Another week gone spinning by and it was certainly an adventurous one!
Monday we had our regular office meeting and President and Sister Baker outlined what will be going on the next couple of weeks. We have 9 new missionaries coming in on March 1st and 11 missionaries going home that same day. That is always a busy time and a bit of a time crunch for me this time as I can not prepare instructions for the new missionaries until money is loaded on their MSF cards and that does not happen until the 1st.....which means I will need to start preparing those letters and get as many of those done as I can before it is time to pay baggage fees and print out boarding passes. We will also have Transfer Day on Wednesday, March 2nd and Mission Leadership Council on Thursday, March 3rd. And through all this, a construction crew will be redoing the sewer in our building....should be a weak to look forward to!
Last Monday I did learn of a new game that the President was going to play with some missionaries on the preparation day. It has something to do with passing a football in the gym and then trying to make baskets with the football. That sounds like a crazy game that some of the Ashton boys would like to play.....only problem would be making sure there were no broken bones!
Since we were playing on the outer banks last Saturday, no grocery shopping got done on that day. We went shopping after we left the office on Monday (in the middle of a rain storm) and that was not such a pleasant thing. We've had plenty of rain while we've been here in Virginia and I am still not used to it!
Tuesday dawned with yet more rain, rain, rain. It rained most of the day (off and on) and left some pretty good puddles. In the afternoon, Elder Ashton was asked to go give a blessing to a Sister from our ward. He asked one of the members of the bishopric to go with him and we headed over there late in the afternoon (in another rainstorm). The best thing about the time spent there giving the blessing was her two little rescue dogs. One was a miniature dachsund who decided he liked me and came and laid down right by me feet with his legs drawn up and his tongue hanging out of his mouth....I couldn't help but laugh but as soon as I reached for my camera, he was done being my friend. The lady said the dog doesn't have any teeth on that side of his mouth so his tongue just hangs out....and the moral of this story is don't lose all your teeth or your tongue will hang out! :-)
Wednesday started out sunny with a blue sky, but it wasn't long before it was raining AGAIN. I kept hoping it would stop as I knew we were driving over to Greenbrier to pick up a new car a little after lunch but it just kept raining!. Just before lunch I got a very exciting text telling me that our grandson's mission call had arrived and that the big white envelope would be opened at 3 p.m. our time. I wanted to see our grandson's face when he opened the call so wanted to be back to the office before 3 p.m. I took Elder Ashton out to Greenbrier and hurried back to the office thinking I could do Google Hangout from there....but the church has a strong firewall and I couldn't even get to it. Elder Ashton had a doctor appointment so he was missing out on seeing the excitement but was expecting to be able to hear it via phone. I quickly drove back to the apartment in the rain and was able to see all the excitement, smiles, tears, etc. It was so fun and emotionally rewarding to hear this young man read that he will be serving in Birmingham, Alabama and leaves July 6th. I'll have to get some extra hugs in before he leaves!
I told him we will talk "southern" together when he gets home ;-)
His sisters and friends shed a few tears because they know they will miss him!
When I left the apartment to go back to the office it was really pouring rain and I had only been there about 5 minutes when our phones all went off with a Tornado warning in our area.....so we headed to the interior of the church for 45 minutes until the warning had expired. The Sister Missionaries serving in Portsmouth came just then....they had put together items to create the bulletin board for the office. Mostly Sister Bohn did it.....she's very creative.
I thought this was really clever....it is pictures of all the young missionaries in the mission. Us "older" missionaries make up the exclamation point :) and President and Sister Baker are in the middle of the heart. We've had a few missionaries in the office since they put thus up and they have added some words about the mission to the white paper.
Once we arrived back at the apartment for the evening, two more tornado warnings were issued. I had a hard time deciding if I dared go to bed or if I should stay up glued to the weather, but sleep won out after the last warning expired about 9 o'clock.
Nothing touched down where we were but this was in Waverly, about 50 miles away.
Trying to clean up after the tornado touched down :(
After the wild weather of Wednesday, Thursday was a really nice day in comparison. As we left the apartment at lunch time, I looked up to see the bluest sky I have ever seen!
I loved the bright blue sky and the puffy white clouds!
As I was taking pictures of the blue sky, I noticed more blue sky as the backdrop to the flag blowing in the stiff breeze....I always get a little emotional when I see the flag whipping in the breeze.
Recently on our drive back and forth to the office I began to notice all the different kinds of bark on the trees in this area and thought I would share with you. I know what some of the trees are, but I'm not sure on most of them so I won't even try to name them lest I "bark up the wrong tree".
This is a sycamore tree - it is king a smooth gray bark with white patches where it looks like the gray bark has come off. Some of the really old sycamore trees have hardly any gray and are mostly white. This one is not really old, but it was handy because it is at the entrance to our apartment complex.
Don't know what this tree is, but I love it's craggy look and that it gets covered with green (I think it is lichen) in the winter. The scars on this tree where limbs have been taken off remind me of some of my scars - guess life can leave scars on a tree, too.
This is a Crepe Myrtle tree - the bark is light tan with a darker reddish brown that seems to fall off and leave the lighter tan exposed. There are several of these trees around the parking lot and at least half of them have grown in such a way as to leave a hole in the truck like this one has.
This is another Crepe Myrtle but it has more of the darker color bark and some of it even has a green tinge to it.
Don't know what this one is either, but it was at the park by the Baptist church and I loved the craggy lines in the trunk - thought they gave it great character!
Don't know what this one is either but there are about 10 of them across the street from the apartment complex. The day after the tornadoes when the wind was still blowing pretty stiff, the loose flaps of barks were blowing back on forth on the trunk of the tree.
As we drove back to the apartment on Friday evening, I really wanted to capture the beautiful sunset. I wish the picture wasn't so littered with wires and lights but that is what you see everywhere back here. We were also trying to catch up to the car on the left (a beautiful cherry red 40-41 cadillac) but it went on through the intersection and we turned ;(
Even though the weather was pretty crazy this past week, you can see that spring is trying to get here. The bushes like this are bursting out in bloom all over town, so I'm thinking we will get a few chances to see beautiful. colorful flowers before we head back to Arizona.
We drive past this car 4 times a day (I have never seen it leave the driveway) and although it is not the same make and model as the General Lee (Dukes of Hazzard) it makes me think of that show every time we drive by and the time(s) some of our sons tried to catch air like Beau and Luke did Sure am glad those sons are all grown up now and wouldn't think of doing something like that ;-D
We start a new month tomorrow and my expectation is that March will bring Spring - so Happy Spring from Virginia!