December 01, 2009
Hopefully I can get this little video of joy to upload... cross your fingers! :)
Eli's laughter and love helped us through a bit of our sorrow...
the sorrow of losing our own QUEEN of laughter!! :(
But this afternoon and evening we, together with almost the entire Juarez/Siguenza/Lopez family, had the privilege of celebrating Giny's courageous life - in the very ways she had asked us to: Graveside Service, then good Guate food, music & memory sharing, fun stories told by her big brothers - filmed for Peter, Cristina, & Andrei - who were surrounded by love, both given and received.
PS: Elise was one of the few who couldn't come - she was in the process of giving birth for the first time! And thanks to text technology, soon after we returned to Provo tonight, we saw a first photo of her healthy, beautiful boy, just moments after he was born...
So all in all, today has been a 'circle of life' kind of celebration.
October 05, 2009
We walked in from Haycock's and what did we see?
...SEAN at home, unexpectedly!
We all grabbed an armful, and what a treat!
Big bear hugs and laughs so sweet!
He had a careful plan,* and so it came to be -
...Sean's home tonight unexpectedly!
Of course, the BEST part of the entire surprise was that we no longer had to wait until the next day to enjoy having him back home!
* Plan orchestrated and executed by Sean, along with Olivia's complete cooperation and participation; including, but not limited to, tampered mail, PhotoShopped Flight Plans, and a trip to SL airport.
A special thanks to Ben for filming Olivia's tricks, the airport arrival, and our shocked/delighted reactions... Priceless!
October 01, 2009
September 09, 2009
I really wanted to post 9 photos just as soon as we took them... A memory moment worth documenting for sure, because at precisely 9:09 pm there were 9 of us in Rm 9, - having just enjoyed 9 little activities, 9 little treats, and 9 fun facts about #9 and / or 09/09/09 day!! Then as soon as I got home I spent a bit of time with my 9 year old before he gave me 9 goodnight kisses. And by 9:59 pm I was at the Post Office mailing a few notes I'd collected from a few parents that listed "9 Things I Like About You" - (for their daughters) and I wanted to be sure they were postmarked on 09/09/09!
Sadly, once I got home and tried to pull even 9 photos from the camera, I had 9 times more technical difficulties than usual ... (newer HC SD card, etc) - But it was finally worth the effort, as was the activity.
I won't list all 9 activities and facts, because i couldn't even remember them by 9 am the next morning, but here are a few:
We all grabbed "For The Strength of Youth" booklets and quickly found 9 letter words - 9 of them, to be exact! We tried to remember our 9th birthdays, and we listed 9 of our favorite things as well as 9 things we want to do before we die. Of course we also sang a song on a page ending in 09 - we even stood up every 9 beats while singing, just for fun.
Good times, good times... we all got totally into it. In fact, originally there were 4 out of our 5 Beehives there, (hey 4+5=9) 2 leaders, and 1 welcomed Mia Maid. But by 9 pm many others had stopped by for a treat and a laugh as they headed home. Magically, 2 ended up staying w/ us until our 9:09 pm goal - and then one of them said, "Hey there are 9 of us still here!" -- How cool is that?
-OK, so now- does anyone have any ideas for future lower-key Wednesday night activities? Please send them my way! The girls still need to plan Nov and Dec... or in other words, the last 9 weeks of 2009!
PS: BTW, at 10:09, right after the PO, for a split second, the KoKing and I thought we'd head to WalMart to buy this on its opening day of sales, but quickly decided, nein way! That deserves a day and a post of its own, don't you think?
August 24, 2009
I opened my laptop, clicked around, and i kid you not, 10 minutes later...
August 20, 2009
Dot : School!
YW+D : Schoo-oo-oo-oo-ool!
YW+D : Our first day at school
Dot : Teach!
YW+D : We're ready for our lessons
So teach us Math, Geometry
Don't forget Geography
English Lit. and Chemistry
And please throw in the A-B-C's.
Oh, teacher, teach us nooooow!
July 20, 2009
July 06, 2009
Okay, for the rest of my trip:
My companion, Elder Komulainen, came with the office elders to the airport. When I met up with them, Elder K snapped a photo. I'll try to get that from him. We got in the van, and went to the mission office, on the grounds of the London Temple. During the drive, I got somewhat startled once when the Elder in the passenger seat (the left front) turned around to talk to me. I was like, "eyes on the road, driver!", but he wasn't driving.
Oh, ~ The letter you got was from President Swinton, right? He left last week, so now we have President Shamo. He's cool, too. I'm glad you got those pictures, though. President Swinton is probably back in Salt Lake looking for clients, now. He's a lawyer.**
Anyway, the day I got there was something called a Temple Conference. They don't happen often, I'm told. It's similar to a Zone Conference, but at the temple. Just recently, the London Temple got a Visitor's Center (the only one in Europe, according to reports), so President Swinton taught us there. Then we did a session, and had lunch at the temple cafeteria (very good food) then President & Sister Swinton taught a good-bye-type lesson. The zone leaders told some "Pres' Dawg" stories about things President Swinton did, and afterwards we went home. I live very near the Thames river. Google my address sometime. Tell Josie to, with the kids, or Carmen or Maya, if Josie's out. Oh, and write a snail mail letter to me, too, if you can. Just one as a family.
To answer your other questions:
- Elder Komulainen--to whom I am guessing Papá is referring by "Elder Alvar Aalto"--does not speak Chinese beyond "ni hao" ("hello"). Just Finish and English.
- The area I'm in now ("Welling"; Google it, if you like) there are not a ton of Chinese-speakers. There are lots of people from Nigeria and other African countries. Also, Indian, Nepalese, and "Chav"-- (poor white type), very like the low-life white type in Utah ... it's sad. But it's okay. (I meant to send you a picture today of the Book of Mormon shelf we have with tons of languages but I forgot the cord to connect my camera, so I'll send those next week).
- There are about 160 missionaries. About 7 Mandarin, as far as I've been told. I've only seen 4, (all at the Temple Conference). ~ There are at least 2 assigned spanish elders. There are elders from Finland, Spain, Denmark, Germany, the U.S., England, and I think I've met one from Poland. One just went home from Romania. There's another from there, too, I think. But as far as assignments go, I've only heard of English, Spanish, and Mandarin (which is pronounced /man-duh-REEN/ out here).
Yeah, have everyone write notes for the medicine box. Have them write them now, so they'll be done when you send the medicine. Mailing a lot of letters would be too expensive, of course, so send all you can in the packages.
I'm sure you've already thought of all that, though, so, whatever.
One min left. Love, ecmj
Oh, p.s. Tell Carmen and Maya to take the time to capitalize when they email the King of Convention, the Grammar Guru, the one and only me. :¬P Thanks. Bye.
** Sure-ease thought: Good thing he left Provo abruptly 2 weeks early ~ Because that put him there in time for the "Changing of the Guards" as far as mission presidents go, as well as that temple conf -which both would be good opening experiences for Calvin.
June 29, 2009
Although Calvin's planned MTC departure date was July 6th or possibly later (based on recent visa delays and experiences of others) - He found out last Tuesday around dinner time, that he was "shipping out" the following morning first thing!! He was allowed a 10 min call to us at 9 pm Tues night. He sounded great - happy, excited, shocked, and a bit nervous about heading to England alone (he'd avoided ever flying before now) - but he sounded full of faith, to be sure... without which, he would've never left home last April.
So for me, (and it's ALL about ME) it was a very LONG 5 + days waiting for confirmation that he'd arrived in England - even with YW's camp to keep my mind off of him. But as usual with that boy, when nudged/compelled into doing something he's resisted and avoided (like an airplane) - once pushed into a pool, he swims to the edge, gets out, drys off, and that's that! (Often later, he doesn't even remember being resistant). ... Unmistakably - Koki's genes.
Mucho love and campfire smell to each of you,
(FYI ~ reminder for some of you that his London assignment includes learning and preaching in the Mandarin language - hence his mention of those he met that had served in Taiwan.)
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009
Subject: That's my boy
(Koki -the anti-blogger, wrote 5 GREAT sentences to Calvin that I will not post until i have his consent :D - but he asked Calvin to tell him ALL the details; from the time he hung up with us until the time he woke up his first morning in England. And so, he did! When does THAT ever happen?)
Mon, Jun 29, 2009 5:15 AM (mtn time)
Re: "That's my boy" & "hello out there?"
All the details would be somewhat tough to include in this email. I don't have a lot of time. But here are some good ones: I was up 'til 11:30ish Tues night packing, with the help of two other elders in my district (Elders Gania and Johnson). Then we went to bed. We woke up at 5:30 am, and I got ready, and a few other elders in the zone woke up and said good bye (remind me to tell you more about that sometime), then the same 2 and I went to the bus. I was the only one heading to England. There were other missionaries going to Canada, (English and Korean), I believe. There may have even been some going to Korea. Then we all drove up to Salt Lake airport, and I checked in and whatever, and I went to Gate D2 (I think), and I met some people there, one of whom had gone to Taiwan on his mission. Then I got on a plane to Cincinnati, Ohio. It was not a big plane. Delta. B737. My camera was pretty much out of battery by that time, so I don't have any pictures. Bummer, but whatev'. As we took off, I realized we'd fly over the Mississippi river. I wrote some things down in my reporter's moleskine, like "planes look ricketier up close", which they do. It was fun though. Then I flew. After a while, we did fly over the Mississippi, and other rivers, too. Le'me say, the East may have no clue what mountains are, but they know how to make rivers. I had a 4 1/2 hour layover in Cincinnati, and I met another former Taiwan missionary (both were rather old, by the way; 70ish, by my guess). I also talked to a lady named Megan for a while about missions, and the Book of Mormon. It was cool. Then, we got on the plane to the airport in Gatwick, London, England. I watched the sun "set" ('cause we were flying north/north-eastish over Quebec and such) and saw that "Escape to Witch Mountain" was the movie, though I did not have headphones, nor permission to watch it. I had the dinner (which is actually not as bad as people say; also, I had a Fresca with it) and, after 2ish hours (after the movie had ended, I think), I fell asleep. When we were over England already, I woke up. We couldn't see it, because of clouds. The plane eventually landed, (not too late) and we got off. Then I stood in a huge line for people with not-EU passports. When it was my turn, they weren't sure if I was okay. But after not too long, they figured everything out. So I exchanged the money I had in my pockets ([dollar sign]52.oo) for Pounds (£25.something). Then I got my luggage. At the bagclaim or whateverit'scalled, a family greeted me and asked where I was going. They were members. After a short conversation, they handed me an American bill. I thanked them and then again thanked them, and then I continued on. After a little while, I looked at the bill. Le'me ask you something: Who gives a stranger [dollar]1oo.oo bill in London? Evidently, the answer is charitable LDS.
Then--after a brief walk--I met the missionaries who came to pick me up. I'll pick up from there next week (if you remind me).
Quickly, here are some pictures. One of my "flat" building, another of my trainer (Elder Komulainen from Finland).
Speaking of where I live, here it is:
80 Longacre House
Finally, Mom, I read yours too and enjoyed it very much. I will give you details as to first impressions of England in the next email, I imagine. It's less time covered, but more experiences. It's fun.
Thanks, love, and see you.
Date: Sunday - 6/28/09 5:30 pm
Subject: Hello Out There?
Hi Calvin mijo,
I've been thinking about you and praying for you all week...
I got back from YW's camp late yesterday - and lived to tell about it :D ... but i still have NO idea if YOU survived flying and lived to tell about it! -
I must resign myself to the "No news is good news", I guess.
We are actually at Omar's right now. -- It was Jacob's day to speak in church!
Basically, everyone has left but us - Melinda & gang are coming back and we're making another meal later-(although we did enjoy filling chuchitos hours ago). We're "chilling" downstairs in the family room. Maya ran with Kristen to go feed her new puppies and get her train game (ticket to ride?) she's been wanting us to play since last Dec - Ashton is happily creating with a bucket of Lego, Papá is snoring on the couch as if HE went to camp, and several others are watching "Nanny McPhee"-(some for the first time). It just happened to start after a championship soccer game - and strangely we had just been reminded of it this morning in church when someone quoted a good line of the nanny's when she asks the children, "Are you willing to accept the consequences of your choices?" (Emma Thompson always rocks).
Mia Shalom was beautiful!! You'd be pleased to know that i took lots of close-up pictures of wildflowers on our long hike - their amazing detail is facinating to me. Oh, yeah - we were w/out a small camera again after you left, so i researched with Csmr Rprts and got a little Cannon, using up a $60 Best Buy in-store credit. (Hooray, i followed through!).
Camp was a huge success from my perspective, because much good took place - the YW showed love, felt love, and included whomever needed it at the moment. They pitched in, worked hard, and participated -- all w/out complaining!! Your 3 sisters were angels - really. Josie, Lizzie, Tori, & Renee did an amazing job of providing leadership, love, and example... and the adult leaders - both stake and ward, did a great job of setting up moments that encouraged the building of faith and testimony!!! (and FUN) Pres Bell was great with them all too. You'd have loved witnessing it all - miracles - many miracles.
I'll sign off - i've more to write but understand your limits on time.
I can't wait to hear about your adventures... and your first impressions of the UK!
PS -I want to send photos soon -Maya tells me she took a 17 min video of me -crazy dancing w/ YW, but I'm still denying its existence. We miss your fast AV skills... (We all wanted to view camp pics last night but not ONE of us had enough patience or energy to troubleshoot difficulties w/ the connection between the camera and TV) - I heard Papá tell a relative today that Sean will be home in 99 days - ... so maybe you'll get photos after that!
April 15, 2009
April 14, 2009
The setting sun was criminal on the eyes, but wonderful for the soul!
The weather forecast shows SNOW for Wednesday - (tax day...and so long farewell, 'our feet are the same", adieu to Calvin day).
Last year on Easter Sunday we posed for one quick shot in this same spot. It was the day Olivia spoke in church after returning from the DR. (i'll try to find and post that one too).
The 2 semi-blurry group shots at the bottom of this blog were taken on the Sundays Olivia & Sean each spoke in church before leaving home to serve. (she in Sep '06 and he exactly 1 year later) These yearly patterns have been totally coincidental.
We knew back in 06 that we could NOT miss the chance for a family picture before O left, and we knew that Sunday would be our chance. We asked O's friend, E, to take several photos of us while we huddled.
Wow, Ashton was only 6 when Olivia left but will turn 11 right after Calvin returns - Carmen was still in Primary in that first pic but will be well past the driving and dating age by the time we're all home for a dinner and a quick photo again.
... No wonder parents feel total joy when / if they are finally able to be in a temple with ALL of their children at once.
It makes no sense that a loving Father in heaven would only want or allow a small percentage of His children to benefit from the efforts, sacrifice, light, and example of His son. I'm sure He's anxious for us to spread the word to ALL.
And also Calvin, logic and reason tell me that since you've chosen to leave home and give up your own precious time and hard earned money, it only makes sense to do it well mijo! (You know, like, with all your heart, might, mind, & strength type thing). You must decide to continually OFFER your help to many people and make this time of separation worth it - i know you'll find great ways to share your clear truths.
... Yes, choose to offer / invite many many... not because of numbers on some report your tired Sr comp says the new zone leader is harping on because he wants to impress the mission pres, or "beat" another rival zone, but because everyone deserves the chance to accept or reject your glad message.
Oh, and remember that those reports/statistics also have pure and practical purposes:
- they will help you stay focused.
- the "return and report" principle is of God and promotes growth.
- reports allow leaders to plan and organize their efforts in fulfilling steward ships.
... Thank you Calvin for continually forgiving me.
and thank you for hurrying to earth so soon after Sean - that was genius of you.
yup. you're good at genius.
you are also wise and funny - honest and intense.
you are without guile and anti pretentious.
you are ready to "forget yourself and get to work"
(For cry baby me, the next 6+ months while both Sean & Calvin are gone will be tough - without
being able to hug them, nor lose my cool with either of them, nor have their tech support!
And yet, It must be by 'divine design' that i have Ashton, and now Benjamin! -
That's all for now.
April 06, 2009
April 05, 2009
March 25, 2009
March 15, 2009
March 11, 2009
March 05, 2009
follow up: i saw this good advice a couple of weeks ago and emailed it to my Inbeteener, but I need to remember it too, especially that 4th line!
March 02, 2009
February 22, 2009
February 14, 2009
and did you see the url? get it? huh?