Wednesday, June 30, 2010

FHE and Dinner with Francoise

Every week we have FHE(family home evening) with the JA's. It is always a lot of fun. We all take turns giving a lesson or a spiritual thought. Then we have a fun game. This past week our game was trying to guess who we were by asking yes or no questions. I was Queen Elizabeth and yes, I did guess who I was. We have played many games and have not had many repeats except for Loup Garou. They love the Werewolf game. I think I'm going to have to buy it for my grandchildren to play. I bet even my children will like it. :) Unfortunately in the summertime we have fewer and fewer young adults because so many of the youth go home after studies are over. Others go on vacation. Still others move away. I'm really going to miss them. Natacha and Noemie are 2 of the girls who are leaving for the summer. I will really miss them most of all because they are such wonderful girls and dear to me. I love them both. They have a bright future because they are the creme de la creme.
Wednesday we were invited to Francoises's house for dinner. Francoise is Manu's Mom. She is a wonderful woman. She is warm and kind. She always dresses in a very fun, kind of eccentric way although you can't really tell in this picture. I love her and I love the way she dresses. It is always stylish, but just a little out of the ordinary. She is very artistic, paints, draws, and makes jewelry. She is very knowledgeable in the scriptures and she is fun to talk to and to be with.
We had a wonderful evening together. She prepared a great meal. We started out with an aperitif of radishes and the sweetest cantaloupe ever. There was homemade bread. The entree was a Moroccan dish. Green salad followed the main course with a vinaigrette that she swirled in the serving bowl, at the table so we could all see the oil, mustard, and vinegar combine together into the delicious vinaigrette. Dessert was pears in rose water and perfume. It was soooooo good.
We really enjoyed her company, the food and the conversation.

Friday, June 25, 2010


This morning I woke up to find a sweet note from my sweetie. It was a birthday congratulations and an invitation out to lunch.
I am lucky enough to share my birthday with 2 special people in my family. First there is my beautiful daughter-in-law Kelly. It has been so much fun to have our birthdays be on the same day. My son says that it's good because then he can never forget either one of us. Then my cute grandson was nice enough to be born on my birthday. He has turned 8 today and will soon be baptized. E is a really smart little boy. He amazes me with the things he does. When he was just a little guy of 4, he and his friend were discussing infinity. His friend said that infinity was the last number and E said no because infinity means that it never stops. What little kid talks about infinity at age 4? Now he sets up battles and draws out battle plans for Nephi and other great warriors. E is a champion soccer player and has led many a game to victory. He is a great reader and his math skills are wonderful. I can't believe how fast the time flies. I am so glad he is my grandson and that we share a birth day.

We went to a nice restaurant right by the Mayrie in Mouscron. It was fun to splurge and have a meal out.

For appetisers Dh had smoked salmon with mozzarella. I had very thinly sliced piece of beef and piece of salmon with a green called roquette. Both dishes were soooooo good.

For the entree I had lamb chops and salad and Dh had a steak and salad. Both of us had fries. Sorry for the eaten lamb chop. I forgot to take a picture earlier. Both of these entrees were just delicious.
For dessert I had chocolate moose and Dh had vanilla ice cream with choc sauce and whipped cream. We really enjoyed our meal and time together.

Then we went to the store and I got a birthday present. I really like these shoes.

After our walk we went home and then we went out and did our missionary work. Now that I don't cook every week for institute we do a lot more teaching.
When we got home I saw that I had soooo many b'day congratulations. I was amazed and so happy to get them. Thank you all for making my day great.
Update on shingles: I now have damaged nerve endings. That is what is giving me the horrible head and face aches. I think I have my correct dosage for medication figured out now. I am up to 800mg every 4 hours and boy can I tell when those 4 hours are up. I definitely don't need a clock to tell me when I need to take more medicine. I am hoping that this will not last long although the Dr. says it may be months. He thinks I will have to take this medicine until we go home in a little over 3 months and then switch to a different one. Anyway, I just hope it won't take that long. Besides the pain, the meds are very expensive.
Well enough of that. I had a wonderful day and I am so grateful for my wonderful husband, children, grandchildren, great granddaughter, friends, and also my bloggy friends. I am thankful that I have had such a great life. I am so thankful that I had the most awesome parents and grandparents. The Lord is good to me and has blessed me enormously. I love Him most of all.

Diplome et Bal fin d'annee

While we were at the temple Saturday, our JA's had their graduation from seminary/institute awards ceremony. Thanks to the Center we had the highest number of graduates ever in this stake.
We are soooooo excited. There were 33 graduates. This is so awesome.
I am so grateful that I have been able to work with these awesome youth. Their numbers are few, but they are strong. They are diligent in serving the Lord. They have such strong testimonies, They are kind and they are fun loving. I just love them.

Afterwards there was a nice buffet and a ball. The theme was tropical. As you can see by the pictures, the youth had a great time. Our awesome Natacha did the decorations. It took her a long time. Thanks Natacha.

Noemie, Claudine, and Natacha posing "at the beach".

Xavier and David having a good laugh.

Alexandre, Manu, Jean Claude Vanaquer, and Claudine.

Andreyi, Gregory, and Nirina

Fanny, Esther, and Aurelia


Celine and everyone else too wanted pictures "at the beach".

Virginie, Natacha

Grant and Remi.

These 2 sisters Stephanie Goultin and Benedict Boutoille are so nice and awesome. They are both young women's leaders. They are both very kind, very diligent, and wonderful. They are the sisters of Anne Louise (Manu's wife). Their whole family is just great. All of them, 9 children, have been married in the temple and all of the family have been and are great leaders in the church here in France. Their parents, the De Graves were some of the first converts in this area. It is always fun and also uplifting to spend time with them.
We enjoyed some time at the Bal, but left early because of my headache. I am still trying to get my meds dosage adjusted. It's not all that easy. Dr. told me I will probably have to be on these meds for the next 3 + months and then when we go home, I will have to switch to another medication. I guess this darn pain is going to last for a long time although I am still hoping for a quick recovery.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Frankfurt June 2010

Friday the 18th of June and Saturday the 19th of June were very wonderful days. Bishop Ruiter drove the Petrovs and us to the Temple in Frankfurt, Germany. The trip took about 5 1/2 hours. We were moving right along. Many times on the autobahn we were going about 208 klms. That is about 128 mph. Bishop drives a nice VW Passat diesel. Our ride was very pleasant. The German countryside is very pretty. We drove by beautiful forests and also beautiful grassy areas. It all was very clean too. Once we arrived and checked into our rooms we took a little walk and bought just a very few things to eat. I packed lots of baguette sandwiches (salami, ham and cheese, tuna). I also made banana bread and brought chips, apricots, bananas, and cherries. We ate all of this food on the trip to and from the temple. Bishop made a pasta with tuna for dinner and he also bought the best tasting natural strawberry and vanilla yogurt for dessert. Our tummies were full.

Here is the little German store where we got the yogurt.

The temple is very beautiful. Inside it is even more beautiful than outside. there is such a feeling of love and peace inside the temple. The spirit of the Lord is so abundant there. The Petrovs were soooooo excited to go. They couldn't wait. Remember Hayrie is blind. Vasil has epilepsy and because of that is very shaky and unsteady on his feet. He has a little bit of a hard time speaking too. They help each other and hold each other up. She says that he is her eyes and she is his spokeswoman. They hold each other up.

The building on the right is the housing building where we spent the night. In this building there is a tunnel. You go down some stairs and enter the tunnel. It is lined on each side with pictures of many of the temples of the world. When you get to the other side of the tunnel, you go up the stairs and you are in the temple.

The grounds all around the temple are lovely. There are many beautiful flowers. As we walked Vasil explained everything to Hayrie.
At one point as we were walking around, Hayrie reached out and touched the building. "Is this the temple?" she asked. When I said that it was she had the biggest smile on her face. She felt privileged to even be able to touch the outside of the House of the Lord.

This is a picture of the room where I slept or rather couldn't sleep. Sleep evaded me because of my bad head and face ache and also because one the the ladies snored very loudly all night.

We rented 3 rooms. The single rooms were 7,50 euros each and the double was 38 euros. Hayrie and Vasil had to have a double because there were no lower bunks left for Vasil to have one and there were also no lower bunks left in the ladies rooms. It was better this way anyway because then they could be together and could help each other.

Before we went into the temple we were greeted in the housing center by 2 sisters. One of them, a young woman from Poland, spoke some Russian. The other German sister spoke a tiny bit of Russian too. They were there to help us. First we went to do all of the paperwork. It was quite the procedure to have me translate all of the information into Russian and for them to get it down just right. In fact after we had finished and were already in the temple, I was called back to type up their certificate and other paperwork in Russian. They had a keyboard with the Cyrillic alphabet and that is what I used. I was so nervous to do it all just right. I had to translate from the Bulgarian that she told me and put it into Russian.

Our time in the temple was so great. As soon as we were about to step into the temple I told Hayrie, "You will now be in the temple." As soon as she stepped in she was overcome with emotion. She stopped right there, bowed her head and said a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord that she was allowed to be in the temple.

We walked in and it was so beautiful and the spirit was so strong. After the preliminary work was done, we met with the temple President and Matron. There the Petrovs were given some very sacred and wonderful instructions. You should have seen us. The President speaks German and English. There was also a temple worker sister who was 80 years old who spoke Russian 56 years ago and could still read Russian. The President gave her a card to read to the Petrovs. They could not understand her, so they gave the card to me to read. It was written in Bulgarian. I do not speak a word of Bulgarian. Well okay, I know yes and no. However the alphabet is the Cyrillic alphabet, the same one that the Russians use. So, I read all of it (and it was very long) to the Petrovs. After each paragraph we would stop and Pres. would make comments and ask questions. Luckily they understood everything I read. I was praying really hard that I would read correctly and put the stress and accents in the right spot. We were so blessed that it went really well.

After this we went into a beautiful room where we discussed and learned sacred things. I was privileged to help Hayrie. After all was done we went into a gorgeous sealing room with a huge gorgeous, crystal chandelier and huge, beautiful mirrors on 2 sides of the room. Here Hayrie and Vasil were sealed as husband and wife for time and all eternity. The sealing was performed in French and here again I had to translate into Russian. Just before the sealing a cute little couple, brother and sister from Macedonia came in. They said they spoke 56%of Bulgarian and they came just to help the Petrovs by translating into Bulgarian. They had been at the temple the day before and had gone all the way home. Apparently they live quite a ways away. The temple people called them and they drove all the way back just to help the Petrovs the next day. As it turned out they were able to translate a little bit, but I still had to re translate everything into Russian as their knowledge of Bulgarian was limited. Once again I prayed to be able to translate because I do not know all of the church terminology in Russian. It went really well and they were able to comprehend all that I said. There was a funny moment too. The sealer told them that he would be doing the sealing in French and that they would not understand. There would be a point where they would have to say Oui, but they would not know when to do that. He told them to listen to the spirit. Well, the time to say Oui came and Vasil did not say anything. We prompted him, "Now Vasil, say Oui." He did and very loudly too. Then the sealer began speaking again and before too long Hayrie say "Oui" also very loudly. "Pas maintenant." Not now, says the sealer. Then he finishes and says, now "Maintenant". Hayrie says "Oui" and got the biggest grin on her face. They gave each other a great big kiss and the ceremony was over. Hayrie and Vasil were thrilled. They smiled and smiled as they were being congratulated.

Our time in the temple was so awesome. What an unforgettable experience we had.