Wednesday, May 13, 2015

MAY 4-10, 2015

Yay!  And it is indeed all right!

Spring is here in full bloom and full force!  We are LOVING the beauty and the warmth.
It is astonishing to us how different it is to live with very distinct seasons.  We were beginning to think we would never be warm again or leave the house without bundling up. It still catches us off guard when we step outside in our shirtsleeves and we are fine. What? We don't need coats and hats and gloves and scarves and boots and thermal underwear? The sun feels like heaven on our skin and warms us to the bone.  With seasons you completely appreciate every bud, every flower ,every little green leaf, every blade of grass, every drop of golden sun.
And speaking of green leaves...can I just say this?

Spring green was my favorite color in that Crayola crayon box when I was a kid.
I have a renewed love for it now.
I cannot remember seeing so much spring green in all my life! And I can so now appreciate even more the perfection of its name. 
Just see for yourself:

I wasn't feeling tip top on Monday but since it was 84 degrees and sunny I just had to get outside, preferably near water of some kind.  The beaches are a little too far away for what we had in mind, so I googled 'parks with water near Waltham' and got the Arlington Reservoir, just 15 minutes away. We took our lawn chairs and books and just relaxed under a big tree. Just what the doctor ordered.

First Wednesday of the month means MLC (Mission Leadership Council)  time in Weston again!

Mike and Darcy Dowling from the Weston ward and I spent the morning pulling together the lunch spread that Sister Packard had planned, shopped for and prepped.  This time it was taco chicken burritos or salad- your choice.  Always delicious. And always very appreciated.  Mike suggested we serve the dessert outside since it was such a nice day. That was a brilliant idea and the missionaries loved an excuse to go soak up some of that sunshine.  Every one I spoke with was so upbeat and so happy.  They love their mission and the Packards. They were pumped up and ready to take that enthusiasm back to their zones.  I really love working the Dowlings and felt an instant kinship with them. I think we would be best buddies in our home life. :)

This is one of my favorite New England signs.  Instead of saying 'highly populated' we get 'thickly settled'. I don't know why I love it so much, I just do!

After the MLC we drove around a bit exploring the Weston/Wellesley area.  We had heard both towns have a typically quaint downtown/commons area and gorgeous expansive homes.  Yes, they do!

The houses were breathtaking yet I found most of them were not your typical New England style.  I felt they looked more like the lovely homes we've seen in North Carolina.

The downtown was charming but we only drove through it. I hope to return and explore it properly soon.

It was a busy week of service for me. I made and gave out 2 Orange You Glad It's Your Birthday buckets, made 2 going home packages for 2 favorite missionaries, prepared lessons, made printables, gathered supplies for our class, oh! And let's not forget this:

I made these goofy chicken feet handouts for zone conference.  Just because. 
I found the gummy feet in the Mennonite store in New York and knew if I bought them I would think of some crazy way to use them. TaDa!  
( our zone calls themselves the Beast...derived from Boston East Zone.)

And Thursday = Temple Time.
And speaking of the temple, we have been asked to teach the temple preparation class to several people in our ward (who just happen to be among our very favorites :) We are so happy to have this blessing and honor. We are hoping to attend with the DeLaRosa family before we leave here.

Friday means Zone or District Meeting!
Are you getting the hang of our routine yet?)
Today was zone meeting. 
Once again, we all want to be outside as much as possible so for a break mid meeting, we headed out back of the chapel to participate in team challenges.  Winner of the physical challenge got first try at answering a question  for points about what they had just learned.
 Blowing up balloons.

 Guzzling down punch the quickest. 

Water ballon toss.

Frozen otter pops were served to all.  It was a great idea and got everyone's juices flowing again.

This Sunday is the 106th Annual Lilac Festival at the Harvard Arboretum, which we pass each time we drive to church.  We thought they must be in bloom so we decided to stop by there on our way home from zone meeting.  It was spectacular! A very good decision!  There are nearly 370 plants representing 176 different kinds of lilacs.  Lilacs are one of my fondest memories of living in Massachusetts. I adore them.

The following are some photos of the beauty we saw as we walked along the path towards the lilacs.

These are pink magnolias. They are among are top favorite flowering trees here.  Gorgeous on the tree and gorgeous in the lovely puddle below when the blossoms fall.

And here they are!  The lilacs!

 Truly a feast for the senses!  Fragrant, dazzling and divine.
I love springtime in New England!

 Check out these crazy twisting branches!

 And how about this Bonzai from Japan started in 1737!!!

The Arboretum.
It is part of a series of parks here in Boston created and developed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in NYC., called The Emerald Necklace.   It weaves continuously for 7 miles from the center of Boston through dozens of neighborhoods.  It has 9 distinct parks which include activities ranging from sailing, golf and a zoo.  I love the name.  Can't you just picture a strand of green emeralds surrounding Boston like a necklace?  Perfect!

Sunday proved to be a very special and memorable Mother's Day for me.  Last year we were on our way to the MTC on Mother's Day so this made year two that I was away from my family.  Instead of feeling sad or sorry for myself I decided to follow the wise counsel always given : forget yourself in service to others.  Weeks earlier I had felt impressed to prepare and take a Mother's Day dinner to a certain sister in our ward.  Tochi is here from Nigeria with her 3 little boys ranging from age 3 to 10.  Her husband needed to stay behind but they wanted the boys in a safer environment so they came here.  She is raising these boys on her own while missing her husband.  I thought she deserved a special treat and to be spoiled a little.  We took her a main dish, fruit salad, green salad, bread sticks, dessert, sparkling cider and fresh flowers.  Also paper plates, cups and napkins so she wouldn't even have to do any dishes.  Her gratitude was so genuine and sincere and over the moon.  Her happiness made my day.  :)
And to continue the fun, we invited our 2 single senior sister missionaries who work in the Archives over for dinner that night.  Elder B spoiled us and prepared a feast of steak, baked potatoes, corn of the cob, and strawberry shortcake.  All delicious!  The company was delightful and the time just flew.

Sisters Valentine and Terry

We tried another Pinterest dessert- using glazed donuts instead of shortcake. Brilliant!

Face timing with kids and grandkids was the best and I loved every second!

And the icing on the cake , the thing that made the day even more perfect was the baptism of Tochi's middle son, Chinaza.  The best part of the service?  Singing "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission" for the closing song- his choice.

The beautiful Uyanwune family.

How can we not but go our way rejoicing with weeks and days such as these ?


  1. I love that you are finally getting to see green and warmer weather. I miss my lilacs from MO. Wonderful pictures. Looks like you are having a great missionary experience.

  2. i don't even think i've seen lilacs blooming in person? do they grow in california?? i am seriously missing out. SO gorgeous! that picture of that pink tree with all the fallen petals underneath? love.

    loved hearing more about your mother's day and so glad it was a great one! and i was reminded that i need to try that doughnut shortcake soon...