Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Dear Elders and Sisters,
It has been far too long since I wrote to each of you. I keep thinking I’ll get to it, but it just hasn’t happened—so today I’m taking the bull by the horns and writing before the rest of life gets in the way.
Hi! How are you? This past week has been a very full one here. Last Sunday (the 17th) was our stake conference. It was a good conference. I spoke with my friend, Philip Taula, after conference. They live in our 11th (Samoan) ward, and I taught two of their children in preschool. Philip’s wife, Kainoa, has been very ill with cancer for the past 6 months. Some of you may remember that she fought breast cancer several years ago. When they found the latest tumor, they decided not to pursue chemo and radiation treatments. I asked him if there was anything I could do to help them, and they needed their garden planted. I asked our ward sisters for help with plants and with planting. I know there were several who were going to come on Saturday morning, but I got a call that morning telling me that Sister Taula passed away. We’ll try again for next Saturday. I am so sad for her family, but I am so grateful for the things that we know.
At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday there was a baptism in our ward. There’s a family renting the Olson’s house on Schorr Circle. The mother (Amy) is a member, though she hasn’t been active for YEARS. Their daughter, McKena, who is 9, started working with the missionaries, loved church, and was baptized a month or two ago. Now her brother, Taylor, 11 years old, was baptized, too. They are such terrific kids. Their grandmother lost her membership YEARS ago, and was re-baptized about three years ago. The fact that the kids are coming makes Mom come, too. Both baptisms have been very sweet. Their extended family are not members (or are not active), but they’ve been very supportive. Anyway, I was supposed to lead the music in the baptism, but I completely flaked and forgot. I made it in time for the last talk and the closing song. Not the most amount of help ever, but I was glad to have made it for part, as I wanted Taylor and McKena and Amy to know I cared about this.
After the baptism, our family gathered for a fun Saturday together. We watched a big chunk of an old movie, had PBJ’s for lunch, and then went to Boondock’s for a rockin’ awesome game of miniature golf. We laughed a lot, and just had a terrific time. After some more playing in the arcade, we went home and had pizza together.
Sunday was another lovely day. You know me—the highlight is Primary. We’ve learned all three verses of “On A Golden Springtime” this month, and we’ve learned the ASL to go with it. It’s not perfect ASL, but a signer would have enough to understand the message of the song, I think. The children are FABULOUS, as always. After we learned our verse for the week we played a game that my mom always had us play at our birthday parties when I was a child. The kids LOVE this game, where you just hold a clothespin to your nose and try to drop it into a jar. They get three clothespins to try, and if they get one in, they get to choose the song. But if they don’t, I get to choose. I chose “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam,” which is always silly and fun. When the kids chose, they chose “Gethsemane,” “I Love to See the Temple,” and “I Am a Child of God.” They always watch me, so I can get them to follow a chorister (loud/soft, cut-offs, hold out, stand up/sit down). I’ve taught them the descant to “I Am A Child of God,” so we get some pretty sweet harmony going on. But the best part of serving in Primary is feeling the Spirit of the Lord. This week Sister Anderson taught the children about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. She shared an experience when the Spirit warned her about some danger. Then the children started raising their hands, and we had a true sharing time, when the kids talked about times that they felt the Holy Ghost. It was so beautiful. I get to finish our hour with singing time, so each time I feel the Spirit of the Lord in our meeting, I try to point it out (something I learned from Mindy Pitcher years ago). I bore testimony of the Holy Ghost and I reminded them that the happy, comfortable feeling they were having RIGHT NOW, when they really knew something was true, was also the Holy Ghost testifying to them. Seriously, music and the purest gospel—I have the BEST calling EVER!!! I never want to be released.
Sunday was Spencer’s birthday, so all the kids gathered for gifts. I made Spence a fun brownie and candy cake. We had dinner and FHE, then went out to the backyard for some volleyball. When it got chilly we had cake, then turned on a movie and had lots of laughs.
Yesterday was Memorial Day. Spencer and I rode up to Francis to the cemetery where my grandpa is buried. (Spencer went with his dad and sister to his mother’s and brother’s graves on Sunday.) I love cemeteries. I find them very peaceful and reverent. However, I’ve never really seen the point of decorating a grave. They aren’t there, our loved ones. However, I knew it would mean a lot to my grandma if we went. My grandpa’s brother, Uncle Bud, was there at the same time we were, so we got to visit for a few minutes. He’s 93. I asked him how he was, and he said, “Well, I’m not bragging.” Isn’t that cute? His daughter Liana told us that he’s sure tired of doing nothing at home by himself all day. It must be really difficult to be so alone and so unable to do things. It makes me really appreciate all I can do, especially on the days when I’m completely overwhelmed.
I was surprised at the emotion I felt at the cemetery yesterday. Life goes so incredibly quickly, and in another 100 years—which passes at light speed, it seems—we will all be on the other side of the veil, laughing and visiting about how quick and short mortality was and all that we learned during our mortal years.
After the cemetery, Spencer and I went to the old drug store for lunch. It’s no longer a pharmacy, but they continue to sell the same food (and more) that their family has fixed for YEARS. I used to go to the drugstore for lunch (or snacks) when I was in 7th and later in high school. They sold a TERRIFIC salad before salad was cool. J The last time I was there was 1984, so it was just a blast from the past. And amazingly wonderful food, if you care. You need to stop at the drug store on Main Street in Kamas and have lunch. Don’t forget the ice cream.
Last night we hosted a birthday party for Spence. We invited our children and our siblings. We barbecued chicken and everyone brought something to share. The kids played with the dog and the preschool toys and the balls and each other. We had a little bit of volleyball going on. Mostly there was lots of visiting, and we loved every minute of it. I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, so after that and a full, fun weekend, I wasn’t exactly jumping to get back to work today. J
Spencer and Taylor and Taylor’s bestie, Logan, and I are planning a trip to Canada in a month. I’m getting really excited for that. We’re going to stay with friends in Cardston for a couple of nights (and go to Waterton park), then we’ll spend a couple of days and nights in Calgary. Then we’re taking a scenic route into part of B.C. where Tay served his mission, and home via Glacier and Banff. We’ll stop in the Driggs, Idaho, area for a night before we head home. 8 days of gloriousness! There are so many things we want to see and do, but the part I’m the most looking forward to is meeting Tay’s mission president. Taylor entered the MTC on August 1, but President Nicholas was brand new on July 1 of that same year—so he and his wife will be going home on July 1 or 2 of this year. They live in Texas (sorry, don’t know what part), so the chances of getting to meet them are slim. But yay! We get to go to Calgary!
Is this epistle long enough for you? J
I love you each and all, and you are in our prayers! Have a lovely week!
Aundrea/Mama Hill/Sister Hill