Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mixed Adventures

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What a mix of events this past week....Some days I felt like I was going around in circles but I think I finally got back to walking a straight line by the end of the week.

An updated picture of Elder Ashton's key barn. You will note that the keys are all still neatly organized but he has added a couple of things.   The Sign Here tags along the bottom shelf are all lined up almost perfectly.  Plus, you probably notice two plastic cars displayed on that bottom shelf.   The Sister Missionaries that work in this area came up to him in the office the other day and told him that since he likes to play with cars, they decided to give him some.   They laughed and laughed about that and then really thought it was cool when I told them that Elder Ashton spent about 20 years as a firefighter so he probably liked the Fire Truck the best ;-)  He also has a white business card holder in there where he has lined up the extra EZ Pass transponders.  Good thing he is such an organized guy- it helps him keep all that stuff straight!

Spring is trying to get a foothold here.   We had several pleasant days this last week before it ended the week on Thursday night and Friday with cold and rain.   The nicer weather is making some of the early blooms and trees come out and it makes me smile when I see the dazzling spots of color :)

I'm not sure what type of plant this is usually in shrub form and has dazzling pinkish/red flowers all over it.   The flowers cover the entire bush and they don't seem to last long but are really pretty while they are blooming!

A dazzling yellow daffodil found in the church courtyard.   I went out there on Wednesday to check and see if the Magnolia tree was blooming yet -- it was not, but I found some gorgeous daffodils.

Blossoming Dogwood trees in the schoolyard across the street.   I noticed the  blossoming trees and when I went over to check it out, I noticed the baseball/softball fields and the track.  I stopped for a minute and imagined I was back in Arizona watching some of my grandkids participating in those sports.
Dogwood is the State Tree for Virginia.

This tree is called a Red Bud tree.   They are quite prevalent in the area and when you see them from a distance it looks like it may be trees with pink blossoms that are ready to bloom, but these are trees that really do have red buds and red blossoms.

I think these are beautiful!

I believe this is a Holly Tree......there are several different species of Holly that grow out here.   This tree was in a cemetery that we stopped out on the Eastern Shore and although there are still a number of red berries on the tree, many had fallen off and were on the ground.   I'm not sure if they lose all their berries in the heat of the summer....guess I need to do some research.  

Saturday morning I decided I wanted to play first and work later, so as soon as I got myself out of bed and got ready we went on a little adventure to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel.  I had been doing some research about this and was anxious to see it and see if I would be able to traverse the bridge/tunnels without feeling claustrophobic or nervous about driving into the water.   The picture below is an aerial view of the boats passing over one of the tunnels

Image result for chesapeake bay bridge tunnel
This bridge/tunnel was first opened in 1964 and is a 23 mile fixed link crossing at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.    You can see the long expanse of bridge, and there are two tunnels along the expanse and 4 high level bridges.   The tunnels and bridges allow ships to still traverse the opening of Chesapeake Bay from the ocean.  The bridge/tunnel won an engineering award in 1965 and I can certainly see why!

Starting across the first stretch of bridge

Approaching the first tunnel....note the ship sitting out further in the ocean waiting to cross under one of the high bridges which was scheduled to open in 45 minutes.

The second tunnel approach seen in the distance.

Entering the second tunnel

 Sun glinting off the water under a cloudy sky.

Approaching one of the high bridges

Feeling almost like we are driving on water.  As I looked out across the expanse of water, and marveled at how any human mind could conceive the idea and work out the complexities of sending traffic 23 miles across the water, I couldn't help but think of the Savior and Peter walking on water.   I thought of the strong faith Peter had to attempt to walk to the Savior and how that faith held him up for a time.   While it is physics and engineering that allowed us to cross the bay, we needed to also have some faith....that the bridges and tunnels would not collapse and we would make it safely from one side to the other.  As well as being a sight-seeing adventure, this little trip turned out to be a faith promoting experience for me too.

Reaching the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.   And I had not felt the least bit nervous while we were crossing the bay!   That's a big change from the first tunnel we drove under when we first arrived and I was so nervous I could hardly breathe.

When we got to the other side of the bridge, commonly called the Eastern Shore, we found this country church with a cemetery beside it.   Elder Ashton said there were too many graves to image so we decided to move on.

First Cemetery seen on Saturday

We drove a little further down the road and came across another church with an attached cemetery.   There were only 150 images there so we stopped and Elder Ashton took photos while I played Tetris on my phone.  
This morning Elder Ashton told me that many of the images he took yesterday and was transcribing this morning were associated with a family where a lady from West Valley City, Utah had entered some genealogical information into Family Search but was missing quite a few names of spouses, etc. I thought that must surely have been an answer to someone's prayer that we would happen upon that cemetery by chance, Elder Ashton would take pictures and post them to Billion Graves (which can connect to Family Search) and notice the connection.   I believe it was not a coincidence that the graves were Elder Ashton who loves taking and posting the images.   

Small town on the Eastern Shore.   I liked the big brick house and the not quite so big white one next to it.

Starting back across the bay

Blue sky, blue water, and sunshine.   Who could ask for anything more?

 Sister Mangum and Sister Taylor attend out ward here in Portsmouth.   These two biological sisters are both widows who served in the Navy many years ago and now live together.   They have stories to tell of living in Italy, Germany, England and several places in the US.   They are quite the pair and I smile every time I see them.   One of them is EXTREMELY opinionated and bossy and is not afraid to tell anyone just how things are.  The other is only Moderately opinionated and bossy.  I love to sit by them at ward socials because they are generally more entertaining than the planned entertainment. Every time I see them, I think of my own sister and wonder what it would be like if we were two old ladies living together....which sister would I be, the EXTREMELY opinionated and bossy one or the Moderately opinionated and bossy one?  

The one in black and white plaid loves BIG earrings and Bright Colors.   She said she had to bring her Cherry purse today for a splash of color!


  1. A few years ago Ken and I crossed an expanse of water on a bridge like that in Astoria Washington. It wasn't anywhere near 23 miles - but I remember being a little jittery and excited - both at the same time. Now I remember it as fun. Your pictures reminded me of that trip. The cemetery Elder Aston did NOT image looks a lot more interesting. Those long and low cement headstones were fascinating. If you get there again have him take a picture of one close up so I can see what it looks like and what's inscribed on it. Please. Glad you're finally getting spring. Enjoy it - we're well on our way to summer!

  2. I, like Susan S, would like to know if those odd shaped gravestones had writing on them and if you could read them. How old were they? They looked very old and covered with moss.
    Elder Wright and I drove across that Chesapeake bridge. It is truly amazing.

  3. Elder Ashton didn't look at every single long, low cement headstone. In fact, those are really just cement boxes that hold the body and the rounded part is the top. He said he didn't see any that had any markings on them so there was no identification of who was buried there. He has seen some in other cemeteries where there is a smooth cement rectangle where information about the departed person can be entered, but he didn't see any like that in this cemetery. If you look closely at the picture you will see a couple that have either caved in or a portion of the lid has raised up....he thinks the casket/body is right below the cement lid so they are not buried 6 feet down like we are accustomed to. He said he is not sure why that would be unless it is because the water table is so high here. Lots of the land is swampy and if there are any homes with basements, the basement is not totally under the ground....steps go up into the house so the theory of high water table makes sense to me. Most of the graves were more recent - Elder Ashton didn't notice any really old ones (that were marked) in there.