Monday and Tuesday we had rain, rain, and more rain and lots of gray skies. I mentioned to Elder Ashton that I sometimes feel like we are back in 1970 and living in the Pacific Northwest......until I try to move around and my body reminds me it is no longer 1970 and I am definitely NOT 22! All this rain makes for some interesting sites.....when I stepped out of the truck on Monday as we came back to the apartment for lunch, I noticed that we had moss growing in the cracks on the sidewalk. I have become accustomed to the moss that grows right outside our apartment door, but was surprised to see this growing up through the cracks.
The moss is a bright green and looks very soft - but since I have an aversion to bugs, I haven't tried touching it because I am not sure what will crawl out of it!
Tuesday was a Sister's Training meeting and even the Senior Sisters were asked to participate. President Baker's wife introduced the theme to "Let our Light Shine." As the young lady missionaries started arriving prior to the training session, I was in the office taking care of business when I suddenly became aware of a buzzing of voices in the hallway. I couldn't help but think what a happy sound that was so grabbed my phone and stepped out into the hallway to snap a couple of pictures.
I love the variety of clothing styles, hair styles and personalities of the sisters. However, one thing seems much the same-----the beautiful smiles of these young women. Note that President Baker is making his way down the hallway and stopping to chat/shake hands with each sister. There is a palpable love shared between President and Sister Baker with the young missionaries!
In this picture are Sisters from Canada, Hawaii, Utah, California and maybe even some from Idaho or Washington. Most of the missionaries come from Utah and Idaho with fewer numbers from other states. We have several Elders from Arizona, but I only know of 1 Sister from there - she is from Taylor. This gathering was for half the Sisters in the mission - there was another training session the next day for those who serve in North Carolina.
Sister Baker talked to us about sharing our light with others and then we heard from a guy who is a counselor with LDS Family Services and he gave a presentation on "homeostasis" (the mid range on the emotional scale) and how the brain works which sometimes puts us out of the mid-range. He had some very interesting facts about the human brain and involuntary reactions to certain stimuli, He told some great stories about himself and while he was on his mission, trying to keep his emotions in that mid-range. It was very informative and entertaining.
We took a lunch break and had a delicious salad - all the Senior Sister missionaries had contributed ingredients for it, I was tasked with cooking 5# of chicken breast and cubing it - that was a bit of a job after we got home from the office on Monday. There was also a clothing exchange during the lunch break where the sisters brought and laid out any clothes they were tired of and anyone could take whatever they liked that would fit them. I am certainly getting tired of some of my clothes but know these young sisters won't begin to fill my size clothes so I didn't take any for the exchange ;-)
After lunch President Baker continued the theme by speaking about "lightening up" to let our light shine. He told some funny stories and quotes and counseled the Sisters to review at the end of each day and see if they can find anything humorous that occurred. One thing he said that I really liked was that humor is a much better way to use our agency than complaining. As I sat on one of the back rows and watched his face filled with humor and love and listened to the Sisters laughing, I thought that I could not be in any better place unless it was home surrounded by my family. I've talked with several Sister Missionaries (Senior and younger) in the intervening days and all have said how uplifted they felt when they left the training sessions and ready to continue forward with their
One day this week as I was coming back into the office from taking some trash out, I noticed a bow tie lying on the ground. I picked it up because it was unique and thought it might be a great addition to someone's Halloween Costume box. I assume it was left behind from the Batman themed wedding that was held at the church earlier in the week.
BATMAN!!! - I've got that theme song running through my head now :)
Wednesday Elder Ashton and Elder Wright went over to Newport News to pick up some furniture from an apartment we are closing out. The Portsmouth Sisters had asked me if I would go with them to visit Ms. Sewell and I had agreed. I was sad when we got there and she came out to say she couldn't meet with us because her son was helping her study for her citizenship test which she will take on Monday, November 16. I did get a big hug from her but then we went on our way. The missionaries suggested maybe we could try to catch Fred at home - another man they had spoken to a few days before. We were lucky and found him just arriving home so we stopped and talked with him about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. Elder Ashton and I will be picking him up to go to church with us today.
This is a typical day of bills to pay. On this particular day I had 19 utility bills to pay and track.
And for some crazy reason, this past week was filled with "problem" payments. I had 2 apartment complexes indicating we had a past due balance but when I researched I found that all had been paid and checks had been cashed. So I had to request copies of cancelled checks and send those to the apartment complexes and ask them to correct their records. I also had one where we had not paid one utility bill (but it was because I never received a bill - thank you US post office OR 3rd party biller) and they charged us $96 late fee on a $103 utility bill. I called the management and asked them to waive the fee but they would not so when the president approved the payment, he directed the housing coordinator to call the complex and tell them we would not be renewing our two leases with them. On Friday it was time to pay the rent, so I spent half the day validating and processing payment for 96 apartments. Whew......hopefully next week won't have any "problems" :)
Last week I posted a picture of a polka dot sky.....this week it was a "plaid" sky made from jet contrails. We are located here with lots of military bases and jets flying around all the time. I tried to dig my phone out of my purse to get a picture of the plaid sky but was too slow - by the time I got it out the contrails were fading. However, I was able to capture the sunset that looked to me like a large pink funnel cloud. Unfortunately the overhead wires sort of ruin the image but it sure was pretty.
I liked the flag flying in the corner below the sunset.
Barely captured this as it was beginning to turn dusk.
Although I couldn't find a polka dot sky and was unable to capture the plaid one, I did find a polka dot tree provided by mother nature ;-) Very interesting how the tree is turning a dark burgandy in dotted patches.
As you can see from the tattered leaf above, there are still lots of leaves falling around us. This was on the walk in front of out apartment and is approximately 7 inches across!
It was only 37 degrees at 8 o'clock this morning and I had to put my fuzzy sox on when I got out of bed.....I believe winter is fast approaching. I realized as I listened to the ladies at church today that those who live here don't like the cold winter months any more than I do. On Wednesday we celebrated our anniversary of arriving in Portsmouth, Virginia, so we have experienced all the seasons which has proved to be a learning experience but I still think I prefer the dry heat of Arizona:)
Looking forward to new adventures in the coming week. We will be attending a conference in Goldboro, NC on Tuesday (I haven't been that far south in NC yet) and going up to the Washington, DC temple on Friday/Saturday. Stand by for a report of the adventures in the next issue of this blog.