Monday, February 9, 2015

FEBRUARY 2-8, 2015

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Ha! As I was writing last week's post another winter storm was headed our way. It arrived and though not as beautiful as the previous snowfall (smaller flakes, colder, more rainy/sleety) I still loved it.  Many, knowing we are from California, wonder if I miss the warm weather and beach days they are enjoying there right now. Strangely, I don't. I wouldn't have it any other way here.  We are only here for one winter and I want to experience a real New England winter! And boy ,we are! Just as last week, as I write this yet another storm is arriving tonight and lasting 3 days.  You know how they give hurricanes names? Well, apparently these winter storms are nothing to mess around with because they warrant being given names as well.  The first was Juno, this one I'm posting about now is Linus, and Marcus is the one headed our way tonight.

And while I love the snow I need to add a disclaimer here.  I love it to a point; in its time, place and season. I do not want it to be snowing and cold in April!  I prefer my winters to be Camelot winters:
" The winter is forbidden till December. And exits March the 2nd, on the dot!"
I am not going to be so happy if winter lasts 6 more weeks, as predicted by ol' Phil here.

Our view out the front door
Our view from our windows out back.
" I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields that it kisses them so gently. And then covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt, and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep darlings, till the summer comes again."  Lewis Carrol

Remember my snowwoman? All you can see now are her little arms.

After 1st snow

After Juno

 After Linus
You'll have to wait till next week (with bated breath, I'm sure!) to see how it looks after Marcus :)

 Our heroes! The snow plow drivers!
And this came right behind!

This time it was Dale who went out to play. Up to his knees! He actually went out to resupply the bird feeder.  We are enjoying our little feathered friends as they become more brave and more used to our presence through the window. 

Most fly in, grab a seed, and fly right off again.  Some bang the seeds on the edge- sounds like someone knocking on the door (or a woodpecker!)

Monday was the big snowfall, Tuesday we dug out and Dale braved the streets in the afternoon to take the car in for some scheduled repairs.  We bought a system that lets you turn on your car from inside your house/wherever so you can start warming it up before you get in. It's been on the blink as soon as the real cold hit so we were most anxious to get it working again. 

On Wednesday I drove to the Weston building again to help with the monthly mission leadership council lunch.  I get so busy I forget to take photos.  I took these as I walked in, planning to take more but that didn't happen. This is just a fourth of the "stash" of food and items it takes to feed 50+ hungry missionaries!

Sister Packard really outdid herself (and we 'scolded' her for it!) by making 6 crockpots  plus one of those HUGE industrial sized pots of soup all by herself! Two chicken noodle and the rest Taco soup. 
They were perfect for that cold day and all were devoted except for one crock pot. 

Thursday we went to the temple but it closed soon after we arrived.  Slushy roads with plummeting temperatures = dangerous driving conditions so they sent us all home. 

Friday the roads were clear again so we went to our zone meeting and lunch.  The sister training leaders had decorated the room with a Valentine's theme and made it festive and fun.  We were encouraged to try better to be of "One Heart" and "One Mind".  Goals were set and motivations jumped started. These sisters and the zone leaders did an amazing job, as always, and as always, we were most impressed by all the skills they are learning on this mission which will help them succeed at home, at work, at church, with friends, wherever they may be throughout their lives. It is a joy and a wonder to behold firsthand!

 Our church building.
Let the icicle slide show begin...

I snapped these from the car as we were driving home. They were everywhere! And many were humungous- in thickness and length.  The above were the ones I could take because we slowed down a bit for traffic. It is so frustrating for me because I want to take photos of just about everything we pass by-the spectacular homes, to the traditional New England homes, to the landscapes, etc.  but we pass by too quickly and there are no places to stop or pull over.  So frustrating!  I want to remember every beautiful detail of this glorious place.
These funky ones were just outside my backdoor. 

Ha! Ha! I couldn't resist!

Dale and I are quite amazed and pleased at how we are acclimating to the weather here.  I remember the first night it dipped to 50 back in October and I pulled out the Ugg boots, gloves, and scarves for that! I was so cold! 50 is about as cold as it gets in Huntington Beach. But now when we go out and it is 12 degrees we think, now THIS is cold. But if we go out the next day and its warmed WAY up to 24, hey! We don't even zip up our coats or put on our gloves!  Pretty soon when it hits 40 we'll be out in our shorts and shirt sleeves!  :D !

These two delightful missionaries, Elder Spencer and Elder Mayoros joined us for dinner on Saturday night. We served Monte Cristo sandwiches and Elder Spencer, who goes home in a few weeks, said it was the best food he has had on his mission! He most likely says that at every house he eats in but - those monte cristos are man-pleasers, for sure!  We will really miss Elder Spencer.  He was one of our first zone leaders and we got to know him very well.

Even though it was snowing/sleeting on Sunday morning we once again braved the roads and drove the hour to church.  Our trips to church are always an adventure- no matter the weather.  A typical morning goes something like this:
wake up at 6:30 and check my phone. There is usually at least one message from a missionary requesting we pick up someone. By the time we leave the apartment we could have up to 3-4 more texts/and or calls with more requests. It is not unusual en route to get a few more requests, changes or cancellations. Our ward boundaries are large and take in several towns. Most of the members do not have cars and public transportation is very minimal on Sundays. So we pick up 2 people in Dorchester, then go to Mattapan for 3 more, then get a request for one more in Jamaica Plains. We drive all over the place on these crazy roads which as the crow flies would take 10 minutes but with the one way streets and crazy twisty turning 'horse paths' it takes at least twice as long. The other funny thing is we will be asked to pick up Dorothea, for instance. But when we arrive, it is Dorothea and 3 others. And the same at the next stop. So when we think we are picking up 6 (the supposed maximum our car can hold) we are often surprised by a few more and scramble to fit them all in. Another factor to make it even more interesting is that nearly all the people we pick up go to the Portuguese group and don't speak English.  This Sunday we dropped off a car load and then turned right out again to pick up 2 more. Crazy stuff. But important.  It makes us definitely feel needed :)
Following are photos taken on our crazy Sunday drives:

 Our frozen reservoir .

You had the 'icicle series'. Now the 'chair series'.

Saving parking spots. 

 These two lovely ladies are not a part of the craziness, just to be clear on that! We adore them! Janaia and her darling , personality- plus daughter, Ranaia. Beautiful! You may remember Janaia from her baptism photo not too long ago :)
 Yes, there are cars buried under those piles. Who knows when they will dig out.

Sunday's highlight:
The baptism of Alex de Pina. His brother Eli (on left) was baptized a few months ago and we are all so happy Alex decided to take this step for himself. 
They are both funny guys and are a most needed and valuable addition to the Portuguese group. We have given them rides several times so we have gotten to know them. 

For those not of our faith, here is a very brief explanation of our belief in baptism:

"Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter.  For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate" (2 Nephi 31:17-18)
These verses clearly teach that baptism, a holy sign of a covenant between God and His children, is required for our salvation ( see also Acts 2:38) Indeed, so important and indispensable is this ordinance that Jesus Himself was baptized "to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15)
When we are baptized, we witness to the Father that we are willing to enter into a covenant "to come into the fold of God, and to be called His people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and and willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life.." ( Mosiah 18:8-9 from the Book of Mormon)
  taken from an article by Elder J. Devn Cornish from the February Ensign Magazine.  You can read the entire article here:

Baptism is a most sacred ordinance, which a person, having received it, can remember throughout life as a reminder of the personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It's symbolism is beautiful, and its consequences ever so desirable. Baptism symbolizes death, burial and resurrection and can only be done by immersion. It is clear that John the Baptist and Philip baptized in this manner.  (Matt. 3k:16, Acts, 8:37-39, Rom. 6:1-6,Col. 2:12) 
taken form the Bible dictionary

Please go to this link for further information or answers to your questions:

As we see the joy and light that comes into the lives of those whom we have come to know and love though baptism and the changes in their lives that come with it, we again cannot help but 
go our way rejoicing. 


  1. Beau wants to come see you and play in the snow so badly. He is almost in tears as I type. He says he loves snow so much although I'm positive he has no memory of playing in it. oh, the tears are real now. We sure miss you and love the pictures.

    1. aw- my sweet tender Beau! Please tell him we would love nothing more than to build a snow man, snow fort, have a snowball fight and go sledding with him.

  2. i keep hearing about the snow and have seem the small pics you sent, but wow. that is A LOT of snow! so fun! I think I will be going to the beach again tomorrow...

  3. those icicles are awesome!! and those chair pictures were cracking me up! haha i love to see the reality of it all...the good and the bad. that car system thing you have sounds pretty genius! does it just start the car for you or does it actually turn the heater on as well?

    the snow is beautiful and i'm so happy you are making the most of your winter there!

  4. oh and the cold never bothered me anyways! haha sooo good!