Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Roadtrip" Adventures

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Wow - a strange feeling as I typed the date and remembered 40 years ago today when I gave birth to our fifth baby boy......I can hardly remember being that young mother, but have the kids and grandkids to prove that it was a reality!   And.....the older I get the more I realize how fast time flies so I am not even surprised that it has been that many years.

This past week went flying by as they all seem to do now.....Monday to Friday seems but a few hours and this week went even more quickly as we spent part of it "on the road".   A fun week that started with a quiet day in the office.   It was only Elder Ashton and me and the President and his wife and the 3 other office missionaries were in an all-day meeting in Virginia Beach with Elder Arnold from the First Quorum of the Seventy.   Elder Ashton and I kept the office open and when the other office missionaries returned at 4 p.m. we took off for Goldsboro, North Carolina where we would attend the conference with Elder Arnold on Tuesday.  

As we headed west before we headed south, this is what we the sun setting between the trees and the old white house on the side of the "country" road!

Not long after we left town, I received a text message from the young Sister Missionaries telling me that Ms. Sewell, the lady from Jamaica, had passed her citizenship test that day.   That was really very exciting news because she has been working and studying several months to make sure she could pass the test!   We planned a celebration lunch to help her celebrate :)

We arrived in Goldsboro about 7:45 and found the Holiday Inn Express.   I was glad to get out of the truck and stretch my legs......and we had a great dinner at Dairy Queen ;-)

Mission Tour Conference on Tuesday.

Lunch break at the conference - sack lunches for all.

Elders and Sisters listening to Elder Arnold and taking notes of his suggestions.

One thing that I heard and took note of was that we should be steadfast and immovable in our faith and should work hard to meet our goals.

We left Goldsboro at about 4:15 p.m. and headed back to Chesapeake.   As we headed out I glimpsed this run down/overgrown cabin in the middle of a field.   Seeing these things always makes me wonder about the people that lived there at one time.

On Wednesday, we had a meeting with Elder Arnold and President and Sister Baker as office staff.   Elder Arnold wanted to have kind of a personal conversation with us and get to know us a little better and answer any questions we might have.   Elder Ashton passed the opportunity to tell a little about us to me and I just started talking about some of the challenges we faced in getting on a mission.   I thought I had my emotions well under control until I looked directly at Elder Arnold and saw tears in his eyes-----then I was a mess!  Elder Arnold acknowledged that we all face challenges in life and thanked us for our service.  Then, before he left, he looked at all of us (I felt like he was staring though my eyes into my heart) and promised us that the things we were praying for would come to pass - maybe not right away but they would come to pass.   Because I am always praying for my family, that felt like a great promise to me!  After he met with the office staff, Elder Arnold met one last time with the young missionaries - zone leaders and sister training leaders.   We had a few extra missionaries in the building waiting for their companions and the two below popped into the office to ask Elder Ashton a few questions.   As we visited with them, we decided one of these young Elders looks like someone we knew in St. Johns back in the 80's.

Elder Gardner on the left in the picture and Elder Burkart on the right....notice the complimentary ties.   I have noticed that companions quite often wear complimentary ties on the same day.
One of these young men looks like a young man we knew when we lived in St. Johns.   Any guesses?

Thursday was catch-up day in the office trying to get everything done so we could leave and go up to Washington DC on Friday.   We did leave the office in the afternoon for a short period of time and go visit a young mother who has been looking into the church and her husband is pretty unhappy about it so she requested a blessing.   Elder Ashton, assisted by Elder Wright, gave her a blessing and she was really appreciative of that.   We are thankful for all the great experiences we are having!

Friday morning about 10 a.m. we left to drive up to Washington DC.   Our main purpose in going was to attend the temple.   As we drove west and then north, I commented to Elder Ashton that even when we lived in Wyoming and would travel to the mountains and canyons in Utah in the fall, I do not remember seeing the intensity and variety of color that we see here.

Trees along the road.

There were many of these type scenes along the road.   I was taken by the leaves on a single tree being so many different colors - dark brown, yellow, rust, red, orange, etc.

Every so often, among the trees I would see one or two that looked like they had white blossoms on them - like these seen here.

But when we stopped for lunch just outside Richmond and I got up closer, I found that the white "blossoms" are really seed pods on the trees - like those seen above.

We arrived at the Washington DC temple about 2:30 (in Kensington, Maryland).   This view through the trees was my first view on this trip to the DC area.    We have driven by several other times over the years, but this is the first time we went into the temple to worship.  Beautiful building - inside and out!

Another view of the temple and the fountain in front.

A view from the parking lot.

Another view of the temple, fountain, and flowers.

A view of a scarlet tree on the temple beautiful!

A nighttime view as we left.

We spent the night about 10 miles away in Gaitherburg, MD, then got up the next morning and headed to the city for a little sight seeing.  When we called On-Star to request the route to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, the Customer Service Rep asked Elder Ashton to tell President Obama hello for her.....he just grinned and said he would.   Of course, when we got to DC we remembered that you can no longer drive in front of the White House and there was lots of construction on other buildings so it was kind of hard to get we didn't get to see President O'Bama.   We finally found a parking spot not too far from the Washington Monument and walked over to it with the plan to go up inside.

It was a beautiful fall day and you can see from the flags that there was a fall breeze blowing, too!  I was glad I remembered to bring a sweater with me!

We walked right up to the monument and learned that we needed a ticket to go inside and all the tickets for Saturday were sold :(   Well, it was still a beautiful sight and a nice brisk walk!

Elder Ashton in front of one of the flag poles at the monument

Flags blowing in the breeze with the Lincoln Memorial in the background.

Elder Ashton with the Lincoln Memorial in the backgound.

Elder Ashton went to get the truck and I sat near the monument taking in the view.   I noticed this tree that was being discussed by some Japanese tourists....then noticed that the tree seems to be confused and doesn't know if it is Spring or has both blossoms and falling leaves.

We spent a little more time driving around DC, trying to find our way out, but finally gave up and called On-Star.  

We noted that the capital building is still being renovated and the dome is surrounded by scaffolding.

Next scheduled stop - Arlington Cemetery.   As we walked up the path from the parking lot toward the tour bus,  I noticed this beautiful big rose along the reminded me of the beautiful pink roses I had in St. Johns so I just had to stop and take a picture.  Sure seems strange to this Wyoming girl to see beautiful roses blooming like this the week before Thanksgiving!

Row upon row....

..upon row, upon row...

..upon row of graves - as far as the eye can see!   Thousands and Thousands gave the ultimate sacrifice that I might enjoy the freedoms I do.   I'm so thankful for their service and for my freedom!

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from a distance and in the bus.

Spanish American War monument.

Audie L Murphy burial space.....well known WWII infantryman.

Memorial Coliseum near the Tomb of the Unknown

Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown.   As I waited for the next bus to come pick me up, I noticed that a fresh wreath was being delivered from one of the local middle schools.   I wonder how many times a day the wreath is changed?

The photos below were taken at the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.   Our tour guide told us this is guarded 24/7, 365 days a year.   From October to May the guard changes every hour.   From May to October the guard changes every half hour.   As I sat in the stillness among a group of people and watched the guard parade back and forth, I realized that guarding for 30 minutes in the heat of summer would take lots of stamina....especially in those uniforms.   And even though it was a brisk Autumn day on Saturday, I think parading back and forth and being so precise in all the actions would be very tiring and you would be ready to let someone else take over after an hour.   I could certainly feel the solemnity of the place and the sacrifices that have been made!

What a great way to end the week.......honoring God and Country.   Both have become much mopre important to me as we have served here in Virginia this past year.

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