Sunday, May 10, 2015

Adventures in Courage

Sunday, May 9, 2015

Last Monday the President and Sister Baker along with most of the office staff took a couple of hours off work to take our outgoing Mission Secretary to lunch at a place of her choice.   She has served 23 months and was secretary before the mission was first formed, instrumental in getting everything set up and ready to go.   She chose a restaurant in Norfolk (about 8 miles from the office) so we headed off about noon.   As we were leaving Portsmouth and just about ready to enter the tunnel to go under the water into Norfolk, this courageous family of geese decided to cross in front of was so cute to see the Mother, Father and 6 little goslings walking across the two lane highway.   They didn't seem to be in much of a hurry even though they were holding up traffic :)
I thought it was interesting that one of the adults led out and the other brought up the rear to protect the babies.

President and Sister Baker with Sister Stoecker - the outgoing secretary just outside the restaurant.

Later on Monday afternoon I left the office for a few minutes to run down to Walgreens and pick up some of my medication.   I noticed this tree with really pretty purple flowers so decided to snap a picture.   I heard someone talking behind me so I didn't stick around long but wondered if people think I am some kind of crazy lady to go around taking pictures of trees and flowers that are so plentiful here - they just don't know that I don't see things like this in Arizona.

The rose bush in the little courtyard at the church.....the bush is loaded with roses!

The Azalea's are in full bloom around the area and will probably only last for another week or so.   This bush is also in the courtyard at the church.   I love the detail of the different plants.

The Rhododendron bush in the courtyard.  It has lots of blooms on it now but still many that are just in the bud stage.   In fact, this particular bush had buds on it for over 2 months before it finally flowered.

A bud about halfway in bloom on the Rhododendron bush

Buds just beginning to bloom.

And one partial cluster of flowers in full bloom.

On Wednesday there was Mission Leadership Council in our building.  It goes for 5 hours and the zone leaders, district leaders, and sister training leaders receive training to take back to the other missionaries.   Since we have missionaries going home this Tuesday, I asked a few of them who are leaving the mission if I could take their pictures.  For several of those leaving the mission, it takes some courage to leave as they don't know what to expect when they get home - some have had family changes while they've been out, or their school situation has changed and they are feeling somewhat conflicted but still are anxious to see their loved ones again.
In the picture above, the Sister on the left (Sister Randall) is going home (I believe she is from Flagstaff, Az)   Note the other Sister's book bag.   Elder Ashton gave them all a couple of pieces of reflective tape and suggested they put it on the straps of their book bags to they would be visible and wouldn't get hit by a vehicle when they are walking or riding bikes.

These three Elders are going home.   The ones on the left and in the middle have been Zone Leaders. The one on the right has been an assistant to the President for the last 5.5 months and will be heading to school in LA - he wants to go into diplomatic service in northeastern Europe.   He's very bright and I have no doubt he will be successful.   
The Elder in the middle is from Tonga and is a very nice guy.  I have been told that he did not speak a word of English when he arrived here and he is very fluent now and has great leadership qualities.  I have always just called him Elder Inu because he has a long Polynesian name - Inukiha`angana.  He will be in travel status for 40 hours from the time he leaves Norfolk, Va until he arrives in Tonga.  I asked him if his dress would change when he got back home (told him I knew an Elder from Gilbert who went to Fiji and wanted to wear Lava/Lava's all the time when he got home.   Elder Inu said they call them Tupenu in Tonga and he thinks he will prefer wearing pants when he gets back to Tonga:)

On Thursday, Elder Ashton and I left the office about 9:15 and drove about an hour over to Gloucester Point to pick up the new trailer used to haul luggage at transfer/new arriving missionary time.   It was a beautiful day and we decided to take a few extra minutes and see some of the historical buildings and a museum in Gloucester Courthouse (it is weird back here but some of the towns are named Camden Courthouse, Gloucester Courthouse, etc.   It is usually the county seat and the site of the county courthouse that carries that name.   In this particular town there is a little historic square that has been mostly restored and it is quite impressive.

This is a picture of one side of the little square with a monument to fallen confederate soldiers in the middle of the square.  The building at the top of the picture with the white columns is the courthouse.

This monument in the middle of the square has lists of fallen confederate soldiers on all 4 sides.

One side of the monument indicating that it honors the confederate dead of Gloucester.   We see many indications that the people in the South (at least here in Virginia) still feel strongly about the confederate cause.  It is not uncommon to see both a confederate and a USA flag flying at the same house.   I have wondered if flying the confederate flag contributes to some of the tension between the races that is apparent here.

This is a building in the square where you can see that the original brick was once covered in stucco - I think just the walls of this building could tell a story.

This marker in the square tells some of the story of Civil War action in Gloucester.   Having been raised in the west I think I have a Yankee perspective of the Civil War but the more I see some of the history and talk with individuals back here, I begin to see that there are always two sides to a story.

Placard giving information about the restoration of the courthouse after it was destroyed by fire.

Placard noting that the courthouse is on the National Historic Register. Having worked in the Judicial System in Arizona for so many years, I am always interested to see the court houses.

Historic buildings across the street from the square....most have been refurbished and turned into businesses

More businesses across the street - very pretty and quaint.

We went into a historical museum across the street that had a collection of artifacts from earlier times on display.

I thought this 1926 wedding dress was really pretty - I think all that beading was probably done by hand.

This display case was full of things from an earlier era......and I was amazed when I thought of earlier residents cutting their own trees down with that saw.   There are LOTS of trees here and anyone who wanted to build a house/shelter would need to clear the trees first.   I think the earlier residents had lots of stamina and courage to live in this area.

I liked this display of a doll that is at least 100 years old that was discovered between the walls of an old house.

I liked it even more when I realized the doll has the same name as one of my daughters-in-law :)

19th century artifacts - clothing, fashion designs, kettle for making apple butter.   Very interesting to view these artifacts and contemplate what life was like for earlier residents.

Elder Ashton standing by the new trailer.   It was quite a challenge to get a new trailer here in time for upcoming transfers and required lots of phone calls to the factory and dealer, but he made it happen.   The assistants to the President that are in charge of hauling the missionaries and luggage were as excited as two little boys at Christmas when I told them the new trailer was here and had to run outside to see it.

As we were driving toward the historic district we came upon this old Texaco Station (I don't see operating Texaco stations any more) that has been re-purposed as the Center for Archeology, Preservation, and Education.   We had played hooky from the office for over an hour so didn't take time to go in and see what was inside.   Elder Ashton said he could see an image in his mind of old Model A's and Model T's in front of the garage doors.

I thought this collection of aging buildings on the large lot was quite picturesque.   What do you think everyday life was like for the residents of this place?

Saturday we decided to go on a short adventure in the middle of the day - about half the laundry was done and we wanted to check out some more Civil War things so we set off for some sights in the Chesapeake area.

Sign designating this site as connected to Civil War action in this area.  This sign stands outside the visitor's center that is next to the Gabriel Baptist Chapel shown below.

Cuffeytown was a mostly black settlement down a dirt road from the Gabriel Methodist (now Baptist) Chapel.   Cuffeytown was founded by free blacks prior to the civil war and once the Emancipation Proclamation was signed allowing blacks to serve in the Union army, 13 residents of Cuffeytown  served in various units of the Union army.  After the war, veterans and other blacks formed the Gabriel Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1866.

Here is the Gabriel Chapel in our time

We drove over a rutted dirt path and out into an active farm field and found the Historic Cuffeytown Cemetery where the Cuffeytown 13 and others are buried.   We found the placard below at the base of the flagpole.

As I gazed upward at the flag against the blue Virginia sky, I felt my emotions rising in my throat as I thought of not only those 13 "patriots" as they are called but of all those who have served our county over hundreds of years - to allow me to enjoy the freedoms that I do.  I believe living in this area has impacted my feelings of gratitude for the freedom we have!

The Cuffeytown Historic Cemetery - it is kept up pretty well for being located in the middle of a field.

Wild Iris at the edge of the cemetery

Thought it would be interesting to see this "living" utility pole.   With all the Kudzu growing back here, it sometimes even takes over the utility poles :)

In an earlier post I talked of two older sisters who live together and attend our ward.   I just love them because they are so full of "vim and vinegar" as my grandmother would say.   This lady is about 80 years old and this is the "hat" she wore too church today.  It was so cute I just couldn't resist taking a picture of it.

The picture below is the rain pouring down this afternoon as we felt the very fringes of Tropical Depression it is nice and humid out there. 

We continue to learn new things on a regular basis and are still loving what we do.   Working with the young missionaries helps me remember that I was young once and made some impulsive decisions and I have even been known to lock my keys in my car when I was much older than these young missionaries.

As this Mother's Day draws to a close, I send a shout out to my family and want them to know how glad I am that I get to be their Wife, Mom, Grandma, and GG!  Love and miss you all!

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