Sunday, June 28, 2015

Missionary Moments #43--June 28, 2015

It has been raining since about 8:00 p.m. last night and I have all the windows and sliding glass door open to enjoy the sounds and the feel of the cool air.  I realized this week that we have only had about 3 days this summer when the temperature has been in the 80s.  When I hear about the temperature in Arizona, California, and Utah I feel quite grateful! Scott and I were very excited this week because we broke our capturing record again and we took over 12,000 pictures which is 2,000 over the goal we had set just a few months ago.  We now have 32 boxes left before we have completed the county we are working in.  We do about 1 1/2 boxes a day so our goal to finish by the end of July seems very possible. Scott has been recovering from a summer cold which has frustrated him to no end.  He has gone through two boxes of Kleenex but I think we see the light at the end of the tunnel as his coughing and sniffing are much better.  Other than that we have been so grateful for good health and fortunately we only missed one day of work since we came here when I had my gallbladder taken out.  We definitely count our blessings each day as we head to work.

Yesterday we visited downtown Concord to participate in a street fair they were having.  There were booths of every kind and people everywhere.  There has been an ongoing project to redo Main Street Concord and I suspect they have encountered many problems as they proceeded because although it was suppose to be done by now it isn't and they had to do some make shift fixes so the scheduled activity could go on.  When the area is completed I know it will look great.  From Concord we drove to Manchester to check out their downtown area. Although Concord is the state capitol it is about half the size of Manchester.  We enjoyed seeing the area and from there we headed to Nashua where we enjoyed our lunch at Chick-fil-a.  It is worth the drive just to have their chicken nuggets and for Scott the peach milkshake!  The rest of the day I worked on putting the finishing touches on the Sunday School lesson for today. 

The news on Friday was disappointing to say the least but by the end of yesterday I resolved to replace my fear with my faith and move forward.  So grateful for the efforts of so many (such as Bill and our church leaders) who tried hard to help people understand what this meant.  Now it is time for all of us to double our efforts in teaching our children correct principles and courage to deal with the challenges that are ahead of them.  With the great parents they have, our grandchildren will have a definite advantage.  Have a great week! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See

It has been a long long time since I did a post of a book that I read and there was a reason.  I didn't enjoy this book but kept trudging through it thinking that it would become as enjoyable for me as it was for the people who had written reviews.  The book was written by Anthony Doerr and it was a Pulitzer Prize winner.  For me it wasn't a winner and by the end I was mad at myself because I kept reading it.  I should tell you that Scott read it and thought it was great so it was just me!  The story had two characters that we follow throughout-a German boy who was brought into World War II because of his special ability fixing radios and a French girl who goes blind when she is young.  Throw in the mix a supposedly magical gem and the French resistance and you pretty much have the basics.  I guess this just wasn't my kind of story.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Loved seeing my maiden name on an awning across the street from the Boston Commons.  

Grandkids Gifts--Ava

We spent a wonderful week with Ava and her family when they came for vacation.  We have lived close to her and her family since she was born and love seeing her growing into such a sweet and smart girl. I was pleasantly surprised to notice the special gift Ava has on our trips through New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and while we were in Boston and Cape Cod.  Ava has the gift of observation.  She notices things that as adults we don't take time to see.  I loved how she would stop us and point something unique that none of us had noticed. A cluster of snails attached to a rock in a marsh in Maine just under the water.  She notices people and places and things and always impresses me as she shares her perspective.  I love that Ava isn't just on the journey of growing up but she is enjoying the journey as she goes.

Ten Years of History

Scott and I have started working on probate files from 1910.  It is so interesting to see what was occurring while life was going on in New Hampshire.  Here is some of the highlight of events beginning in 1910 to 1919.

  • 1910--Boys Scouts started in the United States
  • 1911--1st transcontinental airline flight from NY to Pasadena.  It took over 82 hours
  • 1912--Fenway Park in Boston, MA opens
  • 1913--16th Amendment to the constitution is ratified which instituted the federal income tax
  • 1914--Mary Phelps Jacob patents the first bra in the United States
  • 1915--The Lusitania is sunk by a German U-boat killing 128 American passengers
  • 1916--The National Park Service in created by President Woodrow Wilson
  • 1917--The U.S. Senate declares war on Germany
  • 1918--The influenza epidemic kills over 548,000 people in the United States
  • 1919--The Treat of Versailles is signed which ended World War I

Monday, June 22, 2015

Grandkids Gifts--Abby

Abby writes us some of the sweetest letters and they usually come with wonderful information and some cute decorating on the letter itself.  We recently received one of those letters and it made me think about her and about the special things I love about her.  It is easy to see what Abby's gift is because it always seems to be evident on her face.  Abby has the gift of a happy heart.  She is able to adapt to any situation.  I love watching her playing with any of her siblings or cousins because you always get a glimpse of the joy she feels.  I love that Abby looks for the good in others and when you are around her you want to be better.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Next Lego Challenge!

It's time for our next Lego challenge.  This month you are to create a rocket ship and it has to be at least 5 inches tall or long.  Get creating!

Happy Fathers Day!

Yesterday we had the privilege of being with Andy and Angela when Andy laid his hands on Perry's head and gave him a fathers blessing.  Perry will start at BYU tomorrow and then in the fall submit his paperwork to serve a mission.  Last week I talked to Ben who told me about going golfing with Miriam the week before and how much they enjoyed the time together.  Earlier in the week I talked to a tired Christian who took time from his job to take care of the kids while Amy went to girls camp in Payson.  I have watched Bill as he serves his family with enthusiasm and delight.

I have been thinking about my father and Scott's father in preparation for writing a blog about Father's Day and I remembered with pride what hard working men they were.  They were raised in the depression era and knew how to work really hard but learning to play was not in their nature.  In spite of that they both raised sons and daughters who knew how to work and fortunately learned how to enjoy life and time with their children.  Now we have the privilege of seeing our sons and son in law emulate fatherhood in every good way.  All four of these men love their children and never hesitate to tell them so.  So proud of them and so grateful that our grandchildren are being raised by such fine men.

May I say to my sweet companion that although he isn't my father that I have loved his efforts as he learned to enjoy being a father.  I still remember looking out the window of our house in Kingman, Arizona and seeing him marching around the back yard playing an imaginary instrument and Bill, Andy, and Ben marching triumphantly behind.  He didn't spend much time talking with his dad when we grew up but he grabbed every opportunity he could to talk with his children.  He is an amazing man and I believe he has shown himself to be a wonderful father.  Happy Fathers Day boys!

Missionary Moments #42--June 21, 2015

The week sped by as we got back to work and looked forward to Friday when we would see Andy and Angela and the grandkids one more time before they headed back home.  It seemed to me this week that I noticed many different things as I worked on the documents.  Sometimes we can go a long time without noticing anything that stands out and then we have a period of time that we are both catching glimpses of a life that is both interesting and insightful.  A few times since we have been doing our work we have come across envelopes that state that they can't be opened without a court order and so we just take a picture of the envelope, and the information inside remains hidden away.  Scott and I both recently came upon envelopes addressed to one of the legatees that apparently never got to them and were never opened. The first time Scott found one like that he asked the head of the archives if he should open it so we could take pictures of the contents and he said no but wanted us to take a picture of the envelope.  This week I had another envelope like that and it sent me into an imagination adventure wondering what was inside.  This particular envelope was thicker than usual and it seemed to have something hard inside.  I wondered what happened to the person who didn't receive the letter or the inheritance that had been intended for them.  When we started working on the documents around 1890 we noticed a new form was inside that is entitled "Inheritances and Legacies" and on these forms they always list all of the people that were to receive something from the deceased.  This information included their name, their relationship to the deceased, rather they were living or dead, and where they were living at the time the information was being gathered.  Most people still lived relatively close but I have seen others who were in China, Ireland, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Washington, California and Utah, just to name a few.  The records we are capturing are truly a link to generations.  Scott was sick earlier in the week but he wouldn't stop working and just toughed it out.  Once we got him some Day-quil and Ny-quil he steadily improved and now just has a cough.  We have had lots of rain this month and everything is so green and lush and it is cool.  I don't think we have been out of the 70's yet.   Sorry to all of you desert dwellers who I understand have experienced heat in the 110 degree range!  Happy Fathers Day to all the great men out there who have been privileged to be called dad.  

Thursday, June 18, 2015


We have tried to get down to Plymouth since we came here and finally made it with Andy and Angela and the kids.  The Plymouth rock is "petite" but all the field trip kids were excited to see it.  The first time we saw the replica of the Mayflower several years ago I was fascinated by what that experience must have been like for those early pilgrims and I had that same feeling again.

So Sad

Today I read a will that made me sad.  The man wrote in his will that when he died all of his diaries were to be placed in his coffin at his feet and were to be buried with him.  Can't imagine taking the time to write about your life only to have them sealed up forever.  How sad for his posterity.  My diaries may not be worth reading but I definitely wouldn't want them hidden away.  Who knows, someone may be able to read something that was written that could be helpful to them some day--at least I hope that would be the case!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Because I'm Stupid!"

Today I read a will in which the grandmother gave a legacy of $1,000 each to her two grandchildren when they turned 25 years old on the condition that they didn't drink alcohol or use tobacco.  If they did they would only get $500 each.

After I read this I thought about a woman who works at the archives.  I see her outside each days having a cigarette.  One day it was raining and I went out the door by our office and almost bumped into her with the door.  She was so apologetic because she was afraid I had to smell her smoke and I told her it was fine.  She talked to me about her (as she called it) nasty habit and then told me that she smoked for years and her son never knew it until he was almost a teenager.  One day she was out behind a building smoking and her son came around the corner and saw her.  He said to her, "Why are you smoking?"  She said without hesitation to her son, "Because I'm stupid!"  I felt so bad for her when she told me this story.  It made me think of my dad who started smoking when he was 12 years old.  He struggled most of his adult life trying to quit and after they joined the church he did quit for a while but soon began to smoke again.  For a number of years I didn't know he smoked because he never smoked in front of us.  I happened to find his ashtray and cigarettes when I was about 13 and then he started smoking in front of us again.  This went on for years.  He tried so hard to stop only to fail over and over again.  After Bill was born and started walking around the furniture he was in the living room and my dad came into the room just as Bill picked up one of his used cigarettes and put it in his mouth.  My dad ran over and got it out of Bill's mouth and then he picked up his pack of cigarettes, the full ashtray and walked outside to the trash can, lifted the lid and threw them away. He never smoked again.  He later became active in the church and he and my mom served a mission in Salt Lake City.

Now back to the will.  As I went through the rest of the folder there was an acceptance of the legacy by the two grandchildren.  They each received $500.  They stated in the acceptance of their legacy that they were not able to fulfill the tobacco clause.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Grandkids Gifts--Brigham

Because of Brigham's recent birthday I have been thinking about him a lot.  Whenever we come for a visit he is always reading a book or talking with his siblings. He seems to be engaged in many good things and according to his mom he likes things "just right."  He keeps his room clean and his personal things very neat. Brigham recently took a class in lawn mower repair and maintenance so he could start his own business.  I think it will be a success.  Brigham is also good with little children which I have seen myself.  He is just a kind person.  He has many gifts but one that has stood out to me lately is his initiative.  When he decides that he wants to do something he goes about making it happen.  If it is in his home, at scouts, or at church he gets the job at hand done.  It won't matter if it is his lawn mower business, his merit badges for scouts, his assignments in the deacons quorum, or his responsibilities at home you won't have to continually remind him to get done--he is already working on it!


We were able to visit the Boston Tea Party museum while in Boston last week.  Truly a great experience with some great people playing the parts of the original colonists who weren't very happy about English taxes.  We each were given a feather and a card with information about one of the members of the original tea party participants on them.  Some of the kids in the audience had speaking parts and I have to say they chose well because one of the little girls really played her part with vigor!  After we were all fired up about the injustice of a tea tax we boarded the ship to do the deed--which Caleb and Ava seemed to enjoy.  After all of the tea was disposed up we entered a museum area and at that point I felt like we were in the Mormon Battalion visitors center when the people in the picture frames started talking to each other.  It was great!
Feathered up and ready to go!

The Scene of the Crime
Two of the Participants Demanding Representation!

Tea in the Harbor!

Missionary Moments #41--June 14, 2015

This has been a busy week which has been wonderful.  We met Andy and Angela and the kids in Chelsea, MA last Sunday night and we were on the go the rest of the week.  We spent Monday in Boston, Tuesday in New Hampshire and Vermont, Wednesday in Maine, and Thursday and Friday on Cape Cod.  Hanging out with Andy and Angela always guarantees that you will see everything and eat at interesting places!  I think that I would pick the Boston Tea Party as one of our favorites. The kids loved it and Caleb and Ava had a great time throwing the tea overboard!  Once you go into the program you begin to play the part and we were huzzahing, booing, hissing, and thumbing our noses at the unfair taxes that were being levied. The Joseph Smith Memorial still ranks high for us because it is just so simple and quiet.  It is a wonderful place to just reflect on what we have as a result of such a humble beginning.  Eating when you are out with Andy and Angela is always an adventure and we have eaten at some wonderful places.  The Holy Donut was my favorite and we will definitely be going back there.  I wish we would have known about it when Rachel was here visiting!  Scott and I had been to Cape Cod and enjoyed driving around but this time we stayed in a hotel which was right on the beach.  It was beautiful and one of the nicest hotels we have been to.  I got up early and spent a good hour just watching the waves and enjoying the whole area to myself.  The hotel had two pools (one outdoor and one indoor) as well as the beach and Perry and Ellis tried out all three. On Friday afternoon we said good-bye to everyone and headed back to New Hampshire and they rode off on bikes they had rented to bicycle along the beach.  One thing we are very aware of is the fact that we aren't as young as we used to be.  When we got home we both fell into bed exhausted and slept in on Saturday morning.  Now I am continuing to enjoy their journey as Angela posts pictures on Facebook.  So glad they were here and that we got to spend time with them.  Although we didn't work all week we still had some work to be sent to Salt Lake. We got another set of boxes which when completed will put us close to our completion date of July 31st.  It will be strange to start on a new county and begin again in the 1850s.  Hope you all have a great week.  Wish you all could come and visit us! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

They Came!

So excited to spend time with Beth and Joe.  They flew in on Monday where they are beginning their church history trip.  I appreciate the time we had to spend with them and although we had to wait for Auto Club to come and get our dead battery going again it was great because I got a few more minutes to visit with Beth. Good friends are truly the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae!

Sweet Love Story

While we were in Boston we met a sweet couple.  They were celebrating their 12th anniversary and came to the Boston Commons where their marriage had taken place on one of the Swan Boats.  She became a nun when she was 17 and then left the order when she was 25.  She married and had two daughters and now grandchildren which I could tell was her greatest joy.  She met her current husband who was a confirmed bachelor and she gleefully told me that now he has two wonderful daughters and grandchildren and didn't have to do all the hard work.  I love meeting so many interesting people and appreciate getting to know them even if only for a few minutes!

Maine Munchies

We spent Wednesday in Maine and again the food was amazing because Andy and Angela do their homework before they come on a vacation.  So grateful for their hard work and we will definitely be heading back to Portland for some more of the Holy Donuts!  For lunch we ate at at a restaurant called Duck Fat and it stretched my culinary tastes but after I settled on the chef's salad I was rewarded with an amazing salad.  Can't even explain how good it was.  Andy and Angela are much more adventurous than we are but I love watching them and their kids being so willing to try different foods.  Their vacation has definitely been enhanced because of all the pre-planning they did before they came out.  When we left Portland we headed to Kennebunkport for a wonderful seafood dinner.

Perry and Ellis had maple bacon donuts

Duck Fat

Google describes Duck Fat as a small European style sandwich shop.
They specialize in food fried in duck fat and they make their own flavored
sodas.  Don't expect diet coke!

Lobster Anyone?

I will be honest this definitely was hard for me.  I can't get the "cockroach of the sea" vision out of my head. I settled on a cheeseburger and it was honestly one of the best burgers I have had so I was quite content. Scott wasn't any braver than I was so he had a chicken sandwich.  In spite of that we had a great time and the service was exceptional.
Loved Caleb's face when his dad's dinner came
Caleb did some pretend eating with his new
stuffed lobster!

Our Food Journey

If you ever want to have a wonderful food adventure just ask Andy and Angela to find some places to eat and your scrumptious journey has begun!  We had so much fun finding amazing food in Boston, New Hampshire, Maine and on Cape Cod.  We had breakfast at the Heritage Farms Pancake House which is located by Laconia, NH.  The breakfast was served family style and they had about 25 different kinds of pancakes.  Ava had birthday cake pancakes with loads of sprinkles, I feasted on the pineapple coconut pancakes, and Scott said the blueberry lemon pancakes were amazing.  We also had banana nut, chocolate chip, buckwheat and a couple of others.  I was so busy enjoying mine I didn't notice what everyone else chose!  Along with the pancakes they serve eggs (any style). country style potatoes, bacon, and real maple syrup.

Besides the food the people (especially the owner) was so gracious and friendly to all of us.  It was a treat and you felt like you had been invited to someones home for breakfast.  We ate upstairs on a long country table and there was a fully outfitted playroom for Caleb and Ava.  Outside they had a wonderful petting zoo with a calf, pigs, chickens, ducks, sheep, goats.  Once you finish eating you have two choices, take home the left overs (and there were definitely left-overs because the serving sizes were very generous) or you can feed the animals the leftovers which the kids loved doing.  
                                                            This little guy was the owners son.  

Friday, June 12, 2015


We were so excited to have Andy and Angela and the kids come for the visit. It has been a busy week but definitely wonderful. The two of them did a great job of finding things to do and places to eat while they were here and we tagged along and just enjoyed being with them.  As much fun as this week has been it is a little bittersweet because I realized today that I have to say good-bye again.  I'm counting on the next nine months going by as fast as the last nine months did.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Visit to Downtown

Normally, Grandma writes a wonderful blog, but I would like to do it, too! Yesterday, Saturday, we decided to drive down Main Street to see how the reconstruction was coming. Before we got more than a couple of blocks south of the street we saw groups of children and their parents marching on sidewalks to support the blind. The children were all wearing yellow-green tee-shirts and holding signs as they walked. It is wonderful that they want to support charities, and this was not the only march like this we have seen in Concord. The police and helpful leaders made sure that everyone was following the rules and the march was very orderly, and the children appeared to be having a good time. I think it is wonderful that there are activities like this in our town. We were able to get onto Main Street, the right side of the street, and we marveled at the progress of the construction work. Decorative street lights are all up. There are benches to sit on in front of the stores, and it seemed that the stores were sprucing up their displays. It is wonderful that Concord is making the downtown a better place to be. I am sure that Main Street will have a new and better feel because of the work they are doing. Good work, Concord!

Missionary Moments #40--June 7, 2015

The missionaries told us that everyone says the last half of your mission goes even faster than the first half.  If that is the case we are in for one wild ride!  It is hard to believe we have been serving for nine months and I can honestly say that it truly has flown by.  We have had a great time so far and it is only getting better. 

I have been a little nervous about the summer because our air conditioner in the apartment sounds like a freight train going through whenever we turn it on.  We aren't using it much. Fortunately it has only been on a couple of times because we have only had temperatures in the high eighties about three days so far.  I keep reminding myself that we both grew up in Arizona and live now in the desert in California so I have nothing to complain about!  

We finished up another set of boxes at the archives and the head of the archives brought us in another eight more to work on.  We are fast approaching 1910 which means our project is almost complete since we are only working on probate files up to 1918.  Once we finish this county we are to begin the biggest county in New Hampshire which is where Manchester and Nashua are.  I smiled at a will I was reading this week.  The man wrote in his will that he was going to bequeath a substantial amount of money to a church which I thought was nice.  Then in the next bequeath he gave a substantial amount of money to another church which I also found interesting but then in the third bequest he gave money to a third church in the community. Three churches and three different denominations.  I figure he was either "hedging his bet" or recognizing the importance of religion in the town where he lived.  

The highlight for us this week has been getting ready for our visit from the California Duncans! The plane will be landing in Boston about 5:30 p.m.  Can't wait to show them all the beautiful areas of the northeast and also celebrate Perry's graduation from high school.  He and Rachel have great opportunities ahead of them and I am excited to see what happens in the coming years. Tomorrow night we are having dinner with the Andreasens who fly in tomorrow to join a church history tour.  We can't wait to spend some time with them as well. Have a great week everyone. 

Happy Birthday Brigham!

You have been such an amazing young man.  When you were born we were so excited.  Being the oldest boy in the family has some great responsibilities.  I think you have been a great son and brother.  It has been fun to hear that you are enjoying scouting and even helped your sister conserve space when she packed to come and see us!  You honor your Priesthood responsibilities as a deacon and  recently performed in a Shakespeare play.  Whenever we have been around I see you quietly going about your day.  You often had a book in front of you and in fact I read one of those books and enjoyed it very much.  I think for you Brigham the possibilities are endless.  You have much to offer and I hope that in the coming years you will continue to do your best and continue to be a good example for your brothers and sisters.  Happy Birthday Brigham!