Thursday, March 19, 2009

Missionary Week

This past week we came home after working all day and checked our mail. Imagine our surprise and excitement when we found this fun package. We opened it and discovered lots of fun things. The package came from the young women in our ward in Tx. As you can see, it was full of goodies. There was a pair of booties for me which I really needed. In fact, I was about to ask Tx Mommy to send me some. There were socks for DH, pencils, note paper with a design that I just love, book marks, gum and mints(so that we can have good breath:). Finally, there were sweet, thoughtful notes that made our day. What a thoughtful group of girls. Thanks Texas young women. You are the best. I always heard that missionaries are excited to get their mail, and now I now it's true. It is very exciting.
Our week is very busy. We go to and are in charge of FHE on Mondays and on Thursdays we are in charge of English and French classes. Also on Thursdays we have institute and meetings. Tuesdays we have District Meeting. All of these days also include teaching families, going out with the other missionaries on teaching assignments, going to other meetings, working on setting up the center and other activites. I cook for many of these activities. This last week-end DH was asked to speak at conference, so that took a lot of planning on his part. His talk was on frequent and important prayer. The 3 main principles he spoke on were: 1. You must pray with the intention of acting on it. 2. There will be a test of faith attached to the prayer which will need to be met. 3. The will of God will be done and not ours. He did a great job as usual. He is an awesome speaker! A few days this week we went with the Dutch speaking elders to Kotrijk, not in our district, to teach some French speaking families. Kotrijk is a Dutch speaking city about a 30 min drive north of us. It was interesting that at one of the ladies homes, she offered us 10 euro for teaching her. It took quite a bit of convincing on our part to let her know that we do not teach for money. She (being a Catholic) finally said, "Ok then, I will have a mass said for you." We are teaching a young couple who is expecting a baby, a family who has stopped coming to church, and another young couple also expecting a baby where the Mom is from Brazil. This coming Saturday we have 5 baptisms coming up. There is a mother and son, a young woman from Africa who has an adorable little 3 year old girl, an old man, and 2 young men. One of these young men is Tony who was introduced to the gospel by his friend who got baptized in Jan. The other young man in Mikel from England. Mikel has a sad story. His mother died in childbirth and his dad didn't want him so he was passed around from one foster home to another. He grew up and studied and began working as a therapist. Unfortunately he was scammed by some people who professed to be his friends. In fact, he put up a lot of money for them to buy a house together and then the "friends" took off, leaving him with the bills. He ended up losing the house and all of his money. Other sad events also occured and now he is living in France trying to start up a new life. The Brazilian couple is getting baptized in April. An interesting thing happened to me when we were teaching at one home. DH was teaching in French and I was able to translate into english what he was saying to the elder with us who us. Amazing. I am still struggling with french. It is so difficult. They have lots of rules and it seems like just as many exceptions to each rule. I am understanding quite a bit, but it is so hard to say anything. I don't know if I will ever become fluent. I'm trying and studing each day and hoping for the best.

The pictures of the light are for my bloggy friend Yvonne. There are lots of double lights like this all over France. I'm not sure of the double function, but there they are.

I thought these dates were interesting because they come in the box still attached to their litte branches.

These are the ymmy Russian Tea Cakes that I made for FHE this week. The youth ate 2 plates full in no time at all.

In the center of Mouscron across the way from Mayrie(picture in previous post) is this lovely old church. It' s very dark inside, hence the dark photos. If you stand at the back of the church, you can see 6 statues on each side of the 12 apostles and a statue of Christ in the front.

Inside the church is a plaque dedicated to one of the priest who was killed by the Germans during WWII because he refused to collaborate with them. A battalion of Irish soldiers passing through Mouscron heard the story and put up the rather large plaque in his honor.

All throughout the church are beautiful stained glass windows and lovely woodwork

Which one is the real statue?

The JA (young adults) have been asking if they could come to our house for an evening. Of course we said yes and friday evening they came. I fretted and worried about what to fix for them. I ended up making potatoe salad, top ramen salad, and open faced sandwiches. Some of them were made with a lunch meat that they call chicken bread. I don't know if there is actually bread in the meat or not, but it is tasty. The other sandwiches were salmon spread. For dessert we made russian apple pie, crepes, and belgian chocolates. The kids loved all the food and some even asked for plates to take home. That made me so happy. We had a great time. I know they enjoyed it a lot judging also by
the fact that they stayed until midnight. When they first came in I put a tag on their back with a person's name on it from the scriptures. They had to guess who they were. One of the young men put a tag on DH and me. They always want to include us in the games which I think is so thoughtful and nice of them. After eating, we played mother elephant only here they have an added dimension where you have to clap in a rhythm and say the animal name on a certain beat. That was lots of fun. A bit later the young men started doing kung fu and karate moves. I knew then tha they were very comfortable here. I'm so glad they had a great time.

Eduard is leaving us in a few weeks. This handsome, smart, fun guy served his mission in Colorado. He just graduated and is moving to Paris. We will miss him.

Manu and Jean Parfait with their Kung Fu.

Here is a picture of some of us.

Irene feeding Eduard. Irene is leaving us too. I am so sad to see her go. I have become good friends with this dear girl. Irene served a misson in France. She is BYU graduate and she has been an assistant here to a french professor at the U on a internship program. Irene is a lot of fun. She is very bright, very nice and multi-talented. She translates almost simultaneously and has translated many lessons for me. She is always willing to translate for visitors. Irene will be living in Paris for a while as she works as a Nanny while she is deciding what to do with her life. It will be a great loss for our young people to have her gone.

After Kung Fu and Karate, some of the kids were doing gymnastics. Irene surprised us all by doing a back bend and then a flip right here in our living room.

Jean Parfait is from Africa. He is a thoughtful, quiet, smart young man.

Manu is the pres of our institute. He served a mission in Paris and is a fluent English speaker He is with darling Anne Louise. They are both art students at the university. There is a secret surprise in this couples future. I will write about it later.:)

Natacha is a very smart, very nice, loving girl. She also speaks English fluently. Natacha is studying business and the U. She is very helpful and always doing good for others. I just love this awesome girl. We get along so well.

We have been so lucky to be working with these awesome young people. They are all friendly and so nice. They are intelligent and hard working. They love the Lord and they are a great asset to those who know them and also to their community.

A week ago we were invited to have lunch/dinner with the Voyez family. The missionaries do not get invited very often to have dinner here like they do in the U.S. We have been invited to 3 homes since we've been here.

Jean Jacques is the chef extraordinaire. He cooked the meal, as he does all meals because his wife, Bernadette, is unable to. He wanted to cook a typical french meal for us and he sure did.
We started out with strawberry/orange drinks served in small glasses with the rims dipped in sugar crystals. Yummy and beautiful presentation. Then we had open faced sandwiches, pate on some and sliced mushrooms with butter under them on others. There were also olives and radishes. Next came a delicious soup with Pearls Japon in the boullion. They were clear little tiny balls about the size of a pin head. I'm not sure, but they may have been a type of tapioca. Then he served marrow bones. One had to take the marrow out, put some salt and pepper on it and put it on a piece of bread to eat it. DH opted not to eat this delicacy, but I actually liked it. After that came the main course, 5 different kinds of meat including ox tail, pork pieces with rind, beef, chicken and steak. I could only eat 2 meats because it's just too much food. This was served with several cooked vegetables and of course french bread with everything. Then came the cheese platter, several different cheeses with bread. As if we weren't stuffed enough, there was dessert too. He had individual bowls of fruit compote and sparkling cider. I could only eat a few bites of the fruit and DH finished it for me. The food was delicious, but there was soooooo much. Even if one had just a little of each course, it is still a lot. It took us about 4 hours to eat this meal and that is a typical length of time.

Here we are with Bernadette.

Even though my hair is a mess, I thought I would include this picture.

This is a lovely couple, They were so hospitable and we got along famously. We laughed and chatted and had a great time. Bernadette has MS and is in a wheel chair. However, around the house she can walk with a walker. We found out that we have lots of things in common. I think if we lived here, we would be good friends. We had a great afternoon together.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My First Grandson

11 years ago this wonderful boy was born. T was our first grandson and boy oh boy was he ever welcome into our family. We already had 4 awesome granddaughters whom we love so very much, but we were so excited for this new little boy to come into our family. That year I was working as a part time reading specialist and because of the nature of my job and because I was lucky enough to be liked by my school district, they always let me take whatever time I needed or wanted off school. So, my 2 daughters who were still at home and I left DH to continue working :( and drove up to Rexburg Idaho to await the birth. All of my children's spouses have always been so gracious and kind as to let us come and visit and even stay for as long as we have wanted. So, we drove up to Idaho and began a very fun visit.
In the middle of the night on March 7th, my daughter V came and woke me up. She said that she didn 't feel good and wasn't sure what was going on. She had been up for several hours already, had soaked in the tub and suffered in silence. She didn't want to disturb her hubby or us. However, she was feeling really bad. I wasn't sure if she was in labor or not because her symptoms were a little unusual. She had a bad pain in her side, was dizzy, felt nauseous, and other things. Shortly after I got up, she began seriously vomiting. I barely had a chance to call out her hubby's name. He had heard her throw up and he flew out of his bed to be by her side. I have never seen anyone move so fast. He is wonderful in emergency situations, keeps his head about him and acts fast and in an appropriate fashion. I am so grateful for that wonderful quality of his. Anyway, we decided that we better take her to the hospital. By this time, both of my little girls were awake and we called R's uncle to come and watch my girls. We quickly threw on some clothes. R dressed V in some sweats and practically carried her out to the car. Wouldn't you know it, it was the middle of a horrible Idaho snow storm. We got into the car and R started driving to the hospital with his head out the window to see the road. I didn't want to interfere or be a meddling mother-in-law, but I said, "Maybe we should stop just for a moment so that you can wipe off the window." Immediately he said that was a good idea. He pulled over and cleared the window which didn't stay all that clear for long. Meanwhile poor V is throwing up and in terrible pain. We got to the hospital and after doing some tests, they found out that she was having a kidney stone attack. Poor V, she was really suffering. After, I don't remember how many hours, she passed the kidney stones. By this time, the attack had caused her to go into labor. The nurses told her that she could go home and then come back when her labor progressed. They said it could be many, many hours. However, she said, "It is my due date today and I'm not leaving this hospital without a baby." R and I agreed that she should labor in the hospital, although we didn't know how long it would take. R was wonderful with her. He was so encouraging and soothing. He was an outstanding coach. I really tried to give them as much privacy as they wanted, but R was so good to me and even said that we were good coaches together. V didn't have any meds and after several hours(quote from V"18 long hours") she was ready to push. She pushed for a while and little T was born. He looked so big for a newborn. I believe he was 9lbs 3 ozs. Correct me if I'm wrong V and I will change it. He was a beautiful, little baby. We were all sooooooo excited. He was just perfect.
I always remember when they first brought him home. They came into the house and R picked the baby up out of the little car seat. Then all three of them walked around the house and showed little T his room, his toys, and the rest of the house. They were on cloud 9 to have this adorable little boy to call their own.
T is growing up to be such a nice, young man. He has a special talent of being extra good with babies. If a baby is crying or sad, he can make that baby happy. He was only 16 months old when his little sister was born, but even being so little himself, he was so sweet and gentle with her. He is very smart and like his Dad he is a very athletic little boy. He does well at school hand in scouting. He is kind to people and sensitive to their needs. He is a great older brother, and he is a nice son and grandson. I am so blessed to have this awesome boy in my life. I love you T.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Exotic, Gorgeous Second Daughter

Today, March 10th is the birthday of my exotic, gorgeous daughter V. I have posted her picture with her family first because she loves them best and does everything for them. They are so lucky to have her for a Wife and Mommy.
All my life I wanted to have a large family. I really, really wanted each of my children and prayed and prayed for each one. After my first two, I had some problems getting pregnant and even had to go in for shots to solve some female problems and to get things all set. Well I had a daughter and two sons and we really wanted another baby girl. Our entire family prayed each morning and each evening for Heavenly Father to bless us with a little baby. Finally our prayers were answered and we were expecting little V. I remember the day I went into labor so vividly. It was a friday and I was having contractions all day. I called my good friend Judy Ferrari and she came over to my house to wait with me for DH to come home from work and to watch the children while DH and I went to the hospital. I had had such a horrible birth experience previously at AV hospital with a dreaded dr. that this time I went to a great OB in Victorville, Ca. about an hour and a half drive away. Of course on this day DH came home a bit late. By this time my water had broken and was slowly leaking so that I had to remain seated. When we told him that we needed to go to the hospital to have our baby, he asked if I couldn't wait a while because that was the night we were supposed to go to hear a Jewish man speak of his conversion at a Know Your Relgion Series that was being given at our stake center. DH was very anxious to hear him. He didn't understand, at first, the urgency of the situation. When I explained that no, my water was already broken and I could not wait, he was very willing to leave immediately. Packed with towels we left in our little car and drove the hour and a half and believe me, I felt every bump and hole in that long road through the desert to the hosp. We were immediately admitted and I was put in a labor room with the most awesome East Indian nurse. She was so kind and attentive. She stayed right with me the entire time. She spoke so kindly and gently the whole time. The dr. checked me and said that he would be right next door waiting for the delivery. Things went well until the very end when my blood pressure went so low that all I remember was the nurse suddenly rushing around and she and DH turning me on my side. When I came too, after that scary episode, I needed to push and so the nurse delivered little V right there in the labor room after only a couple of pushes. The dr. never even made it in from the next room over. I didn't have any meds for this delivery and because of the good care of this wonderful nurse, I also didn't have to have an episiotomy nor did I rip or tear. It was the best delivery ever. Little V was the most beautiful baby ever. All of the nurses at the hospital( well in maternity and delivery) came to see her over the next couple of days. All of them talked about how beautiful she was. I cannot explain how excited and happy I was. She was just perfect. V was always a very pleasant and happy little girl. She was always content with a sweet smile on her perfect, little face. When she was tiny, about 3, she would help me take the clothes out of the dryer. With each item that was hers, she would say, "Oh mommy, thank you for washing my dress, shirt,etc." When she was a teen-ager, she had lots of friends. She was and is so much fun. When V would walk into a room it was as if everyone knew that it was time for the party to begin. V loves dancing. She began dancing as a little girl and kept it up all through high school. She also taught dancing all through high school to help pay for her expenses and even today she teaches dance classes. This was in addition to her being involved in Student Government and being Senior Class Pres. She skipped 8th grade and did great with that. The only problem with skipping a year of school is that she then left home early to go to college. I was so sad to see her go. She also subs at her children's shool and is involved in PTA, and I don't even know how many other things she does and is involved in. V is an immaculate housekeeper and a wonderful wife and mommy. I don't know how she gets so many things done so well. She has lots of energy.

My adorable grandchildren!
V and her hubby. He is so nice and has the best sense of humor. When we are around him we laugh and laugh and have the best time. V says that she can never even get mad at him because if something does happen, he just makes her laugh.

I love the look on sweet S's face as he is kissing his Mommy.

I am so grateful that V is my daughter. I feel like we are friends now as well as Mother and Daughter. We sure have some wonderful times together. Happy Birthday my Darling!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

La Peruana, La Limena, My beautiful Miss Peru

Since I decided to write about my children's birth stories or arrival stories on their birthday just the day before yesterday, I have to do a little catch up.

1Samuel 1:27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him.

A few years after we had A, I once again had the strong feeling that we needed to add to our family through adoption. I mentioned it to DH a few times and he was not really too sure. I waited a while and then I asked him again. Again he said that he was not sure. Well, I was positive and I knew that the Lord had another baby for us so I asked him to please pray about it and see what the Lord had in mind for us. He was willing to do that. After praying, he came out and said that yes we would proceed with the adoption, that there was another baby for us. And so, began the adoption process again. At this time India was closed and so I began looking at other countries and their policies, costs, etc. One Saturday we went to a party at our former agency Bal Jagat and there I met several families who had just adopted from Peru. Peru had not been opened for very long and I had not really known much about them. The little Peruvian babies at the party were so cute and so I got lots of information from the new Mom's. I ended up with a long list of lawyers who had worked with the various families. The very next Monday we began thinking about the different lawyers and making calls to Peru to talk with them. Luckily, DH speaks Spanish fluently and he was able to make the calls. We finally had the list narrowed down to several lawyers and finally after praying about it chose a lawyer to work with. This time the process was a lot quicker and after a 6 week wait, we got a phone call that a little girl was born and she would be ours. We were just elated and so excited to meet this new, little baby. There were lots of last minute things to do, airline tickets to purchase, paperwork to be signed, monies to be transfered, etc. etc. Then the day before E was to arrive, the lawyer called and said that he had changed his mind about the baby and that he was sending a different baby. He said that he knew that this new baby was the one meant for our family. How could this man, who had never even met us, have any idea which baby was meant for us? Why would he even care? I believe that the Lord was guiding him, for we know that E was meant to be a part of our family. That day we had to do more paperwork and lots of calls to the airport in Florida and in LAX to straighten out several mix-ups and ticketing problems.
Finally, the big day came, Feb 20, 1989. We were so excited and were busy getting ready to leave for the airport to get E. E was being brought to this country by the wife of the lawyer who was traveling with her little girl to visit some relatives who lived in Ca. Ut Mommy who was almost 11 really wanted to come with us and begged and begged, so we finally decided to let her come. We got to LAX and had a long wait because we arrived so early. We didn't want to be late, you know. The plane finally arrived and soon we saw a lady with a little girl and a baby. However, when we spoke to her and she said that yes she had our baby, she was reluctant to hand her over to us. I'm not sure why she waited, but she did. First she gave us the plastic bag with E's things and finally she let us see her. Oh my goodness, she was an adorable, tiny, little thing wrapped up in many blankets. Her sweet, little face had big, round cheeks, a tiny nose, lots of dark, straight hair growing down almost to her eyebrows, and just a tiny neck. She was wrapped up in a receiving blanket, an old white machine knit blanket on top of that, and a rough brown wool blanket on top of everything else. Under all of the blankets she was dressed in a t-shirt, pj's and a mickey mouse sweat suit. That little bundle felt just perfect in my arms, all 6lbs 2ozs of her and I was in love. However, I couldn't hold her too long. Oh no, I had to share with her sister, Ut Mommy, who couldn't wait to have a turn. As it turned out, Ut Mommy was coming down with a case of chicken pox. Poor little E got chicken pox too the first few weeks of her life. Of course, Dad had to have a turn too. E came with a little bottle that had a huge hole cut into the nipple. I think the lawyers wife did not have the patience to feed her. She must have just poured the milk down her poor little throat. We were so excited to have our little E home with us. When we finally got home from the airport, we had lots of family and friends waiting to great E. All of the kids have loved E and spoiled her from the first day she came home. Ang thought that she was her own special little baby. She has mothered her from the beginning. E has grown into a beautiful, bright young woman. She is very friendly and very likeable. She is responsible in money matters. She's a great worker. She's got the rhythm. Wow, can that girl dance, especially Salsa! I think she has salsa in her blood.:) She has graduated from High School and is taking college courses. We are so grateful and blessed that little E, born on the 16th of Feb. is a part of our family.
I have often been asked if I feel the same about the children that we have adopted as I do about the children that I gave birth to. I can say without any hesitation that yes, I feel the same about them. I love them with the same intensity and with the same love that I have for all of my children. I bonded with them as strongly as with the children that I gave birth to. When I see them, I do not think that there is my adopted daughter. I think, there is my daughter. I love all of my children and I thank my Heavenly Father for each one of them each day. I feel very blessed to have birthed children and to have adopted children. I would give my life for them and I pray for them each day.
Here is E with her brand new baby. Natalia is the cutest, most adorable, little baby. I will be writing about her soon.

A and E with their neices playing dance. It's fun to see our count down temple calendar in the background for our son M when he was in Brazil on his mission. The girls would take turns putting the sticker on each day.

My two beautiful girls.
The Gift of Life

I didn't give you the gift of life,
But in my heart I know
The love I feel is deep and real,
As if it had been so.
For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true
No, I didn't give you
The gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.

To my two princesses, Miss India and Miss Peru
Legacy of An Adopted Child
Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.
Two different lives shaped to make you one
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love, the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name.
One gave you talent, the other gave you aim.
One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears.
One made an adoption plan, that was all she could do
The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you
Now, which of these 2 women are you the product of?
Both, my darling Both, just two different types of love.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Indian Princess

Since today is my Indian Princess's birthday, I have decided to write a post about her. Last month was another daughter's b'day and I will write about her tomorrow.
From the time I was a little girl, I had always wanted to adopt. I remember thinking and dreaming and wondering about my future family. I wanted to have birth children and also adopted children for as long as I remember. When my oldest, Tx Mommy, was about 5 years old we started our quest for adoption. LDS social services would not accept us because we already had 2 children at the time. Korea would not accept us for the same reason. The county took our application, but it took them 4 years to do our home study and by then they said that our family passed and was great, but by then we had "too many children". I contacted many agencies by phone and by mail trying to find just the right one, one that we wanted to work with, that wanted to work with us, that we could afford, etc. etc. Meanwhile, I was having other birth children and while they were babies, I put our adoption search on hold. I subscribed to an adoption magazine OURS and read lots of adoption stories. In one of those stories, I saw a beautiful little Indian baby and I cut out her picture and kept it with my things, never dreaming that we would adopt from India. I kept trying every avenue that I could think of to get the adoption going. A couple of times we had an adoption scheduled from Mexico, but just as we would be ready to take off to get the baby (one time a little girl, another time twins, we got a phone call saying that the birth mother had changed her mind. I was determined not to stop my search. I tried different countries and different agencies, but things just didn't work out. I knew in my heart that I was meant to adopt and I was going to pursue it until it was a reality.
Then one day many years later, I was at a violin concert for one of my sons. There I met a family who had just adopted a darling little girl from Korea. The Mom had to finish her teaching contract at the local college and so I began taking care of little Arianwyn. In my conversations with the Mom, I found out about a new agency, Bal Jagat, which worked with children in India and the International Mission of Hope. I immediately talked it over with DH and we said why not work with India. We had not ever heard that India was even open for adoption. The very next day I called the agency. I spoke with the head of the agency, Hemlata Momaya, and she said that she could help our family get a baby. We were just thrilled and proceeded to get the process going. While we were going through the home study, paperwork, immigration and all that is involved with adoption, we went through lots of delays due to incompetant workers, slow workers, lost files and every imaginable delay and set back you could ever imagine. I remember that each time I went to immigration in L.A., I had to have an appointment, but I would also have to call the office and remind them that I was coming otherwise the appt. would fall through. This was an 1 1/2 hr drive to L.A. and then back of course. One day I got to the appointment and the worker told me that I needed a copy of our marriage license. I told her that I had given it to her last time. "Oh no." she said, "If you had given it to me, I would have stamped it right here." I told her that she had stamped it on the back. "NO, we never stamp it on the back." Trying to be so nice, so as not to irritate her, I asked her to please just take a look on the back to be sure it wasn't there. She did and guess what? Yes, it was stamped on the back. "Well, someone sure didn't follow the rules." she added. I didn 't dare tell her that she was the very one that always helped me. That is just a small example of the incompetency and things we had to go through.
Finally, everything was done and we waited and waited for our baby. We were assigned a baby whom we named Sarika Kristi. How happy we were. Sadly, just before her flight home to us, she died of respiratory failure. I will write more of her story later.
We were so sad and Hemlata and the agency were so sad too and felt badly that this had happened. They decided that they would assign another baby to us. This time they would assign us a "fat baby" so that she would be sure to thrive and do well.
On March 5th 1986 our little "fat baby was born". She was 4lbs 11ozs. She was born in Calcutta India in a baby nursing home. At this time India had put into effect a new program called The Cradle Program designed to save babies from being thrown away. The program stated that if a birth mom would leave her baby in one of the cradles put outside of these nursing homes, the baby would be taken care of and given a home to a family that would love it. Or, the Mom could actually give birth in the home. No questions would ever be asked. How grateful I am that our little baby had a birth Mom that loved her so much that she wanted her to have a good life. How grateful I am that Heavenly Father blessed us with this beautiful, little baby girl.
On July 20th 1986 our little bundle came home. A was 41/2 months old and weighed only 10lbs 2ozs. I will always remember how excited we were to go to the airport to get her. We waited and waited and waited. Finally, the plane arrived and everyone got off and no baby. What happened? After a little wait, we saw all of the stewardesses rushing off the plane and coming straight to us. "She's coming, she's coming." they said. "Her escort wanted to change her clothes and make her all pretty to meet her parents." Sure enough, off the plane comes a nice young, Irish steward, her domestic escort. He had little A tucked into his arm with her little face looking out. When he came to us he said, "A, I want to introduce you to your parents." She was the most beautiful, little baby with big black eyes and lots of curly, dark hair. I took her in my arms and felt instant love for this little bundle of joy. All of the stewardesses and her escort wanted pictures of her. She was the first baby for this steward to travel with. My heart was full and so grateful for this little girl. We, DH and I were thrilled to have her in our lives and in our hearts. As we were walking though LAX, I was holding her, but her little head was turned toward DH. She did not take her eyes off him as we walked through that huge terminal. It was as if she was thinking, "Oh, so you're my Daddy."
Little A was the nicest, sweetest, happiest little baby. She always had a smile on her face. When she was a little bit older and was learning how to talk, she would wake up, stand up in her little port-a-crib (in our room) and with a smile she would say,"Good morning Mama." When we walked the older kids to school, she would greet everyone from her stroller. As she grew older, she remained a sweet, thoughtful girl. She is so to this day. A is a girl who is always concerned about others and their welfare. She wants to be sure everyone is happy and comfortable and that noone feels left out. She is pleasant and happy and always kind. She is a beautiful girl and I am ever so grateful that she is my daughter. I always love being with her and spending time together. My lovely daughter A has finished High School and has also graduated from Paul Mitchell Beauty School. She is a great daughter, a great sister, a wonderful aunt, and a good friend. She thinks that her sister's babies are her own. She loves her other sister's and her brother's children. She loves her brand new niece and wants to cover her with kisses. This past June of 2008, she married her sweetheart from Brazil. I think she is being a good wife to him and he is being so good to her too. They are having a great time together.
One of my favorite poems describes my feelings towards her and also her sister E.
Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute
That you didn't grow under my heart, but in it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Salad, Essence, District Missionaries, Temple story

I found the most wonderful salad here that I like to buy a lot now. It reminds me of clover, which I had growing on my entryway path, and which I loved even though it's technically a weed. I loved looking at it, not eating it. :) This salad is called salade de ble or veldsla mache. It has a very good taste and I love the way it looks.

Here is a shot of the sign at the gas station we use most. I think the "Mister Cash" sign is so fun. Too bad you can't get real cash here. As you can see, we had a gloomy, rainy day.

We have the most awesome missionaries in our zone. They are so hardworking and so spiritually on the ball. They know the scriptures so well and are great at knowing which scripture to use at which time. Yesterday we were chatting after district mtg. and the sisters said that they are sometimes scared in certain areas now. They were on the Metro the other day and some rough looking guys were about to approach them inappropriately. Well, our missionaries happended to be on the same Metro. They said they were watching out for the girls. "If those guys had made one move towards our sisters, they would have had all of us warriors to contend with.:) Noone will be touching those sisters." "We will be watching out for them." Luckily nothing happened.

Elders Leavitt and Nielsen on top and Baker and Bertrand on the bottom. Aren't they handsome!

Sisters Redd and Santos. Pretty girls.

Elders Cabrera and Riley. This pair is great!

Here is a special picture of Elder Riley especially for his Mom. See how great he looks. He is our awesome district leader. This Elder is quiet, but super on the ball. We all love him. Actually we love all of our missionaries. Each one has his or her own strengths and talents. I am in awe of them.

Sunday we had the best sacrament meeting. The friday previous, 5 of our new members got to go to the London temple to do baptisms for the dead. Every one of them got up at testimony meeting to talk about what a wonderful experience it was. One young guy was so funny. He said, "...the spirit was so strong that I felt it in my guts." I've never heard it put quite like that, but he was very sincere. Each person said how much they enjoyed the experience and how much their testimony was strengthened by going. They all felt the special reverence and nature of the temple. I can't wait to go there myself. I love going to the temple and working there. DH and I have been temple workers at the Los Angeles, Ca temple and at the Dallas, Tx temple and I must say it was a divine experience.

When we first began working at the Dallas temple we had a very special experience. The same day that we got set apart as workers we received a phone call from the temple pres. asking us if we would come back the next day and act as translators for a young couple who was coming for the very first time to get their endowments and to be sealed for time and all eternity. The man was from Cameroon, Africa and the young woman was from Russia. I later learned their story. The man had gone to Russia to go to the University. While he was studying, he met the missionaries, studied the gospel and became baptized. Some time later he met a girl on the double decker bus they were both riding. They began dating. He taught her the gospel and she was baptized. Soon after that they were married. Then they had a little girl named Elizabeth. The fellow finished university and moved to Texas and began working and saving his money so he could bring his family to the U.S. A couple of years later he went back to Russia and got his family and brought them to Texas. They soon had a baby boy, Romeo, and now they were ready to go to the temple. By the way, they all speak Russian at home. When we met them the man said, "In Cameroon half of us speak French and half of us speak English. I am from the English speaking side." So, we did not need DH's translating skills that day. The girl also spoke quite a bit of English, but I was able to accompany her and translate from Russian into English those things that she did not understand. After the endowment, I went to the nursery to pick up the children and to bring them into the sealing room. Elizabeth was a charming, little 5 year old. When I asked her if she spoke Russian, she smiled and said "Yeeeeeeeeeees" She also spoke fluent English. She was perfectly behaved and a beautiful, little girl. Romeo was a darling little 5 month old cherub. I still remember how he just snuggled up to me and remained a perfect little angel during the ceremony. It was so tender and beautiful to witness this beautiful family being united for eternity.

An interesting side note. After I took the children back to the nursery, I returned to the room where the couple and their guests were visiting. A gentleman came up to me and told me the following story. He said that he was from the same ward as the man from Cameroon. His own son lives in New York with his wife and they came to Texas for the week-end to go to a wedding of one of their friends. Well something happened and the wedding fell apart. The man told his son that he was going to the temple with a young couple from their ward and would his son and wife like to go along. They did. When they got into the room, at the temple, imagine their surprise when they saw the African man. He was the man whom the son had taught the gospel to when he was a young missionary in Russia. He was the missionary who had baptized him. What a joyeous reunion they had. Do you think this was a coincidence? I think not.

Sunday after church we had a big dinner and celebration for Francois, one of our young adults who is leaving on his mission this week. He is a fine, young man and we will really miss him a lot. He is going to serve in the Ivory Coast. The dinner was so nice. Francois has a 17 year old sister who together with her friend planned a wonderful program. The friend plays the piano beautifully and another friend plays the flute. They played several numbers and then the sister and friend and friend's mother sang a few really nice songs. They had a few short speeches and then Francois himself said a few words and bore his testimony. It was so nice. After the food was put away, the girls wheeled in the biggest cake. It was gorgeous and huge. It was decorated with fresh pear halves all along the edges and other fresh fruit on top. When the cake was brought to the center of the hall, everyone clapped their hands. It was like a scene out of an old movie. That cake was delicious too. Yum Yum! It was one of the best cakes I have ever tasted. Too bad my battery died and so no pictures. It turns out the one of the counselors is a chef by profession. He made this lovely, tasty cake and then served it.