Thursday, May 1, 2014

Antique Faire and Easter and Spring

Antiques Faire
Yes, I meant to spell it that's my British roots coming out...
and this is what I found....
A child's rocker!

The cool thing is that the coloring and turnings are similar to
 the antique rocking chair Rick's mother gave us.
I know, silly. 
...and a little difficult to get home...
But it spoke to me.
I also found a crockery piece perfect
for my husband....
I had found a sign last year advertising this, but it was very pricey.
I'm told  you can still buy these...
I will need to look for some.  Just because.
(Ice lollies are popscicles for you Americans reading this.)
I also found a cool bell to hang outside our back door
to call the grandchildren off the hill for dinner....
Yes, it's old and rusty and very heavy.
Not sure about the pig, but the rest is cool.
Easter was a little strange for me not being home to do an Easter Egg Hunt
on our hill for our grandchildren.
Instead, Rick was home.
And was at Bethany's for a hunt with 4 of our grandchildren.
Did I mention he was there without me?
That was weird.
For me.
But I got to do some pretty awesome things here in London,
wishing he could share them with me because they touched me so much.
Like, watching Cecille B DeMille's silent film,
"King of Kings"
with Elder Ohman on the awesome Hyde Park Chapel organ.
The movie was very Catholic, with a different sequence and interpretation than I'm used to,
but having LDS Hymns interspersed throughout it was AWESOME!
I loved singing the Hymns in my head and seeing how wonderfully he
fit the perfect song into perfect parts of the movie.
It took every ounce of restraint I had not to burst out singing with the organ at the end...
"He is Risen, He is Risen...".
Seriously, I have tears in my eyes just writing about it.
He IS Risen.
The next day I went south to the temple with four Young Single Adults from Britannia Ward.
Five of us in the car, and we were from five different countries:
How's that for awesome?
Annick from the UK has been a member for 6 months...
twas her first time inside the temple and
she did baptisms for her own family names.
Yup.  We're good friends.
Awesome being with them.
We got back to Central London, and Annick and I hopped on the tube,
then a train,
and headed north to Watford just in time for....
The orchestra and choir were great.
The message wonderful.
And my heart filled with even more gratitude for my Savior.
Even though I couldn't do an Easter Egg Hunt with our grandchildren,
my Easter this year was wonderful in a different way.
The newness of life fills me with joy.
Here are a few before and after pictures from our windows....


Notice what this bus is advertising....
I finally had Ling and her friend over to learn how to make
Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Apparently deserts in China aren't nearly as sweet as in the U.S.,
but many find they love our sweet things. 
They were thrilled to see how easy it is to make cookies...
4 1/2 hours later they went home with recipes...
and a plan to buy a hand mixer...
 (which they had never used before and were a little afraid of at first)...
and a picture of baking soda and baking powder so they knew what to look for...
and both chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies...
(as we talked of other kinds of cookies, they wanted to make more so I sent Rick to buy oatmeal).
Ling was baptized about 6 months ago,
and her friend, Vivien, has investigated the church some.
We used the cookies the next night as refreshments after a Devotional at the church.
Now other Chinese members want to come make cookies....
Of course we will!!!!
Life is good.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

There really is more to my life than travel....

I just realized there are a few things I really should mention from 2013....
Nathan and Serita got married!
 ...December 14 in the St George Temple.
So glad to have another daughter and another grandson!

We now have 2 Liams!
AND, we had 10 of our 16 grandchildren wake up in our home in Cedar Hills for Christmas!
Sure missed the other 6!
Oh wait, this post is supposed to be about NOT traveling...
So, back to our other home in merry old England!
Seriously, this year is flying by already.
Because I have traveled more than normal with Rick,
 I had to stop and think hard about the other things I have done since Christmas.
I realize the most noteworthy things are churchy.
We do a lot of that here....churchy things.
And I love it.
It feels good, makes me happy, and makes me a better person.
Here is a facebook post from January 19:
Arrived at the Hyde Park Chapel to meet Rick and head to the Lea Valley chapel where we were both on stake assignment to speak. Looked in my bag and my talk was not there. What to do. We had an hour tube/walking trip to Lea time to take the 35-45 minutes to head back home for it. All I could do was hop on the tube, pull out a notebook and start writing a talk again...minus all my cool family history quotes, of course. Actually went quite well, but hope I never do that again!
Here is a facebook post from January 26:
Happiness is sitting through 3 hours of church with a person you visit teach who hasn't been to church for 26 years, sending her home with a Book of Mormon, Gospel Principals manual, an appointment with the Sister missionaries, and another appointment for Visiting Teaching this week. Then another 3 hours of meetings with the YSAs, baptism of 4 people, and the CES Devotional...gone from home 11 1/2 hours...dinner eaten at 9 p.m. Life is good!!!
...And one from January 29:


Four years and almost four months later, I have again finished reading "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ".

Why did it take so long? Reading every footnote as I went along took time. And who knew that occasionally you can spend two weeks on one chapter...or three days on one verse....

My conclusion? No doubt in my mind and heart that this is the word of God, that He lives and knows me personally, and that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.

Only regret? That I didn't keep a journal through this amazing experience.
...And more...that I didn't share on Facebook...
We had the missionaries and an investigator over for dinner one night,
and were thrilled to be able to participate in a discussion.
When she chose to be baptized, she asked me to speak at her baptism,
and asked Rick to confirm her.
It was awesome to be involved in her conversion process.
It is even more amazing to watch as she grows in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I was also given a rare opportunity to attend a training for about 16
Area Family History Advisers from Europe...
Let's just say that spending all day on a Saturday with Family History experts and then half of that day also with 4 members of the Quorum of the Seventy,
and receive training on
"Hastening the Work of Salvation"...
and again...
I feel so blessed as the love, purpose, and importance of Family History
burns even more brightly in my heart!
If  you thought I was obsessed before....just you wait!
And my dear friend whom I Visit Teach and is finding her way back to the Church...
I love every moment I spend with her.
Her yearning to know and figure out and gain a true testimony
inspires me.
Her delight to understand more about the Priesthood and have enough
faith and courage to ask Rick for blessings
thrills me.
I am strengthened as we interact together.
As Rick Home Teaches in 3 different wards,
together we Home Teach 11 people in one of those wards,
and I Visit Teach in one ward,
plus we both work with the Young Single Adults,
spending Sundays and 2-4 evenings a week at the church,
plus Rick is on the High Council,
plus I help man the Family History Centre...
our lives are very busy, full, and churchy.
This is a very amazing time of life for us.
A time of learning.
A time of growth.
A time of introspection.
A time of service.
A time of missing our family.
A time of joy.
A time of sadness.
A time to strengthen.
A time to be strengthened.
A time to count our blessings.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jordan, the Other Holy Land

March 24 took us to the amazing land of
Jordan is in a very unsettled part of the world...
Syria to the North,
Iraq to the East,
Saudi Arabia to the Southeast,
Egypt to the Southwest,
and Israel to the west.
Seems strange to even travel there...
but it was awesome!

First of all, let me get this out of the way.
The flower arrangements in the 2 hotels were AMAZING!
All live flowers....

Look closely at this arrangements.  It is sticks.
The flowers are real cuttings put in clear tubes of water
or put into little balls with a bit of water.

Amman from the hotel window...
North of Amman are the ruins of
People lived here as early as 3200 BC,
 but most ruins are Greco-Roman.
Jerash was part of the Decapolis ("10 cities" in Greek),
 back when Amman was called Philadelphia.
The Oval Plaza was quite impressive...
From up above....
Interesting water system...

Loved the flowers growing in the ruins....
 The North Theatre...

The South Theatre...
complete with entertainment...
sounds like, "Are you sleeping, are you sleeping, brother John?"
Pillars from the Great Temple of Zeus...
This was an amazing place.
Then onto
where you find beautiful old mosaics.
I think I need to learn to do this when I get back to the U.S...
buying a mosaic in Jordan was ridiculously expensive.

And a very early map on the floor of a church...
Then onto
Mount Nebo
Most Christians believe Moses is buried somewhere on Mount Nebo.
I'm thinking he was translated...

This was erected in 2000, when the Pope visited.
If you look closely, you can see books at the bottom
and faces emerging all over the rest.
It represents the Bible coming to life.
Very nice.
Being here in "Jordan, the other Holy Land,"
I have to agree.

This is where they say Moses stood on Mount Nebo and saw
the Promised Land.

This represents Moses' staff with the serpent on top.
Look a little familiar?  (Think medical symbol.)

And my buff husband, pushing the Abu Dadd,
which is a stone that was used as a fortified door of a
Byzantium Monastery.

Coming down the other side of Mount Nebo was a very winding road,
which eventually led us to...
The Dead Sea

Tough to have to enjoy the sunset on the Dead Sea
at The Marriot Resort.
Tough, but hey, someone has to do it!

The Dead Sea is the earth's lowest elevation on land.

Once you walk to the beach, the elevation is 427 meters below sea level.

The beach is a fun, interesting place.
They provide plastic water shoes so your feet survive,
you take mud out of pots provided and rub it all over your body,
let it dry for 15 or so minutes,
then go carefully into the water...
float, and wash it off.
Very therapeutic, and much cheaper than at the spa.
In fact, 3 days of doing this and my poor arthritic feet were feeling much better!

The Dead Sea is much saltier than the Great Salt Lake, and much more pleasant
to be brine shrimp, no smell...
plus you float even easier.
In fact, I always had a hard time getting my feet to go back down.
I had to get myself back near the shore and grab onto rocks to be able to stand up.

No selfies covered in mud or floating because poor Rick was working the whole time,
and my hands were either muddy or wet...

Really, who can resist a sunset?

The rock stairs...

and beautiful arbors made me a bit homesick for Utah and my backyard.

Then back to Amman so the next day we could head to....
Moses's Spring!
What?  You've never heard of it?
Apparently it is where Moses brought forth water from a rock.
Who knows?

And I bought this...Guava fruit drink.
It was like drinking applesauce.
Yummy, but unexpected.
But the real trip for this day was...



Even cooler...

Even cooler....

Hello Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!

Or maybe this is the coolest!

The crack in the rock we had just walked through for 1/2 mile.

Camels everywhere...anyone for a stinky ride?
Though not nearly as stinky as the donkeys or pony carriages.
In fact, carriage probably took the prize for smell...
most people had their noses covered if they were in them.

Oh, there's Indy!
Street of facades...
The Theater....

The Temple looking back down towards the road...
we ate our lunch in the temple.
(Bit different from when I usually eat lunch in the temple.)
On our way to the Monastery.
Someone said there are about 1,000 steps.
Some people rode donkeys.
We young, tough people walked.
Every step.
The Monastery!
(With my very own Indiana Jones, of course.)
High altar in the Monastery.

Coming back down from the Monastery. 
There are tons of little shops along the way, so I may
own a new scarf or two...
(which are hanging in my bathroom airing out...they smell like smoke from the little fires they use to cook their lunch on)
...wonder if I can find Febreze here....
Back down.

Almost run over by camels....yes, they are running...

and stinky horse carts...
and donkeys, but didn't get a picture of them coming at us.

Petra is an absolutely fascinating and amazing place.
Well worth going to!!!
Reflections on Jordan
Jordan is an absolutely amazing place. 
The thing that really hit me was how many similarities it has to Utah...
 salt sea/lake
red rock of Petra/Bryce Canyon
many places named the same (good job, Mormon pioneers!)
great religious heritage
So, here is the quiz:
Jordan or road to Wendover?
(Jordan, coming down from Mount Nebo)
Jordan or Central Utah?

(Jordan...notice the camels on the hill)

 (Jordan...notice the Bedouin tent on the left)

(Jordan again)

(and Jordan again)
Rick's co-worker kept pulling out his phone and showing videos of his family
4-wheeling at Jericho, on the Little Sahara, in Utah...
people couldn't believe it wasn't in Jordan.
Many people think of Israel as the Holy Land.
Jordan is the other Holy Land. 
 Many Old and New Testament things took place here.
Think Abraham, Lot, Moses, Ruth, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ.
Think Job, Paul, Joshua.
This link was interesting.  Please don't think I consider this to be factual...
I just found it interesting as I tried to place in my mind what things happened here
in days long ago.
Will I study it all in depth?
It doesn't matter to me.
What does matter, is that I've now been to Jordan.
I have seen, experienced and felt things I hadn't before,
and will have a better idea of the layout of the land when I read things in the Bible.