Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter April 5, 2015 Done?

Wow!  This feels strange to be doing a post from home!  As I looked back at the pictures from this week it felt unreal that I was in San Diego just a few days ago and that I have only been home for a few days.

Our week started with more training and trying to leave the Thompson to do things alone to realize what they didn't know.  They did very well and we are pleased.  They don't feel as secure as we do about their being able to do their job but they will be fine.  We have received only one phone call since we have been home with questions.  They are launched.

I took one last picture of me at my desk with Sister Parkin.  I have to prove that I was there at one point or another! I also took one of Roger overseeing Elder Thompson as he takes over.   We have loved serving here at the office and being a big part of keeping the mission running.  I have loved the people we work with there.  The missionaries blessed my life many times with just the right story or hand shake.  I love them and miss them so much already.  

Tuesday was P day and we went in for a last office staff meeting with the mission president, his wife and the staff.  That was a sweet moment to be in his office with the good people there and discuss the workings of the office in respect to the mission.  It was hard to hear of the things in the future and knowing that we won't be a part of those things.  I felt a little bit jealous and sad in a way.
Sister missionaries here in our zone!

We stayed for a few hours after and hugged missionaries as they came in and took some last pictures.

Elder Anderson and Ramirez

A group of the missionaries with some of the Schmitt family

Sister Thompson and me
Roger was known as the "tan senior missionary with a truck."
He spent lots of time and effort in that truck over the last year!

When we left the office I expected to be really sad and cry.  I had been holding back the tears all day and was sure that they would flow as I left people and got in the car.  But instead of sadness I felt peace and even relief.  Until that moment I hadn't really realized how all consuming the office work had been for me.  But as I left and didn't have that responsibility anymore - I felt relief.  I really feel that that was a gift from God for me.  I feel I am able to look forward and not have to worry anymore about missionaries flights, name tags, office supplies, computer programs, referrals, bills, support cards, reimbursements, senior rosters, phone lists, zone lists, setting up vendors, paying rent and utilities for 135 apartments, managing 5 credit cards, and so much more......  Whew!  We drove home and started the task of packing and cleaning the apartment.  

Roger got a call from the Institute Director in La Jolla and asked if he wanted to have one last surf.  A couple of men from our ward and a few students joined the fun and they were all able to have a great time together.  

My dear friend Cheri
took me to the airport
It was more work than we thought to get the apartment cleaned and packed than we thought and both of us went to bed VERY tired.  Morning came too soon and we finished packing the car.  Our dear friend came and took me to the airport and Roger took off for the long drive home.  

We thought that we had our trips home so well planned.  Roger was going to stop by San Clemente and get a few hours of surfing in at his favorite beach before leaving California.  San Clemente is out of the mission boundaries so he hadn't been able to enjoy it like he would like to.  When he arrived there, the area he usually goes to was closed and he had to go to another area that just wasn't the same.

I got to the airport and the lady at the counter said that I sure were checking in early.  It was 8:00 and my flight was at 8:55 so I replied that I thought that I was about right on time for check in.  Then she told me that my flight was 8:55 PM!!!!!  Yup - I am the one who has ordered all of the flights for the missionaries in the office but I couldn't even order my OWN flight and get it right!  I looked for another flight and found one a couple of hours later but it was more money.  I called Roger and told him he would either have to come back and get me, I would have to wait 12 hours or I would have to pay more to get home.  He knew that I had a surprise waiting for me at the airport that I would miss if I didn't just get on that flight so he told me to just pay for the ticket and get home.  Now those of you that think Roger is just cheap have to understand how confused I was!  What? Just pay more and get home.  I questioned him several times and then did it.  I felt guilty all of the way home.  I just couldn't get over having to pay more.  I think that Roger has trained me well!

I am so sad that I didn't get a picture of the wonderful group of people that were there when I got to the top of the stairs.  I was so surprised that I just cried instead of talking a picture.  What a fun gathering.  It was so fun to hug those darling kids.  Adam's little Covey was born while we were on our mission.  So this was our first meeting!  Kenny, Shauna, McKayla, Kaci, Isaac, Megan, Kinley, Quinn, Kayley, Mila, Shannon, Kayson, Macie, Covey and our dear friends Pauline and Royden were all there.  Oh I love our kids and grandkids and were so happy to start the process of getting to know them again.  Roger had known that there were going to be people there to greet me and didn't want me to miss it.  Bless his heart.

The picture with me hugging Kenny and little Kinley hugging my leg is my favorite.  She just held on to me as I hugged others and would follow me as I walked around.  It made me feel like maybe she was glad I was home.  What a sweetie!  I was afraid that when I got home I might be torn with missing the mission but I was so blessed with this little gathering!  How could I be wanting to be anywhere but there at that moment?  Joy.

Macie, Kayson, Kacie, Kenny and Shauna

Kenny took me for lunch to Magelby's (some place no one knows of in San Diego) and then home.  It was a good thing we ate.  I hadn't thought that I wouldn't have a car or anyway to get food when I got home.  It was fun to hold kids and talk to them.  Boy my sons (and their wives) make cure grandkids for me!

McKayla, Isaac, Shannon and Covey
McKayla and Isaac surprised me the most.
They had changed and grown so much!

Kaci, Me and Macie

They even made sure we had the welcome home
sign!  Love it!  

When I walked in to my home Kami and
Cameron had made a sign and
had flowers!

Our home was well cared for in our absence and I was pleased to be able to just sit and reflect a bit on my own after the kids left.  I had a little prayer and felt so blessed to have been in San Diego doing all the things we did.  I loved serving with Roger and being able to spend so much time together.  We loved being missionaries!  I thanked the Lord for the gifts and had a nice talk with him.  
Now off to a new adventure - what ever that is....  

Roger didn't get home until around 1:30 am and spent an hour bringing in the stuff from the car.   I woke up around 5:30 am and looked at my clock.  It had a weather report on it and it said 32 degrees and ICE PELLETS!  What are ice pellets?  Then when we woke up around 7:30 it was SNOWING.  Don't you think that was a pretty rude thing to do to us?  I took a picture of it snowing but I am not sure you can tell but you can see the snow on the blossoms on the trees and tops of our bushes.  
We were up and to the stake president's office for our release at 9:00.  Again, I had anticipated that it would be very emotional there but I just felt such gratitude for the opportunity to serve in the many ways we did.  It was perfect.  I think the fact that we extended helped us feel that we weren't coming home too early and that we had done enough there.  We left there and came home to sort out things here at home.  

Kira, Jaden and cute
litte Tora
Thursday night was lots of Roger's kids coming by!  Oh it was good to catch up and measure the kids on the growth chart!  Oh my how they have grown in the 20 months we have been gone.  Kira's family came. Quinn and Kayley with little Mila, Heather, Dave and boys, Ryan, Brigham, Aimee and their family, and Bethany and some of theirs family.  We about halfway to seeing everyone.  Still lots to go!  It meant a lot to us to see you all.  We love you and honestly you guys are the only reason why we really wanted to come home!  
Mila was not that excited
to see us all!  

James, Kamree, Jocelyn, Nya, Olivia and Tora
surrounding grandpa

Dalten, Brigham, Brad, Quinn, Aimee

Friday was a day full of home settling and Friday night was our mission reunion.  It was so much fun to visit with our "adopted" sons and daughters.  Many of the wonderful senior couple friends were there too.  We had a great time and went home tired.

Now we are just normal people and the mission thing is done.  But it has changed us.  We will never be the same.  We have felt your prayers.  Thanks so much for supporting us and remembering us.

I know the church is true.  I have seen it change lives.  I have felt the spirit whisper to me that it is true and have felt it burn in my heart.  I love the spirit of missionary work.  It is different and unique and has its own personality.  Being a part of that was magical to me and a dream come true.  We have seen miracles large and small.  Over and over again we were witnesses of them.  There is no doubt in my mind that God is mindful of this great work and is involved in the details!  I know that there is great leadership in the church and that they are lead by this same God to bring souls to Christ.  Of that I bear testimony.  I know that we are lead by God's chosen Prophet.  Oh what a wonderful thing it is to be able to trust in that and know that we will not be lead astray by him.  Being a missionary is important and I hope that all of our grandchildren will take the opportunity to serve.  Landon we are so excited for you.  It will be the greatest adventure of your life and you will learn things that you can't learn any other way.  I am so glad that we didn't miss this great blessing in our lives.

We are looking forward to grandkid dance recitals, piano recitals, soccer games, baseball, swim meets, end of the year programs, Christmas programs, family dinners etc.  Please send us schedules and remember we are here now and can come!  We love you all!

Seth Garner - one of the
assistants we served with in the

Jessica Patterson - one of
my favorites.  If you know of
a fantastic guy.......

My Mormon Battalion Daughters!
Oh I love them!  Aren't they beautiful!