Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 26, 2014

Kinda reminds me of the sand castles 
that we make when the Grandkids come 
- sorta.
They are both made out of sand......  
Oh my, last week's blog was written late and so it seems way to early to be doing this again!  Time flies when you are having fun.

This week was one of lots of preparation for the week coming up.  This next week is transfer week.  It is when the Mission President and the Assistants make a huge mess of the mission and then we have to clean it up and reorganize the whole thing.  Not really, but that is what it feels like.

We are loosing 18 missionaries which always is sad and we are getting only 10 new ones so that makes a difference for Roger with all of his shuffling of missionaries apartments.  He is the one person in the office that gets to know who is transferring and to where so that he can make the appropriate changes in apartments.  The rest of us just prepare.  One of my jobs this last week was to organize the arrivals and departures, make sure we know which plane each group is coming on and going home on and make sure that we have people to pick them up and deliver them to where they need to go.  Most of them come in on Tuesday and are just placed with other elders and sisters until Wednesday.  They then go to the transfer meeting Wednesday morning and get matched up with their companions.  I also have to make sure money is on their support cards in the right amounts and that they have medical card.  This week was also the week that rent had to be put into the system.  It was a big deal last month but this month was quite slick.  I guess we learned something from all of our errors last time.

In the middle of all of this tedious work we get to have lots of wonderful moments with the missionaries.  Wednesday was one of the elder's birthday.  He and his companion brought over a lunch on Roger's birthday for the whole office staff so we returned the favor on his.  We thought that it would be just Elder Jennings and his companion but other missionaries showed up before taking off to do some service - lots of them! and the mission president's wife and her parents came buy just then too!  Talk about the loaves and the fishes!  We really did end up feeing them all and had a bit left over even......
We thought this table would fit us all - surprise, we fed 23
of us!  Thought there would be 9.  

Elder Felix and Jennings with us.  Roger
is loving being dressed for moving furniture.

Our lunch gang.  Happy Birthday Elder Jennings.  
Elder Jennings the
birthday boy!
Elder Jennings was really surprised and felt loved.  We asked him to give us great words of wisdom - thinking that he would have fun telling us a joke or two.  He surprised us with bearing his testimony of the atonement and how much it meant to him.  He told us how he has used the atonement in his life to change and become better.  He left us with such a sweet spirit of love and humility.  These missionaries constantly teach us.  How we love them and being with them!

We were able to spend some time one evening helping a sweet lady in our ward who is going through a divorce.  We went with several others to show our love and let her know that she isn't alone.  That she has a great support system.  It was a sweet evening with it ending with her receiving a blessing from her home teacher, our former bishop and Roger.  We are so blessed to have the gospel and the peace that it brings.

Not real sure how to explain this picture.  Elder Soffe is in charge of the cars in the mission.  What a job that is!  To be in charge of 250 young adults driving cars is a real trick.  He has a great sense of humor that always has you wondering if he is serious or joking.  Here he is carrying out the threat that he has put out to the missionaries many times.  This elder has had two small accidents in two weeks.  He is taping the elder's wrists to the file cabinets and then he says that he will take the elder's socks off and tickle him until he throws up.  He got the wrists taped and didn't quite carry out the tickle portion.  He used the moment to talk to the missionary and help him realize that he needs to be careful.  All in love and concern for their safety.

This is the office staff on Saturday!  We invited them to all go to the private beach in La Jolla but the key wasn't in the lock box where it was supposed to be so we had to go to La Jolla Shores beach.  It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed each other, some great treats and the beach of course.
Saturday night was the ward Halloween party.  It really was a great event.  This is the desert table! The lady in charge of decorations out did herself and we had lots of food, lots of people and lots of good Halloween fun.  All kinds of chili and cornbread, salads and great deserts.  They had a bunch of different activities for kids, a costume parade and trunk or treating.  The cultural hall was full and lots of kids.  It was almost like a Utah church activity.  We just had to have three wards together to get that many people.
Sister Thaler on the left leaves in a few days!
We will miss you!

Trunk or Treat

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 20, 2014


We really have had another wonderful week.  We had the best Sunday yet last week and then a wonderful week with kids!

Boy we sure look short with these guys!
Our week started out on a really high note.  The week before this was full of miracles and Sunday just continued with some really great things.  Our convert Rita, was confirmed and it was so cool to be there for it.  Cheri, our dear friend who went to the temple for the first time in over a decade last week was able to get her inactive husband to come to church for Rita’s sake.  He has come three other times since we have been here for special occasions but has never stayed the whole time.  This time he did and by the end of the day he was really happy he stayed.  He told Cheri that the walls that he has had up against the church are beginning to crumble!  That is just what we have been praying for.  Another one of the ladies that we have been working with is Veronica.  She went to the temple for the first time a couple of months ago.  She was at Rita’s baptism and felt impressed that she needed to help Rita become an active part of our ward.  So she decided that she ought to bear her testimony and talk to Rita.  She had never done that before.  She went home and studied on how to give a testimony and was really nervous.  She sat by me and held my hand until the time to stand up - she was so scared.  But she bore a beautiful testimony and no one could tell that she had any nervousness at all.  She did a beautiful job and we were so proud of her.  It is so much fun to see the efforts that have been made to help these people are paying off.  We see the light of the gospel in their hearts and feel the confidence and peace that it brings come into their lives.  We feel so blessed to be a part of it.  

After church a couple came up to greet us.  Chantel Jerrett and Reuben Johnson!  Chantel was a sister missionary at the Mormon Battalion while we were there and we loved her.  Reuben was a missionary in our ward when we first got here.  They went home, decided they liked each other, started dating and just got married.  They were here in San Diego on their honeymoon!  It was so much fun to see them.  I didn't get a picture of them but I borrowed one from FaceBook.

Kendall's and Dumas's with us at lunch!
Monday was a great day too!  We got a call from the Kendall’s and the Dumas’s.  They are our good friends from when we served in the Hospital together and they were in town.  We were able to meet them for lunch and catch up!  Oh it was good to see them and to know that we aren’t totally forgotten.  

Aimee's family with a missionary we ran in to
that they know.

It was Roger’s birthday a few weeks ago and Aimee, Ryan, Heather and Kira decided to bring their families out to surprise him for his birthday!  Roger knew that Aimee’s family was coming but wasn’t aware that the others were and we were able to keep it a surprise.  We met with Aimee’s family for dinner on Wednesday night and while we were waiting for our table, Heather and Dave showed up with Dalten!  Good surprise but not the end of the surprises.  

Aimee's gang and Heather's at Miguels

We worked a half day on Thursday - and then met the kids at the beach house they had rented to go play.  Kira’s family and Ryan’s family had come and were there to surprise Roger again!  We hung out at the beach house and it was so good to be with family!  We got to meet Tora for the very first time.  She was born six months ago and we have never been able to even hold her.  So I was able to sit with her and talk to her for quite a long time.  I feel like I know her now and that is so cool.  There is one more little one at home - Covey - that we still havent’ met and it is hard to miss all of this baby time with him.  And then Cory and Mandy will be having a little girl in January that we will miss too.  

I have been working at getting the tour guide association that I work with to the Family History Center and it was planned for Thursday night - before I knew that the kids were coming.  So I had to leave and go to that while they ate dinner, went to Belmont Park and played.  I had felt so impressed that it would be a good thing to have one of the meetings there but as it got closer so it - not many were signing up.  I have to admit that I was starting to doubt.  But many more came than I thought would (about 30) and many came early to be able to tour the facility and to get some one on one starter help.  When I left after the meeting there were four or five of the tour guides seated at computers getting signed up on Family Search!  The man giving the introduction to the center did a great job.  He took the name of a lady who the tour guides talk about all of the time.  Kate Sessions.  She helped bring in plants from all over the world to beautify San Diego and planted the Balboa Park.  He then showed them how to search through census records, etc. to learn more about her and helped them have more details to use when they talk about her.  They talked about others that they wanted to learn more about and he showed them how to do it.  It was great and they were really happy we went there.  I was pleased.  

I met everyone back at the beach house and joined in the games that were going on there.  The beach house was packed with 22 people so we gladly took four of the girls home with us for a sleepover!  What fun!  We went to the pool and then to the hot tub.  While in the hot tub we had the opportunity to meet others from the complex and talk to them.  The girls were great little missionaries and helped me tell about the Mormon Battalion.  I will go on splits with you guys any day.  

Bathroom selfie

We worked again a half day Friday and then took off to go play at La Jolla Shores Beach.  It was so fun to be there with everyone.  I just love watching people at the beach.  There are so many different ways to enjoy it.  Kids are the best.  They can just play and play and use great creativity.  Cousins were enjoying each other.  We were enjoying kids and grandkids.  The best. What a fun day.  

The Girls at the beach!
We went for a hike to find the party house.
Forgot to take a picture of that but saw
this great photo op and took this one.
Kilee, Kaitlyn and Dalten

Luke, Seth and James!

Watch out for James!  He can
really catch a football!

Crepes - Kamree, Olivia and Emmie!

We took Olivia, Kamree and Emmie home with us this time for a sleep over with them.  We got to go to the pool and over to the exercise room with them that night.  We were all so tired that we couldn't even watch a movie before hitting the bed!
Saturday was another beach day.  This time we went to Black’s beach where we can use the key from the Institute to go down to the private beach area.  By this time, Aimee’s and Heather’s families had left to go home and it was just Kira and Ryan's family there.  We had a great time, went home to shower up and then got back together to play some more games.  
Jocelyn, Kira, Jaden, Nya, Kamree and Olivia
So This is what I saw when I went
to get out of the car at church.  A
new style?  
It was fun to have Kira's family over for crepes again before Sunday church.  It was so nice to be able to show off our family to so many of our good friends in the ward.  I was impressed that the kids stayed all three hours for church too.  I think that they probably learned a bit of our spoiled they are to live in an area where they have tons of members of the church.  The Young Women's program is very small and the Primary is tiny too.  It was a great day.  
All in all it was a great, busy week.  We were very tired by the end of it but so thrilled to have family around us!  

On Tuesdays Sister Knorr makes goodies
and the missionaries REALLY love

We took a group picture before Aimee and Heather's families took off to go home.  All are here except for Tora.  She must have been napping.  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October 12, 2014

Temple day with Cheri!  One of those days when you say the sacrifice is all worth it!  Love this lady!

It has been a great week!  The highlight of the week was Wednesday when we were able to go to the temple with our dear friend Cheri.  Her name was on the inactive list that we were given to visit when we first got here.  She has come back to the church, is the Relief Society Secretary and went back to the temple for the first time in over a decade on Wednesday!  It was a beautiful evening.  I don't think it could have been any better except if her husband was there with her.  We will keep hoping for that in the future.  Dreams do come true and Wednesday was proof!

Our rent dilemma has been handled and we felt tender mercies all day Monday as we called through the list of apartment to see if they had received their checks and if they were going to charge us any late fees.  At this point, we have only been charged ONE late fee out of 150 rentals.  Each time I called a apologized for our error they would say something like, "Since you called I will wave the late fee."  Or, "We know the church and that you are always good for it.  Don't worry."  It was a crazy day trying to get through the lists but really rewarding.  I learned some good lessons and the mission didn't have to pay greatly for that to happen.  We will generate the rent 10 days early and make sure that doesn't happen again.  

Elder and Sister Hodges
Elder and Sister Parkin
Monday night was Senior Couple FHE at the Mormon Battalion.  We received three new couples this month and lost one.  The Knorrs are from Utah and are with us in the office and the other new couples are from Texas.  We lost the Browns Friday!  They took off for Provo that morning around 10:00 am with their car packed to the brim, a daughter's car packed to the brim and they sent home 20 boxes through the mail!  It was quite a sight to see them on their way.  We have been careful to not buy things here so I don't think we will have the same problem.  Most of what we have acquired here has come from others giving us things when they leave and we will do the same when we go.  Some of the couples spend a lot of money trying to make their place look like home but we have enjoyed living simply.  It really does make us want to come home and throw out all of the extra junk we have 

Elder and Sister Brown
"God be with you till we meet again."

Senior FHE games

Ocean Beach sunset Tuesday evening!
Tuesday afternoon, Roger was able to get to the beach for a bit and I picked him up just as the sun was setting.  We just love being where there are beautiful sights like this around every corner.  He gets to the beach less now because we are so busy during the days but several days we get off around 4:00 and that gives him a bit of a window to run down for about an hour.  Life is better when he can get there every now and then.

The mission office bulletin board with Sister Knorr
and Cheri.  
Wednesday was going to the temple with Cheri and Thursday was our Scripture Study class with the ward.  We have a nice group of people who love and care for each other.  Rita got baptized this Saturday and we were able to talk about her baptism and help make her less nervous and more excited.

Friday after work I got some swimming in and Roger got to the beach for an hour or so and then Saturday was another full, great day!

We started Saturday with cleaning the church.  Yay!  It doesn't sound like an amazing event does it?But Cheri and her husband Bart came.  It is always good to have reasons to be with Bart and try to help him feel involved in the ward.  He needs to feel like he is needed and loved and we feel that he will come back to church.  We spent all day with them and had some wonderful experiences.  We went from cleaning to the beach with them.  They had packed a bunch of yummy treats and we took them in to La Jolla beach where we can get in with our association with the La Jolla Institute.  It was a beautiful day - perfect weather and good enough waves to have some fun.  We took them home to get showered and changed and then we returned to take them to Rita's baptism with us.  Of course, it was a great event at the baptism.  Cheri had been instrumental in helping Rita be fellowshipped into the church and was asked to give one of the talks.  She did a beautiful job and Bart was so proud of her.  Everyone did a great job of being friendly with Bart and he was really feeling good and comfortable.  

After the baptism was an Elder's Quorum BBQ!  Oh yummy!  Now this is the way to do tacos!  We were able to socialize with so many people from the new side of our ward and everyone again was so kind and friendly with Bart.  He made some new friends and told Cheri that the walls that he has had against church were starting to come down by the end of the day.  

OK back to the tacos.  They had some chicken that had been marinaded in oranges and special spices and then grilled on the BBQ.  Then they brought the chicken in and diced it up.  They had fresh taco shells from a wonderful little shop in our area - fried them up!  Then there was great rice and beans and home made guacamole and pico de gallo!  Street tacos!   Is your mouth watering yet?  Oh it was so good - a beautiful perfect weather evening and great people.  

Tomorrow will be a full day so I am going to send this off tonight.  One of our darling sisters from the Mormon Battalion got married yesterday to one of our favorite missionaries from our ward.  They are coming to San Diego for their honeymoon and will be at church tomorrow.  I am so excited to see them!  It is like having family come visit for me.  Early mission prep meeting, followed by Ward Council and church.  
Our mission president sends a weekly email to all of us in the mission.  I couldn't resist sharing part of this week's email.  

In an interview yesterday, while discussing General Conference, I was taught by the Spirit that "Repetition brings understanding." 

It is not enough to listen to General Conference a single time. The power of the prophets' words sink deep as we hear, read, and study them repeatedly. I first learned this lesson shortly after we were married and I made a ski trip to Utah with several men of our ward in Tucson, Arizona. On the drive, we listened to General Conference CDs. I had never done this before and, quite frankly, had never considered it. But as we listened to and discussed these talks, I developed an even stronger love for and understanding of the prophets' counsel. After that time, Sister Schmitt and I began to regularly purchase Conference CDs and I began listening to Conference talks while driving in the car. As technology developed, I transitioned to downloading these talks, which I could listen to while in the car, doing household chores, and jogging in the morning. As a Stake President, I regularly invited our youth to download the words of the prophets onto their mp3 players in addition to music, and would encourage adults to listen to Conference talks during their commute to work.

I now extend the same invitation to you. Next month, we will receive the November 2014 Ensign, which should be placed alongside your scriptures for study. Some of you will be able to listen to Conference talks in the car -- if you are on a bike, please do not try to listen to anything while riding! :) 

Repetition brings understanding. Even though the words may be the same, the Holy Ghost can give us exactly what we, our investigators, and members need depending on our situation and circumstance. The scriptures and General Conference talks can be likened to the Liahona, of which Nephi said in 1 Nephi 16:29

"And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things."

As we drink deeply from the scriptures and the words of the prophets, you will hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ through His servants. You will "know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you." (Mosiah 5:12).

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 5, 2014


I think that it was a really good week of birthday celebrations for Roger.  He is REALLY old so it was important that it was celebrated.  70 yes! 70 years ago he was born.  And I am so glad he was born.  It was interesting to see how grateful all of this celebrating made me for Roger and his influence in my life.  I really feel blessed to have found him and be able to share our lives together.  It was a fun week!

It seems that the office would become mundane and boring at times.  But I haven't found that to be true yet.  It seems that there is always something new to be done or some new wrinkle.  This week was a doozy for that.  We realized on Monday that the mission president hadn't authorized the rent payments.  Rents are due on the 1st of the month and we were three days from that.  Many of the rentals offer no grace period so I freaked of the thought of 150 late payments!  I called the mission president - which was really hard because he was in the middle of a Zone Conference - and when I finally got in touch with him he said that he had tried all weekend to authorize the batch of rentals but the computer would time out or give error messages.  I quickly called Salt Lake (we are becoming great friends with the technical support office there) and asked them what to do.  They told me that I had to put the rents payments in several batches instead of just one and put them in to be authorized that way.  Sometimes the system doesn't handle huge batches.  I had to redo the whole thing and then hope it worked.  By the end of the day we had them authorized and I hoped that all would be OK.  But Friday we started getting calls from apartment owners saying that they didn't have their checks yet and that they would have to charge us late fees!  Oh boy!  Some will work with us but others are huge corporations and can't offer any leniency.  We are bracing for what that means tomorrow.  We might be running all around San Diego paying late fees to keep our missionaries from being put out.  We aren't sure why the checks took so long to get to San Diego but will be paying a price for it.  Wish us luck.

Thursday was Roger's birthday and it started out with the Knorr's and Soffe's singing several renditions of Happy Birthday during our morning devotional.  They are so much fun and make our service there full and good.  Then during the day many of the missionaries came by to wish him happy birthday and to leave all kinds of dumb things for him.  Crazy birthday cards, black balloons, etc.  Everyone was making sure to tell him that he is really old now.  And singing their favorite Happy Birthday song.

Happy Birthday luncheon!
We had a couple of elders who had planned to bring us lunch on Wednesday but I asked them to bring it on Thursday so that we could make Thursday more special.  They were all excited and made us a wonderful meal.  Chicken Alfredo, a yummy Caesar  salad,  and rolls.  It was great food and so nice of the missionaries.  We figure it is great "husband training" too.  

Oh we have fun!
We even took off about 4:00 and Roger was able to get a few hours in the surf before running home, having a VERY quick shower and taking off for our scripture class.

Roger gave a great lesson and we again celebrated with the members of the class giving him balloons etc and singing - again.  What fun!

Charles and SALMON!
Vera and Charles kept trying to figure out a time to pay their repects to Roger and we finally settled on Saturday evening.  So after conference we went over to their beautiful home and had a lovely dinner of salmon, potatoes, a wonderful salad, vegetables and yummy dessert.  All beautifully presented and prepared lovingly.

Dinner with Vera and Charles
My kind of birthday cake!  Yummm!
It meant a lot to both of us that they would go to that effort for Roger.  They are such great people.

We tried to help them find BYUTV on their TV and totally messed their TV cable system before we left.  We hope they figured it out so they could catch a bit of conference.  We love these people and are so glad that we were put in each other's path.

Wasn't conference great?!  We were able to catch all 10 hours of it.  I really enjoyed so many of the talks and can't wait to now start making them a part of my life.  I felt that I was given answers to many things that I have wondered about and ideas for others.  What a great gift we have to have this in our lives. Every six months we have a wide open window to heaven!

Pretty flowers