Sunday, March 8, 2015

A "Spring" Forward Adventure

Sunday, March 8 2015

I woke up yesterday morning wondering how it is possible that one week of March is already gone and we will soon have gone through 1/4 of 2015........Where does the time go!?!  The very next thought that entered my mind was Arrrrgggghhhhhh!   We have to set our clocks forward tonight and I really think Arizona has this right.....what is with all this silliness of setting clocks forward and back  - Each day still has only 24 hours!!!   Grumble, grumble, grumble----and it didn't change a thing.   I still had to set my clocks ahead when I went to bed last night so I could make it to church on time today.   Guess that should teach me a lesson about grumbling, it generally doesn't help anything and only makes me feel grumpy!

On Monday morning, Elder and Sister Wilson finished their mission (March 2 was their release date) and left to go back to Boise, Idaho.   We have really enjoyed serving with them in the office for the last 4 months and getting to know them.   Wherever we go and whoever we talk to in the church, we find similarities and I found that the Wilson's life/family experiences were much the same as ours.   They made it to Nashville by Tuesday afternoon, but were snowed in there for a couple of days before they could resume their trip on Friday morning.   They will be missed!

Sister Stoecker (in the middle) is the mission secretary.   She is a Church Service Missionary and lives here in the local area.   Her 18 months of service will be up at the end of April and I am glad I have her phone number because we relay heavily on her and the President is still working on finding a replacement for her.  I had no clue about all the work and intricate details that go into keeping a mission running smoothly and have gained a much greater appreciation for all missionaries and especially for the mission president and his wife!

I mentioned in last week's post that I had a growth on my nose biopsied and that I looked like Rudolph.....more and more as the week went along due to an allergic reaction I had to the latex in the bandaids I used to cover the wound.   So I composed a little ditty - sing it to the tune of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ;-)

Carol, the red-nosed missionary, Has a very shiny nose
Now that you’ve seen the picture, I bet you say it glows
Everyone she meets, tries very  hard not to stare…
At her badge, or at her nose, so they just look everywhere.
Carol once spent hours trying to look great, sometimes pride got in her way
Forever young and vivacious, she thought she would always stay,
Then the years kept flying by and her body began to fall apart,
With scars galore and a big red nose, It’s now about the heart,
Looking great is not a big deal as merrily along she goes
When all is said and done, she wants a tiny upturned nose J

Got the results of the biopsy on Friday and it showed Basal Cell Carcinoma (skin cancer) so I will be having some MOHS surgery to remove more tissue and make sure we get it all.   This type of cancer is very slow growing and hardly ever spreads to other areas so I'm not worried - will just be glad to get to the point where people will only have my badge to stare at ;-)  

We got a little taste of spring on Wednesday....the wind was not so cold and it actually got up to 70 degrees that day.   When we showed up at the office about 8 o'clock, the grass and sidewalks were covered with robins and Canadian Geese.   I have been told that this area has one of the highest robin populations of anywhere in the country and I believe it.....there were literally hundreds of robins hopping and flying around the church yard and sidewalks and the school yard across the street.   As we walked in a squirrel ran across our path and the robins flew out of our way......I sort of felt like I was walking in the forest.   I guess the animals were as excited to see the sun as I was :)   And to eat the seeks that had dropped out of the cones and pods during the cold spell.   I was fascinated for much of the day as I watched out the window and observed the actions and interactions of the animals.......but not so fascinated when I stepped out of the building after work that afternoon and saw the MESS they had made on the sidewalk.   I think those birds just made big pigs of themselves and ate and ate until their tummy was sick, then got rid of that food and went back for more.   I was glad to see the rain for most of the day on Thursday because bit cleaned most of the mess off the sidewalk.

All of the little brown dots on the lawn are robins

They were on the lawn, in the flower beds, in the parking lot, flying from tree to tree----they were everywhere!

As we left the church to run back to the apartment and grab some lunch, a spot of blue flashed in front of my eyes and flew into the tree close to our truck.....and what a racket.   I looked up and saw that it was a blue jay - but of course it flew off before I could get my phone/camera out, but it looked like this.   We've also seen a different blue bird - brighter in color and smaller and a cardinal.   Lots of  fauna to see and I find that I am fascinated with the different kinds of animals.

Elder Ashton was so glad to see the warmer weather on Wednesday that he could hardly wait to get out of the office at 4 p.m. and head out for a short ride on his bicycle.   It was Mission Leadership Conference at the building that day and there were 32 Elders and Sisters there but he tried really hard to get them all taken care of so he could get on the bike.  He rode ONLY 12 miles that day, but said it was great.

One of Elder Ashton's responsibilities is to track all the gasoline purchases and the mileage from all the missionaries around the mission.   Missionaries are supposed to keep track of that and send it in at the first of each month.   It has been a real struggle to get some of them to send it in, so Elder Ashton asked the President if he could conduct a little contest this time and give a small prize to the first 10 sets of missionaries.    The President said they don't usually have contests but agreed to let him do it this one time.  That little contest has raised a ton of interest and the reports have come  pouring in.   Below is a note and the decorated envelope that came in from two of the Sister Missionaries who are serving down in Nags Head.   They both made me smile.....these young missionaries are so full of enthusiasm and positive attitude!   On Wednesday, March 4, Elder Ashton received 54 envelopes with gas/mileage reports......just a little motivation seemed to go a long way!

From the last sentence you can see that they also included a little piece of sea shell from the beach at Nags Head :)  I think Elder Ashton is the most popular guy in the mission (probably next to the Mission President) if popularity is measured on number of phone calls!   I think he was a little skeptical when we received our assignment as to whether he would like what we are doing, but I can tell that he is hitting his stride and gaining great satisfaction from working with the missionaries and others back here.

Thursday was rain most of the day and a little snow overnight, with a FRIGID wind on would literally take my breath away every time I stepped out in it.  Saturday I decided to give myself a break and I slept in until 8:15.  Elder Ashton had gone to help clean the church, so I got laundry started and made the shopping list.   When he got back we went grocery shopping and then he went for a bike ride (ONLY 20 miles this time) and I had the use of a vehicle for about 3 hours so I went to Ross, Michaels, and Target.....and I ALMOST felt like I was back in Arizona, however, those stores were not all in the same strip mall....I had to go to 3 different ones.   Shopping in Virginia is a different experience!

It was such a beautiful day that I couldn't keep the smile off my face - and when I noticed the leaves starting to bud on the tree as I climbed into the truck I even talked to myself and said, "Yippee - Spring is coming."  I can hardly wait :)

The "Red Bag" decided it had been mistreated over the last several months and a few weeks ago I noticed that it was starting to complain - coming apart on the handles and the seams and the rough edges catching on my stockings and my skirts.  That just wouldn't do, so........

I started looking for a new "Red Bag" but it seemed to be to no avail until I checked I have a snazzy "New Red Bag" for $13 - Thank you, Amazon!

A couple of the young Elders taught the lesson about life after this one in Sunday School this morning and we spent a fair amount of time talking about what we take with us when we leave this life......mostly we talked about the fact that we won't take our material possessions with us, but our attitudes,  relationships and knowledge will go with us into post mortal life.   I've thought about that quite a bit since we got home and am so grateful for the experiences I have had to give me knowledge and help me build relationships with wonderful friends and family.....and here I am in Virginia having more opportunities to do just that!

I feel blessed to have each of you in my life and wish each of you a happy spring and hope you enjoy it as much as I am!!!


  1. It's easy to tell that the prospect of spring is lifting your spirits, Sister Ashton! I love this post! So glad you're getting to see all kinds of those beautiful birds and fauna that we don't get to see in Arizona. The orange blossoms are becoming just beautiful here, and I sure wish we could bottle some up and send it to you! I hope the snow and cold stay away for good and that you continue to feel great about the work you are doing...and the people with whom you're doing it. Congrats on the new red bag...and so sorry to hear about the sorry red nose :-(. Hope all will be well in the end. We love you and miss you and look forward to your Sunday afternoon posts! Have a great week in Virginia!

  2. I love the new bag! I think s hopping for a new one is one of the hardest things ever! BTW: I had MOHS surgery on my nose a couple of years ago with 13 stitches!! Can't even see them now. Good luck with yours.