Sunday, March 29, 2015

LDS Business College!

Rachel emailed me today to tell me that she made a decision about where she would be going for college.  She has chosen the LDS Business College in Salt Lake City.  It is a two year college that offers business and paralegal courses.  From there she will continue at another university.  They are so lucky! Rachel has many gifts and talents and I knew that it wouldn't matter where she finally decided to go she would be great.  I would have bet my life on it that she would become a lawyer like her dad because she had an uncanny ability to win you over in any discussion that you might have with her.  She is an avid reader and also a great writer so success is just around the corner.  She told me earlier that she really didn't want to go to a big university right out of high school. I looked on-line for information about LBC.  They are owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have about 2200 students enrolled with an average class size of 24 students per teacher. That sounds just like what Rachel was talking about.  So proud of you Rachel!  Go LIONS!!

Missionary Moments #30, March 29, 2015

If you want to see time fly just go on a mission!  It is hard to believe that we have completed another month.  It has been a wonderful week.  On Monday, Elder and Sister Duke came up from Boston where they work at the National Archives, and spent all day helping us work on our document prep.  They are between projects and so the Family Search has them working two days at the Massachusetts state archives and two days here in New Hampshire.  It is nice to see some new faces and we enjoy being with them.  They think they will be here for about five weeks.  
There have been a couple of nice days and we do see signs of Spring but then we woke up on Saturday morning to more snow.  Although it left a dusting of snow on the cars it didn't require much more than a minute to clean up and move on.  All senior couples were invited to the Joseph Smith memorial for a luncheon yesterday.  What an amazing group of people.  We had a wonderful Italian dinner and then they had us each tell a little about ourselves.  That room was full of absolutely amazing accomplished people.  I was surprised how strong the Spirit was as each got up to share a few thoughts about themselves.  President Stoker concluded the dinner by speaking for a few minutes and I have come to understand why the young missionaries love him so much.  He made each of us feel like we could do anything because we came out here not because of commitment only but because of consecration.  As he talked I felt grateful that we had been able to serve a mission and had to keep reminding myself that if we hadn't come we would have missed special opportunities just like we were having right then.  We concluded with a group pictures which I hope to put on the blog once they send it to us.  
On the way back from Vermont I received a call from my friend, Pam Smith.  Friends are so wonderful.  We visited all the way back to Concord and it was a very fast trip!  Scott wanted to find some books on Ancient history so he could learn more about what had happened long before the United States was the driving force in the world, so we drove down to Manchester. At Barnes and Noble he made a list of books that he wanted to read in the coming months and we are going to order them on the Kindle.  On the way back from Manchester I decided that I needed to call my friend Helen Seacord.  She is such a sweet person and her memory is so much like Grandpa Duncan who never missed a beat right to the end of her life and could tell you names and dates and relationships without pause.  Helen mentioned that her baby brother Don who was 81 had died the day before.  Helen is well into her 90s and told me that although he was 81 he was still her baby brother  (be prepared Eden, Will, Peter, and Caleb--you will always be someones baby!).  She is amazing.  
I have come to realize that a mission is a time of refining and that is what I am trying to do.  To be more honest about my weaknesses and then to take time to make those weaknesses become strength.  Some times that can be uncomfortable because that means we have to become accountable for what we could have been doing better.  I will let you know how all of that works out.  Hopefully you will all be able to see a positive change.  Have a great week and enjoy the opportunity to hear from the leaders of the Church next weekend.  If Women's Conference is any indication it will be amazing! 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

To My Daughters

Dear Cathy, Angela, Becky, and Amy,

I had no idea that I would be blessed with four of the most amazing daughters.  Excellent women who would bring me joy in ways that I know I don't always deserve.  I wanted to thank you for your good examples of what a mother can accomplish when she makes the tough decisions.  For choosing the honorable title of "homemaker"  you have reminded me of what courage really is.  I know that it isn't always easy to be everything to everyone but I must tell you that each of you make it look so easy!  President Eyring talked tonight about "submitting patiently" and I have seen each of you doing that in so many ways.  You have given your children so much and although they may not always notice or appreciate it--I do.  Because of you we are enjoying the fruits of your labor, and it is very sweet.  Thank you for your commitment to such a great cause.  I love each of you and I am honored to call you my daughters.

With love,  Mom

To My Granddaughters

Dear Rachel, Margaret, Katie, Miriam, Ruth, Abby, Jane, Ava, and Eden!
Tonight I watched the Women's Broadcast and, as I listened, I so often thought of each of you.  Because my heart is so full I wanted to tell all of you how proud I am of you.  I don't know what the future will bring and what path each of you may take, but I feel so confident in your abilities to seek out righteousness that I am comforted.  You have each been blessed with amazing women to be your mothers.  You will never have better examples than what you experienced in your own homes.  Take the good that they have offered, forgive them for the weaknesses that they have struggled with, and remember that their love for you is never ending.  The world would have you believe that you only can achieve success if you leave home to make your mark on the world.  Not true!  Each of you have a mother who could do anything they set their minds to but fortunately they chose the better part.  Never forget that.  Some day I hope you will be able to tell your mother just what a gift you received from her, because my dear granddaughters she gave you her life.

Love you forever, Grandma

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Would You?

This week I opened a probate file and got a chuckle.  The man's name was--Harry Guy!  I wondered if his parents had a sense of humor because I was definitely entertained by his name.  Fortunately for him, Guy was his middle name so hopefully he escaped some teasing when he was a teenager.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Missionary Moments #29, March 22, 2015

We have had a very interesting week.  We have been consistently taking 10,000 pictures each week and have been able to keep up with our document prep.  We got some extra help when the elders and sisters from the Concord Ward were both able to come in on two different days and help us.  They normally work with Brother Mayville and his wife but they didn't have work for them and instead they worked with us.  It was a great help.  On Wednesday night we got a call from a senior couple who are doing record preservation in the National Archives in Belmont, Massachusetts.  They are waiting for a new project to begin and were told they could come to Concord and help us with the document prep two days a week until the work in the archives is ready, which apparently will be in about five weeks.  Great for the Mayvilles and for us. We will have them on Monday and then on Wednesday they will work with Brother and Sister Mayville. We can't wait to meet them and look forward to interacting with other missionaries who do work similar to us.  Scott and I celebrated St. Patrick's day at a little cafe just down the street from where we work.  We each had the New England boiled dinner which consisted of slow cooked corn beef, cabbage, potatoes, turnips, beets, and pearl onions.  It was amazing.  I was so happy that I am Irish!  In a few weeks I am surprising Scott with a German dinner for his birthday.  I found a German restaurant in Hookset and plan to celebrate his 68th birthday there so he can relieve his missionary moments of Switzerland.  We have been especially blessed this week because we have had many interactions with the young sisters and elders.  The sisters came over to work on a handout they wanted to give out at their zone conference and I was able to help them with that.  We then had them again with the elders when Sister McVey needed a blessing.  How profound these young men are when they exercise their priesthood.  It has been wonderful to get glimpses into what they do every day and especially to see how hard they work.  How grateful we are that many of our grandchildren will have the opportunity to serve in the mission field.  Next Saturday we will be traveling up to Sharon, Vermont for a Senior Missionary dinner and activity so we can become better acquainted with the other seniors serving in the New England mission. We continue to travel around and as the snow is starting to melt we are excited to see Spring join us.  Yesterday when we were at a bakery someone made the comment about the snow that was falling.  She said it wasn't snow, it was just "dandruff" that could easily be brushed off.  We smiled at that and she was right.  Although we had snow it never stuck and it was actually a very beautiful day.  It is fast approaching the time for Janie to be baptized.  So proud of her and know she will be ready to accept the great responsibility of being a member of the Church.  Although we won't be there we will celebrate that special day right here in New Hampshire.  Have a great week and know that we love you all and pray for your continued blessings as we serve our mission.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Harvey's Bakery
 Today we decided to have an adventure closer to home and it began in Dover, New Hampshire just 28 miles east of Concord.  One of the sister missionaries in Concord told us that if we went to Dover we had to go to the Harvey's Bakery.  One of the best bakeries ever!  On her recommendation we headed over and stopped in for some hot chocolate and fresh pastry.  Great decision.  The pastry was wonderful but more important the service was exceptional.  As we sat and ate our treats Scott said to me that although the food was really good, the way the woman who waited on us made us feel was even better.  It was nice of her to give us her time but what we won't forget was her kindness and enthusiasm.

Harvey Mitchel Memorial Library
 From Dover we headed over to Exeter.  We
wanted to see the downtown area since we had
only been to the Church for the mission conference.  Since Exeter is the county seat of Rockingham County we see so many documents that originated there so we were curious to see the local courthouse and managed to find it as well as numerous other interesting buildings around the town.  We finished our exploring in Epping which is just a few miles up from Exeter.  This week when I was doing document prep I came across a folder that involved a trust set up by a very generous man to keep the library in Epping funded for many years after he was gone.  I decided that we should see if we could find this library.  We did!         

As we were driving home after our joyful journey I thought about the sweet woman (who was probably in her late 70s) who gave us her time and her kindness.  I then thought about the wonderful man who left behind his legacy of books to the people of Epping long after he was gone. The scripture in Matthew 25:40 came to my mind, "...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  It doesn't matter if it is a few kind words and sincere interest in someone or if it is a generous trust that would finance a library in the small town of Epping for many years--it is the same and it makes all the difference.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Rent Collector

This was one of the most compelling books I have read since we have come out on our mission.  Wonderful from beginning to end.  The story tells of a young mother who with her husband and baby come to live in the city dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  The author Camron Wright did such a good job in making me part of the book that sometimes I could almost smell the dump, and feel the oppressiveness of their surroundings.  The relationship between the rent collector and this mother develops as they discover their need for each other.  I always keep a notepad by my books in case I find little gems that I want to share.  The first thought was taught to the young mother by the rent collector--her new teacher--when she tells her, "...the desire to believe, to look forward to better days, to want them, to expect them--it seems to be engrained in our being.  Whether we like it or not, hope is written deeply into our hearts that we just can't help ourselves, no matter how hard we try..."  It is interesting to discover the story of the rent collector and to see what happened when the Khmer Rouge took over the country.  I loved seeing the student embrace the lessons taught and her confidence grow as she came to realize that letters became words and words became ideas.  I remember that feeling when I was just a little girl.  One more thought from the book--"I distance myself from Heaven, then complain that Heaven is distant."  If you would like to read a book that will be well worth your time this is one I highly recommend.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

More Names

We are working on documents from 1895 and here were some of the names that we found while prepping the documents for their photo shoot.

Asahel, Ora, Abbott, Imogene, Everline, Francena, Vienna, Lovell, 
                           Wealtha, Data, Arabella, Mianda, Wilhemena, Fannie, Comfort, Phila,                                 Theodate, Clymeria, Abayliew, Flossie


I found a haunted house in Concord yesterday.  So excited I had to go back and take a picture.  First let me say we have driven past this house almost daily for many months but for some reason I looked up at just the right time to see these two "friendly" ghosts looking at me.  Grandkids--thought you would enjoy this!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wearin' of the Green

I have to start by saying that I love St. Patrick's Day--but I was surprised to see what a big deal it is here.  I'm talking about parades, New England boiled dinners, Irish music playing, people with green hats on, and stores with isles of decoration and items for St. Patrick's Day and most importantly a special St. Pat's Day doughnut from our favorite (only) doughnut shop--Dunkin Donuts.  Love it!  I remember our great office staff  at Green Tree East school (Yvonne and Pam) that made a stack of green construction paper clovers to pin on kids who forgot to wear green to school so they wouldn't get pinched.  That was the extent of the celebrations in Victorville.  I did contribute to the festivities today at the Archives with my mint chocolate chip cupcakes with a green mint frosting and a Andes mint perched nicely on top.  What else could I do?  I am Irish--thank you Grandpa Hickey!

Don't Ask For a Hot Dog!

When we planned our trip to Rhode Island we had two food finds that we were told we must have while there.  Since the weather wasn't cooperating we did at least get to enjoy our first find which was a diner with fresh made on site wieners.  The article warned us not to call them hot dogs or the people would pretend like they didn't here what we said.  Good to know!  After wandering for a while until we located the Statue of Roger Williams we headed to Olneyville to enjoy the best wieners in Rhode Island.  And actually they were really good.  Even more impressive was the diner which had to have been built in the 50's.  I felt right at home.  If you are ever in Rhode Island don't miss this great place.  The second thing we were suppose to find was the best Boston Creme Pie which is in Rhode Island at a bakery but that will be for the next time we go that way!

From a Great Man Comes a Great Son-in-Law

When I mentioned that we were going to Rhode Island Christian told me that one of his great, great, great, (maybe more greats!) grandfather was the founder of Rhode Island. So off we went in search of a statue that Christian said was somewhere in Providence. As you can see we found it!  
From Wikipedia I found out some things about this famous relative.  "The political and religious leader Roger Williams (c. 1603-1683) is best remembered for founding the state of Rhode Island and advocating separation of church and state in Colonial America. His views on religious freedom and tolerance, coupled with his disapproval of the practice of confiscating land from Native Americans, earned him the wrath of his church and banishment from the colony. Williams and his followers settled on Narragansett Bay, where they purchased land from the Narragansett Indians and established a new colony governed by the principles of religious liberty and separation of church and state. Rhode Island became a haven for Baptists, Quakers, Jews and other religious minorities. Nearly a century after his death, Williams’ notion of a “wall of separation” between church and state inspired the founders of the United States, who incorporated it into the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights."
Although I appreciate all Roger Williams did I have to say that it can't compare to the wonderful (many greats) grandson that became our son-in-law almost 15 years ago.  Best legacy ever!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Missionary Moments #28, March 15, 2015

It is raining and snowing right now.  I think the weather doesn't even know what it is suppose to do!  This is an exciting week for my brother and sister-in-law because they have completed their missionary service in Slovenia and on Tuesday will be back in the United States.  They have been wonderful examples to us and we have loved hearing about their adventures each week.  

We had made plans to go down to Rhode Island and do some exploring on Saturday.  The weather report said that it would rain most of the day but we were undaunted and headed off early in the morning.  It started to rain lightly just before we got into Boston and has never stop. Again that was fine for us.  The problem we encountered came after lunch when we decided to drive out to the three islands by Rhode Island.  We drove to the first island which was Newport by crossing over a huge bridge and realized that we were surrounded by fog.  It wasn't the you can't see anything fog--just anything in a distance.  As I was driving I thought of Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon.  As you may recall in his dream he finds the tree in which the fruit is wonderful to partake of and he wants his family to come and eat as well so he beckons them to come.  His wife comes as does Nephi and Samuel but Laman and Lemuel refuse.  Lehi again looks out and see many people coming towards the Tree of Life but then a mist of darkness gets in the way and many people wander off and miss the opportunity to receive the great gift being offered.  Others hold onto the iron rod which leads them to the tree where they can partake of the wonderful fruit being offered.  I realized as we drove that I wasn't going to get any pictures to share with all of you and even though I had hoped to show you how beautiful it was we were limited in our ability to share.  I thought how through this experience Scott who had a map on his lap directing me on which way I should go became my iron rod of sorts.  I had to trust him and do exactly what he told me so we could navigate safely off the island and back into clearer weather.  All of us have our scriptures and they are a road map for us to follow so we can return one day to our Heavenly home.  They can't be ignored or neglected but need to be used and valued above all else.  That is a great part of the plan of happiness that has been put in place for us.  

We picked a bad day for island hoping but we will go back and then share the incredible sights of Rhode Island.  Don't worry we still had a great time and found a statue of Christian's relative, Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island and went to a great hot dog diner which serve fresh made wieners made from pork, veal, and beef in natural casings.  They were amazing and literally popped each time you bit into them.  YUM!  Hope you have a great week. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Elder Jensen

Elder McKenzie on left and Elder Jensen on right.
I met Elder Jensen when he walked into our apartment carrying our mattress.  From that moment on he has been my hero.  Elder Jensen is leaving Concord and will now be serving as a Zone Leader.  He will be awesome and we will miss him.  The thing that has most impressed me about Elder Jensen is his positive attitude and his desire to help everyone.  He reminds me a lot of Owen because he always has a smile on his face.

I hope we will have occasion to see him again before he leaves for home in the fall. What a great young man.

Sister Burton

I have found the problem with growing to love our missionaries.  They go home!  From the minute I met Sister Burton I was ready to make her my 21st grandchild!  I wish I could explain how much I love these missionaries and how impressed I am with their work ethic.  I don't think I could ever do half of what they do in a day.  Sister Burton will be missed by the ward and by us.  I expect to hear great things about her in the coming years.  I will even find out her first name!
Sister Boyce on the left and Sister Burton on the right.
Thank goodness Sister Boyce is staying around!

A Big Family Reunion

On Saturday we attended a mission conference that I talked about in our Missionary Moments.  Scott and I had big smiles on our faces as we watched our young missionaries reconnect with old companions. I honestly felt like I was at a huge family reunion.  Before we went into the conference we gathered in the cultural hall for a missionary picture.  It was not like "herding cats" which is what I expected.  The Assistants to the Presidents gave directions and within minutes the area was lined up and ready to go.  It was truly amazing! These young missionaries are truly amazing!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Missionary Moments #27, March 8, 2015

It is amazing to see the time flying by as we enter the 7th month of our mission.  This week I finally figured out how to keep our work in the right report which shows how many pictures we actually take from week to week.  The weather is starting to warm up and yesterday it was a warm 27 degrees!  I can smell the grass growing underneath all of this snow and can't wait to see what Spring looks like in New England.  On Friday night we were invited to dinner with the senior couples in our mission.  We ate at the Mission President's home and had a wonderful Italian meal.  Sister Stoker is an amazing cook.  While there we met with about 8 missionary couples who are serving in various capacities throughout the mission.  Most of them are in small branches helping to support the branch they are in.  We also have a couple that does that as well as the wife serving as the mission nurse.  We met Christian's moms cousin and her husband who are serving in the mission office.  Another interesting couple we met is related to grandpa all the way back to the Israel Putnam line.  Such a small world!  On Saturday morning we were able to attend a mission wide conference which was so amazing for many reasons.  We started with a mission picture in the cultural hall and then moved into the chapel for a two hour meeting with Elder Hallstrom, one of the Presidents of the 70s, Bishop Causse from the Presiding Bishopric of the Church, and Brother Bennett who serves as the Area Seventy to the New England states.  Sister and President Stoker started the meeting by bearing their testimonies and then we heard from the others.  Amazing experience.  In our mission we have 184 missionaries serving right now and that doesn't include the senior couples.  Everyone of them were so engaged with what they were being taught and the Spirit in the meeting was strong.  Elder Hallstrom asked those sisters who came out to serve at 18 to raise their hands.  Two thirds of the sisters raised their hand.  He told us that since President Monson announced the change in age to 19 for sisters that the number of sisters serving has gone from 13% to 30%.  He then asked the Elders to raise their hands if they came out when they were 18.  More than half raised their hands.  Elder Hallstrom then said, now you can see the result of prophetic counsel.  He told the missionaries that the efforts they make on their mission will establish what each of them can be.  He also reminded the missionaries that their mission should not be the high point of feeling the Spirit and encouraged each of us not to lose the ability to be taught by the Spirit.  He said, we ask you to have one convert on your mission, we want that convert to be YOU. Very profound and I believe we all felt the impact of his words.  I wish I could have shared even more that we heard by Bishop Causse and Brother Bennett because they were also such great teachers.  The meeting seemed to be over before it began and we sadly left to resume the work ahead of us.  We are so grateful for this opportunity and it has been a wonderful experience for both of us.  I realized last night that this month, (March 5th) I have been a member of the church for 55 years.  So very grateful for our new neighbors who shared the gospel message with our family.  So proud of my parents for being humble enough to accept the message that was shared.  So thankful for all the people who shared their testimonies with me while I developed one of my own.  Especially grateful to an older brother who lead our family when we weren't strong enough to do it on our own.  Thank you Buddy!  Have a great week everyone. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Wednesday Letters

You will need to get your tissues ready if you decide to read this book.  After reading some intense books I decided I would like to enjoy some light reading but found that it wasn't the case.  The story begins as a husband and wife die during the same night.  The rest of the story tells of the three children who discover some interesting facts about their father and mother that they didn't know. Great story about forgiveness and is worth your time.  Jason F. Wright made the story come alive and the time I spent reading was definitely not wasted.  As I was reading I came upon this sentence in the book, "I feel like I'm sleeping in a history book."  I loved that because I feel like I'm living among some of the greatest history of our nation and I just can't get enough.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rise and Shout....!

Seems like just a few years ago you were
starting Kindergarten.
Congratulations to Perry.  He received his acceptance to Brigham Young University in Provo.  So proud of you grandson.  You always work hard and do your best and now you can enjoy accomplishing a goal you had set for yourself.  So glad your roommate will be your cousin Nick--what a dream team!  I hope you will work hard and have a great time while you are there.  Still trying to grasp the concept that you are old enough to be a college student.  Go Cougars!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Happy Birthday Bruce!

It is hard to believe that you are now eleven years old. You have been the spoon in the family who stirs everything up and makes sure everyone is well blended.  You have embraced life in your unique way and kept all of us on our toes.  You have been an athlete and a winner in the swimming pool.  In fact I suspect you could do most any sport and excel at it because of your determination.  I have always loved watching you whenever we went anywhere because you are the first to extend yourself to others and your ability to make friends is amazing.  This ability will make you a great missionary some day.  You love reading fantasy and adventure books.  You are now a Boy Scout working on merit badges and I look forward to watching you become an Eagle Scout.  You are what we use to describe as a "bodily-kinestetic" learner who has to be learning by doing.  That might be building stilts, digging a trench in the garden, or hanging the teeter totter from the monkey bars with a rope!  I look forward to seeing what you will be doing in the coming years.  I suspect it will be very impressive!  Happy Birthday Bruce!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Presidential Library #6

Yesterday we traveled in four states to reach our sixth presidential library.  I admit the states are pretty small!  We loved visiting Franklin D. Roosevelt's library which was started in 1939.  I can't say that I liked this more than the others we have visited because each is so unique to the person and perspective is different in each one.  For us the experience left us with a profound respect for our parents who experienced every aspect of this time in history.  We have felt the impact of their experiences as we grew up in their homes.  I can honestly say to our grandchildren that their great grandparents were amazing people and they provided a worthy legacies for each of them.  With the combination of technology and great record keeping we enjoyed many glimpses into such a difficult period of time in our history and it is safe to say they came out the victors.  May we have the courage to stand for principles as they were willing to stand for theirs.  Driving through Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York was wonderful.  Even covered in snow it was beautiful and the familiar names of towns like Worcester (Woo-ster), Hartford, Poughkeepsie,  came to life for us as we saw their downtown areas so old and yet so alive with history.  We were a little more than excited when we came upon a Sonic Burger where we stopped and had a great lunch before heading to the library.  You have to understand that all we ever see is Burger King, Wendy's, and McDonalds!  It was a great day and has us excited to begin doing even more exploring before our remaining year ends.
This was the entrance to the library.  You have two choices.  You can tour their home and you can go into the Presidential Library.  We had planned to tour the house but spend so much time in the library that we missed the home tour.  
Franklin and Eleanor outside the visitors center.  

This is the actual library.  The building was started in 1939 and the actual library where he use to work is still there.  It was full of his books he used during that time as well as one of his wheelchairs that people very seldom saw.  The displays for the years he was in office were very well done and worth seeing.
This is their Hyde Park Home.  We had planned to go inside but missed the tour.  He said shortly before he died that he would love to go back to his home by the Hudson River.  He contributed much to the world and our country during his tenure as President.  Much for good and some that has not been as good but I believe he was made for that great and important time in history.  

Sonic Burger

You probably can't understand the delight I felt when we came upon this Sonic Burger in Poughkeepsie, New York, but having a choice that didn't involve McDonalds, Wendy's or Burger King was so exciting.  I enjoyed my first New York "Dawg"  and tater tots with a cherry flavored diet coke and Scott feasted on Chicken Strips and onion rings with a strawberry lemonade.  It was a feast!

Missionary Moments #26, March 1, 2015

This has been a great week for us.  Because folders are in we were able to work consistently every day this week and reached our goal of taking over 10,000 pictures when we left work on Friday.  On top of that we are finishing up earlier than we use to.  We have talked about doing more but with dad's sore neck and my wimpy back we decided to not push our luck.  The weather seems to be getting a little milder and we enjoyed several days with the temperature in the high 20s.  Yesterday we decided it was time to have a big adventure so we drove down to Hyde Park in New York and enjoyed an afternoon at the Franklin D. Roosevelt presidential library.  It was a surprisingly emotional experience for both of us since both of our parents had experienced much of what they showed in the library.  Since he was President for three terms much history took place and the library did a great job of portraying the various aspects of the depression era and World War II.  I was reminded many times as we wandered through each exhibit that Heavenly Father had and has a purpose for everything that happens in our lives. The real challenge is coming to an understanding of what that may be for each of us.  I believe one of the best things Scott and I have been able to experience is visiting the various presidential libraries in the last ten years.  We plan to stop at the Gerald Ford library in Michigan on our way home from our mission and after seeing Ben and Becky and family we are going to drive down to see Bill Clinton's and our three Texas presidents libraries before heading west.  That will leave Jimmy Carter for another time.  Next week we are attending a Mission Conference in Exeter, NH which the Area Seventy, and a counselor in the Presiding Bishopric will speak to us. We are really looking forward to that!  Our mission has been so much more than we had expected and we are so grateful for this opportunity.  I think sometimes we have to learn things about ourselves and this mission has shown us many things--both good and bad that we need to work on so we can accomplish much in the time we remain here.  That is a great blessing! So proud of all of you for being so supportive to us while we serve.  People are always so shocked when they find out we have left 20 grandkids behind but they don't understand that we brought all 20 with us!