Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Adventures of "O", "Oh, No", "Snow", "Let it Go" and "Fort Monroe"

Saturday, February 28

This past week started off with some changes and we all know that I am not a huge fan of change....Our friends, Elder and Sister Wilson from Boise, Idaho, will be leaving to go back home on Monday, March 2nd, so the Mission President asked one of the other couples serving here to come take their place in the office.  The new couple, Elder and Sister Shaw, are from Linden, Utah and are very nice....and catching on very quickly!   They started training with the Wilsons on Monday and I think they have it down pretty well.   I sure am glad they will be there to help us in the office but I will really miss the Wilsons.   They took us under their wing when we first arrived and have been great to help us learn the ropes of what we are supposed to be doing.   Those of us who work in the office wanted to have a going away dinner for them and it was planned for Tuesday evening.  The mission secretary lives in the area so she agreed to make most of dinner and I was going to take an Angel Food Cake with creamy chocolate frosting.   I left the office about 4 to go to the apartment (2.5 miles away) and frost the cake.   I was planning to meet everyone back at the office about 4:30 and we would all go to Sister Stoecker's house together.  Almost immediately after I pulled onto the main road, I could tell something wasn't quite took me 30 minutes to go 3 blocks and when I got to the last intersection before the bridge that crosses the James River, the policemen were turning everyone back.  It had been snowing a little that afternoon and there was an accident on the bridge so they closed it down....Well, I had no choice but to turn around, stop at a grocery store to buy a cake and head back to the office.   Just as I got there, Sister Stoecker called and said we needed to cancel dinner because the roads were just terrible!  OK - still not a big deal - we'll just eat leftovers for dinner.   At 5:05 we left the office for home but we couldn't got the way we normally do because the bridge was closed and we had to take a little longer way in order to find another bridge to get over the water.   The longer way was about 13 miles instead of 2.5 and because of the streets that were like glass it took us a full hour to get home.   Oh, no!   Sometimes the best laid plans must bow to mother nature ;-)As we drove to the office on Wednesday morning, I commented to Elder Ashton that I felt like I was part of "Frozen" and should change my name to Elsa because all the snow that fell on Tuesday evening looked like it was embedded with crystals - especially if the sun hit it just right.

It stopped snowing and we didn't get any more snow on Wednesday, but the prediction was that we would get 5 - 8 inches that night.   I had been trying to get by without any boots but finally decided to cave and see if I could find some.   I think I waited almost too long because the only thing I could find that would fit my feet and had zippers in them so they would go over my high instep were the fashionable boots seen below.

I told Elder Ashton I felt like I was ready to march into combat....but at least they kept my feet relatively dry.   As I looked down at them I thought of a time in the early nineties when it was a fad for girls to wear "combat" boots aka Doc Martens.   I bit my tongue quite a bit about those shoes and now I feel like I am wearing them ;-)

When I got up on Thursday morning, I was glad I had purchased the boots because the predicted 5-8 inches of snow did fall.  And, I decided I would do my "Frozen" act for you, sans the music :)  By the way, I think Elder Ashton thought I had lost my mind when I asked him to take my picture pantomiming that song.  Soooooo, even though I don't look or sound like Elsa, here's my weak attempt.

I like this part of the lyrics.....even though it may be a little fib to say "the cold never bothered my anyway" ;-)

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You'll never see me cry!

Here I stand
And here I'll stay
Let the storm rage on!

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I'm never going back,
The past is in the past!

Let it go, let it go

And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone!

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

I had signed up to feed the Elders on Thursday night and they were grounded from driving because of the icy streets.   Elder Ashton brought me home to work on cooking dinner and then he went and picked the Elders up.   I made Cheeseburger Soup (for the first time because I had heard some of my kids and grandkids really like that and thought maybe the Elders would like it to - they did!), rolls and still had the unfrosted Angel Food Cake so I frosted it with lemon frosting just like Elder Ashton likes it.   I think the Elders got full and we had some soup left over so I had Elder Ashton take it to our back neighbor who I have been trying to befriend.   She is divorced and struggles with depression so I try to be extra nice to her.    It wasn't an hour later that she called on the phone telling me how good the soup was and asking for the recipe.   I've tried to talk to her a little about the church but she isn't interested so we will just continue to be her friend and watch out for her.   Elder Ashton was putting some air in the tires on his truck last night when we got home and the neighbor and her daughter were out there with a dead battery so he gave their car a jump. It is nice that we can help our neighbors in some small way!

Despite the snow, cold and ice, we made a trip to Norfolk on Friday morning to have a little growth biopsied from the end of my nose.   I told one of the gals in the office that I was going to look like Rudolph and she told me I was too late for that, but with all the snow and fog we have been having I think I'm right on time.   As we were driving I couldn't help but notice the beautiful "snow trees" -----they were all along the residential streets.   So pretty!

I was also taken with the colorful row houses as we left Norfolk and headed back to Portsmouth and we were so busy looking at them that we missed the turn and had to go around in a big circle to make it back to the right road :)

As you can see, the cold temperatures are keeping the snow around.....not much melting going on!

When we got the chores finished today, I told Elder Ashton I would like to drive over to Fort Monroe (about 30 miles away) even though it was bitter cold outside.   There were some things there I wanted to see and I thought we would be inside most of the time.   So, we set off for the area - near Hampton.   

Before we came to Fort Monroe, we came to the entrance of Hampton University where the Emancipation Oak stands.......I only saw it as we drove by, but it seemed huge and has a story that relates to Fort Monroe so I wanted you to see this picture of it that I found on the web.

We drove a couple of miles farther and reached the Fort......I was not expecting what we found!  This fort was completed in 1834 and although most of Virginia joined with the confederacy during the Civil War, Fort Monroe remained in Union hands.
You can see that Fort Monroe is sometimes referred to as Freedom's Fortress.....and I was really surprised to see that it has a moat(note the water and the sign that says Moat Walk).....I didn't know there were any of those in the US.

There were many red brick buildings with white trim in the area......all looked quite old.   The fort has been decommissioned and no longer houses military operations or military families but it looked like many of the brick buildings had people/families living in them.  I like the wrap around porches on these buildings and the flags flying on the front porches.

One of the cannon used at the fort at some time in it's history.   I didn't have my "combat" boots on so I didn't want to tramp through the snow to read the placard that would give details.

A view of the bridge over the moat and the only way into or out of the Fort.  Note the huge stones used in construction of the Fort and the narrow opening......the big white GMC didn't have much room to spare going through that opening!

Another of the beautiful red brick buildings with white trim.

St. Mary's Catholic Church - looked very well-kept and is in use today because the schedule for mass was posted on a sign.

This building inside the fortification is identified as the quarters of Robert E. Lee and indicates that his first child was born there.  Across the narrow street I am standing in while I take this picture are the outer walls of the fortification and some of it has been turned into the CaseMate Museum.

Note the GIANT icicle coming down from the drain was frigid cold outside!

Another icicle and a placard indicating this is where Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy was incarcerated for two years following the civil war.

An outside walkway just before entering the Museum.....note the stones and brickwork and all the archways.

Inside the Museum.....again lots of brick and stonework and low archways.   I learned that the large number of archways used in the construction were to help stabilize the fort which was built on mostly sand.   They would use an archway above and then an inverted arch in the same place into the ground to help stabilize the building.

This is the room/cell where Jefferson Davis was held.   You may see leg irons on the bed.   The placards indicated that there are several stories about them trying to place Jefferson Davis in those leg irons but they conflict - however he indicated that he was placed in leg irons and he felt it was a huge disgrace to him.

This would have been a typical room that a military family would have lived in at the Fort.

As I indicated earlier, this Fort stayed in Union hands throughout the civil war.   In 1861 or 1862 (I can't remember which) 3 run-away slaves showed up at the Fort.   Their owner came and indicated they were his personal property and that he expected to have them returned to him.   The chief officer at the Fort at that time (I think his name was General Bernard) informed the owner that since Virginia (where the owner lived) had seceded from the union, the slaves were contraband of war and would not be returned to him.   Word of that spread and soon many run away slaves showed up at the fort.   Some of them trained and joined the union army and fought in some of the battles.   Following the war, the freed black people stayed in the area enjoying their freedom and attempting to get an education to enhance their freedom.   Some of the first classes were held under the sprawling oak on what is now Hampton University campus.   Can you imagine sitting under this tree and beginning to learn and gain an education that had been denied to you? What a great thing for those people!   It was under that same oak that the Emancipation Proclamation was read for the first time in the South in 1863.

The days and weeks are flying by and we are busy, healthy and happy.   We have been gone from Arizona for 4 months and I saw some pictures on FB of the Phoenix Marathon today---  sure made me miss that warm weather!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Polar Adventure

Sunday - February 22

Happy Birthday, George Washington!  Now that I live here in Virginia (in the very area where he lived) I have even more appreciation for what he and others did to make this a nation.   I am constantly in awe of how difficult it must have been to tame this wilderness.....but they did not give up and I am so grateful.

Last Monday, February 16, when we reached the office there was an email from the President announcing that the scheduled departure of missionaries going home and arrival of new missionaries had been moved back a day and would now occur on Wednesday, February 18, instead of Tuesday, February 17th.  That one email totally changed my planned tasks for the day - I was primed to pay baggage fees and print out boarding passes and could not do that on Monday because it was more than 24 hours prior to departure.   Instead, I started trying to familiarize myself with the new missionaries that would be arriving and making sure they had money loaded on their debit card prior to their arrival.  The President asked us to notify all the parents of the incoming missionaries that their arrival had been delayed by a day so we were busy making phone calls to them.  Imagine trying to explain to a mother in Fairbanks, Alaska that we had moved everything back a day because we were expecting 3-6 inches of snow.....she couldn't believe it!!!!   About 3 p.m. it started to snow.   I didn't think too much of it because we have had a few snow flurries in the last few weeks and nothing has stuck.  However, this was different.  By the time we left the office at about 4:30 it was already starting to stick and it was still snowing steadily.

This is what it looked like as we left the office on Monday afternoon.

We hunkered down in our moderately warm apartment when we got home and didn't poke our noses out until the next morning...

Elder Ashton trying to trail blaze a path to the truck for me on Tuesday morning.   He had already been out to clean the truck off and said that was quite interesting.   Seems it had snowed about 4 inches, then changed to sleet/slush and left a layer of that, then snowed another inch or so on top of that.   As we tried to walk to the truck and I was breaking through the icy crust near the top of the snow, I thought I had been transported back in a time machine to Evanston, Wyoming about 55 years ago!

When it snows back here, everything closes down because the cities and state do not have the proper equipment to deal with removing the snow.   We went into the office on Tuesday but it was pretty quiet in there as the President had told all the missionaries they were not to be out driving or riding bikes on the icy streets.   Elder Ashton felt quite bored because he didn't hardly any calls about cars ;(  I kept a little busier because I had utility bills to pay and more research to do (some on late payments caused by our terribly slow US mail back here).  It is frustrating that it takes soooooooooo long for the mail - sometimes it takes over 2 weeks to get a letter from Williamsburg (70 miles away) to the office.   Both Elder Ashton and I have contacted the local post office and USPS on-line but get no-where with our questions or requests.   I was told they have no way to know how long it is taking the mail unless we pay to put tracking on all our correspondence - which would be exorbitantly expensive!  However, I must say that the USPS was one of the few services that did not close down in the snow....schools closed, stores closed, banks closed.   We tried to make a deposit for the mission on Monday and the bank was totally closed!  Some of them only stayed closed a day or two, but the schools in the area remained closed all week.  I don't know how they can possibly make up all those snow days!  

In the midst of all the ice and snow, new missionaries arrived on Wednesday.   Elder Ashton and I were asked to help transport missionaries so we took one of the mission vans and drove to the church building in Norfolk to get set up for the dinner.  Although the roads were mostly clear, the parking lots and lawns were covered in ice/snow.   

The parking lots was like a skating rink!  Even though it looks like snow the layer of ice just beneath the snow made it treacherous.

We also found two young elders working hard to clear the ice from the steps at the church and although it was freezing cold that didn't dampen the smiles on their faces, especially when I mentioned cute granddaughters ;-)

showed up at the Norfolk airport at the appointed time.  However, one of the flights was delayed so they didn't need us to haul any missionaries to the church - we would be needed later to bring the five new sister missionaries back to Portsmouth after the dinner and interviews.  Missionaries are instructed to pick their bags up from the luggage carousel and meet at the "LOVE" sign so their luggage can be tagged/labeled with duct tape.

Waiting for luggage.  I call the Elder facing forward on the left of the picture the "Wyoming Elder"   I think he said he is from someplace up by Cody.   When I told him I grew up in Evanston, he said, "I know that town."   I asked if he went their for fireworks and he explained that he went their for rodeos - he did roping events.   He also said he played football in high school but mostly likes rodeo events.

At first there are just two lonely little cases by the sign

Then more missionaries and more luggage.  Almost ready to load up and go to the church building for dinner and interviews.

After dinner and interviews, we loaded the five new sister missionaries in the mission van we were driving and headed back to Portsmouth.  By the time we reached our apartment at 10 p.m. (14 hours after we left that morning) this oldster sister missionary was ready to SLEEP!

Even with all the cold and snow, we did see some beautiful things.   If you look very closely you can just see the red ball of the sun as it sets behind the trees as we leave the Norfolk airport.

You've probably heard of the polar ice cap.....all week long I kept thinking of the Virginia ice cap.  As the week went on and the  sun would try to melt some of the snow during the day, everything soon became ice and as I looked over the snowy landscape it shone like glass - truly a layer of ice on everything!

Note the sheen on the snow - I have dubbed it the Virginia ice cap :)

To keep windshield wipers intact, auto owners pull them up off the windshield when the car is going to be sitting in the cold for any period of kind of makes the cars look like insects with antennae :)

A single icicle outside our office door :)

The two sister missionaries serving our ward came to dinner on Friday night.  I had tried to come up with something to fix that I thought they would like....ended up making Chicken Pot Pie and one of them took only about two bites of it.   Guess I'll have to wait until we have another Ashton family dinner before I can find lots of people who like Chicken Pot Pie ;-)

Even with the cold and snow, I felt like I wanted to get out of the apartment on Saturday afternoon and see something different so we tried to go to Jamestown.  Somehow, I couldn't get the right area in the GPS, so my best friend Siri led us to Williamsburg instead.....but never fear, we were finally able to find Jamestown.  This picture is crossing the bridge as we are leaving Portsmouth area.   I am fascinated by the ice on the water.....had no idea the water in the bay would freeze.   Not so fascinated with the dirty black snow along the road - I've seen lots of that while I was growing up in Evanston!

I really liked this modernized metal rendition of sail boats arriving at Jamestown.   As you may know, Jamestown was the first British settlement in the new world.   Settlers arrived their in 1607 when King James was ruler in England and the settlement was named in his honor.

Split rail fence along the walkway

Elder Ashton standing in front of monument erected by the US in 1907 to celebrate the 300 anniversary of Jamestown.

Old church (reconstructed in 1907 to replace original that existed in hundreds of years before when Jamestown was a settlement.

Settlers found Powhatan Indians in the area and Pocohantas would visit the settlement with her father.   It seems she was a courageous and beautiful Indian Princess and was eventually taken as prisoner when the settlers and Indian tribes started warring with one another.   She was held captive for a year during which time she learned about Christianity, converted, married John Rolf and moved to England.   She died while in England without ever returning to Virginia.

Walls replicating those from the old Fort James and the back of the church.

Inside view of the church - I loved the window detail.

In recent years there has been a large amount of excavation cone in the Jamestown area and many artifacts, both English and Native American have been found in the area of the fort and the settlement.  We visited the museum that showed many of those artifacts that have been found, but the ones I found most fascinating were artifacts of things that I have used.

One display depicted artifacts from various vocations and I found the one related to tailor the most interesting.

Scissors, thimbles, pins and needles have not changed much in 400 years.

However, the pressing iron looks like it easily weights 10-15 pounds and I'm not sure I could have wielded that during the days when I was a seamstress, sewing lots of clothes for clients!  Thank goodness that has changed dramatically in the last 400 years :)

It started to rain in the middle of the night on Saturday and tonight most of the snow is gone.....lots of water in the parking lot and on the sidewalks.   It is supposed to be 16 degrees in the morning for a low and more snow is predicted tomorrow......maybe the polar express is headed our way again but I think I will make us of the snow spikes I received for Christmas and see if I can keep from slipping and sliding.

Only one week left in February and the other couple that works in the office will go home on March 2nd.   They are from Idaho and say they do not look forward to the long drive ahead of them but are looking forward to getting back home to see children and grandchildren.   We have a new couple that had been serving a military relations mission and have now come into the office and are being trained to take over the duties for the Wilsons, who are leaving.   Both couples are really great people and I believe I'll have some new long term friends from this experience!

This was a cold, snowy, and tiring week, but I feel like we made a difference to several people and I'm working on figuring out this FRIGID weather :)   Hope all is well with all family and friends!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Adventures of the Wal-Mart Heist!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone - and here's hoping your heart is filled with love this day and every day!  I can truly say I am learning to love this adventure we are on more every day....some days are extremely busy and some are a little less intense but all are rewarding and it was no different this week.

We started the week on Monday with regular duties and meetings.  A couple of the sisters in the office spent a large part of the day decorating and preparing for a special Sister's Training meeting that was to be held on Tuesday, February 10th.  One of the sisters is very artistic and she used branches and twigs to make unique and pretty decorations.

Who would have thought that twigs and branches could be so attractive.  Of course, the crystal vase filled with pink silk tulips wasn't bad either :)

The theme of the conference was "Oh Lord, Write Thy Name Upon my Heart" and was to encourage us to live so that we can draw closer to the Savior in our thoughts and actions.   We we taught be the President's wife, Sister Baker,  four young sister missionaries and President Baker.   We also enjoyed a delicious lunch of Chipotle style build your own burritos and brownies with pink heart-shaped strawberry marshmallows in the middle.  I spent a lot of the time in the kitchen preparing the food and getting in ready for serving but was able to hear some of the was GREAT!  The only males that were invited to the training were the husbands of the Senior Sister missionaries and President Baker so there was lots of chatter and giggling during the lunch break.   Elder Ashton did pretty good with putting up with all that giggling :)

It's quite easy to tell that these were tables set up specifically for the Senior Couples.....just based on the color and amount of hair on the heads :)

During the lunch break the sisters were able to enjoy a clothing exchange.   You can't imagine how boring it gets wearing the same 10 outfits over and over and over and over again (I speak for myself) so the sisters bring what they are tired of and other sisters can take at no cost.   They had a great time finding "new" clothes!

By the time all the clean-up was done on Tuesday, I was ready to go back to the apartment and put my feet up!   Back to work on Wednesday to pay the rent on 94 apartments.  It took me all day to verify which apartments we were still in, which we had renewed leases on and experienced an increase in rent, and which we had moved out of.  I finally finished that just before time to head home so I would be ready to process the data in the software on Thursday morning.   This short month required me to process rent about 4 days early to be sure headquarters in Salt Lake City would have time to cut the checks, mail them, and have them arrive before March 1 to avoid any late fees or threatened evictions.  Our US mail service here is TERRIBLE - it can take a week for a letter to go to the next town 30 miles away! it can take a full week to come from Salt Lake.  Keeps me on my toes :)

Elder Ashton was really busy on Wednesday trying to deal with a problem with the mission trailer.   The Assistants to the President took it to North Carolina on Tuesday evening to take 10 of the sister missionaries back and had a tire blow out,   They were in a rather rural place and it was late on Tuesday so they waited until Wednesday to try to get back to Virginia.   He was still getting phone calls from them with updates about their adventures in trying to get new tires on one axle of the trailer when we left the office and he said he was just going to go home and chill out.   I told him I was fine with that but I was going to run over to Wal-Mart.   When he heard that, he decided he would go get his haircut so we came up with a plan for him to drop me at Wal-,Mart, go get his hair cut and come back to get me.   I only needed to pick up a couple of things so knew I would have some time to just wander around and relax (not too relaxing to go shopping with a very task oriented individual - there is no window shopping going on - get in, get what you came for, get out ;-)  So, I am wandering around Wal-Mart and spot a pair of earrings that would go perfectly with a cardigan sweater I have been wearing.  It goes something like this......I pick them up, I put them back and decide I really don't need them, I pick them back up because they really would go great with that sweater, I put them back because I really don't need them, and I pick them up-I WANT them even if I don't need them and they cost $2.88.

Now I am faced with another dilemma - they are so small that if I put them in the cart they will fall out, so I just keep them in my hand.  I wander around the store a bit more and pick up a couple of other things then decide I better go check out because Elder Ashton will be coming.   I go to the express lane so I can hurry and not keep Elder Ashton waiting.  There are only 3 people in front of me in the line and 2 of them are together....I should be out of there in no time.  NOT.   The two that were together couldn't agree whether they should get the curtain that they already had in their cart or not and they went back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth.   I could see the clerk was getting edgy because the line was backing up and I was trying to be a good example and just remain calm.  They finally decided to take the curtain and then they couldn't agree on who was going to pay for it.   The clerk finally told them to quit arguing and move on that she had other customers to wait on!    By this time I was reaching for my wallet so I could go through the line quickly without having to dig my wallet out of my purse.  Finally!   I'm checked out and go out to sit by the Ronald McDonald statue and wait for Elder Ashton.  He comes in a few minutes and we head home and  I begin to put my purchases away.   I couldn't find the earrings and thought that was weird but decided I must have landed on the "I don't need them" argument because I certainly didn't get home with them and it wasn't a big deal.

Thursday was a typical office day except that we sat in on a missionary lesson/discussion at 2 p.m. that afternoon.   While wandering back to the office I passed the window to the inner courtyard and noticed this tree/bush with large buds on it.   I think it might be a Magnolia tree and if it is, I have heard that the blossoms can be as big as a dinner plate.   I'm anxious for spring to come - to get some warm air and to see a Magnolia blossom!

There are also a large number of these trees around the church parking lot and up closer to the church.  I find them very interesting because they don't have thick bark like I am accustomed to, more like a paper bark.   I keep asking Elder Ashton what he thinks they are and he says maybe a Birch tree, but I was doing some research the other day and I think they may be Crape Myrtle trees.  If so, I can hardly wait to see them in bloom......I hear they are beautiful!

Most of Thursday, Elder Ashton spent dealing with the issues of the Mission trailer and trying to make sure it had a good spare in it so the Elders wouldn't get caught in the same situation again.  He finally got to the point late in the afternoon that he decided he needed to fabricate a piece to hang the tire from inside the trailer.   About the time he decided that (about 3 p.m.) it started to snow.   First the flakes were small, but they kept getting larger and larger until they were the size of dimes.  Elder Ashton decided it was time to go home so he could have access to his tools to fabricate the piece and work on it inside where it was warm until it was ready to mount in the trailer.   He was going to drive the van/trailer to the apartment and I was going to drive the pickup.   So I needed to get my own set of keys out and began digging in the bottom of my purse to find the keys.

Yes - the white spots are the real size of the snowflakes!!!

Just imagine my surprise and my consternation when I found my keys in the bottom of my purse, laying on top of .........  THE EARRINGS!

Oh No!!!   I could just imagine the headlines "Senior Mormon Sister Missionary Nabbed for Shoplifting"!!   My mind started  running trying to figure out how those ended up in my purse.   I have no recollection of putting them in there - but have decided maybe I dropped them in when I reached for my wallet and was so concentrated on trying to remain calm and nice that I didn't even remember it happened.  BUT - I tell  you I had to remind myself to obey the speed limit as I drove home and then over to Wal-Mart to make myself an honest woman!! And I breathed a sigh of relief when I had parted with the $3.11 to pay for the earrings.   After all that I decided to wear the sweater and earrings on Friday and when I came out of the bedroom/bathroom ready for the day, Elder Ashton said, "I see you have your stolen earrings on this morning."   Made us both laugh at the craziness that comes as we get older and get more forgetful.

Weather was FRIGID on Friday with a really cold, damp wind and each time I stepped outside it literally took my breath away.   We needed to be up and getting Saturday chores done early because Elder Ashton had been invited to baptize a new convert who was taught by the Sister Missionaries that serve in our ward.   So, up we hopped, got the laundry started, the vacuuming and grocery shopping done before the baptism.  

Linda Su was baptized today.   She is a tiny little woman whose family is from Taiwan.  Her family has practiced the Buddhist faith but her father died a little over a year ago and she has been searching for something since then.   She was really nervous but did great!  And it was so great to feel the spirit and see how happy she was.   She was radiant.

Elder Ashton with the first baptism of his second full-time mission :)

After the baptism we went for a "little" drive to find a JoAnns fabric and craft store.  I was looking for flannel to make a little blanket for our 6th great grandchild that is expected to be born in a few months.   We had to drive 30 miles to find a fabric store.....can I just say once again that I am really not impressed with the shopping facilities here in Virginia!!!  Finally got to the store in Virginia Beach and all I could say was "Can't wait to get back to my store in Arizona"   The store was dirty, terrible organization, and could not find anyone to answer my questions.  Oh well, I did find some flannel but may keep looking for another chance to pick some up.   While we were out we took the opportunity to drive another 15 minutes and see the lighthouses and Cape Henry.

This original Cape Henry Lighthouse was completed in 1792 and cost $17,700 to build.  It is built of stone and needless to say, I did not climb to the top.   Elder Ashton did climb to the top and said even though it is built entirely of stone, when you are at the top you can fee the wind blowing the lighthouse and it sways a little in the wind.  This original lighthouse was damaged by confederate forces during the civil war and later repaired by union forces but questions arose about its stability so a second lighthouse was constructed and opened in 1881.

This second lighthouse is only 350 feet from the original lighthouse and is owned and operated, still today, by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Since I wasn't thrown in the clink for shoplifting ;-), I really enjoyed some of the idyllic scenes we saw today.  I loved this peaceful setting of the houses along the bay, under the blue sky.

I promise from this time forward I will follow the examples of George Washington and Honest Abe -
No more heists for me ;-)