A week of changes again....not the least of which has been the weather. It is my habit to check the weather on my phone before I get dressed in the morning to determine if I need to wear layers or just a short sleeve top. So one morning I checked my phone and it said it was going to be rainy that day. I put on my skirt, top and sweater, but it was not long after we reached the office that the sun came out and I had to remove my sweater because it was too hot. Another day there was supposed to be no rain, so I didn't take a jacket or a sweater and by mid-morning the rain was pouring down....which it did most of the rest of the day - It would rain hard for about 20 minutes, clear up for about 30 minutes, and then start to rain again. After one such day, we came our of the office a few minutes after five and I looked up to see what I called a "polka dot" sky. I loved it and had to snap a picture.
I love how the sun shines through the clouds and not others.
On Wednesday or Thursday (the days go by so fast they all seem to run together) I realized that I better go purchase some birthday cards and get them in the mail so I wouldn't be late for my "little boys" birthdays. Our two youngest boys have birthdays in November and we always called them the"little boys" - not sure that fits anymore with them reaching the first of the "F" decades ;-) Anyway, when I reached the target parking lot I noticed this tree that was pretty equally divided between green and red leaves and then I noticed the two way arrow.....made me think maybe the tree is trying to decide which way to go.
Tuesday I was supposed to go with the young Sister Missionaries to visit Ms Sewell at noon. She called and cancelled but they asked me if I would be available to go to a different appointment with them at 2 p.m. I said sure. We went to visit Heather. She's a nice woman in her late thirties and although she shares a name with my oldest niece Heather, she looks much more like the younger sister of Heather, Happi. I told her about that and she was glad to hear she reminded me of someone I love. She has two little kids and although they kept interrupting the conversation, she has had some great experiences in reading the Book of Mormon and when the missionaries asked her what she thought about what happens after she dies, she gave a step by step description of the Plan of Salvation and said she had not read it anywhere and the sisters had not taught her that concept but she said she has just always thought that is the way it would be. Her family doesn't want her to associate with the Mormons, but she came and brought the two kids to church today. I even spoke up a couple of times during the conversation.....I am s-l-o-w-l-y getting over my fear of speaking to people about the gospel but it sure is taking a long time for me to get there....
Wednesday was MLC and I had taken all my leftover Halloween candy into the office and saved it for that day. I wish you could have heard some of the Elders when they saw the big bowl of candy sitting there. "Is this candy for us.....can we have some". By the time the day was over and the missionaries had all checked out the bowl of candy, there were two little twizzlers left - everything else was gone and I had a big smile on my face because I was able to make the missionaries happy and get the candy out of my sight so it wouldn't tempt me. That's what I call a "win-win" :)
Everyday as we left for the office and came home, I checked out the tree that had all those brilliant leaves on it a little more than a week ago. As you can see on the ground, the leaves have been falling steadily and as they go fewer and fewer, I kept thinking of the O'Henry story of "The Last Leaf." I remember this as an old filmstrip that was showed in Seminary that had a great message about the importance of life and how we influence others. AS the leaves got down to the last few, I started to think about my own life and if I had made a significant difference in the lives of others.........
Thursday it was rather quiet in the office and Elder Ashton was waiting for the mail to come hoping that he would get lots of envelopes from the missionaries with gas receipts from October. Well, he didn't really get his wish, but you should be able to tell from the big smile on his face that he was excited to get this big white envelope from Salt Lake City!
In fact, so much anticipation that he could hardly get the envelope open . We have been called to serve a second mission. We will be serving in the Arizona, Gilbert Mission beginning May 9, 2016. We will be released from the Virginia, Chesapeake Mission April 28, 2016 and have a few days to drive across the country and unpack our bags. I'm excited to have another opportunity to serve, especially serving from home where I can cook in my own kitchen, sleep in my own bed, and hug my friends, kids, grandkids and great-grandkids on a more regular basis! Serving has been a GREAT experience and we love working with the missionaries so this is a really exciting thing! Our call id for MLS (Member Leader Support) with the option for the Mission President to re-assign our responsibilities. We talked to him a couple of months ago about the possibility of serving and when he learned that Elder Ashton can take care of bikes and cars he said, "You're hired" so I think we will probably end up doing much the same things as we have been doing here but the mission is less than 50 miles across instead of over 300 miles from end to end.
As if that were not enough excitement for one day, a little later in the afternoon I looked out the window to see this blue jay pecking around for food. I watched it for about 15 minutes....it would stick its beak down into the crack between the sidewalk and the grass and flip the leaves out, then dig back down into the exposed earth looking for bugs. It was pretty interesting to watch.
The picture doesn't show the blue or the tuft as well as I had hoped it would but I still love seeing animals and plants that are different than I usually see in Arizona.
Another view of the blue jay.
As you can see from the photo above, when we arrived at the office on Friday, there were lots of leaves in the parking lot with many more to fall off the trees. As we walked into the office with leaves crunching under our feet, it brought back some memories of the autumn leaves in Wyoming, which lead to the Homecoming Parade, Bonfires, Football Games, etc. It was good to reminisce for a few minutes.
When I woke up Saturday morning, I followed my habit of checking the weather and saw that it was supposed to start raining a little later in the morning. Elder Ashton had gone on a bike ride, so I got dressed, started the laundry, made the shopping list and decided to go get groceries before the rain came. As we were carrying the groceries into the house, it started to sprinkle and rained most of the rest of the day. Elder Ashton went to pick up and assemble a bicycle and give blood. I stayed home and played at being a homemaker again......did laundry, mended some clothes, cooked bean soup, baked some sweet bread, and most important of all.....took a nap! A nice productive Saturday.
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
Laundry almost done.
Now I am looking forward anxiously to a Google Hangout chat with most of my family members in about 4 hours......can't wait to see their faces and talk to them!
We are Healthy (what a huge blessing), Happy (having a great time and learning lots) and Humbled to be able to serve and feel the love and spirit of Heavenly Father and the Savior so strongly. Happy Fall still - no snow yet :)