We had one week +14 hours from the time we arrived back home until we started out second adventure (mission). There are several specific things I already love about this second adventure.
Beautiful roses blooming by my front door that greeted us!
Grandsons that took a lampshade that fell apart while we were gone and made us all laugh at their antics.
This handsome grandson is Grady and he put on the "cone of shame" like a dog gets following surgery, I can hear his delighted giggle as I post this picture - it makes my heart smile!
Before we could even get unpacked, we started tearing things apart and out in our house to prepare for a major remodeling project. My own "personal decorator" (our extremely talented daughter) took me shopping at some furniture stores she has been checking out. We found this decorator accent for Elder Ashton....... and it cost less than 1/100th of what his favorite "real" bike cost!
Elder Ashton's "new bike".
Another thing I loved about Mother's day (last Sunday) was this beautiful rose that we received at church last Sunday. I am really surprised that it has not wilted yet, but I take time to "smell the rose" each time I walk by.....even a week later.
Celebrating this pretty pink rose I received at church last Sunday because I have been able to keep it pretty and fresh looking for an entire week!
We arrived at the mission office (about 4 miles from our house) on Monday morning. The office is a re-purposed seminary building and the main work area is nice and roomy - I believe it was the original classroom.
Sister Brown, the Mission Secretary, at her desk by the front door.
Elder Brown, with the assistants to the President, Elders Johnston and Elder Kapua. Elder Johnston is very friendly but also very focused on accomplishing his tasks. I learned that he was originally serving in another mission, but injured his shoulder playing basketball and had to return home (Gilbert, Arizona) to have surgery and re-hab so they decided to let him stay here and finish out his mission. I call that total dedication to your call to live within miles (maybe blocks) or your family and not see them but maintain your focus on your mission.
Elder Johnston and Elder Kapua (he was in the same district with Elder McCleary and Elder Brown - the current Assistants to the President in Chesapeake.) Elder Kapua was excited to have his picture taken and excited to learn about Elders McCleary and Brown!
Monday and Tuesday we spent most of the day learning our responsibilities.....and both Elder Ashton and I learned that a smaller geographic mission area (30 miles across the mission) and a high concentration of members calls for a bit of a different approach to the mission administration. This is mostly a biking mission so when the President told Elder Ashton that he would be responsible to perform vehicle inspections at different buildings around the mission each time they have a round of interviews, he was prepared for a heavy load. But, he participated in vehicle inspections on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week and found that he only had 4, 5, and 3 cars at those interviews for inspection.......not 20 or 22 like he had at inspections in Virginia, Chesapeake Mission. He also did Tiwi training at afternoon sessions those 3 days so it kept us busy. I will be the referral secretary and also ordering supplies and doing baptism records. This mission doesn't provide meals for the missionaries......they have a cook who works part time for FM group and she does all the meals for the mission. I think it will take me awhile to adjust to the differences but I've already felt the same spirit as we immerse ourselves in the work.
Elder Kapua helped me find Elder Rose who was also in the same district with Elders Brown and McCleary at the MTC.
Elder Williams and his companion. Elder Williams also went through the MTC with Elders Brown and McCleary. Notice that these Elders have their missionary tags on the right side - President (Elder) Nattress likes the missionaries to wear the tag on the right side to remind them to Choose the Right......my left had struggles with getting the badge placed on my right side but I'm learning ;-)
Elder McKnight - another district mate of Elders Brown and McCleary- and Elder Kapua
Elder Kapua tells me his visa is running out so he will go home on the July transfer. I already feel drawn to him because I love to hear him talk in his New Zealand accent!
We received this sticker in the mail to remind us of the time we spent in Portsmouth. As you can see, it has a place of honor on the maroon Silverado truck. Speaking of that truck, I listened to Elder Ashton tell a group of missionaries on both Thursday and Friday that he would give them permission to keep their cars as dirty as he keeps his truck......good luck to the missionaries with that! I think Elder Ashton wiped down his truck 4 times the last day we were in Chesapeake/Portsmouth trying to keep it clean for the trip home ;-)
I loved the beauty of Virginia and North Carolina while we were on our last adventure and was sad to leave that beauty behind. However, since arriving home I have realized that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder and my eyes have changed to more readily see the beauty that is around me, regardless of where I am. I have been enjoying the beauty of Arizona as I see plants, trees, and flowers that I have seen thousands of times before. I feel blessed that our mission to Virginia gave me new eyes in several ways!
I loved this picture as I rounded the bend in my neighborhood - the bright blue sky and the full tree with multicolored tassels on the ends of the branches.
I thought this bush/tree was interesting. Two very different colors of blooms from one single root ball.......pretty!
And the delicate Oleander flower which is really prevalent here. Although the leaves are poisonous if ingested by humans and pets, the flowers are beautiful!
We had an opportunity this morning to report on our experiences in Virginia, Chesapeake Mission and preparing that talk caused me to pause and reflect on all the blessings we received while we were there. We are missing our Virginia/North Carolina friends and all missionaries, but are loving the quality time with our family as we start our service in this new mission.
Life is good (but hot) here in Arizona!