Daily Archives: June 23, 2008

22 June 2008

22 June 2008 – Sunday

I received a call last night asking us to meet with President Esplin this morning. Before and after going I worked on my lesson and I can not say that I felt that I had much to talk about. I just never found that spark that would cause the lesson to touch the rest of the group. It turned out I probably worked to hard and should have gone the easy way and kept it simple.

Our meeting with President Esplin was probably the shortest interview for a calling I have ever had. We were already fairly certain what it was going to be and only a detail had to be cleared up. I of course was happy to accept and I hope that in the next 5 months I can do some good. The people I will be working with are old friends and we have served together before.

We read for about 30 minutes from the A&P – it is good to get back into studying Indonesian. Hopefully we will continue doing this even while serving our next mission so that we do not lose what we have gained. After all we never know when we will need to use Indonesian again.

My lesson went about the way I thought it would. I hope someone got something from it – I do think I hit on a good idea but it was only after 95% of the time was over. Sister Poggio did an excellent job on teaching the SS lesson on Alma and Amulek preaching to the people of Ammoniah. She is a lovely sister and always has a smile. It is a shame that Max is so sick and what they can do is so limited.

Sacrament meeting was the YW reporting on their camp experiences. From what they said they had both great fun and some had powerful spiritual experiences. The leaders should get immediate entrance to the Celestial Kingdom for the great work they do. I am not sure I could call any of the young women by name – but then there are times when I have a hard time coming up with the names of our children and grandchildren.

Speaking of that after Sacrament we called Tom and wished him happy 46th birthday. I find it impossible to think that I have a 46 year old son. Where did those years go?

I was delighted to see Matt Shumway for a few minutes after sacrament. He is serving at the MTC in a branch presidency and we talked a little about the experience of serving at the MTC and how it is almost impossible to talk about it with someone who has not served there. He is truly a good and faithful brother. I asked the bishop about getting us signed up for our next mission application and he said it has been done for a week. He did not realize he needed to call us.

Later this evening we both got the paperwork started. All we need is to have our physicals and dental exams done, be interviewed by the bishop and stake president and they can be sent in. I am anxious to know where the Lord needs us this time.

It is still strange to be home and hearing English in church. It is good to see old friends and meet new ones. Today I met the Greens and the Riddles – the Greens almost bought the house next to us that the Tanners bought but were too late so they bought the ‘boat house.’ The Riddles moved into the Wilson house. Last week I met Mike Griffith a new High Priest who is here working at BYU and also working on his doctorate. He is quite young – we are getting a number of younger High Priests it seems – and very friendly. He added much to the lesson today. We will just get to know them fairly well and then leave, but when we come back there will be other new friends to get to know.

21 June 2008

21 June 2008 – Saturday

I slept for over 6 hours last night – this is only the second time since we returned home. It felt good. I spent the morning working on the lower pond that I started 4 years ago. I decided to just clean it out and put in a simple pump and spitter fountain. It is always gross to clean up the wet, dirty leaves that accumulate each year at the bottom of a pond, but it went faster than I expected.

Once it was cleaned out and the area around it was weeded, I went to Lowe’s to get a fountain. This task was made harder by the fact that once again I left my glasses at home. I truly am blind without them. But with the help of some nice associates, I managed to get what I needed for the pond. I also could not stand not to buy some plants.

Back home I quickly set up the pump and got the frog spitter working. It is nice to hear the sound of water splashing as I sat on the deck. Later one problem did show up – there is a leak somewhere in the liner. Which means I am going to need to either repair or replace it next week.

I planted the plants on the North hill – the heather is especially rich looking and hopefully it will produce the same bright flowers in the years to come. The other heather I have planted do not bloom much but perhaps I need to feed them with an acidic base.

I think what ever I had is finally going away and I am thankful for that. In it’s place it the same raspy throat that I had for months in Indonesia. I guess it did not have anything to do with the pollution. If it continues for more than a week, I will go see the doctor and hopefully get it cleared up.

During and after a delicious dinner of homemade hamburgers, I worked on my lesson for tomorrow. I am having a difficult time figuring out what to teach. I do not think we really have any strong, spiritual traditions in our family. I doubt if fixing tacos for family gatherings, reading novels, etc. would count as the kind of traditions that is being promoted by this talk.But I will continue to study and pray and I am sure something interesting and uplifting will come from this lesson.

It has been a good day. The Lord has blessed me with the strength to work in the yard. The yard itself is a great blessing. I love to just walk along and see all the different plants growing. I am not a great gardener but I am an enthusiastic one. I guess my whole life has been that way – I am not really good at many things but I enjoy doing a wide variety of activities.

19 – 20 June 2008

19 June 2008 – Thursday

The main event of the day was our meeting with the Rebers to get them familiar with how to pay bills on line. Hopefully it will save them some time and make them more comfortable when they get to Indonesia. They are a great couple and will touch many lives on their mission. What ever the Lord has for them to do they will do well. After our training, they took us to dinner at Sizzlers. We had a good dinner and lots of interesting conversation.

Other than that my day was filled with yard work. Mainly raking leaves from under the spruces. I am amazed at how many leaves are produced by Cline’s tree. It does not seem possible that one tree can produce so many each year.

20 June 2008 – Friday

Slept fairly well but still cough too much. The yard is getting closer to being finished. But each time I think that I am about there, I find another area that needs some attention. Once again I spent much of the morning getting rid of leaves under the spruces. I must not have raked them before we left on our mission. At least in some areas. At least I have plenty of leaves for stopping the vinca from spreading.

In the afternoon we went to see “Get Smart” with the Alexanders. It was so natural that it does not seem possible that we have not done this for over 18 months. “Get Smart” was very funny but “86″ was not as funny as the original. He was too dead pan and just did not quite work. I am afraid it will not do well in theaters – there were no young people at our showing. Just us old folks who use to watch the original on TV.

After the movie we went to Pier 49 for pizza. It was good but expensive – I will not suggest it again. However they have an all you can eat Monday so I think I will give it a try next Monday so I can see if it is still as good as I remember it.

The Alexanders are such good friends. We have been doing things together for almost 20 years and it never gets old. We are blessed to have two such good friends. The Campbells are the same kind of friends but we have not been close to them since we left California. When we do get together it is just like old times but that is about once a year and many years not even that.

18 June 2008

18 June 2008 – Wednesday

Today was our 48th anniversary. It was very low key as I was busy working in the yard all morning and Mary worked on genealogy. The first thing I did this morning was to clean out the swamp cooler – some of the water holes were plugged and so the full core was not getting wet. I will check it again tomorrow.

I continue to make headway in cleaning up the North hillside. It will take at least one more morning. I went to Costco and bought a roll of the really good weed block, some geraniums, and a 3 gallon lavender. I am getting into the planting mood but I will not be buying many plants this year unless they are really well priced and I know exactly where I want to put them. I am going to thin some perennials and ground covers to use in areas where some plants died while we were gone. I did filled three planters with geraniums to put on the front railing. It is strange to see so few flowers around the door at this time of the year.

After lunch it was just too hot to work outside so I decided to read under the oaks. Instead I fell asleep. I would very much like to have a full nights sleep – at least 5 to 6 hours.

Once the sun was off the hill, I went back to work there. I also did some more pruning. I think that by this time next week, the yard should be back into shape and if I can get rid of all the piles that I have made, we will be ready to have people over for dinner. Tomorrow is trash pickup so I filled our two and used any empty space in the neighbor’s containers. It does not really make even a dent in the pile but it feels good to see some of it go.

I have to say that Cindy and Bob or someone did do quite a bit of work in the yard because the leaves from last year had been cleaned up and it seems that some areas had been weeded. What did not get done – and I don’t think I asked anyone to do it – was the roses and the clematis were not pruned for two years so they are really wild. I am not sure some of the roses can be cut back far enough to get them under control. But that is no big deal. I can always plant more.

As I sit here I realize that one thing we have not done since we got home was to read the scriptures together. I have a number of good excuses but no good reasons. I do find it hard to sit and think for more than a few minutes – which is why I am behind on this journal – and I often start coughing. For that same reason I have not felt like we could go to the temple or visit the elderly – that seems strange being said by a 70 year old but it is the way it is.

17 June 2008

17 June 2008 – Tuesday

Basically it was another yard working day. Lots of weeding and pruning – mainly on the North side of the house. The hill is not fun and once the sun hits it, it is time to quit. The temperatures are getting into the 90’s but the humidity is very low so as long as I stay out of the direct sunlight, it is not bad at all. Very different from Indonesia. Mary has been indexing for a couple of hours a day.

In the evening we went to Red Lobster for our anniversary dinner a day early. The coconut shrimp is as good as I remember but I found that 9 were too many of a good thing. Mary had lobster and shrimp and loved every bite. One of the tails was mushy so our very good waiter got her another one. It is nice to be able to communicate with the waiters and folks at the store. Mary has often mentioned how hard the sales folks in Indonesia tried to understand what those crazy bules were trying to explain to them. Sometimes they understood and sometimes they gave it their best shot – we were often surprised at the results of our ‘discussions’ with them. I am sure they went home and talked about those crazy foreigners that could not speak decent Indonesian.

For some reason we are not able to access our AOL e-mail account – it keeps saying that it is not available at this time. I can not figure out what is wrong but it is annoying. But not as annoying as the cough that continues to plague me. It would be wonderful to have at least one good night’s sleep.

15 June 2008

15 June 2008 – Sunday

I actually slept fairly well so it was a shock when the alarm went off at 5:30. We reported to the High Council this morning. Along with another couple who had served at the MTC, a young sister who served in Atlanta, and a young man who served in Honduras. It just shows the power of the stake to have 6 missionaries reporting their missions on the same day. I did not feel comfortable about what I said – how do you report 18 months of amazing experiences in 5 minutes?

I felt good and was sure that the nasty cough was gone. I tried to sleep between our early report and going to the 8th ward to speak but I failed. So instead I decided to write a talk – or perhaps it would be better to say that I decided to write some talking points. I first thought I would try to do “My mission in five minutes,” but that did not work out. So I ended up with “Five Things I Learned on My Mission.”

1. The Lord knows where I needed to serve. I included the thought that we teach young members “I’ll go where you want me to go” but when we get older that many decide that we know better where we should serve than the Lord does.

2.  I really do belong to the Household of God – a Fellow Citizen with the Saints. (Ephesians 2:19) That no matter what branch we went to, we were immediately accepted and felt welcomed.

3.  My Mission was more about learning than about teaching. I learned to have more patience, more faith, and to listen to the Lord. I learned from the leaders and the members on what it means to be faithful in adversity. That you do not need lots of money to be happy.

4.  There are no sacrifices in serving a mission. (Mosiah 2:24)

5.  Missions are like potato chips – one is not enough. Home is a wonderful place to visit between missions.

We arrived at the 8th Ward just in time to hear the Primary choir sing Father’s Day songs. I remembered it was Father’s Day earlier but it had slipped my mind. It seems to have slipped lots of minds.

The two youth talks were very good – brother and sister different in a good way. They had a very good PH choir sing as an interlude. Mary spoke on a number of things and when I looked at the time I could use and still leave the High Councilman adequate time, I cut my talk down to 3 points (1, 4 and 5) but managed to work 2 in by taking 2 minutes more. The talk felt good and hopefully it at least stirred up a couple of those who are still thinking up reasons to stay home.

Just as the last speaker was finishing up, I got a coughing fit and had to rush out. For the next hour or so I fought a losing fight with my cough. I left SS class and then left Sacrament. It was not fun in the least. I ended up listening to Sacrament meeting from the stage and then the foyer. I was afraid of going into the chapel. It was Taylor Barrett’s home coming and he did a great job using stories about members and experiences to get his message across without preaching. He did even better than I did. A mission is such a powerful experience that it is impossible to tell anyone who has not been on one what it is like. I am not sure that you can even explain to someone who went on a mission when they were young what it is like to be a senior couple.