Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ice Cream Delight

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Eden loved the ice cream at Culver's!  I loved watching her get in as many licks as she could before it ended up all over her face and her dress.  It was one of the sweet moments we have enjoyed since we came home.

The Question

I have been asked the question numerous times since we returned home--"What did you learn on your mission?"  This week I have spent a lot of time thinking about that question and realize that every time someone has asked I think I have given a different answer.  In fact, every day I think of something else I learned.  It is amazing to me what a life changing experience our mission has been.  When we first got the assignment to serve in New Hampshire I was very hesitant about what we would be doing and with all honesty I couldn't even get excited about it.  Looking back I am embarrassed that I didn't have more faith in what Heavenly Father wanted us to do and what we were suppose to learn.  Now I can share some of the things that have been on my mind when I think about what we learned on our mission.

We can do hard things
Family is everything!
Young missionaries are awesome
Senior missionaries are AWESOME
The fruits of the Gospel are so sweet
Family Search is inspired
The Church is true
Time flies when you are having fun!
Marriage is a miracle
I married my best friend
We live in a beautiful world
Maine Donuts are the best
Faith precedes the miracle
Scott has a great sense of humor

Monday, March 28, 2016


While on our mission I had a quote on the wall that said, "Wherever we are together--that is home."  While serving our mission we were at home and it was a wonderful experience that neither of us will forget.  But when we walked into our house that incredible sense of peace came over me and I was so grateful to be in familiar surroundings again.  Everything was in mint condition thanks to Angela!  I kind of felt like I always did when I would get out the Christmas decoration each year and would "ooh and ahh" over what I found.  It was all so familiar and yet so new to me. When Andy and Angela and the kids came from work and piano lessons our journey was complete--we were home!!!


After a wonderful drive from Cedar City to Gilbert we enjoyed the cherry on top of the whipped cream when we turned the corner onto Cullumber Court.  Once I could put my arms around Amy and had a good cry it was just one treat after another.  The last time we saw Eden she was just six months old.  Now she is the cutest toddler you can imagine.  She was grinning, talking, staying close to her mom until she got use to us but definitely aware that everyone in her family liked these strangers!  The most changed was Lincoln who is now so tall I was shocked.  The thing I noticed most about our 18 month absence is that the teenagers seemed the most changed.  The other big change was Amy's baby bump!  Can't wait to welcome that little guy into the family.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Heading South!

We spent Sunday night in Cedar City in order to shorten the next days travel to Arizona.  We had arrived in Cedar City in the middle of a snow storm that we certainly hadn't expect and the next morning we had to chip the ice off of our car doors in order to open them.  It felt so New Hampshire!  When we left that morning we drove to the exit for Zion's National Park and then drove over to Route 89.  What an incredible reminder of our beautiful world and the great creation of a loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Every thing  on the way made me so grateful that we were back in country that was familiar.  I especially loved the wide open spaces where you could see for miles around.  I know that every area in the United States is unique and it has been such a blessing to see so much of that unique beauty wherever we traveled.

Even Flat Stanley was impressed!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Next Stop--Utah!

Driving in the winter doesn't always give you a true view of how beautiful the country is.  Pretty much gray and brown in every direction with occasional patches of snow!  In spite of that we loved noticing many things along the way. Now that we are older, driving until late evening is no longer an option so we stopped in Glendive, Montana our first night. From there we drove through the Yellowstone Park area down into West Yellowstone the second night and then we arrived in Lehi on the third day of the trip.  It was great to see Rachel in Salt Lake City and then arriving in Lehi in the early afternoon.  While in Utah we had a nice dinner with Rachel, Bill and Cathy at the Garden Room at the top of the Joseph Smith Building.  We spent time with the grandkids, enjoyed a manicure with Abby (in anticipation of wearing flip flops again!), took everyone for lunch at Chick-fil-a before going to the Church History Museum.  On Sunday Scott was able to participate in the ordination of Bruce, who is now a deacon and then we headed south to spend the evening at the Holiday Inn Express in Cedar City.  We had a white knuckle experience as the snow began to fall just as we reached Beaver, Utah and from that point on I would say we had the most frightening experience with snow that we had ever had--who would have thought it!

Billings Montana Temple

Salt Lake Temple from top of Joseph Smith Memorial Building

Dinner with some of our favorite people!
Abby and Grandma getting a Pedicure

Older Boys went to Star Wars and the rest of us shopped in the Mall

TACOS!  Thanks Cathy for feeding us one of our favorite meals!

Church History Museum--Amazing!

Bruce was ordained a Deacon while we were there.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


It was wonderful to spend a few days in Fargo with Ben and Becky and their family.  Miriam seemed the most changed and has grown into a beautiful young woman.  Peter and Jeremy looked much the same and Owen still has the wonderful smile on his face.  While there we were able to attend church with them, enjoyed a dinner at the Noodle Factory and ice cream at Culvers. In between that we had the opportunity to visit with Ben and Becky and get caught up on what is happening with them.  It was a nice treat to be with family again.

The Mall of America

We had decided that we would just drive until noon and stay overnight in Minneapolis, Minnesota which would get us to Fargo, ND in the early afternoon the next day.  I have heard about the famous mall for years because many of the teachers that were hired for our school district came from North Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota.  It was definitely not an disappointment and was a great experience seeing the ingenuity of the designers which came up with it. We wandered around inside for a couple of hours mostly because it was so nice to be out of the car for a while!  What a treat to see an American Girl store, a Lego store, three roller coasters and other amusement park concessions, as well as every conceivable store that you may want to shop in.  From the mall we headed to our hotel and enjoyed just being in a nice hotel.  Next stop was to see our first family members after being away for 18 months!

Day 3

We woke up to Snow in Perrysville, Ohio
From Perrysburg, Ohio we drove to Madison, Wisconsin.  It was a great trip which began with more snow on the ground and numerous big rigs that were off the embankment waiting for someone to come and help them get back onto the road.  It wasn't a bad drive for us because there were snow plows continually cleaning off the freeway we were on.  We stopped for lunch at the Cracker Barrel and it seemed that after that the weather cleared up and the rest of the drive was uneventful--but beautiful.  When we went out to New Hampshire we drove through the Chicago area just as it was getting dark.  This time it was early afternoon and we were able to enjoy the beautiful skyline.  I wouldn't say Chicago is a place I would want to spend much time in but the buildings are truly impressive.  We arrived in Madison just at dinner time and after a nice dinner at an Apple Bee's we just rested up for the next leg of our journey home.

Madison, Wisconsin--The Cheese State!

Lesson Learned!

Living in New Hampshire required a serious navigation system if you wanted to reach any destination in a timely manner.  While serving our mission we went everywhere we wanted to on our days off from the archive and found the navigation system a huge help in reaching our point of interest. Not only did it show you a map but it also gave verbal directions of where to turn and when. Another handy gadget was it would also give you an estimated time of arrival.   After 18 months we were confident that we'd find our way back home!  After our first stop in New York after leaving Concord we planned to drive to Perrysburg, Ohio for the second night but made plans to visit the Gerald Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan first.  We typed in the address of the library that morning and pushed "set as destination" and confidently hit the road.  Since unfamiliar with the area I entered the freeway ramp as directed an began heading north.  All was well until I saw a sign that said Niagara Falls, next right.  At that point I realized that we were approaching the Border Check into Canada.  When the man asked why we were coming to Canada I replied..."because our navigation told us to!"  He chucked and assured me that this was a faster way to Ann Arbor.  Although it wasn't the way we had planned on going, the trip through Canada was beautiful and again the country was covered with freshly plowed farm land.  Once in Michigan we encountered a pretty intense snow storm which slowed our trip down considerably but we finally arrived at the Gerald Ford Library at 2:58 p.m. Unfortunately, they were closing so we didn't get to go in!  At least we can say we went to the library and can leave out the little detail that we never got inside.

The lesson I learned from this experience was that sometimes we have to chart out our own course.  It is often easy to let others do it for us, but eventually we find out that although we arrived at our destination we didn't enjoy the journey as much as we may have if we would have put more thought into the preparations.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Time to Say Good-bye!

What a wonderful experience we have had together as we served our mission in New Hampshire.  It was amazing to realize how much we could accumulate in such a short time.  It made me realize we can never move from Victorville!  After we packed up the car this was what was left for the mission office to come and pick up and put in storage.  I want to brag a little that our car was packed so tight that on the few occasions that I had to slam on the brakes--nothing moved.  Woo Hoo!

Thank You Tim!

Tim Mayville--A Heart of Gold
 One of the greatest blessings we enjoyed while we served in New Hampshire was being around one of the nicest people you will ever meet.  Tim Mayville saved us so many times we can't even count. When it was time to pack the camera and computer and various pieces of equipment up so it could be shipped back to Salt Lake he came in and helped us take everything apart.  What would have taken us most of the day took less than an hour.

Once everything was boxed up we had about 15 boxes
that were mailed back to SLC.  
When we visited Nauvoo several years ago I loved the story about the woman who along with her family had to leave their home because of the threats to the Mormons. The last thing she did was sweep the floor even though she would never see it again.

When everything was boxed up the last thing I did was sweep the floor in honor of the pioneer woman who wanted whoever entered her home again to see it at its best.  I too wanted to symbolically say we were here--and we are now happy to return home at the conclusion of our mission--but we left it clean!