Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cape Cod in September

It was wonderful to go back to Cape Cod where we had been with Andy and Angela and the grandkids. We stayed overnight and spent much of the time on the beach.  Such a beautiful place.

Thank you!

I was excited when Bill and Bev wanted to come and work at the archives with us.  They were both a great help and it made it possible for us to get a little ahead on our document prep.  Bill loved looking at the documents and being a lawyer added to interest of the probate files for him.  Bev was great on the camera and it wasn't any time before she was moving those documents through in good time.  Thanks for your help Bill and Bev.  Feel free to come again!

Showing Off!

I love Vermont, I love Maine, but I love, love, love New Hampshire!  We had to take Bill and Bev to the Franconia Notch and then over to North Conway before we came down and drove by the Lake.  Such beautiful country and although the leaves as turning slow this year they are definitely starting to change color.  Can't wait to go again in a couple of weeks!

Hampton Beach Revisited

 We spent Monday in Maine and finished off by coming down into New Hampshire where we visited Hampton Beach.  It was a beautiful day and walking on the beach for a few minutes was a treat.  I also got another picture of the woman waiting for her sailor to return but this time from the front.

Lots of birds but not many people!

Rachel's Joyful Journey

I wrote to Rachel after watching the Women's Conference because I had remembered sitting in the conference center when her Stake young women sang at the conference several years ago.

She wrote back,  "Dear grandma,  Thank you so much for the sweet note and also the package! I love hearing from you and the socks are so great! I love that you thought of me when I was in the choir since they sang one of the same songs that we sang while I was in the choir (dearest children). My dad gave me a few tickets for the meeting and me and my roommate and two of our friends went together. We got to sit on the front row of the balcony. It was truly a wonderful meeting. Here is a picture of us there. School is wonderful, I'm a group leader in my medical law class and my social media marketing teacher showed my assignment to the whole class because he thought I did a really good job."

I am so proud of Rachel and Perry for taking advantage of the wonderful opportunities they are each enjoying.  Where much is given, much is expected and I have no doubt that Rachel and Perry will live worthy of the many blessings that continually come their way.  Owen will follow next year as he attends college and I am without doubt that he to will make the best of each opportunity as well.  They are three amazing kids!

Missionary Moments #56--Sept 27, 2015

This was a week of much joy for us.  Bill and Bev arrived in port on Saturday and we spent the next seven days enjoying their great company and learning much from both of them. Hearing their mission stories was wonderful.  We did many of the usual tourist things going up to Vermont, over to Maine, and around New Hampshire before heading down to Boston to attend the Temple and then over to Cape Cod where we spent a night at the Ocean Mist Motel where we had stayed with Andy and Angela.  Thanks to Andy and Angela we knew the perfect seafood restaurant and they enjoyed a big plate of fried clams!  We walked up and down the beach collecting shells and some other interesting creatures and just soaked in the serenity of the ocean.  We finished our time together by climbing aboard a tour bus in downtown Boston and learned the history of the area. It was hard to say good-bye but we have already planned our next trip together after we get home!

It may sound funny but the highlight of the week for us was taking them to the archives where we worked together for a good part of the day.  Each week we download everything we captured for the week and we then send the shuttle off to Salt Lake for them to evaluate and then make a disk for the New Hampshire archives.  While I was working on that Scott worked with Bill and Bev prepping documents.  Once everything was ready for Salt Lake I brought in Bev and set her up at the camera and had her taking pictures of documents.  She was a natural and was moving the documents through quite quickly.  After lunch Bill got a chance on the computer as well.  I think Bev enjoyed the camera work as much as I do but Bill who loves history loved opening and reading the old documents.  The records they were working on were from the 1830s.  We finished the day in Nashua at the Chick-fil-a because we love eating there!  

Last night Scott and I watched the Women's Conference on the computer.  It was wonderful of course, and when the choir sang it reminded me of when Rachel was in the choir that sang for the Young Women's conference.  Cathy and I were able to go and see her.  I emailed Rachel afterwards and told her about my memories and she wrote back to tell me that she and several of her friends were in the conference center last night for the conference.  I was so glad she is taking advantage of all the wonderful experiences that are available while she is going to school in Salt Lake City.  Have a great week! 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fascinating Fungi

 While at the Joseph Smith Memorial I found this yellow mushroom and if you were able to see it up close it would look like someone did a blanket stitch around the edge of it.  We pointed it out to our missionary and she said she had another one that we should see.  She drove us over to a tree and we saw this amazing mushroom that was shaped much like a beehive.  Pretty amazing aren't they!


On Saturday morning we drove down to the Boston Harbor where we picked up Bill and Bev who had been on a cruise from Quebec down to Boston and then came to spend a week with us.  What a treat!  Our first day together we drove up to Sharon, Vermont to the Joseph Smith Memorial because it is truly one of the most beautiful places to be.  We were so lucky because our guide this time was a senior Sister Missionary who did such a great job and went above and beyond to share the experience with us.  We were able to take a ride into the area around where we saw the Solomon Mack and Daniel Mack foundations as well as a rock bridge.  It was especially beautiful at the memorial and we all enjoyed it so much.  We finished off in Hanover where we had dinner at Molly's.

The Old Rock Bridge

Daniel Mack Foundation

Fall is beginning in Vermont

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

After All These Years...

I recently made some cupcakes for our Sunday School class to celebrate John's birthday.  They were a lemon blueberry and from what I heard, they were yummy.  The base of the cake was made from a lemon cake batter with lemon pudding added and then fresh blueberries.  The reason I mention this is because I have made this particular recipe (without blueberries) at least a dozen times and know that after I mix the cake batter I am to gently fold in the lemon pudding. So of course because I have made the recipe so many times I assumed the directions and skipped reading!   While they began to bake I glanced at the recipe and remembered the "key" to the success of the cupcakes--gently fold in the lemon pudding.  The cupcakes turned out fine but with a less spongy texture than they usually have.  Only I knew that I had made a mistake but it was a mistake and that bothered me.  It made me think about when this has happened in my cooking career and in my life.  The answer was--more times that I want to admit.

I have been thinking about this experience for a while now and have come to the conclusion that there are many reasons for following recipes just as there are many reasons for following rules we have been given in our lives.  When we have a picture in our mind of what our cupcakes will look like or we picture what our life will be like we are often caught off guard when we decide we already know what we are doing and don't need any reminders.  Then of course we deal with the consequences.  Cupcake mistakes are a little easier to deal with because we can quickly put together another batch or squeeze on some extra frosting to cover the sunken hole in the middle.  Unfortunately, mistakes we make in our life can be significant and far reaching and no amount of frosting will cover them up.  Fortunately, we can decide that shortcuts aren't acceptable and we must read the instructions, plan to make things right, and refuse to eliminate the steps necessary to have positive results.

Sometimes I wonder why I always have to make my life more difficult by believing I know what I am doing and what needs to be done.  I plow though life making assumptions which occasionally turn out okay--but could have turned out significantly better if I had done it right the first time.   Recipes are important. Following directions is critical!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lego Challenge for October!

This month I want you to build your best airplane for our contest.  Can't wait to see your creations!

Missionary Moments #55--Sept 20, 2015

What a great week this has been.  It ended with us taking many more pictures than we had been doing lately and I think we have our groove back!  It is sometimes slow but so worth it when the pictures look good and we know that we have served both the past and future generations by making it possible for them to be linked together.  Just handling documents from the 1700s is pretty neat!  This week we were instructed to upgrade our program with a new version sent from Salt Lake City.  I had hated doing that because we always have a little bit of a learning curve which slows us down--and at this point we felt like were would be at a virtual stand still!  But we were obedient and as it turns out the program was very impressive and now all the documents looks very uniform with much less border around each one.  Change  is good--at least this time.  

Once we finished on Friday we headed to the laundromat, and then home so I could get our house cleaned before our much anticipated company came for a visit.  I also baked about eight dozen Chocolate Almond cookies--just to kick it up a notch!  Gotta feed our Sunday School class--don't worry they will only get a few of cookies each and the rest with be shared with the Elders and Sisters.  By the way I baked eight dozen but dropped one dozen as I went to put them on the table to cool.  I love cooking!

The very best part of the week is that Bill and Bev arrived at the port in Boston after their cruise this week from Canada along the coast.  Seeing Bev standing on the sidewalk when we drove up was the most wonderful feeling.  We didn't stay in Boston because we have that planned for later in the week but we came back to the apartment and visited for a while and then ate lunch and headed to Sharon, Vermont to show off the beautiful Joseph Smith Memorial.  We have been there many times but I think today was the best because the guide was a Senior Sister and she gave us a grand tour which included a ride on the golf cart to see several other Mack family properties where homes once stood and now just the foundation remains.  Be sure to check out the blog later on for some great pictures we got to take while there.  It is amazing to me how I feel each time we drive up the road and see the beautiful memorial in honor of a great prophet for our dispensation.  It truly is a unique, sacred, and holy place to be.   On Monday we plan to drive up to Portland, Maine and them come back down the coastline.  We also plan to take them into the archives and put them to work one day so they can get a feel for what we do each day.  Mostly we just want to spend time with two great friends who we are happy to call family.  Because they had been on a mission for over a year before we came on ours it had been a long time since we had seen them but it didn't take Scott or I long to remember how much we love being able to hang our with special friends who just happen to be family.  Life is good.  Have a great week! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Missionary Moments #54--Sept 13, 2015

This has been a pretty humbling week for us.  We had been moving and grooving on our capture of documents but since we started working on our Hillsborough project our production seemed to come to a screeching halt!  Up to the end of Rockingham county we were photographing about 550 pictures each hour and a half and now we are barely making 350. That has been painful for both of us but towards the end of this week we were accomplishing a little more each day.  Hopefully we will adjust to the different documents a little faster and move them through.  Since these records actually started in the late 1700s we find ourselves being careful to not do any more damage than is already done.  It has been fun to see the bequeaths made in pounds instead of dollars and the handwriting is very challenging but quite beautiful. We were blessed to have both our Elders and Sisters come to the archives and prep the documents with us.  So appreciate them providing this service for us because we couldn't open the probate files fast enough to stay ahead of ourselves.  If you saw the blog you may have noticed that we have now opened 20,000 probate files since we began this project which was a wonderful milestone as well. We love what we are doing.  I heard a commercial on the television from announcing that they now have probate files for people trying to search their families now available for viewing from every state in the U.S.  I think we may have been a part of that great announcement!  
On Friday after work we drove up to Lebanon, New Hampshire to attend a fireside.  Apparently the descendants of Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith have a foundation and they worked on a project to honor Doctor Nathan Smith who operated on Joseph Smith, Jr when he was just 7 years old.  He had a condition called osteomyelitis which resulted from typhoid fever that he and many others had during the 1813s.  Dr. Smith (no relation) had developed a procedure to deal with this while he was working at Dartmouth College.  Because of his procedure hundreds of children escaped having their limbs amputated which had been the course of action previous to his effort.  As a result of the foundations project they were able to donate $25,000 to the Dartmouth School of Medicine.  The formal ceremony had taken place at Dartmouth College earlier in the day but they had a fireside in the evening for others to come and hear from members of the foundation.  One of the speakers was a many great grandson of Joseph Smith, Jr.  He was raised in the Reorganized LDS church but about a year and a half ago he and his wife became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The fireside was so interesting and we both enjoyed the experience a lot.  
On Saturday we just stayed home and worked on some laundry, cleaning, shopping, and various projects in preparation for Bill and Bev coming to visit next weekend.  We are counting the minutes until they get here!  It sounded like our family has been pretty busy as well with birthdays, ball games, weddings, moving, and marching.  Keep up the good work.  Have a great week!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

It's Coming!

We are starting to see the beginning of Fall as the leaves slowly change colors, the air is getting a little crisper, and the sun is setting a little earlier.  But the big giveaway is the high school band marching down Fruit street!  Last year that was so fun when we were working away and then all of the sudden we heard the beating drums and the brass beginning to play.  This year I was prepared and got a picture of the band so I wanted to share it with you.  I love Fall.  Of course I also love Summer, Winter, and Spring!


We go by a hamburger/ice cream stand each day and the sign out front has fascinated us many times.  It will be closing soon as it did last year when the weather turned cold so I thought I would take a picture to show you what you can eat if you go there.  We ate there once and had Ruben sandwiches.  They were really good but we have never gone back.  If you are interested in a Scottish menu this would be a great place to come to.  And if you like haggis--it is a must!


We managed to complete the work in one county and then we started again working on our next one.  Now we have achieved our next milestone which was to open 20,000 probate files. Woo Hoo!  Our newest project consists of 354 boxes so who knows how many more we will open before we complete our assignment here in New Hampshire.  It has been a privilege to be a part of this program and we hope that many people who are trying to find a family connection will be helped by the work we have been able to do.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Happy Birthday Lincoln!

What a great year you have had.  You earned your Eagle and impressed all of us in your effort to accomplish
the goal you had set for yourself.  You are such a hard worker and the sweet big brother you are to your baby sister always touches my heart.  You will have added responsibilities in church now and I know that you will be conscientious in fulfilling your assignments.  Next year you will be in high school and you have more than shown yourself to be ready for that next step.  Keep working hard and being the best oldest child in your wonderful family.  Happy Birthday Lincoln!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Perry!

How excited I am that you have turned 18 years old.  You have always been a joy to me and Grandpa and I have never doubted that you would grow into a fine young man.  I admire your determination Perry.  You see a challenge and you stand up to the opportunity to accomplish whatever is placed in front of you.  I remember when I was working on a big project when you were just a little guy and I wondered out loud--"can I do this?" and you confidently responded, "YES YOU CAN!"  Now I want to remind you that as hard as much of what you need to do in coming years will be hard YOU CAN DO IT!  Happy Birthday Perry!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Vermont Institute of Natural Science
We had a great time visiting Quechee Gorge on Labor Day but had an added bonus when we happened upon a sign that invited us to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science.  It was a place for education and research and for wildlife rehabilitation.  For us it was a great place to see some amazing birds.  The birds that were there were injured and although they survived they were so injured that they couldn't be released back into the wild.  I was able to take pictures of the birds we saw but probably won't be able to tell you what kind they were.  You will need to call Andy or Lincoln!


Snowy Owl

Red Tailed Hawks


Another Owl

Through the Eyes of Raptors Program

Bald Eagle

Monday, September 7, 2015

Quechee Gorge

This trail was made because a Scout wanted to become
an Eagle.  He did such a great job!
Just over an hour from our house is a place called Quechee Gorge which we enjoyed visiting today. The area is beautiful and is located by the Vermont-New Hampshire border.  In June they have a balloon festival which is apparently quite beautiful.  We loved our morning spent walking along the trail leading to the actual Gorge.  I was proud of Scott because he is not comfortable with heights and he still walked with me as we crossed over the bridge over the top of the river.  It was definitely a worthwhile trip to see this amazing place.
A felled tree along the trail.

I love this because the small tree had wrapped
it's branches around the big tree.  Sweet.

Looking down--I took these so Scott
could see them--heights are hard on him!

This is what we could see as we stood on the bridge over
the Ottauquechee River

Interesting tree trunk outside of visitors center

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Missionary Moments #53--Sept 6, 2015

Our monumental moment at the archives arrived this week when we finished all of the probate files for Rockingham County.  There were 155 boxes and I added up the total number of pictures we took which was over 436,000. Not bad for a years work!  As soon as Rockingham was finished our archive director brought in the beginning of our next project which is Hillsborough County.  It has the largest population in the state.  This particular project has 354 boxes of probate files and although we have definitely gotten faster we won't be able to complete this much work before we go home. We don't know if new missionaries will be called to do the work or they will switch the project to our friends Tim and Phyllis who are working under contract with another genealogy company.  It has been interesting for us to realize we are becoming much more expert in recognizing the writing and knowing if it is an H or an N or a W among other challenges that the writing has presented.  We have also grown to love the names both given and surnames of many of the probate holders.  We have already done over 1,500 files from the new county and have noticed many of our our friends from Rockingham--probably cousins, brothers, sisters, or parents.  

Although we have been busy at the archives we have managed to get in several fun activities. On Friday night we headed over to Hopkington to attend the state fair.  Unfortunately we never carry cash so we didn't make it through the front gate since they didn't take debit or credit cards.  Once we got back to the car we decided we'd pass on the fair and just drove around looking at the various towns and houses in the immediate area.  New Hampshire is just so beautiful and unique and that definitely satisfied our need to get out of the house for an evening. On Saturday we headed over to Maine and started up the coast at Kittery going north until we ended in Portland.  We have come down from Portland along the coastline when Rachel, Andy & Angela, and Phil and Penny were here.  Going in a different direction was like seeing everything for the first time. Driving on the Pacific Coast Highway in California is much different than driving on the Atlantic Coast Highway in Maine.  In California you see huge vistas of coastline almost all the way up to San Francisco.  In Maine you see huge vistas of trees with only an occasional glimpse of the ocean.  The plus in Maine is you go through so many quaint towns that you get to see different aspects of the area.  We stopped in Cape Elizabeth for a lobster roll at the little restaurant we found after doing a google search.  It took us about 15 minutes just to find a parking place and then an additional 45 minutes in a line waiting to order our food.  It was fun because we visited with a woman from Houston, Texas who had came to Maine to get a pure bred puppy (a hunting dog) from a breeder that lived nearby.  The food was okay but the views were spectacular.  I put some pictures on the blog but it doesn't do justice to show just how serene and surreal it is.  After lunch we went into Portland so we could buy donuts for the Elders and Sisters from the Holey Donut shop but for some reason we just couldn't find it and hadn't written the address down.  By then it was already 3 o'clock so I suspect it would have been closed for the day.  They said that when the last donut is sold the doors close and as good as those donuts are I am sure they were all gone by noon!
I spoke in church last Sunday.  The subject was "Making the Sabbath a Delight" using President Nelson's talk as a reference.  It went well and reminded me that I need to do more to make our Sundays a day of learning, reflection, and an opportunity to count and recognize the great blessings we have received the previous week.  If you have time be sure to go on the church website ( for great ideas and insight in making the Sabbath a delight.  Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

I Tried It--Kind Of!

I'm not a big fan of fish but since we were coming to New England I made a commitment that I would give it a try. Since being here I have had some great fish and chips and fried shrimp but just couldn't bring myself to try the lobster.  Since they are always talking about lobster rolls around here I decided that I could at least try that when we went over to Maine today.  We drove up the coast to Cape Elizabeth to a highly recommended lobster shack and after about 15 minutes just trying to find a parking place we headed over to a long line waiting to order.  The appeal to me was that they had other things beside fish so I could have a back up plan!  The area is beautiful.  You can see a huge lighthouse just up the hill from the restaurant.  You can sit outside while you eat and enjoy the ocean breezes and see the beautiful Atlantic ocean.  There are numerous tide pools where the kids were having a great time discovering different sea life while they waited for their lunch.  When we got to the window I ordered one lobster roll (just $20.00!), a hot dog, coleslaw and onion rings and then we waited for our number to be called.  The good news was that I did take a bite of the lobster roll (thank you Scott for sharing) and the other news was I tried a lobster roll but won't try again.  It just isn't my thing but the hot dog was fine.  The lunch was not a waste of time because they were selling homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie and we decided to splurge on that--YUM!!!--that experience was a great success because now I can tell everyone I have had rhubarb and I really like it!

This was the line at 1 p.m.--apparently it is always busy.

Lighthouse at Cape Elizabeth

Pictures a little blurry but behind the fries is the lobster roll.


Scott and I drove up the Maine coast today so I could take pictures of the cute little cottages I have seen when we have been there in the past.  I assume people still come and stay at them so they can have a unique experience.  I'm not sure you can see how small they are from the picture but I think if they put a king-sized bed in them you could barely walk around the room.  In spite of how small they are it seemed like every one of the little cottages we saw were being used and as you can see--most of them are really cute.  I remembered seeing the old tee-pee cottages in Holbrook, AZ (I think the Cars movie used them) and I also remember the little individual motel rooms that we used to drive by in the Tempe, AZ area. Now I can share with you a piece of history from days gone by.