Tuesday to Tuesday (Aug 20-26)
I’ll start off this week’s commentary with a quote from Elder Packer, “We are not obedient because we are blind; we are obedient because we can see.” I love that.
It has been a week of grandbabies going back to school, and parents developing schedules to accommodate school schedules. Our oldest granddaughter, Maddi, has actually started college (dual enrollment allows her to take two classes at the local community college on Tuesdays and Thursdays). She says she enjoys them, and the English class is actually easier than that at the high school. Hummmmmm
Zach is in a STEM program, and I talked with him this week as he had a history project to get our parents’ names. His math class is advanced, but he told me the first homework he had was order of operations. I had to remind him of how many people would take 4 x 10 + 1 and get 44. He laughed like that was an impossibility, NO! I taught that concept. It sounds like he is really going to enjoy his classes in 8th grade. Rylie is in third grade! I thought it was a typo when Amy sent out her first day picture, but it has been confirmed. She has the same teacher as last year, so hopefully, she will enjoy school. While she can read, it appears to cause her great pain, unless she is reading about her favorite comic characters. She is fun to talk to, and I can’t wait to see if this teacher can bring books to life for her.
We have a couple of new kindergartners with Griffey and Ian – the start of a long journey. Wednesday the 20th was Griffey’s birthday. (These birthdays come so quickly in August.) He was a big whopping 5. Just in time to start school.
The first day of school, I don't think Griffey was impressed. On the second day, Griffey took his book to school for reading time, but no such thing happened. The next day he took another book and after waiting patiently, he decided to take matters into his own hands and asked the teacher if it was possible to having reading time that day. She informed him that they would have to wait until everyone was “ready” for reading (actually, the wording was more like when everyone had learned to read). I think Griffey was disgusted and wanted to tell the teacher he already knew how to read and could they just get on with it. Ian, who has been in a Spanish preschool for the last two years, was a little put out on the first day when he found out that they were going to do baby stuff like colors, letters, etc. He, also, was ready to jump into the “hard” stuff and get the show on the road. It could be a long year for both of these boys.
Leah got to school 20 minutes early on the first day and ended up having to race to class because kindergartners take so much time getting into their classrooms. Jackson started the year with great macho. He is ready for a new year of teaching the class. As a teacher, we loved having kids who came to class prepared. I think that we are very lucky grandparents. All of our grandbabies are learners.
Anden started with a long face, but he appears to be adapting well. I believe his mother described him as embarrassed to have a first day picture taken and just wanted to get in the school. Finley and McKay have spent the first week taking math and some other type of test. What would we do without tests? How did so many of us make it through school without being tested at every step of the way? Finley started with none of her friends in her class this year. I hate that. She is so cute (looking more like her mother every day), and every child should have an old friend in their new class. McKay goes with the flow. He is like his Grandpa Lenhard in that everyone is his friend. Graysen has recovered nicely from having his tonsils and adenoids removed. I hope he sleeps better. He still takes naps, and Katie hopes he never realizes that kids his age usually have stopped the daytime nap. Kyler is absolutely unbelievable. She has the cutest curls ever (and so much hair, I’m envious). Every picture we see of her has her smiling big time.
The Utah Lenhards really started school in August for about 3-4 weeks, now they are out for about that same amount of time, and then they begin again. This year-round school is confusing. Their family went off to play at the Aspens (a camp under BYU’s watch), and from the pictures, it would seem all are having a great time. Our little Bentley decided he would potty train himself – just like his daddy did, oh so many years ago. Another family without diapers! Whoo-hoo. Take that you diaper industry!
Ellie has begun to grow up big time, in a very mature sense. She will be in a preschool class this year, getting ready for kindergarten next year. Bentley will be involved in a Joy School. We love to skype with their family (hint, hint – anyone else out there?). Ellie showed us her kitty costume for Halloween (good grief, it’s getting to be that time already?). Kennedy is quite the reader. She loves to read about new worlds and the adventures of children entering those worlds. She has been reading Fablehaven and was excited to learn they are going to make a movie of it. YEAH! She and Leah, who is also a big reader, would make great reading pals. They are very much alike, and it would be fun to watch them grow up together. Maybe the two of them should become penpals and share what they are doing and reading. Noah is in his Chinese immersion program again, and this year has a male teacher for the first time. He says he likes him, so it will be interesting to see what happens as the year progresses.
And so, I get to my little girl who has her little boy and girl, progressing quite nicely. I predict that Cohen will be the death of her yet. Hahahaha That boy is quite the learner, having figured out that if you pull a stool next to the counter you can climb up and get whatever is there. Mallory will no longer be able to leave her treats on the counter thinking he won’t see them and she can sneak them without him knowing. He will not only know, he will get them. He is just shy of two years old, and Parker has been a major adjustment. He is making the transition much better, and it is probably because they are finally left alone as a family and no one is coming in to admire the baby. Parker is beginning to fill out, and no longer looks like spider baby with long skinny arms and legs. She is a good sleeper and is much more patient for a mom who has to deal with brother usually right before eating. I think Mallory has it way too easy! What do you think girls?
Now, that I’ve bragged about all my grandkids, please tell me I didn’t miss one, I’ll get down to my usual diatribe.
On Wednesday morning we had a webinar from Ancestry.com. Good grief, there is so much to learn. We need to know as much as possible since we are out there teaching people how to use it with Family Search. I hope each of you have your Family Search account set up and are working on it. It is fascinating work. Joseph Smith once said our family history work is the most important work we can be doing, and it doesn’t mean just collecting names and dates. We need to get the work done. We spent considerable time working on contacting and organizing information for the South Stake on Family History (FH) consultants with whom we will be working.
On Thursday and Friday, we realized that Spanish Fiesta was coming up quickly (Saturday and Sunday), and we needed to make sure our Spanish Elders were prepared. They had not attended a festival yet, and we hadn’t heard anything from them. I gave one of them all their instructions, shirts, wrist bands, etc. at the tour meeting with Elder Martino, but we hadn’t heard back. So Elder Lenhard worked on trying to contact them and getting the instructions down clearly so that they would know what to do. We also had to prepare for the Fiesta, and we were still working on trying to find the contact information for the FH consultants. I realized that I couldn’t find my emails regarding the feedback we had gotten from some of the Bishops/Branch Presidents on who was called as FH consultants in their wards/branches. We sent inquiries to all leaders in both the North Stake and the South Stake. We are not working with the North Stake on the FH stuff, yet they were the ones who sent us the most information. We are supposed to have internet access to both Stakes directories for members and leadership information. The North has come through, the South not so much. Wouldn’t you know we would need the South and not the North? So we worked on a spreadsheet with the materials we had, prayed that we would get more information for the ones we needed, and tried to get organized.
On Thursday night, we had to go to one Stake building to monitor an ESL test for the upcoming Pathway year. This program is so important to the Church. It is growing by leaps and bounds, its focus is to bring people back into reactivity. What a great way to do so. Our class has met its goals, so we will for sure begin on the 18th of Sept. It will require a bit of preparation. We’ll both feel like we are back in the school room again, but it will definitely not be the worldly kind.
Friday night we went to dinner with a family named the Armstrongs. They are really a great couple. He is a member, she is not. For some reason, just the idea of getting baptized scares her to death. She says she does not have a good feeling about it. He has been a member for many years. They read the scriptures together, and they go to church more than some of the members do. They have a hard time with all the noisy children. Consequently, they sit in front. I told them I just thank the Lord I’m not having to wrestle with those children. We’ve done our time. Hahahaha I know the General Authorities have talked with us a lot about controlling our children in Church. We want them there to learn reverence; however, in the process, it takes lots of years to get them there. There really is no excuse for keeping a screaming child in Sacrament other than the parents have become so used to it that it doesn’t bother them, but it does bother the investigators who aren’t used to it. I’m so grateful all my grandbabies are good in Church. I know some of you don’t think so, but believe me they are good. My philosophy is to never sit in the back. It gives the little ones the idea that they can act like the others who are going wild. Up front it is quieter and more reverent. As a Church we struggle with this, but it is amazing to watch the children as they get older begin to mature and become more reverent, listening to the talks and paying attention. Anyway, we went to the German restaurant, Kegel’s, and had a great dinner. They are a great couple to fellowship, and they are our ages. She has made the comment that the majority of people in their ward are young, and they need older people to fellowship with and with whom to become friends.
On Saturday, we went to Mexican Fiesta. It was a delight. So much fun, but we have to say it was the one festival so far where people are the least interested in their family history. As many indicated, their parents are illegals and so were some of their grandparents; they don’t know who, what, when, or where to begin searching for family. We did learn some new information though. For example, during the years of the inquisition, when the Jews were being murdered, many converted to Catholicism to hide. As a result, many of Spanish or Mexican heritage have Jewish ancestors also. They are the Sephartic Jews. It was amazing how many of those who came to the festival already knew this, and those who did not found it very interesting.
|The performers love to dance and sing. I love the costumes.|
|Elders Ship and Gibbs working with Margaret Skrem the organizer of our genealogy booth.|
|Even the fiestas allow for confessions. There was a tent set aside as a Church area.|
One of the craziest things that happened on Saturday was the weather acting like something you see in movies. It was cloudy, the clouds were actually on the ground (if that is possible), the air was misty and every now and then you could feel raindrops. Visibility was poor, and in the park you could not see beyond 100 feet or so. When we looked out over the water (all of the festivals are held in a park next to Lake Michigan), you couldn't see anything but a massive fog. It was weird. I believe some poet talked about fog creeping along on catlike feet. If not, then a poet should have because that's the first thing I thought of when I looked around.
One of the Spanish Elders who came to work with us acted as a greeter, and he could see the performers on stage in the same building in which we were working. A group was performing, and they were well received and there was so much noise, we couldn’t talk to one another. The Elder pointed to a young man on the stage and said, “I know him.” When the Elder was in Mexico (before his mission), he was in a Mariachi band with this performer. Afterwards, the young man on stage came down, and they were so happy to see each other. This young man lives in Madison, WI. He is a member, and I believe getting ready to go on a mission. How funny to see so many of these instances!
|Elder Jimenez and his friend from the band.|
The fiesta was so bright with the beautiful colors and trinkets on sale. I bought two Day of the Dead dolls for Halloween and a manger scene with the characters made from corn husks. I love it. It is not the scene I want to buy for Christmas, but it is wonderful to add to my collection. When I get home, so help me I’m going to get all my manger scenes out and decorate from top to bottom. The upstairs Lenhards are going to be amazed at what I have to show.
|They are so cute. Just in time for Halloween.|
|This is so vibrant in colors. I love it.|
Monday saw us helping a brother get food; fretting over the Pathway program ins and outs; picking up Sisters from the grocery store; and sitting in with the Armstrongs for a lesson. We saw some powerful teaching that night from the Sisters who have been working with them. They are going on an Alaska cruise next weekend, and one of the Sisters and I decided we would make a list of scriptures (one for each day) that they could read and think about during that day. The scriptures would teach about Christ. I typed them up and got them to the Sisters to take to the Armstrongs before they left Friday. We pray they have a great time. We sure did when we went and would love to repeat the experience.
Tuesday found Elder Lenhard going to the jail to see a member who hadn’t paid child support for more years than he could remember. He had left the country, and upon reentry, they got him on an outstanding warrant for the money. He messed up big time. Full-time missionaries are not allowed to teach the Gospel to someone in jail. That is up to the members of his unit to do. So Elder Lenhard went to see how the man was doing and reported it back to President Fritz. We tend to do all kinds of odd jobs in the mission. It’s great!
We thought we had district meeting that afternoon, but it turns out we didn’t, so we took care of lots of paperwork at home and went to Costco to get some groceries. We got lost using our GPS, which just irritates Elder Lenhard tremendously, but I realized I had put in the wrong address again. I’ll eventually get it right.
Our Scripture for the month of September comes from the Book of Mormon, Omni 1:26:
“And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.”
Makes it sound easy doesn’t it. A Church that does not require sacrifice will not stand. The Lord wants it all, with the promise of great blessings than we can’t even begin to understand. Hang in there. Make prayer an all day activity. Start your morning and end your day talking with the Lord. He wants to hear from you. We love you all.