Today, I want to tell a couple of stories about Amy. She was born at St. Francis' Catholic Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, about 70 miles from where we lived in Tuscaloosa (Home of the Crimson Tide). After Craig finished Graduate School, we came to Tuscaloosa because there were jobs there. He worked in a State Mental Hospital for a couple of years, but he had moved on to Insurance by the time we were expecting Amy. We had been married for five years at this time, so we were baby-hungry, and she was an answer to prayers. In fact, we had just begun the process of looking into adoption through the Church when we found out we were pregnant. I had lost one baby to a miscarriage, and so we were scared to death something might happen to this pregnancy. At that time, there was no way to tell the sex of the baby unless we paid for an ultrasound ourselves, and being poor new parents to be, we had no extra money.
|First official picture|
|1st birthday at 57 Cedar Crest|
|Playing with daddy|
|One of the first at a professional photographers|
One day, when Amy was about 1.5 to 2 years old, she was throwing a ball in the house. I believe I had gotten after her for throwing it and something was said about Heavenly Father not wanting her to do it, and all of a sudden she looks up at the ceiling and yells, “Here God!” and pitches it up as hard as she could to the ceiling. She was truly the sweetest child, smart – caught on quickly to doing things, loved to read books with us, and loved, loved, loved to have daddy tell her stories.
Now, to the present day –
The end of January brought a sad day. Our Sister Missionaries (Sisters Caramia and Askerlund) were moved out of our complex. Sister Caramia is from Temple Square. Her home is in Italy. We love to hear her talk. We are losing so many missionaries now that the big influx of 18-year-olds has calmed and not as many 18 and 19 year olds are coming at the same time. So, several missionary apartments are being closed. We will miss the sisters, but we are also pretty certain that when we get into our pjs, we won’t have to worry about visitors late at night. They were the first missionaries to welcome us to Wisconsin, and they have been very special to us.
There was a blessing with this move though. We got another desk for me to work on. My shoulders and arms have been killing me lately, and I believe it’s because I’ve been working off of a TV tray and the angle was not good. The kitchen table was too high, and I needed something to help. Unfortunately, we also received a couch that Craig wanted. It is not very comfortable (I wonder if we get this kind of furniture so we won’t be tempted to sit on it all the time – hahaha). It takes up a lot of the living room, and I really miss the openness, but as Craig says, if anyone does come, they have somewhere to sit.
|Already a messy desk, but so useful.|
That Wednesday was the first time for us to help Victor get to the genealogy library to begin searching for his ancestors. He had no back-up information with him, so he was just guessing on much of it. However, we did find parents, grandparents, and ggrandparents the first time around. He couldn’t remember his password or login to get into his Family Search site, and we couldn’t get into his email to get the notice that was sent to him to recover his email. We wrote down what we could, and next week will try again. He was so excited – “I knew someone was from Canada,” “I didn’t know they were from Germany,” “I had heard rumors they were from Poland,” among many other comments that were made that day. We took him to a Country Buffet, and he ate like a starving man. He is so short, and not too big around, that it makes us wonder where in the world he could put all that food. Fun day!
Thursday saw us prepping for Pathway. These classes require more work than last semester. For one, I have to review the math to make sure I remember what the students are supposed to do. We also had to get suits to the cleaners, go to the gym, and visit a new Thai Restaurant that had wonderful coconut milk soup. That is one recipe that I need to look up and learn how to make it.
Friday found us again with Victor to take him to get his new glasses. When he came out, he didn’t have them on. We teased him to let us see how he looked, and he really looked good with them, very distinguished. He didn’t tell us yesterday that he had trouble seeing the computer screen. Now, it looks like that won’t be a problem anymore.
Saturday was P-Day and with the other senior couples we went to Lake Geneva to see the National Ice Sculpting Competition. It was so cold with the light wind blowing off the lake. The lake was frozen solid or at least deep enough for cars to drive out and park so they could fish. We had read that just a couple of days before this, a man and his son had just driven onto the ice when it cracked and the truck sunk into the water. Both died from the accident. Sorry, but that seems an unnecessary risk.
Nevertheless, Craig went out onto the ice, and it was fun to take a few pictures, then off to see the ice scrulpting. Quite frankly, I have no idea how they could possible stand the cold to make these sculptures. Each started out with a silo like cylinder – 8 ft wide, 8 ft tall of snow. Then they started sculpting. It had to have some ice in the mix, along with the snow at just the right packing texture. It was amazing to see what they were doing. We don’t know who won because they were going to be judged that afternoon. They had been working on them for four days, and this was the last day. They would stay up in the area for several weeks for everyone to see. There were entries from New York, Nebraska, Alaska, Wisconsin,
|Craig on Lake Geneva|
|Popeye (this one wasn't even in the competition|
|First time to wear a scarf because of cold air.|
|Must have been around 8-10 states competing.|
|Winterfest is right - cold, cold, cold|
We left the snow sculpting for brunch at a local restaurant there. It was very well done. After the cold, it was nice to sit down inside and get warm, eating a warm meal. We left there and wandered the streets a little before heading home. On the way, we decided to take a turn and head over to the Jelly Belly Distribution Center. We had a good time tasting all the flavors. We did manage to avoid all the nasty ones, but it seems there are enough good ones to make you sick from eating too many. We did not get home until later in the afternoon, but we had a really good time. How nice to do things with people our age and know that we are in good company.
|We want this for our next car!|
|Inside on the train tour|
I finished six biographies for my grandparents and g….grandparents who had their origins in Johnson County, Tennessee. It took a lot of time and energy to write this information, and I’m sending it to be added to a Johnson County History Book. (I know it is a money making racket, but lots of people contribute, and it is a way to help each other). Actually, writing about them helped me do further research to prove they were who I said they were. I found out a lot more than I knew starting out. I’m hoping I can get more written up, but it takes forever.
Sunday brought a true a blizzard, and guess who didn’t go to Church. We couldn’t get out of the driveway, and the snow was still coming down hard. We hated to miss, but we also remember what it was like when we got stuck the last time in the snow. We spent the day feeling guilty and yet glad we did not try to shovel snow again with our little car. It was a good day to study Scriptures. I started Mosiah in the Book of Mormon and in the first chapter Craig and I were reminded of the importance of the Scriptures. King Benjamin was a righteous king who taught his sons the Gospel from the plates that had been brought with them from Jerusalem when they came to the Americas. He points out that if they had not had the plates (which contained the first books in the Old Testament) then those who brought them would not have been able to teach their children about Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ. They needed these records so that the people would know to whom they should look for redemption. It is a reminder to us that if we do not study the Scriptures, we will not understand the mysteries of God and have his commandments always before us so that we would not dwindle in unbelief. That is a sobering thought.
On Monday, I got to go to lunch with several of the ladies in the Church. Most of us are “older,” and it is fun to be with these women. I have become part of the group, and we just sit around and talk about women things – family and Church. They are a good group to associate with here in Wisconsin, and I enjoy the friendship they have extended to me.
We have been told that something is going to happen with the Branch, most likely it will be dissolved. We don’t know when or exactly what, but it is sad to think that this will happen. The good thing is that the Spanish Branch has been moved to our building. We leave at 12:00, and they meet at 1:00. At first, we were told they were not happy to be moved; for 17 years, they had been in an old building that might have been a restaurant at one time. Now, that they are in our building, they love it. They actually have a Chapel to meet in with padded pews instead of the metal chairs they were used to having. It is fun to get to see several of them before we leave the building to come home.
Tuesday saw Craig heading to the doctors. He has not been feeling well the last week, and finally, he figured he felt bad enough to go. His blood sugar was too high, and so he knows he has to get it under control. It means that I’m going to have to be more responsible and fix more nutritious meals for him. The problem is that he doesn’t like to consider vegetables a snack. Oh, well, I have been doing better in the cooking department.
We have changed our P-day to Saturday so we can fellowship with the other senior couples, but it doesn’t appear to matter when our P-day is – something always comes up and we have to change it. We’ve decided that when we get an opening in the calendar, we will just take the time to do something we want to do and go for it.
Craig had to get his hair cut so we fit that into the day’s activities by having him go while I’m busy with math tutoring for my two Spanish sisters and one other sister that needs extra help in Pathway. We are moving through this math class at a really fast rate. New concepts are introduced each week, then they are quizzed twice, and along with other assignments (including plenty of practice) it keeps them busy at least 20 hours a week. It takes a commitment, and we are so impressed with these members. They are all drawn to Pathway for different reasons, but we have seen a real growth in their efforts, their abilities, and their testimonies of the Gospel. That is really what the Pathway program is all about, gaining a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we hear their testimonies we are impressed with how this program has helped them. Part of the requirements for continuing with the program next year is that they are active in the Church. Truly this is an inspired program.
We had to get out of practice by 4:00 because the snow was expected to start, and it doesn’t take long for the roads to get bad. Sure enough, as we left the Chapel, the snow was starting. It doesn’t snow nice fat flakes here, they are small, hard-hitting little flakes driven by the wind. It quickly becomes hard to see because the snow is thick and cuts down on visibility. We constantly have trouble with the car fogging up on the inside. I know there must be something we can do other than readjusting the temperature a thousand times, opening the windows, etc. This is one thing that has always bothered us about this car, and if we ever get another car, it will be one thing we check out before buying.
|How high can it go?|
|Snow fall in a couple of hours, Feb. 1, 2015|
|This is what it looks like in early afternoon, Feb. 3, 2015|
Our Scripture for this month comes from 2 Nephi 26:12-13 (actually, just the last few words from 12 and then all of 13):
“Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God; and …. He manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith.”
A new month, only 6 weeks left and we will be counting down on our Mission. Does that sound crazy or what?
Elder and Sister Lenhard