Sunday, September 13, 2015
On Monday - Labor Day- the mission office was closed so we were allowed to take the day off. Elder Ashton and a few other "young" elders started the day off bight and early with a 18 mile bike ride. When Elder Ashton rides alone he usually rides further, but due to time constraints on Monday mornings, they don't ride that far. He loves riding and I think the young Elders must like it too, because they talk about it and sometimes come into the office late in the week to ask Elder Ashton where they are going to ride the next Monday. After Elder Ashton arrived home, he said he needed to go to the office to work on bicycles and I told him I was going to stay home and clean. \I did some cleaning in the bathroom, scrubbing the tub and scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees and it tired me out so much that I HAD to take a 3 hour nap;-) I still have sore knees from that adventure, so I've decided no more scrubbing on hands and knees for this older Sister.
Elder Ashton also loves to tease the young missionaries, both Elders and Sisters. One Sister called the other day and Elder Ashton listened sympathetically to her story of a tire that was going low, then said, "It must be the tire gnome." She said, "What?", to which he responded, "Didn't you know there is a gnome that comes around at night and lets air out of tires." She then asked him what a gnome is and at that he gave in and started laughing telling her he was just kidding her. Sometimes I think he is having entirely too much fun! :)
Tuesday morning I got a phone call from the Sister Missionaries asking me if I could go with them to give a lesson at one of their investigators right after lunch. I told them I would love to go with them as they were going to visit Ms. Sewell and I just LOVE her. I have been to her house 4 times now and we took her to church with us and I have NEVER seen her without a lovely smile on her face. Besides her smile, I love to listen to her talk in her Jamaican accent. She has been in the US about nine months and is trying to get her citizenship.....she lives here with her son and daughter-in-law and the last two times we have visited she has been busy making a chicken dish that smells delicious! She told me she is anxious to get her citizenship as she thinks that will make it easier for her to get a job and she says she doesn't like just sitting around. She is 67 years old and has had lots of tough things to face in life......I never hear her complain - only give thanks for everything she has. It is getting to know people like her that makes it easier to be away from family and friends. I never would have met her had we not come on this grand adventure!
One day she said she had a migraine and she had tried several things but couldn't get rid of it. I told her about my friend in Arizona who used to say the best way to cure her migraines was to put one of her husband's black sox over her eyes and go to sleep in a dark room. (remember that Nancy). Ms Sewell laughed and laughed and said she guessed it wouldn't work for her because she doesn't have a husband now ;-) I suggested she might use one of her sons sox, to which she said, "Does it need to be a clean one or a dirty one?" and then started to giggle again. I love going to see Ms. Sewell!
Sister Teagan, Ms Sewell, and Sister Thomas
3 Beautiful Ladies!
On the way home from the office on Wednesday I noticed a couple of signs that fall is approaching.
I love this pretty little rust colored tree that we pass going and coming from work. The clapboard houses, the really tall trees, and the flag on the home are all very typical of what we see back here. You will notice that the house has pine needles on the roof.....that is also very typical. However, I was surprised when we passed a home the other day that had pine needles (baby trees) growing up in the crack between the roof and the rain gutter. I guess needles and pine cones end up on the roof and get plenty of water from the rain......interesting to see that growing right over the front door of the house. I tried to snap a picture but I believe Elder Ashton still thinks he is a fireman going to a fire so he wastes no time in getting places and is usually driving so fast that I miss the picture ;/
When we arrived home, this dandelion puff was right beside our doorstep. I was intrigued by the delicate beauty of this little weed. Also notice all the brown leaves on the ground already.....fall is definitely on the way but we are still having a few really humid days thrown in a couple of times a week.
Wednesday and Thursday I spent most of the time dotting i's and crossing t's to make sure everything is ready for this coming week. We have 20 new missionaries coming in and didn't have enough apartments to house everyone so we have been busy trying to obtain new apartments and make sure everything is set up for them. One of my responsibilities is to make sure utilities are turned on at the proper time and we have been struggling with getting that done in a timely manner. One of the rental places took 3.5 weeks to get us a lease.....and the city would not even take an order to turn on the water until they had a copy of the lease and a $100 deposit. I didn't want to send the deposit until we had the lease because I was afraid something might fall through and then it would be a big challenge to get the money back. Finally got the lease on Thursday and then had to send the deposit overnight ($20) to make sure water is turned on by Monday so missionaries can move in on Tuesday or Wednesday. The apartment also needed to be stocked with furniture and living/kitchen supplies so Elder Ashton and Elder Wright took a big van full of stuff down to North Carolina on Friday. They left at about 8:30 and didn't arrive back home until 6 p.m. so that was a long day for them!
Friday, just a little before noon, Elder Ashton and Elder Wright were in North Carolina and Sister Slatter and Sister Goldade had gone to Target to pick up some more comforters to make up bedding packs for the missionaries coming in this Tuesday. I heard a lot of "bird" noises outside and looked up from my work on the computer to see geese, and more geese, and more geese crossing the road and entering the parking lot. I got my camera (phone) and went outside. I know I've posted pictures of geese several times but this was such a large group I almost felt like we were going to be over-run so I had to take another picture.
I counted 55 geese in the group! They stuck around most of the afternoon and when I left at 5 p.m. they were blocking the driveway to the road from the parking lot on the other side of the church. As I drove up a couple of them turned and looked but I had to wait a minute or so while they slowly moved out of the way.......and they were back blocking the same driveway when we arrived at church this morning. They must think they own the place or something :)
Since Elder Ashton was still on the road returning from NC, I got brave and drove a little out of the normal way home. Back here you find really nice homes and neighborhoods hidden in the trees. These are the ones I found on Friday afternoon.
I like this one because the house and yard are so well-kept and you have a great view of the river behind.
Look at all those dormer windows on this house...I like the red brick with the white trim - appears very colonial, but I'm sure I'll be tired of it by the time we get back to Arizona and the light-colored stucco houses with tile roofs :) The square white sign between the pole and the mailbox in this yard said, "Yard of the month." Seems like they must have a neighborhood committee/contest to encourage keeping yards and homes looking nice. I don't think most places back here have HOA's because you can see all kinds of things in yards!
Another brick, colonial style home in the same neighborhood. I took this because I like the fluffly white cloud perfectly centered between the trees. Are those Mickey Mouse ears I see? :)
To end the week Elder Ashton went on another bike ride, we did the normal chores of laundry and grocery shopping and a little cleaning, attended a baptism for a young wife, and had the Sister Missionaries over for dinner. I made Eatmore and one of the sisters really liked it and asked what it was called. I told her it was called Eatmore but that some of my kids who didn't like it very well called it Eatless. They laughed at that. One of them is being transferred this week.....she's been here for 4.5 months and has been in our home several times so we will miss her when she leaves. The sister who is remaining her will be training a brand new sister missionary.....it will be great to get to know her and maybe help fill in some of the gaps for those she is missing from home.
We continue to find joy in this service at the same time that we continue to miss family and friends back home. When Elder Ashton pointed out a LARGE, UGLY beetle on one of the plants outside the church one day this week, I said, "Take me back to Arizona!'....then I remembered I'll have to deal with ugly scorpions when we get there :)