on getting older are welcome. 
We went to church today (reluctantly)  NOT really!  We both had to talk in sacrament meeting.  Our subject was the Spirit.  As I was reading information and putting together my talk I wondered about some of the things the Holy Ghost does for us and why I wasn’t have much inspiration on my talk.  On Saturday morning I woke up with a song playing in my head and this is the song,
“When Christ was on the earth, He promised He would send,
The Holy Ghost to comfort us, our true eternal friend.
The Holy Spirit whispers, with a still small voice
He testifies of God and Christ and makes our hearts rejoice.
And when we are confirmed, by sacred priesthood power,
The Holy Ghost is given to us to guide us every hour.
Oh, may I always listen to that still small voice
And with his light I’ll do what’s right each time I make a choice”
What a wonderful, powerful Primary song the Spirit reminded me of.  It taught such truths so simple and clearly.  We were able to give our talks and I felt good about them both. 
On Saturday we were asked to go to the Westfall building at 9:00 for a meeting for church histories.  (I have a new assignment—mission history)  We went and were honored to have as our teachers the Bushman’s .  He is the author of “Rough Stone Rolling” the history of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Brother Bushman teaches at Columbia University and they were both very interesting.  They are true historians. 

After the meeting we picked up one of the missionaries cars and took it to trade it with sisters in Cattaraugus and then we took their pick up to Elders in Wellsville.  It took quite a while and we didn’t get home until well after dark.  It was only 7:30, but it was SO DARK!  The weather was beautiful for a nice drive.  The trees have mostly all dropped their leaves and you can see things that are hidden more clearly.  There are more houses than were here a couple of weeks ago.
We had lunch in Holland
We ate at the Zider Zee and it was VERY good
We are getting a new couple in the office this coming week and we are ready.  They will be living across the street and we hope to get along well with them.  (to be seen)  Their picture looks like they are younger than us and they look very friendly. 
Friday night little Adie (Jill’s 4 year old) sat down outside on a hot coal.  Jill had been burning trash around her yard, and Adie didn’t see the stick she sat down on.  She burned her leg quite badly and they have been working to keep her happy and clean from infections.  Please remember her in your prayers.  We talked to her on the phone and she said, “I’m fine, I’m tough!”  I couldn’t help but cry for her.
Happy birthday last week to Ava—she is 7.  We are so proud of ‘our little lovelies’  Also, Janet Summers and Phyllis Millar are having birthdays too, but not getting any older!  Happy Birthday my good, wonderful friends!
Ponderizing scripture for last week:

But as it is written, Eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9
The Sanders and Elder Detlor--this is their last day in the mission!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!  There are several places here that are decorated up and they are very spooky and FUN!  TRICK OR TREAT!
We worked, went to the Temple, and had a great week.  Things are going great here.  Our
'Ponderizing' scripture for the week is D & C 58:42  Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.  Isn't that wonderful?  As I was quickly washing dishes at the camp last week so we could leave, I made a HUGE error--I didn't wash a soup pan down in the bottom very well.  The sister drying the dishes took a look at it and giggled and I said, 'it's the job of the dryer to make the dish washer look good' (told to me by Aunt Beulah one day while we were doing dishes at Glen and Ranae's). The bottom of the pan had a big gob of soup left on the bottom.  (I was really embarrassed)  We had a great laugh!  I have thought about that mess in the pan and how our sins look something like that and how they can be blotted out (or washed properly through the Lord) and remembered no more.  It has been a great lesson!
When Grandma Merrill, Marilyn, Hannah, and Becca were here we saw the gardeners at the Temple planting mums.  The flowers they were pulling up were so beautiful and I was so sad, but look at the beautiful mums now!

While we were having our weekly staff meeting a delivery man came into the office and left a large box.  After the meeting I told Dennis it was something from his TIWI (black box for cars) place.  (I didn't look very close because here is what he opened up--

We were so surprised and shocked!  It didn't have a card on it so I sent out a text to all of our kids. Brad sent it to us.  We had mentioned about the milk can dinners and how we were looking for one, and magically it appeared.  We are going to make homemade root beer for the mission Christmas party.  That should be a hit!  Thank you so much!  It's '''so beautiful I don't know about cooking in it.  (but we will when we get home, plan on it!)
Elder Merrill, Elder Longhurst, Elder Clinger (the AP's -Assistants to the President) and Sister Merrill 
Elder Longhurst is related to Cindy and is such a nice guy.  Every time we try to take his picture he gets the cheesiest grin on his face and we tell him, 'you don't have to smile so hard'.  (reminds me when Brad was little and kept telling me that he didn't know how to smile for pictures)  Elder Clinger is from Connie Ball's ward in Idaho Falls and is a great guy (very smart with techie stuff)
Well, we have found a product that is better than 'worm squirm' (to bring worms to the surface).  Our walnut tree out in front has dropped lots of nuts.  They have a big crust on the outside of the shell and so Dennis took off some of the husks and the directions told him to wash the nuts thoroughly.  He did and then dumped it onto the lawn.  The worms came boiling up.  They didn't like it at all.  He dumped some more a few days later in the same spot and there weren't any worms living in that area.  They had either died or moved away from the walnut shell sub-division.  It was crazy!  We are letting the nuts dry now and then we will crack them and see if they are any good.
We had munch and mingle last Sunday after church and it got very awkward.  A lady had foot surgery about 4 or so weeks ago and was sitting on the perimeter of the gym eating her food.  We have a family in the branch that have 5 little kids that don't have any discipline and are very wild. They were running and the oldest boy stepped on the sisters foot.  She came unglued!  Another lady nicely informed him to go back and apologize and she took him over to do it.  He did and she started screaming at him again.  There was a lot of whispering and stares after that and we hope that someone can help each party feel better.  (the branch President was in a meeting at the time)  We will see tomorrow what happens.  The missionaries were upset because that is a good way to make people not want to come again.
Okay, to end with a funny story--last week at the retreat one of the missionaries, who is a sister working in FM (facility maintenance) told about them being asked to build a small room in the top of the Temple while the Temple was closed for 2 weeks.  So they began that task and she was asked one morning to go to Lowe's and get supplies for the day.  She was driving one of the bigger trucks to Macedon and noticed a man lying on the side of the road and didn't know if she should stop, but felt that she should.  She did but didn't want to venture too far away from her truck in case he was trouble. She couldn't hear the man when she asked questions and so she ended up going over to him.  She asked what the problem was and he said his legs wouldn't work.  After a few more questions she asked him what his name was.  He said God.  She couldn't believe it and repeated, "GOD?"  He said it again and then spelled it, G-O-D.  She tried to get him up in various awkward ways and couldn't so she called her husband who told her to call 911.  She did and immediately 2 cop cars were there.  They came over and said, "Tod, you were doing so good--9 months on the wagon.  What happened?"  She said the combination of his being old, drunk and without teeth made it sound like God.  She thought she had met God on the way to Lowe's.
It is supposed to be in the 70's again next week.  That will be wonderful!  (although it hasn't been very cold yet)  Still beautiful!
Life is good, we are happy and healthy, and some what wise!  (we always take suggestions on that one)
Take care of each other and love everyone!  We are so appreciative of all our family and friends!  Thank you for being so wonderful!