Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Letters...

Over the past 17 months Wednesday's have become my favorite day of the week. It has become my favorite because it's the day that we hear from Jordan who is serving a mission far away in Brazil. 

Each Wednesday I check email frequently waiting to hear from him. And while letters are wonderful, we especially love getting pictures.  It is the pictures that give us a visual of his experiences with the people, the baptisms, the food and of course, the fabulous Brazilian sunsets.  

Today's letter was fun. In it Jordan wrote about getting a new washing machine and microwave in their apartment!  He wrote:

          "The best experience of the week was this morning when we got a brand new washing machine that actually washes clothes by itself and also a microwave!  President Parrella had said that all the missionaries would get a washing machine but he didnt say anything about the microwave. It was a blessing to get them this morning.  The only downside is that last night we got home to a dark house because they cut our power... apparently some of the energy bills hadnt been paid.  So we have brand new stuff but we have to wait until tomorrow or Friday to use them."

As far as I know Jordan has not had a washing machine that
"washes clothes by itself" during any part of his mission. 
I could feel his joy in the picture he sent.....

That is the look of love if I have ever seen it! :) 

*If you want to read some of Jordan's letters and see his pictures you can go here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hail No!

Today was a lovely day.  71 degrees, sunny, breezy, very pleasant!  I love the spring time with all it's hidden treasures in the form of budding trees and flowers. 

Just this morning I was out taking a few pictures of our Bradford Pear that was snowy white with blossoms. 

This afternoon was a different story...

During the sunny, pleasant weather my computer beeped and on the screen it showed a tornado watch had been issued until 9:00 tonight. 
Okay...weird, but okay. 

Then it got dark and looked like rain.  It wasn't long before the rain started and with the rain came hail -- lots of it! It was coming down hard; so hard that I thought it was going to break our windows!  If there had been a tornado warning I would have never heard the siren because it was so loud with the pounding of the hail on the house! I'll admit that I was pretty freaked out during the loudest part of the storm!

Annah holds a piece of the marble sized hail!

Looking like winter was back!

Water rushing down the street in the early
part of the storm

By the time Jacob got home the hail had stopped but he was happy to play with the leftovers!

It appears we had no storm damage other than a lot of beautiful Bradford Pear blossoms were blown off the tree.  At first glance it looks like snow in the grass but it's the petals.  My rose bush on the side of the porch also lost a lot of its new tender leaves.   

Hello spring...coming in like a lion!   

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Today is going to be a good day!"

Last Sunday night the phone rang and the voice on the other end said he was calling because he was companions with Elder Valenta and he was wondering how he was.
My mind immediately jumped to young Tim, thinking that it was one of his companions from his mission to Canada several years ago. 

I said, "Well, you know he's married and is living in Tempe, Arizona, right?"

There was silence on the other end of the phone. 

He then said, "I was companions with Jordan in Brazil." 

OH!  I hadn't thought of THAT Elder Valenta! 

I laughed and said, "Well, in that case, Jordan is NOT married and he does NOT live in Arizona!" :)  

Then it all began to make sense....
Elder Wenzel was from Iowa and was companions with Jordan when he was in Ouro Branco, Brazil in June and July 2010.  He said what a great missionary Jordan was and that he liked him a lot.  He said that Jordan had written him a letter and he got it when he got home from his mission in November and he felt bad because he hadn't written him back but that he thought about him often.

Elder Wenzel is now going to school at BYU. He said that on Sunday a girl got up in church to give a talk. She commented on what a nice day it was outside and that when she woke up that morning she knew it was going to be a good day. THAT reminded Elder Wenzel of Jordan because he remembered that Jordan would get up every morning and say, "Today is going to be a good day!  He added that one morning Jordan didn't say it and Elder Wenzel made him say it! :)
It was so nice of Elder Wenzel to call us.  I can't tell you how good it was to know that Jordan was still remembered by one of his former companions. I love it that Jordan holds a special place in the life of another.  That is one of the highest compliments that can be paid -- to be remembered, to be remembered in a positive way. 

Pictures of Elder Valenta and Elder Wenzel in Ouro Branco, Brazil 
June & July 2010     

Jordan and Elder Wenzel from Iowa

Ana Paula Baptism June 2010

"I will make thy name to be remembered..."
Psalms 45:17

Monday, March 7, 2011

Proud To Have Been Her Friend...

Last week brought news that I have been dreading...the passing of my dear friend, Laurie.  She was diagnosed with cancer in early January and now, early March, she is gone. 
Laurie with her daughter's Meg and Dawn (on the left)
and her daughters-in law Seirra and Shannon (on the right)

I have never had a friend like Laurie.  Our friendship began with her coming to my rescue.  Back in June 1999 Tim was called to be the bishop of our ward and at the time I was expecting baby #6.  Abigail was totally attached to Tim and was perfectly content to be held by him each Sunday.  His call to be bishop meant that he would be sitting up on the stand and she would be with me sitting in the congregation and most Sundays that did not make her happy.  Jacob was 5 and more than a handful -- some things never change! :) So between Abigail and Jacob and my Sunday morning refereeing gig with young Tim, Andrew and Jordan, I needed rescuing. And rescue she did.  

It began with her asking if Jacob could sit with her just across the aisle from where I sat each week. Jacob was game for anything so there was no protest from him.  Once Annah arrived Laurie would offer to do whatever needed to be done whether it was to hold Annah so I could take an unhappy Abigail out of the meeting or if there was more trouble brewing she would sit with the kids while I took the uncooperative one or two out.  She was there to do whatever she was needed to do. 

Eventually Abigail became brave enough to cross the aisle and join Jacob with Laurie and her family where they would entertain the kids with quiet books and fascinating things that only other people could provide.  In time even shy Annah would have the right of passage and cross the aisle too. 

Somewhere amid her Sunday morning rescuing we became friends. I loved her for her giving heart and her wonderful ability to meet you where you were and love you in spite of yourself. I loved the way she always helped me to see beyond at the bigger picture.  I loved when she shared what she learned and her insight.  I cherish the times we went to the temple together.  I loved that she was my visiting teacher.  I loved that she knew all about me and loved me still the same.  Nothing I could tell her would make her think differently of me.  I am so thankful I had the opportunity to know her and to love her.  I am a better person for having done so.  

Today was Laurie's funeral.  It was a hard day but a good day.  A hard day because of the emotions that were unveiled by all who knew and loved her but a good day because she is not suffering any more.  And it was a good day for  all those that loved her to come together to celebrate her life. 

In the last weeks of her life Laurie said that there was nothing more that she could have wished for in her life.  She was satisfied with the full life she had lived.  I can attest to that fact.  The impact she had on so many lives can not be defined.  The love that she offered cannot be measured.  

I am not sad for Laurie, for I know where she now calls home and she is free from the earthly pain that she felt.  But I am sad for myself that I no longer have her here with me.  It is a selfish thing, I know.  I want her here.  I want to feel her arms around me and her voice declaring that she loves me and my voice declaring that I love her right back.

I will miss her but I look forward to seeing my friend again.  I know I will.  I know in whom I trust.  And I know in whom Laurie trusted and they are one in the same.  

"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust." Psalms 91:2

Laurie, Dawn and Meg

Till we meet again my sweet friend.  Thank you for sharing your life and your love.  I love you beyond words.