Sunday, May 31, 2015

Meet Our Class

These are some of the nicest kids you will ever meet.  We teach the 14 to 17 year old Sunday school class and these are our regular attenders.  They know the gospel and they impress us every week with the comments they make.
They are few in number here in New Hampshire but they are mighty in commitment.

Grandkids Gifts--Ellis

 This has been a busy year for Ellis.  He just completed his freshman year in high school, his first year of early morning seminary and he finished up officer candidate training for the cadet corp.  He has also been involved in the scouting program and takes piano lessons.  His mom has mentioned to me several times that Ellis has been wonderful to help out whenever she needs it and does it well.  To say Ellis is an avid reader probably doesn't say enough because he loves reading and will often read a book more than once if he enjoyed it.
He is full of surprises.  When he was promoted in cadet corp he was excited not because he was given the promotion but because everyone would have to salute him. Ellis will earn the respect of his fellow cadets by his example of fairness and honesty.  He will work hard and they will know that he won't ask them to do anything that he hasn't been willing to do as well.  Ellis has the gift commitment.  Whatever is required of him he will accomplish it and it will be done well.  I am excited to see what he does for his Eagle Project because whatever it is will be impressive.  Ellis never just gets by he is willing to go the extra mile to accomplish his goals.  What a good example he is to our family.  His talents will bless many people in the coming years.  I salute you Ellis and feel honored to do so.  

Lego Creations #2--Robots

This was the second challenge for the grandkids.  This time the creation had to be a robot.  Grandpa is the judge of each contest and he never knows who made each of the Lego creations until after he decides who he thinks made the most creative one.  Good job to all who participated.  Look for a surprise towards the end of the week!
Sharpest Tongued Robot--Jane

Grand Prize Winner!--Duncan

Bravest Robot--Brigham

Cutest Robot--Abby
The Narnia Protector Robot--Bruce

Best Dr. Who Robot--Lincoln

The Scariest Robot--Jeremy

The Strongest Robot--Peter
Most Realistic Robot--William

The Sweetest Ballerina Robot--Ruth

Missionary Moments #39, May 31, 2015

This has been a busy and short week.  Since we have begun the countdown (only 7 more days) before Andy and Angela and the kids come we are trying to take extra time each day to get more documents photographed.  We won't be working for the first week they are here and hope to keep our goals intact! When Rachel was here with us I realized how much fun it was seeing things through her eyes.  Now we will get to do that again!  
On Memorial Day we had gone over and found the grave-site for Colonel John Duncan and so yesterday we were going to go again and this time look for two grave-sites for the Hickey/McGriff side of the family.  The problem was that we got all the way down to the city where the first grave was suppose to be (just outside of Boston) only to realize that we left all of the information back in Concord.  Oh to be old and forgetful! Not to worry--I did find an amazing Home Goods store and did some serious browsing and a little shopping.  
It is hard to believe that we have been here for nine months now.  Time truly does fly when you are having fun.  This week we had lunch with the Sister missionaries from the Concord and the Canterbury wards.  We have gotten to know the Concord sisters because they come and work at the Archives each Thursday.  One of our sister missionaries fell last Sunday when they were tracting and had a pretty serious sprained ankle so they came in a couple of times to work with us since she had to stay off of her foot.  It was really a nice experience having them all together.  They are very impressive young women. Friday evening we took the Elders to dinner.  Elder Seely turned 19 and we were able to celebrate with him and Elder Betts.  They are an interesting combination.  Elder Seely just came out and Elder Betts will be going home in July.  So grateful we are sharing these experiences with such capable and committed missionaries.  After dinner we went to the Stake Center where Grandpa and I were able to hear Sheri Dew speak to the sisters in the New England area.  It was phenomenal and she gave a great explanation of "wrestling" when it comes to increasing our faith.  Something I want to work on!  
We have to do a monthly report with an estimate of when the particular job we are working on is complete. This particular project had 144 boxes and as of Friday we had completed 104 of those boxes.  If we continue we will finish all of the probate files for Rockingham County by the end of July. Hooray!  The next project is Hillsborough County but it has over 300 boxes so although we will work really hard I don't think we will finish before our mission ends.  It will be fun though, starting back in the 1850's.  

Saturday, May 30, 2015


I have had the privilege of watching Andy work with the scouts for a number of years as a Scoutmaster but found out today that Bill is also doing some scouting in his assignment with the stake.  Apparently he earned an award so I asked Cathy if she would send me the pictures for the blog and tell me what Bill was doing to earn something called the Wood Badge.  She replied back and told me that the--"Wood Badge is a six day, scout leader training. At the end of the experience, you set five goals called "tickets" related to improving the scouting program within your responsibility.  Then you go home to work your tickets. When you finish all five tickets, you receive a new kerchief and the leather string with two beads at the end. (I'm not sure I got the beads in the picture).  Bill's favorite ticket was planning and holding a training for cub scout leaders about including youth with disabilities in cub scouts. He got a lot of good feedback from it and it seems to be making a difference in the dens."  Thanks Cathy!  Love hearing about this and I have been really proud of Andy and Bill for supporting the scout program over the years since.  I believe Bill, Andy and Ben learned much as they moved through the different scouting programs beginning in Cub Scouts.  It is now exciting to see the grandsons begin to repeat some of those experiences.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Colonel John Duncan

We made a trip to Acworth, New Hampshire to find the grave-site of Scott's great, great, great grandfather known as Colonel John Duncan.  We were so excited when we found it with the help of a friendly New Hampshire couple who were out taking a walk.  When we got to the cemetery I told Scott that we should probably just look at every grave with the flags because Colonel John Duncan served in the American Revolution.  It didn't take long to find him.  Buried on each side of him are his wives Margaret Dickey who died and then he married Betsey Prouty.  As a result of those two marriages 19 children were born.
Colonel John Duncan's headstone is in the middle and his
wives were on each side.
Scott was so excited when we found the headstone

Son of the American Revolution

Our Memorial Day!

I would encourage all of our children to take our grandchildren to a Veteran's Cemetery on either Memorial Day or Veterans Day.  What a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by brave men and women.  What a reminder of the scripture in John 15:13--"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  Soldiers are wonderful and I am grateful today we could go and experience the beautiful cemetery where these brave warriors are laid.
As we entered the cemetery the flags were all at half-mast
and bells were playing "Amazing Grace"
I intentionally took pictures where there weren't any people
but there we so many there and I was humbled realizing that
someones son, father, grandfather or friend was being visited.

If you look closely you will find a fellow member of the church is buried here.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Missed You Rachel

 When Rachel came for a visit we had wanted to take her to Polly's Pancake Parlor for a stack of pancakes.  The problem was when we got there it was closed for renovation.  Since we were planning on going to Vermont we decided to go back and have breakfast on our way.  It was a fun breakfast which included two gentlemen who joined us so we could both be seated a little sooner.  They were cousins and one lived in the area and the other had come up for the Memorial Day weekend.  We had a nice visit and talked a lot about Family Search because one of them had really enjoyed doing some family research on it.
The wait time was an hour and a half and that was accurate!  I have heard that the maple syrup wasn't what we have but I was pleased at how tasty it was. The taste was different and the consistency was also much thinner than Mrs. Butterworths!  They bring your pancakes our just a few at a time so they are always hot when you eat them.  My problem was by the time the next stack came out I was full and couldn't eat any more.  Next time we go I will try some of the other kinds that they make.  Buckwheat, cornmeal, plain, and oatmeal.  We will definitely go back again.  I wouldn't even mind sharing a table again!

Ethan Allen

Scott and I went to Vermont this weekend.  It was beautiful and we were able to see many little towns as we traveled around.  We saw a young deer along the road as we were heading back home and fortunately he headed back into the woods before we got close to him.  One of the main projects we had was finding Ethan Allen's grave-site which we did and we were also able to find his homestead.  Why Ethan Allen?  Well Ava wrote to us about him.  She had learned about him in her class and wanted to know if we knew anything about him?  Now we can say we do.

This monument was constructed in the
Green Mount Cemetery in honor of Ethan Allen
The truth is that there was no picture of Ethan Allen
so what Ethan Allen looked like was from descriptions given
by those who knew him.
This was the home of Ethan Allen and his family.
As you come out the front door this is what he saw.
It is truly a beautiful state.

Grandkids Gifts--Lincoln

Lincoln received the Gold Scholar Award at the Junior High Awards Assembly this week.  Students who earn this have to have a 3.8 or higher grade point average.  Junior High can be difficult at best and yet Lincoln has made it a point to have a positive experience.  He has some great friends, he participated in the orchestra and was on the track team.  Along with his regular school work he took an on-line class so he could learn to speak German.  As if he didn't have enough going on in his life--he made it a goal to earn his Eagle Scout award before his 14th birthday--and he did it.  May I just say he is very committed and accomplished an incredible amount of things in the last year.  I believe that Lincoln has the gift of being visionary.  He looks ahead and asks himself,  "What can I do to accomplish good things in my life?"  Then he starts moving forward checking off one project after another until the work is done.  Lincoln is a young man in a canoe with both oars in the water--and he is definitely going somewhere!  Proud of your accomplishments Lincoln.  I am pretty sure there will be many more impressive achievements in the coming years.  Keep up the good work.

Let the Summer Begin!

For several years now Amy has had a summer full of activities for her kids.  I think I look forward to seeing what she will be doing as much as her kids do.  Several years ago they each made a scroll of Book of Mormon stories in which they each drew pictures to go along with the stories they were reading.  They always have science experiments going on along with some great summer reading and fun summer activities.  I included the picture she put on her blog which was waiting for the kids when they got home from their last day of school.  So impressed with my creative daughter.  Let the fun begin!

Missionary Moments #38--May 24, 2015

When we left work on Friday I told Scott that I needed a three day weekend.  I couldn't explain why but it was a hard week for me.  I am so grateful for Scott's good example because he never complains and just keeps on going. How can I slack off with his good example?  We started our weekend in Sugar Hill, NH at Polly's Pancake Parlor (wish you could have been with us Rachel) and had a wonderful experience.  Apparently it is the go to place because there was an hour and a half wait just to get in.  We were asked if we minded sharing a table with other people to speed the time up and we agreed to do that.  After about an hour and a half we were seated with two men who were cousins.  The one lived in the area and his cousin had come up to visit him over the Memorial Day weekend.  The minute we sat down the conversation began and most of it was about family history. The local man told us that he had found Family Search and really enjoyed the experience. When he found out we did record preservation he was so impressed.  He made the comment that now he knew how they got all of their wonderful information.  We spent most of the breakfast telling them about what a probate file was. What happened after we took a picture of the document and where some of the places are that record preservation missionaries are working.  I felt so proud of the Church for providing such a valuable service and felt good to meet someone who is benefiting from the work.  Oh by the way the pancakes were worth the wait.  They have plain, cornmeal, buckwheat, and oatmeal. They had real maple syrup which I have to say was very good.  We will definitely be going back and the waitress gave us a card to use so that if we came again we could get in a little faster! When we left Northern New Hampshire we went over into Vermont and headed towards Burlington.  We wanted to find some things about Ethan Allen because Ava had told us in a letter that she had learned some things about him.  It took some doing but we not only found the cemetery where he was buried but his homestead.  The area was beautiful and it turned out to be a really nice trip.  This morning when I opened my email in preparation for writing our missionary moments there was a email from Family Search telling me I could view the gravestone of one of our ancestors.  When I clicked on it I found that it was a many great grandfather through my Grandma Della McGriff Hickey line.  His name was Nathaniel Tilden and he was born on July 28, 1583 and died July 31, 1641.  The exciting thing is that he is buried in Scituate, Massachusetts which is just southeast of Boston.  I know where we are going next weekend!  We had already planned on finding the grave-site for one of Grandpa's many great grandfathers.  I will let you know what we find.  Because it is Memorial Day tomorrow we are going to spend some time in the cemeteries around here. Be sure to check the blog later in the week and I will share some of the wonderful things we discovered.  We will definitely start at the Veteran's Cemetery which is just 15 minutes from our house.  So grateful for all of the members of our family who served.  My brother David will always be a hero to me because of his love for our country and the suffering he has endured as a result of his injuries in Vietnam.  Thank you Veterans! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Grandkids Gifts--Rachel

For the last few years I have noticed something very nice about Rachel and although she is amazing for many reasons I love the love and respect she has for each of her siblings.  While she was here, whenever we talked about one of her sisters of brothers she always had something nice to say about them.  She seems to be the family cheerleader of her siblings accomplishments.  If they live up to her belief in them they are going to be some amazing adults.  What a wonderful gift to be given to have someone in the family who goes out of their way to recognize and acknowledge the special talents that each member of the family has.  Let me just be the cheerleader now and tell everyone that Rachel is incredible!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Grandkids Gifts--Perry

Scott Perry Duncan
I talked to Angela today and she told me that Perry had fixed her washing machine.  It hadn't been fixed yet because the repairman said that it needed to have the electrical panel replaced (or something like that) and it was going to be a pretty hefty bill.  Perry convinced his mom to let him have a look at it.  In no time Perry solved the problem with a $30.00 purchase of a tool and the machine is working wonderfully. He is amazing.  If you have a problem Perry is the definite go-to guy.  His range of ability is truly a wonderful gift and he is one of the most generous people when it comes to helping others. We never leave our young missionaries that they don't ask "Is there anything we can do for you?"  When Perry starts asking that question as he serves as a missionary he is going to be an amazing help. Besides the fact that he is extremely gifted in fixing things he is always willing to do anything he can to help others.  No matter what our gifts and talents are do we take the time to help others.  I hope so because we have a responsibility to increase our talents--not to hide them.  Good job grandson.  We are very proud of you.

Update--1938 Hurricane

I put a blog on earlier about a book I head read about the hurricane that hit the New England area in 1938.  Imagine our surprise when we were driving around looking at various areas here in the Concord area when we came upon this sign.  Be sure to click on the picture if you can't read what is written.  The power of wind and water is just amazing to me.


It has been wonderful watching the area green up and become very colorful.  I love seeing all the flowers coming up and the colors are beautiful.  Wish you were all here to enjoy it with us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sweet Memories!

I just found this picture taken so long ago but still a wonderful fresh memory of good times with our family.
To see this bigger just click on the picture.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Brigham is winding down the school year as a character in the Shakespeare play "Comedy of Errors".  I'm sure he was amazing!  I have to admit when I saw the picture I kept thinking who is that tall kid!  Couldn't possibly be Brigham--but it is.  Love all of these great opportunities that all of you are having to finish out the school year.

Next Lego Challenge!

Last months boats were awesome grandkids.  I hope you enjoyed the treats we sent to those of you who participated.  It is time for the next challenge.  Please submit your picture to grandpa and I by May 31.  This months challenge is ROBOTS.  Can't wait to see your creations!

Grandkids Gifts--Owen

Owen's jazz band teacher is retiring this year after 38 years as a teacher.  I have heard Owen's group play a number of times and they really are exceptionally good.  I was glad to hear that Owen was part of a discussion about what they could do to recognize their beloved teacher who had given them all a solid foundation in music.  After some discussion they decided they would commission a piece of music to be written to play for him.  He helped to raise the money to to pay for it.  I appreciated so much that Owen recognized the importance of gratitude.  That he was a part of a program that told a man who had given so much to his students, "Thank You."  In the Doctrine and Covenants 59:21 it says, "And in nothing does man offend God, for against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not His hand in all things..."  In order to remember to thank our Heavenly Father we have opportunities every day in our daily activities to thank other people for what they have done.  Doing that helps remind us that from God we have received even more. You did a good thing Owen.  You represented yourself and your family as a person who notices the good things that happen in your life and you take time to say 'thank you' when you can.

Grandkids Gifts--Caleb

Caleb in on a soccer team.  He has been so excited to play and when his mom took him to get everything for his first practice he had to wear the shin guards the rest of the day.  For several years he has watched his big sister play and now he is the one who would be running up and down the field chasing and kicking the ball. Andy told us that he had a great game the day before Mother's Day.  He went on to tell me that Caleb made two goals and he was grinning from ear to ear telling his family that he made a goal!  The problem was he made the goal for the opposite team.  Don't you love a good game where everyone cheers you on even if you don't do everything exactly right.  Caleb knew that something significant had happened and that was good enough for him.  He will learn soon enough that the rules of the game have to be followed.  That will probably take some of the fun out of the game--but he will adjust and do what needs to be done. In the meantime he had a great day and made two goals.   Keep on kicking Caleb!

Grandkids Gifts--Ruth

Several things have happened that has had me thinking a lot about some of life's lessons.  This has happened from things that I have heard about our wonderful grandchildren so I decided I would have a continuing post entitled "Grandkids Gifts" so I could share their joyful journey of discovery.

Amy has had a very interesting month or two beginning with a flood that ruined her downstairs floor.  Into all of that came a baptism, two birthday parties, new floors downstairs, play practice for Ruth, dance practices for Ruth, Eagle project for get the picture.  On one of those busy days she was driving along and came up behind a very slow driver.  She had a conversation with the unknown driver explaining that she needed to get out of her way because she didn't have time to dawdle!  From the back seat Ruth asked, "Mommy, do you remember when our old van broke and the car wouldn't go faster than 15 miles an hour?" "Maybe that person is having car problems like we did."  "Or maybe she has a baby and they need to change a dirty diaper so they have to go slow so the baby doesn't get hurt."

Ruth has a very empathetic heart.  We all need Ruth's in our life to offer perspective and even more important--kindness.  No one is on earth without their own set or challenges and not all of them involve driving slow.  Ruth just reminds us that we need to give everyone a little breathing room while they make the journey.

Missionary Moments #37--May 17, 2015

What a great week.  We have been talking about increasing our number of documents that we take pictures of and so this week we thought we would try to do an extra 200 pictures which would make 1200 pictures that we take of documents each day.  We met the goal quite easily and when we started checking the time we realized that we are still finishing up at the same time as we finished when we were only capturing 1000 documents a day.  I think it was Elder Holland who said we would be surprised to know all the angels who are supporting us.  I think they are definitely in the archives!  We often hear about hastening the work and we are proof that you can put two people who are definitely not very computer literate and came into the record preservation program very hesitantly and for the first month we could barely get 500 copies done in a day to the point where we are easily accomplishing our goals and still have time to get home and take a nap before dinner!  (Whoa-that was a long sentence!) This experience has been a great reminder that life is good. 

Yesterday we attended the Boston Temple.  What a beautiful building and what a wonderful day we had.  For us the uniqueness of this temple is the diversity.  We met a couple from Finland, several people from Africa, an older couple from the Philippines and several from various Asian countries.  Boston is a diverse city and so is the temple.  We are also experiencing all of the flowers and trees who are getting dressed up for summer.  I hope to put some of the pictures of that on the blog this afternoon.  

When we got back from attending the temple we decided it was time to clean our car.  That is a little more complicated when you live in an apartment.  We took paper towels, Windex, a wet soapy rag, a wet un-soapy rag and then drove to a car wash so we could vacuum out our car and then clean all of the interior.  That was doable except that we didn't have enough quarters! Once that problem was solved we got busy.  The sad truth is that although we have the fancy mats we have serious salt build up from our winter and although we tried hard to get it off we weren't successful.  I guess when we are back in Victorville it will be a fond memory of one of New Hampshire's harshest winters. 

In less than a month we will be seeing Andy and Angela and the kids.  Can't wait to show them how beautiful it is here.  We have enjoyed seeing long row boats and canoes and kayaks up and down the Merrimack River and lots of people walking and jogging around.  Everyone here seems to take advantage of the few months they have of nice weather.  Right now our worry is black flies and mosquitoes and of course the ticks that carry Lyme disease.  Everyone we talk to tells us another horror story but we are okay because we survived the winter just fine!  Have a great week.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Fathers and sons outing.  Christian, Lincoln, and Duncan ended up getting a little bit more than they bargained for.  Who would have thought that in Arizona in the middle of May their great adventure would involve snow.  This will be an activity they won't soon forget.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Little Love Story

In preparing some documents today I came upon a will written by a Joseph Wingate who wrote the following:
"First, stating in order to show the love which I have for my late wife Mary Green Wingate that at (couldn't read the name) in the Empire of China...I devised and bequeathed...all my property..."  When I got home I looked on google and found that she had died when she was 40 years old and that they had no children. From the size of the folders (there were four of them) he was a fairly wealthy man.  What touched my heart was the fact that in writing the codicil he started it with the above information.  And although she had died already he wanted everyone who would see this to know that he loved her dearly.
I think that is a sweet love story.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Another Eagle Has Landed!

On Saturday Lincoln along with a group of wonderful young men in his ward worked at the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, Arizona.  Lincoln has spent a lot of time there bird watching and when it came time to choose his Eagle Project it only seemed right that he do something there.  With the help of a conservationist he was able to make a special area for visitors to enjoy when they come to the preserve.  His mom said he was amazing and worked so hard.  Just as impressive is the number of boys who stayed right with him until early afternoon when they finished the project.
Way to go Lincoln.  You have followed the wonderful example of your grandpa, your dad, and your cousin Perry. Having your Eagle will always tell people that you know how to plan, organize, solicit help, and accomplish admirable goals.  Keep up the good work.

Peter Pan

Ruth is in the front row in purple--she's the cutest one!
So proud of Ruth.  She has worked hard most of the school year in preparation for the play Peter Pan put on at Highland Park.  Knowing Ruth I know she did a great job. Can't imagine a cuter fairy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spelling Bee Champ!

So proud of Ava.  She won the second grade spelling bee at her school this evening.  She is such a smartie!

      Way to go Ava.  I think you are...           W O N D E R F U L!

Monday, May 11, 2015


The reality keeps hitting me in the face.  Perry is getting old!  Friday night he and Alexandra went to the Mormon Prom and according to Perry they had a great time.  All that is left is graduation and then he will be heading off to BYU!  Proud of you grandson.  Impressed with your good taste in friends.

Happy Birthday Becky!

Couldn't get my picture to cooperate so Becky
has to share this space with Ben.
What a blessing you have been to our family.  I often think of Ruth who joined a family that believed differently than she did but she embraced them just as you have embraced all of us.  We love you Becky.  Your example of goodness shines for us all.  You love your family, you love learning, you love the soil and your "green thumb" is inspiring.  What lucky children you have.  You nurture them, you love their dad, and you love us.  We are all better because of that. When I think of you I think you have a quality that your father-in-law has.  I believe you are a unique person who is without guile.  I know that Heavenly Father loves you and he is so proud of the woman you have become.  Your parents were so blessed when you were born.  Happy Birthday Becky!