Monday, March 30, 2015

MARCH 23-29, 2015

Yes, I am.
I saw an Easter card today that said how lovely it is that Easter comes at the time of year when flowers are blooming and the grass is greenest and trees are budding.  Uh-huh.

This is our Easter view.  It snowed this morning. ( melted as soon as it hit the ground but still...)

On the bright side, we will be extra-thrilled with every tiny bit of life and spring signs we see anywhere and when it does come in its glory we will be ecstatic!

This week will look pretty boring.  We did a lot of errand running and catching up stuff and  our Pday was basically deja-vue of our Pday in New York.

Since its still not the best weather we decided to go for a scenic drive in New Hampshire to see the countryside and villages before all the snow melted.  I investigated several itineraries on line and made our plan.  Didn't quite work out the way we had hoped.  One of the problems is that I tend to speed read most things and sometimes I skip over important information. We thought there was a Currier and Ives museum in Manchester, N. H. I googled it and promise I saw plenty of Currier and Ives images.  The plan was to drive there, have lunch, see the museum and then drive on a scenic loop through several "Currier and Ives" looking villages.
Oops.  Got there and found out there is no Currier and Ives museum, only a Currier Museum which has no ties to the former.  This museum was very similar to the Frick Museum we saw in NYC.  It had a wonderful and surprising collection of American and European art from the Renaissance to the present with many very famous artists.  It was housed in a very similar type building as well.
Since we were there we decided to see it anyway.  It was very enjoyable.  Just the right size and a good variety of styles and exhibits.

This guy fooled us for a minute!

 Why is this man smiling?

Because I asked him what this painting reminded him of and his response was immediate:
our first apartment after we were married.  Duo Quorum Apartments in Torrance, California. 
It looks just like it!

 This was pretty fun and clever. 

 Furniture from the colonial days.  Gorgeous. And amazing how these styles have never gone out of style. 

Oops, take two.
We had to cut back on our touring due to bad weather coming in later so we only drove to one town, Petersborough.  The drive was nice but the town was nothing special- certainly not Currier and Ives.
Not much to see or do so we poked around in a charming little bookstore. (NYC again), and then had dinner at a diner before heading home.

 The most picture worthy thing in town.

 I've never seen this version before.  I want this collection!

My big find!  They had a used book section and I got this for $5.00.  I have a framed illustration my Grandpa did of Cowboy Tommy but I had never seen a book before. 

 We do like our historic diners!

The local sentiment.

 Mount Monadnock
Took this because I knew we were going to be driving near it later.

The real thing.  Not the same angle but you get the idea.

Learned something new.  They are an upward swelling of soil due to freezing. Can make the road really wavy.  Fortunately, we didn't run into any.

Spent another fulfilling day in the temple Thursday.

Friday we had a fantastic district meeting.  Our missionaries are so impressive.  We just can't over their spiritual maturity.  Elder Welker taught a very effective lesson on getting along with your companion.  These missions are great on so many levels.  These young people are getting first rate training and real life experiences that will help them tremendously in their marriages and any other relationships throughout their lives. 

We also viewed the beautiful video "Because He Lives" and now we can go and share it with the world.  Such a great way to share this most important message .  No matter who we are, no matter our circumstances, we are loved.  By Him. 
No matter your religious beliefs or non-belief,  I invite you all to take a look. It is not very long and it will leave you with a sense of peace and hope.

After the meeting the Walshs invited us to join them at a nearby Cuban restaurant for lunch. We all had their"famous" cuban sandwiches and they were indeed delicious. We got to see their apartment in 'the hood'.  They have done so much to make it warm, homey and inviting. They are in our Portuguese Group and have many people over often.  We love them and they are doing great things for their group and our missionaries. 

After that we drove to Springfield.  We saw a Home and Garden Show,  stayed overnight in a motel, then the next day Dale went to the Basketball Hall of Fame while I went to a mall. :)
I spent the rest of the day and early evening working on several service projects and Dr. Elder was on the phone.  

Saturday evening I enjoyed the first part of our General conference, the Women's session.  It was filled with inspiring and touching videos, music and messages.  The importance of family and the importance of serving and caring for others were stressed.  

Following are a few of the sights we see along our drive to and from church.

 ( It was raining on the way to church but clear on the way home. )

Dale and I in just a few more years.

The Charles River- still frozen.  :(

Sunday was a very eventful and satisfying day. 
Harry Mao was baptized. 

It was a beautiful experience for everyone there. He is a remarkable young man.  And he is so excited about the gospel.  He brings at least 2 people to church every week since he found out about it.  He bore a very pure and sweet testimony.  He said he felt he came here from China so he could find the gospel.  It has changed him and his life.  A turning point. He loves the concept of repentance and the concept that you just keep trying your best everyday and every day you can be a little better than the day before.  He was baptized in his native language by a man in our ward who happened to speak Mandarin.  That was a fun surprise for everyone because Harry speaks perfect english.

During the last 2 hours of our meetings we had a family history blitz.  Our stake's theme for the year is: "That all might come unto Christ and be redeemed."  We have been challenged for every individual 16 and over to prepare a name to take to the temple on June 27th.  The building was abuzz with activity- every nook and cranny had people working away on their lap tops teaching and learning.  English, Spanish, and Portuguese -all busy bees.  

Spending so much time in the company of such saints and fine missionaries, young and old(er), 
always sends us on our way rejoicing.

Monday, March 23, 2015

MARCH 16-22, 2015

Hoping ye all had a lovely St. Paddy's Day!

I did not!  I was quite disappointed thinking I was in a place that celebrated big time.  Boston had its big parade on Sunday and I guess that's when everyone celebrated and then they were done with it. 
I proudly wore me green on Tuesday but saw only a handful of others in green the entire day.  And we were out and about the whole day too.  Very sad.

As it was freezing on Wednesday with a biting wind that chilled to the bone, we opted to spend the day indoors at the New England Aquarium in Boston.  Smart and fun decision!  We both loved it. What amazed us is although we have been to so many aquariums, we still saw creatures we had never seen before.  We marveled anew at God's glorious creations and the wonder of His creative masterpieces. 

 These looked stuffed but they are real. 
Their area was very clean and didn't smell as do most penguin facilities. Very Nice. 
( and for my kids' interest: I now have another animal sound to add to my repertoire - I can do a perfect penguin! T-Rex move over!)
 My very favorite aquarium creature.  Fascinating!

 A little more plain but still...!

 The "normal" ones.

 Gorgeous colors!

 This magnificence was one of the creatures I had never seen before- a leopard ray!
I was in love!  I think the leopard pattern is one of the world's most beautiful.

 We saw several species of jellies we had never seen before  but they didn't photograph well. 
Love them too! Could watch them for hours. So relaxing.


  A cuttlefish.  The most spectacular fish I ever saw while snorkeling was a cuttlefish that changed its electric neon colors constantly as it swam.  I could hardly believe my eyes! 

 Looking for Nemo!

Never saw the likes of him before either.  Dale loved this guy's smile.

 And here is old Myrtle the Turtle.  She was Huge!  75 years old and 2500 lbs. This photo does not do her girth justice.  And to think she only eats lettuce and broccoli and brussels sprouts. Maybe I should rethink my diet? 

Since we are in the land of lobstahs we found the following facts quite interesting.

No wonder they are expensive!

Fairly close to the Aquarium in Boston's North End is this landmark restaurant.  It was on our Boston Bucket List so we headed there for dinner.  

For you history buffs:

 John F. Kennedy's favorite booth was right on the other side of Dale- over the barrier to his right.
Great ambience!  Good food!  We had parmesan grilled oysters, calm chowdah, and salmon. 

 In the subway.  I want to go to Wonderland next time! Don't you?

Thursday found us once again at the temple. 

On Friday we drove 1 and 1/2 hours to Mystic, Connecticut for the last of our (Massachusetts Boston)  mission's zone conferences.  It's a shame I took more photos at other conferences than my own but I think it's because I am too busy catching up with everyone.  It's so fun and such a blessing to see beloved elders and sisters who have left your area and are now serving elsewhere in the mission. 
Sister Terrones here with the striped blouse was one of our treasures who was in our zone nearly as long as we've been here.  We adore her.  And miss her!

 Why I'm getting fat!  We sit in meetings all day and then are tempted by this! :D!

Every mission has its own format for its conferences.  It is up to the Mission President and his wife to decide what they want to do and how they want to do it.  But within each mission each conference is like the other so that each group hear the same messages and all receive the same training.  The next conference that have months from now will be different from this one. What I'm trying to say is that we attended 4 conferences in our mission and each day was the same as the others.  Dale gave his fungi (!) presentation here as well and I gave a brief testimony of the wonder and miracle of the human body. 

HA! HA! Just kidding!

This is what we came out to after the conference...

Happy first day of Spring!

The drive home.

And Yes, I am over winter. It was lovely, I adored the snow and the blizzards even, delighted in being snowed in, I didn't mind the cold nearly as much as I feared I would, AND... we broke the record but now I am ready to move on !

Our mission president, President Packard, along with the temple President, President Bowen, initiated a wonderful temple experience for any newly baptized members.  Once a month a window of time is carved out of the temple schedule just for these new members to come and do some work for their family members in the baptistry.  It is the first time most of them have been inside a temple and is a joyous experience for them.  This past Saturday we were asked to help for about 4 hours.  It was a joyous experience for us as well and we were grateful we were available to help.  The missionaries who baptized them usually get to bring them so it is a joyous experience all around.  

Saturday night and Sunday morning we attended our stake conference.  ( Yes, we've been attending a lot of conferences lately!) In the Saturday night session a man sang a solo that was breathtaking! This area is abounding in talented souls.  We thought the voices we heard at the Joseph Smith Fireside were superb but this far surpassed anything we have ever heard.  Stunning.  I will find out the name of the song and pass it along later. It was a testimony of Joseph Smith in song. 
The talks throughout the conference were uplifting and inspiring.  There is powerful leadership here. 
I will share just one of them...the primary president told of her visit to the outer banks one summer with her family.  Her children were playing in the shallow water around the dock while she visited nearby with an old friend.  Unseen currents almost imperceptibly, gradually pulled her little ones out to sea.  They had life jackets on and were good swimmers but the danger was real.  I won't go into all the details but they were rescued by 2 men in a small boat. What I loved about it was how she "likened" this experience to our everyday lives.  She said that there are currents we cannot see pulling our children into danger , into dangerous situations and conditions.  And while we may think they are strong (swimmers) this is a false security.  We must make certain they put on their "life jackets" of prayer, and scripture study, and strong family values, etc. every single day .  

One of the newer members of our ward, Luis de la Rosa, spoke on his conversion.  We love him and his family.  They remind me of my mom and dad and their conversion, how the gospel completely transformed their lives and how they loved its truths and knowledge they had gained.  They both served with joy and gratitude their entire lives just as the De la Rosas are doing now.  She is in the primary presidency and he is the executive secretary.  They just glow!

And they give us cause to glow.  We rejoice in their rejoicing.