Friday, March 30, 2012

Irene and Brandon

 Last week we got to go to the reception of one of our awesome young adults, Irene Kim.  Irene was in France doing an internship and working for one of the Universities near Lille.  Irene was at all of the JA activities and even when the missionaries would come to our apartment for an activity, we would invite her and she would come.  She previously served a mission and was just one of the group.  Irene is a beautiful, wonderful young woman and we were so thrilled that she found the man of her dreams.

Irene and Brandon had a really fun reception at the Wheeler Farm in S.L. C.  There was lots of dancing, and they served Jdawgs for dinner along with a salad.  We really enjoyed talking to them.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

We're here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 After taking a late flight out of SLC at midnight, we finally arrived in Maryland at 9:30 the next morning.  We did have a lay-over in Charlotte,  N. Carolina.  I slept a little bit on the plane, but not much.  For some reason, I just can't really sleep well while traveling.  The flight itself went well and we arrived tired, but happy.  Lana picked us up and we had a nice 2 hr drive to get to her house.

We made a quick stop so I could buy some crocs, because I didn't pack mine, and then we went to Clark's landing for lunch.  Lana and I shared fish and chips and sea scallops.  Mmmmmmm. So delicious.  John had a Colossal Burger.  He is a burger man.
 This is the view from the parking lot.
The kids were all happy to see us and we are sooooooo happy to see them too.
Lana made a yum-mo dinner of pork chops with sauce, mashed potatoes and broccoli.  Later Rob got home and after he ate we had apple pie with ice cream.  After talking for a while we had scripture study and then fell into bed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

YEAH!!!!!!!!!! We're off

 Hurray!  In a few hours we will be boarding US Airways and flying all night to go to Maryland to visit Lana and her family.  I can hardly wait to see them.  It has been a long time.  It will be great to see all of them.
 After staying several days there, we will all go to Palmyra and we will also visit Niagara Falls.  I've never been to that part of the country and I am so excited to go.  We will visit the Sacred Grove. We will ride the Maid of the Mist.  We will love being together.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tanner's Ordination and Jan's Farewell

 Sunday the 18th we were privileged to attend Tanner's ordination.  He was ordained a Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood.  Tanner is a fine young man who honors his Priesthood.  He tries to always do the right and we are so pleased and happy with his progress.  We are so happy to be his grandparents.  Here he is with his friends and his younger brother Spencer.

 Here we all are on this important day.

 Not only is he a great guy, he is smart and handsome too.  :)  Tanner has an awesome family.  They all support each other in all of their activities.  They try to live righteously and they also have a lot of fun.   I'm so blessed and happy that they are mine.

 Today was also the day that Jan Christensen had her farewell.  Jan is going on a mission.  Jan told us this story about her life:
When she was a little girl, Jan attended any church that they lived near.  Her Mom moved them around very often and so they would attend the nearest church to their house.  Sometimes they were Presbyterians.  Sometimes they were Methodists or Lutherans.  Sometimes her Mom would get mad at the Preacher and so they would go to a different church.  When she was about 9 years old, she wanted to know what God looked like.  She knew all about Jesus, but didn't really know much about God.  And so, she asked her Priest.  He couldn't answer her.  She continued to ask many different Preachers, Ministers, and Pastors.  None of them could give her an answer.
When she graduated she became a nurse in the United States Air Force.  One day her aunt invited her to go to the 1965 New York World Fair.  Jan was happy to go and when she got leave she flew up there to go to the fair with her aunt.  At the fair there were over 200 Protestant booths. They all spoke of Jesus, but knew nothing about God the Father.  Then she went to the Catholic booth.  It played beautiful music and was quiet and serene, but she didn't feel much of the spirit there.  Then she went into the booth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  There she saw a movie called Mans Search for Happiness, which she loved and which told her about God and Jesus Christ.  It touched her heart.  Two young missionaries were working there and they told her about Joseph Smith and his vision, how he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Finally, finally she found the answer to the question she had been seeking all of her life.  She knew what God the Father looked like. The missionary asked her if she wanted to know more.  She did.  Then he asked her to fill out a card with her name and address on it and asked her if 2 missionaries could come and teach her more about the church.  She said sure and filled out the card.  After her visit to the fair she went back to her base and continued her life.
Several weeks passed and life went on, but one evening, after work, she heard a knock at her door.  She was dressed in her old, comfy scrubs. The shirt was so big on her that it hung down to her knees.  She also had on a large pink cap kind of like the surgical caps that they wear now.  In those days the girls had large bouffant hair-dos and so they wore big caps like that to keep their hair in place while they slept.  (Ha ha, I remember wearing those wonderful and so attractive caps too. ) She answered the door and it was 2 young men dressed in white shirts and suits.  It was the missionaries.  They asked if she was the girl who had filled out the card and wanted to meet with them.  She replied that she was, but not tonight.  She was not exactly dressed to receive company.  They set up a date to see her later in the week.
When the appointed time arrived, the 2 young men came and began teaching her the gospel.  They asked her to read the Book of Mormon and to put to a test the promise that is written at the end of the book in Moroni chapter 10 verses 4 and 5 "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.    And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."   Jan read the entire book in 2 days because as she says, "I am a fast reader."  She prayed and asked God if the book was true and she received her answer that yes the book is true.
Jan studied for several weeks longer and then became baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Her room-mate also studied along with Jan and also got baptized.  In fact about 10 of the young Air Force women got baptized also.
All these years Jan has been a faithful member of the church.  She got married to a man with 2 little girls and then had 2 girls.  She raised them all together.  Now she is a widow and is about to leave on her mission for 18 months.
 As a surprise to Jan, the missionary who baptized her and lives in Arizona came to Jan's farewell with  his wife, who just happens to be Jan's ex room-mate.  Yes, the missionary who taught the girls ended up marrying one.  They have 8 children.
 A nice luncheon was held after church.
Here is a photo of Jan.  I love her story and I think it's so great that she is going to serve the Lord.  I know she will love her mission.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Val and Tanner's Birthday

A couple of week-ends ago we celebrated Valerie's (our 4th child and 2nd daughter) and her son (our 1st grandson) Tanner's birthdays.  Valerie and I spent 2 afternoons making Pelmeni.   Then I spent one afternoon finishing them up.  It is a lot of work, but everyone in our family loves them.  Pelmeni are a Russian dish that I learned how to make with my dear Grandmother Katya.  They are little rounds of dough that are filled with a mixture of beef and pork.  The rounds a sealed and then frozen.  When one want to eat them, it is simple matter of putting a pot of water or bouillon to boil and plopping the little morsels in to cook.
 Here is my sweet Tal washing her hands to help Gwama cook.
 Tal is my little side kick. She loves to cook, of course.  :)

 Reggie came home after all was done, but we had to stop and play with him.  He is such a little cutie.
Here he is cracking up on the floor.  

Can't forget Jakob.  He is the most pleasant little guy and last week he learned how to crawl.  I love how cute he is.  He always has a smile and he has the cutest little laugh.

Here we are enjoying Pelmeni.  It was JaNee's first time having them and I was so happy that she liked them too.  She brought the desserts which were so good that they were gone before I could even take a picture of them.  She made Apple Charlotte and also brownies.  I thought it was so thoughtful that she looked up a Russian dessert to go with the Russian meal.

Relaxing after dinner is a must.

We had a nice little family party.  I'm only so sad that some of my kids and their families live too far away.  I really hate that.  I wish they all lived right next door to me.  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

So, so sad

Yesterday I read my dear friend Connie's notice that their sweet little Grady is gone.  What a shock to them and to everyone who hears it.  I just can't believe it.  Just last week at a conference that Connie and I attended, he was there with his Mommy.  His was such a sweet, adorable little baby.  They all delighted in him and held him so tenderly and talked to him so softly and with such joy.  Now he's gone.  It's difficult to understand why such a sweet little one must go.  And yet, we know the Plan of Salvation.  We know that he will live again and that his family will have him again.  We know that he really has it made.  He doesn't have to suffer the trials of this life.  He only needed to come here to this earth to receive his mortal body.  He was so perfect.  We know and yet it is devastating and so hard.

I am at a loss as to what to do or say to Connie.  There are no words  I just hope that she knows how much I care about her.  I hope she will be consoled and comforted and I pray that Grady's family will also be consoled and comforted.  I pray that Heavenly Father will send his loving arms to surround them in this most difficult of times.  I pray that they will all be able to heal and to remember that our Heavenly Father does love them.

Meanwhile, good bye sweet, little Grady.  Until we meet again.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Yum, Yum.  Here is a photo of some Macaron's from the famous Parisian bakery Laduree that Virginie brought to us.  These are only some of them.  The others were quickly eaten and thoroughly enjoyed.  Each Macaron is a different color and each has a different filling.  Each one is so flavorful that it is hard to pick a favorite.

Now on to Virginie's (sketchy) story:

By the age of 8 Virginie went to live with her Grandmother because her parents left her.  The Grandmother was very old and Virginie ended up doing all of the housework, shopping and cooking for both of them.  She lived with the Grandmother for several years.  Meanwhile Grandmother's neighbors and friends became very fond of Virginie.  As the Grandmother was failing in her health, one family asked to have Virginie come to live with them.  She did and the family and Virginie grew to love each other very much.  The family were faithful Latter-day Saints who loved the Lord and taught the gospel to Virginie.  When she was a teen-ager, Virginie studied the gospel very carefully and she got baptized and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Some years passed and both the Grandmother and the Father died.  Virginie continued to grow in the gospel doing all the things she should, going to school, and serving the Lord.  As she got older and being such a pretty girl, all the boys wanted to date her and to have her for their girlfriend.

Now Alexandre comes into the picture.  I wrote about him a while back.  Alexandre, a wonderful, handsome young man learns of the church and gets baptized.  He begins to attend our Young Adult Center in France and quickly get positions of responsibility.  Everyone likes him and all of the girls want to date him and to have him for a boyfriend.

The story continues as Virginie and Alexandre meet and like each other right away.  They continue with their own lives, continue attending church and the Center.  They go to many activities together and develop a friendship which soon turns to love.  However, Alexandre says that he cannot become too serious because he wants to serve a mission first.  He loves the Lord so much that he wants to teach others of Him and of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  When he tells Virginie, she is so happy for him and the next day she goes out and buys him the book Preach My Gospel so that he can study and become a good missionary.  She totally supports him in wanting to serve the Lord.

Their plans to be together always develop and they decide that Alexandre will submit his papers to serve his mission which is for 2 years.  He gets his call to serve in Australia.  Virginie waits and finishes up her schooling at the University.  She submits her papers to serve a mission also, which is for 18 months for girls.  She will finish up her mission just about the same time that Alexandre will finish up his mission.  Virginie gets called to the London South Mission.

As soon as they come home from their missions, they will become officially engaged and will  marry for time and all eternity in the Temple.  For now she is wearing a pretty ring that he gave her  to remind them that they are promised to each other.  They are both serving the Lord with all their heart, mind, and strength.  I know He will bless them for this sacrifice for Him.  

I love this love story.  What a legacy this young couple will leave to their children.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


 Virginie, one of our young adults from our Center for Young Adults in France, is going on a mission to London South.  SOOOOOOOO exciting.  She arrived at the airport and we picked her up on Monday. Virginie got her call in Nov. and has been studying English intently since then.  She has made so much progress and speaks quite well.  She will do great on her mission.  I think her English will improve rapidly with no problem.
 Here she is with all of her luggage and things for the next 18 months.
 We took her on a tour of Temple Square.  Here she is in front of the Salt Lake Temple.
 Several of the returned missionaries from our mission came to great her and to spend the rest of the day.  There's Elder Dalton next to her and next to him is Bro. Emery who was a missionary elsewhere, but served an internship in Lille and therefore came to our center.
 Elders Larson, Kudelka, Scott, and Dalton join the group.
 Finally Sister Kohler came from Logan.
 We had a wonderful time visiting the Visitor's Center, the Beehive House, the Joseph Smith Bldg, and the Conf Center.  We walked and walked and walked.  About 3 1/2 hrs later I couldn't walk anymore, so when everyone else toured the roof top of the Conf. Center, I just sat in the room right next to it and talked with the guide there.
Oh my goodness we had a good time.  Elder Kudelka is just crazy and so funny.  He kept us laughing the entire day.  He never quit with his antics, his jokes, his voices in telling stories etc.  He would sometimes act out people we all knew or were acquainted with on our missions and tell their stories.  
 This is the view of the temple from the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Bldg.  Below is the photo of the inside of the Conf. Center  It holds 22,000 people plus 1,000 in the theatre.  It is huge and so beautiful.  I never expected it to be so beautiful or so huge.
 Afterwards we went to have dinner at the Rio Grande in Salt Lake.  The guys wanted her to taste authentic "American" Mexican food.    The food really was good and the salsa was especially delicious. The portions were so large that John and I had enough to take home and have lunch the next day.  

 Virginie spent the night at our house and the next day we drove her to the MTC.  As we arrived she was very stressed, a bit scared, and emotional.  She is setting out on an adventure at the young age of 21.  It is a bit nerve-wracking to go to a new country all by yourself with very little language skills, alone by yourself for the very first time.  BUT, she will be fine.  She will be serving the Lord and He will protect her.  I am always in awe of all the young missionaries.  They are fine young people.
It really was quite emotional leaving her there.  It was almost like leaving a daughter.

Tomorrow I will write about Virginie's story.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Relief Society Birthday Party

 This evening our ward had the R. S. Birthday Party.  It was a dinner and games.  When we first arrived we were handed a sheet of paper with 20 statements on it.  We were to find Sisters in the ward who shared a birthday month or had the same favorite book or movie and so forth.  It was a lot of fun.  Then we all sat at 2 long tables and played 30 second get to know one another game.  It is played just like the 1 minute dating game.  The MC poses a question and the people sitting across from each other answer and discuss the question.  We sure learned quite a few things about each other that we never knew before.  We laughed and laughed and had a good time.

 Dinner was a potato bar and salad with delicious  and pretty cupcakes for dessert.

 After we were done eating, there was another game where the MC asked questions such as who had served longest as R.S. President, who had done the most adventuresome activity, who had lived the furthest away (which I won), etc.  The prize for each one was a candy bar.
 Our final activity was a service jar.  Each woman wrote a service that they would do for someone else such as bake something for them, clean something, teach something, etc.  We put our service note into a jar and then we were able to draw out a note and now someone will do something for us too.  It was a nice ending to a very pleasant evening.
 When I got home, this little sweetie was ready to great me at the door.  She said, "You're home Grandma.  I missed you.  Don't leave again because I will cry."  I sure love my little side kick.  She is adorable.  Then she asked me to take her picture which I was so happy to do since she hardly ever wants to pose for me.