Sunday, September 23, 2012

Smokey September

We have been in a smokey haze in this valley for months, but this past few weeks it has gotten especially bad.  All this week, the sun was a dusky rose color, and we only saw it on the horizon for a short time before it was hidden altogether behind the haze of lots of smoke from wildfires.  My brother-in-law Rodney, who also lives in Idaho, said that he has a satellite program that shows huge forest fires burning in Siberia, and the smoke from those fires is coming all the way across the Pacific Ocean and adding to the smoke from our local fires.  Kind of crazy!  The air quality in this area has been in the Red Zone all week, which has been a challenge, especially for Peter and Jesse.  Bruce has been OK, which is a miracle, since he has the weakest lungs of the family, but Peter has had a bad cough all week.  This which has been helped by the diffuser and oils, thank goodness.  Jesse also said that her lungs hurt.
But today, we had a small storm move through which cleared out the sky for the first time in weeks and weeks!  Jesse especially enjoyed the rain!

 It smelled sooo good outside!

I got a haircut this week!

My Mom and Dad came back into town this week, too, after being gone for two weeks helping my sister, who had the shingles.  Not fun!  She has turned the corner, thank goodness, and is on the mend.  It's great to have Mom & Dad back.  They brought over dinner today after Church.  It's always a treat to eat your own Mother's food!  Like comfort food times ten.  Ha ha

Jesse and Libby both had talks today in Church.  Jesse spoke about the Atonement in Sacrament Meeting.  In her talk she laid out the doctrine of the Atonement beautifully, and her witness and testimony of the Savior were just as beautiful.  Oh, that all of us "grown-ups" had known such profound truths when we were 17!  I thought I knew a lot when I was 17, but the depth of her scriptural knowledge and the basis of her understanding is deep.  It's just so fun to listen to her speak.

And Libby gave a great talk in Primary on respecting others.  I didn't get to hear it, because I was conducting in Relief Society, but Bruce got to go in and hear it.

Joshua got transferred to La Union, one of the hottest and most humid areas in his mission, so we are praying for him that he will be able to handle the heat!  He is semi-training, because his companion has only been out in the field for one transfer, so he is finishing off his training.  That's exciting!  Josh said it felt very strange to go from a native companion - speaking all Spanish - to having to help someone with Spanish!  What a fast transition these missionaries go through!

Joseph is doing great at BYU-I!  He consulted with me over the phone today on how much sauce to make for Hawaiian Haystacks for 12 people - all his roommates and their FHE sisters.  I remember those days!  So much fun!

And here is some of the biggest news of the week!  Joseph's mission papers are in Salt Lake City as we speak!  We may be getting his call as soon as Thursday!  That gives me butterflies just to write that.  For some reason, opposite of what I did for Josh, I have felt that a big call for "predictions" was not the thing to do for Joseph, so you can predict in your own way, but instead of asking for predictions on where he'll go, I just want you all to know that we are waiting for his call, and will be thrilled WHEREVER that call is in the world.  I am grateful beyond words to have another son worthy, willing and wonderfully excited to serve a mission!  This is a great blessing!

Well, one last notice:  Everybody clear the roads, because Mary started Driver's Ed this week! It was a great blessing that we had the money to pay for her to take the class.  I am teaching some Foot Zone and Raindrop classes right now, so that has been a great help.  Mary is excited to learn to drive!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Peter at the Temple

Bruce found a male llama for sale last week on Craigslist for a good price, so he went over and bought it from a family that had been using it for a 4-H project.  Bruce told me I could name it a good Bolivian name, so I came up with Titicaca, after Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, which I ferried across many times to get to Achacachi, where I served for five months on my mission.

However, after bringing him home, we have determined that he has not yet earned his name, Titicaca, and that he's going to be plain "Caca" until he learns to behave!

Libby and Bruce were out in the pasture with him, and he ran straight over Libby, knocking her to the ground.  She didn't get hurt, except for a small stratch on her cheek, thank goodness.  But that is really odd behavior for a llama!  He obviously has not been around other llamas to learn good manners.  He has also been aggressive towards Jesse and Peter, and has been spitting at Bruce.  Bad llama!  When this happens, Bruce gets aggressive and squirts him with the hose.  This is super insulting to a llama, and downright scary, that someone could have that much spit, so needless to say, he no longer spits at Bruce!  Peter had a run-in with him also.

One day Bruce was trying to catch Titcaca, so Peter went out and basically jumped on him, putting his arms around his neck, and he went for a ride!  Around and around and then the llama fell over on top of Peter.  Peter had a really sore back after that, and I finally had to give him a Raindrop.  He's a tough kid, but I told him not to be so tough!  :)

Joseph's having a great time at BYU-Idaho.  Dane and Joseph are doing everything together, even though they're not roommates.  Joseph got called to be the Assistant Ward Clerk.  His classes are really different, though, because he's in the Pre-Mission program.  He has the same guys in most of his classes, and its all guys - only one girl!  So that cuts out a lot of distractions.  Ha ha

The biggest news of the week is that Peter got to go the Temple for the first time!

Mary, Jesse and Tori

Peter, Mary, Tory, Jesse, Bruce, Lorena at the Temple

We did baptisms for the dead, and Peter was able to participate in that.  He was grinning from ear to ear, and it was wonderful to feel the peace and simple joy that one feels to be in The House of the Lord.  What a wonderful blessing!

To find out more about what Temples are, and what it means to do baptisms for the dead, please visit and watch the video entitled "Why Mormons Build Temples".

Monday, September 10, 2012

Horseback Riding in the Mountains

On Labor Day, we took our horses and went up into the mountains to ride.  We went with friends - Scott and his boys Tyson and Taylor, Rick and his son Hunter, and Brett and his daughter Haylee. We had 13 horses and 14 riders!  Ages 10 - 40 something.  :)
Peter and Libby rode on one of Scott's horses named Lucy. 

Taylor and Tyson are riding right in from of me.

Jesse rode Mackee (Sleepy River McGee) and Joseph, up ahead on the trail, rode Stormy.
It was quite remarkable that Joseph rode Stormy.  He has been riding him at home, maybe 4-5 times, so to take him up in the mountains on a trail was an experiment, to be sure.  Joseph said he wanted to be at the front of the line, always pushing his way to the front, but then when he got there, he didn't know what to do, so he'd just stop!  Ha ha.  That's a "teenage" horse for you.

Jesse, Libby and Peter looking southwest from the peak.

Joseph, Taylor and Mary from the Lookout.
Mary rode Cookie.  I didn't get a picture of her riding, which is too bad.  She found some cowboy boots at the local clothing exchange in August, and if she'd had a straw hat on, she would have looked like a true cow-girl.  Now Joseph, he had chaps and everything.  All he was missing was a big ol' belt buckle.
Bruce on Strawberry
I rode Lady.  Peter gave up his favorite horse so I could ride her, because I have not been on a horse for three years, since I got bucked off of May and got bruised up pretty badly.  I knew it was time to get back on, and I had a great ride on Lady.

We went 11 miles round trip, which made for one sore Momma the next day!  Oh boy!  I was grateful for OrthoSport and an epsom salt bath with Aroma Siez, both of which really helped with the sore muscles.

Overall, we had a great ride.  It was a dream come true for Bruce to have the family up in the mountains on horses.  We got Strawberry and Lady back in 2008, and we've been slowly building up since then to have enough equipment and horses to go around.  We still had to borrow a horse and two saddles from our friend Scott, but we're almost there.

On Wednesday, we went to the Funeral of Ruth Fisher, a dear ward member (our church congregation is called a ward).  I had been blessed enough to go and visit her the day before with Julie, with whom I serve in the Relief Society Presidency.  (Relief Society is the women's organization in our church).  She spent the whole half an hour we were there trying to name each one of the members of her family.  It was a privilege to know her and feel of her sweet spirit.  Her funeral was beautiful.

Peter received his Second Class and First Class Rank Advancements in the Boy Scouts this week!  He had a great Scout leader, Bill W., picture right at the right of this picture, and has moved on to 12-year old Scouts with Clark L. (the back of his head is on the left).  What a blessing to have great Scout leaders! If you look closely in the picture, you'll see Peter has on his cowboy boots with spurs!  He and Joseph rode Stormy and Lady to the neighborhood in back of ours, where the Court of Honor was held.  Peter is really proud of his spurs!

On Thursday, Joseph and I left with Grandma and Grandpa Whetten in their car to take Joseph over to BYU Idaho!  Joseph drove the whole way, and we had a great talk with Grandma.  She told us about being in 6th grade and lining up to go to Dublan with the 7th and 8th graders.  We said, "Now we know where Mary gets it from!"

Joseph wasn't nervous until he walked into the office to check in at his apartment.  When he was putting food away in his apartment and new roomates were milling about, he said, "Does anyone else feel nervous besides me?"  I think I was the only one that heard him, so no one replied, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't the only one.

That afternoon we got to eat dinner with Craig and Jenette!  Yeah!  We loved being with them.  I got to have a "sleepover" that night with them, as they gave up their bed to Mom and Dad, and they slept on the couches, while I slept on the living room floor on an air mattress.  We talked until I fell asleep listening to Craig tell Jenette about the adventures of the time they came to Poulsbo to help us move in the middle of the storm that lashed the Pacific Northwest. 
Dane (in the blue) and Joseph (in the white) playing soccer
That night, as I was driving Joseph and his friend Dane around, we saw a pick-up soccer game going on, on the same field that Josh had played his championship intramural game two years ago.  They begged me to go back, and so I turned the car around and they went and stood on the sidelines for a few minutes watching.  Pretty soon, they were back in the car saying, "We gotta go get our stuff!"  Most of Joseph's "stuff" was coming the next day with our neighbors, but Dane had enough soccer stuff for both of them!  So I took them to change at Dane's apartment, and they went back and joined the pick-up game for about 1/2 an hour.  In the few minutes that I stood on the sideline watching (because it was cold and I was in shirt-sleeves), I saw Joseph score two goals!  That was fun!  The next morning, Joseph said, "Mom, that just made it feel comfortable."

I am so excited for this next chapter of Joseph's life!  He is well-prepared and will have the time of his life over at BYU-I.  Back at home, when we had dinner on Saturday evening, we had two empty chairs on the one side of the table.  Jesse said, "I'm feeling kind of lonely over here."  Mary and Peter got it in their heads to take out a leaf of the table, and Bruce flatly refused to help them.  But then when they started pulling up, instead of out, he blurted out, "You gotta pull out!"  Ha ha  So pretty soon he was helping and jockeying the table around to get it loose.  When we finally got it back together, we sat around the smaller table looking at each other, and it felt very strange!  Pretty soon we had watery eyes, and said, "This isn't very fun!"  :)  We still have some adjustments to make to having Joseph gone on top of Josh being gone...   Jesse said that people have been asking her, "Are you OK?" since Joseph is gone.  Her answer was that she is going into a deep depression.  Those two were as tight as a brother and sister could be.  In fact, once when someone had just moved in, they thought Joseph and Jesse were dating because she saw them together so often.  :)  Jesse said she went up on the roof at sunrise yesterday morning and talked to Joseph in spirit.  I'm smiling while I'm writing this, but there are pretty deep feelings involved.  But Jesse will be OK, and so will Joseph.  At least they can still text and call, well, for a few more months, anyway, until Joseph leaves for his mission.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves - he's still in college!

I've talked to Joseph at least a dozen times in the three days since I dropped him off, so we're still communicating!  Ha ha

Peter running across the field for High 5's after the game.

Midfielder Peter in his pink socks and yellow shoes.  Nice!
Peter had his first soccer game on Saturday.  Bruce is his coach, and they won handily.  Peter played great in the midfield.  He was smaller than most of the players on the field, but not intimidated in the least.  Maybe when you work with horses all the time, size is not an issue. 

One of Joseph's calls was to tell us to get on the Internet and watch Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's CES Devotional, which we did.  WOW! I loved every word of what he said.  I am so grateful that we have prophets on the earth today, that speak the mind and will of the Lord.  I loved how he talked about the very real challenge that we have in our day of standing up for what we believe, and doing it in a kind, respectful, charitable way.  I have been thinking a lot about this, and talking to my children and others about it, so to have Elder Holland speak about it was assuring to me that the Spirit has been leading me in the right direction!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fall Begins

When I think of Fall, one of the things that automatically comes to mind is Apple Cider.  Bruce picked all the apples off of our little apple tree out in front, so we pulled out our trusty Cider Press and made some Apple Cider. 

Mary, Jesse, Joseph and Peter
Our horses love the leftovers!
Bruce and Cookie

Hunter (friend) and Libby
Lorena & Bruce - straining the juice
 On Friday, Joseph, Jesse and I went down with friends to Salt Lake.  Joseph and Mary got to go see our cousin Kaylee play in a Volleyball game for College of Southern Idaho.  Her team is ranked #1 in the nation!  They really enjoyed being there to see her play.  Unfortunately, Jesse and I had another appointment that we had to be at.

Then, in the afternoon, thanks to my dear friend Shauna, we got to attend the Unblog Family Reunion.  It's a weird name, to be sure, but it was a conference, of sorts, put on by one of my favorite authors on gospel subjects - John Pontius.  I believe I will look back at this Conference and see that it was life-changing.  It has given me much to reflect and think about, and I feel more dedicated than ever to increasing my own personal faith and righteousness in preparation for whatever lies ahead, even today.

Grandma W, Libby - with her scarf that she just made, and Lorena
Grandma W., Joseph and Grandpa W.

At home, we were able to go over to a wonderful dinner at Grandma & Grandpa W.'s.  Oh, what a treat to be in their home.

Have a good week everyone!