Sunday, June 14, 2015

11 months and loving it!

I can't believe that next month, on July 7th, it will be 1 whole year that we have been out serving as missionaries. It has gone so fast and we have loved every minute of it......well.... every minute of it may be a bit of a stretch.  We did have those ice storms and some challenges with utility companies and other work related challenges.  But, overall it has been a delight.  Darryl might have included his small closet they call an office in the challenges.
    The magnolias have been out for about a month now. They are all over town and they are beautiful. Everything is green and beautiful....which it should be considering the amount of rain.  I have found that if it doesn't rain for 5 days they start using the "drought" word.  Unbelievable!  But it has rained at least once each week, and usually more than that. We have had some real downpours lately. I guess this is the price you pay for green.
   Recently we spent the morning in Downtown Franklin Tennessee. Here is some info on Franklin:  "The city of Franklin was founded October 26, 1799, by Abram Maury, Jr. (1766–1825), a state senator. Maury named the town after national founding father Benjamin Franklin."  Franklin is quite the "going" city!  It has been revitalized with small shops and restaurants.  In the center circle of town they have a couple of huge canons, just to remind you that this was a civil war site. In this picture you can see the small bluegrass band that greeted us where we parked out car on the city center street.  They were really good.
     We walked around and enjoyed all the cute shops and contemplated the restaurants, but they were too crowded. 

We spotted these cute signs along the street.  I tried to convince Darryl that this sign gave me permission to spend some money....but it didn't work. 

We drove around the City of Franklin and came upon this group of bicycle riders.  We thought they were quite unique. 

Next is the Carnton Plantation in Franklin.
    Beginning at 4 p.m. on November 30, 1864, Carnton was witness to one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War. Everything the McGavock family ever knew was forever changed. The Confederate Army of Tennessee furiously assaulted the Federal army entrenched along the southern edge of Franklin. The resulting battle, believed to be the bloodiest hours of the Civil War, involved a massive frontal assault larger than Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. The majority of the combat occurred in the dark and at close quarters. The Battle of Franklin lasted barely five hours and led to some 9,500 soldiers being killed, wounded, captured, or counted as missing. Nearly 7,000 of that number were Confederate troops. Carnton served as the largest field hospital in the area for hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers.  
   In early 1866, John and Carrie McGavock designated two acres of land adjacent to their family cemetery as a final burial place for nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers killed during the Battle of Franklin. The McGavocks maintained the cemetery until their respective deaths.
Today, the McGavock Confederate Cemetery is a lasting memorial honoring those fallen soldiers and the Battle of Franklin. It is the largest privately owned military cemetery in the nation.

     We toured this beautiful house as it poured rain outside.  I got a little claustrophobic during the tour so I chose to go sit on the beautiful porch overlooking the garden.  I almost felt like Scarlet O'Hara looking for Rhett Butler to come riding his horse down the lane.  
 I could live with this garden.  I took this during a short lapse in the rain.  The rocking chair was so comfortable that I could have stayed all afternoon.  A fellow tourist came and sat next to me and we had a great conversation.  One of the best things about wearing a name tag all the time is that other LDS people spot you very quickly and they are  great to come and speak with you.  This gentleman was from Idaho.  He was in town for a very short time, and was enjoying a quick tour during a break between business appointments.  Actually, I think he was about to go to the airport to return home.  We enjoyed the rain and the garden until Darryl came and it was time to leave.
     This last weekend we went to Clarksville Tennessee to check on some missionary apartments.  We had a problem with one of the apartments that the missionaries had moved out of and left in a terrible condition.  It cost the mission a lot of money in order to rectify the damage they did, so we decided to step up the apartment inspections. Friday and Saturday we checked 4 apartments and fortunately they they were in good condition.  Sister Crawford (out 82 year old nurse) went with us because she is a really effective bad cop to my good cop persona. All the missionaries we met with on this trip were very nervous because transfers are this week and they were sure we were checking because they thought they would be moved.  Actually, that was not the case. It is so much fun to see them try to pry some information from us on upcoming transfers.
I would like to introduce you to  couple of  young women in our Green Hills Young Single Adult Branch of the church.  They are both here pursuing music careers.  In this picture, on the right, is Elle Duke.  Today in church she sang "I am a Child of God" with Makelle, who is on the left.  Elle had written an original arrangement of this hymn.  It was fantastic.  Elle usually sings solo.  I found a couple of examples of Elle singing on Youtube, so I am putting the link here.   I think you will have to cut and paste it, however, because it doesn't seem to work.  

This is Abby Anderson.  She also sang in church today (It was a very musical Sunday).  In this picture she is being interviewed by Glenn Beck.  The link I will put here is for a song she performed called "Let Freedom Ring".  Today she sang a medley of "Praise to the Man, and We Thank Thee Oh God for a Prophet." She plays the piano and sings.  

I hope you will take the time to listen to them.

There is one more thing.  In our branch there are 6 missionaries:  Two Elders, Two Sisters and then Elder Dunn and I.  Our Branch Mission Leader is David Archeletta, who is a fantastic leader. We worked together and came up with the idea to make a video of recent converts in the branch, hoping to inspire more member missionary involvement.  I will try to post that video on facebook.  Please tell me what you think.

The biggest lesson I have learned while serving this mission is about the 'pure love of Christ'.  Through service to others you have the incredible opportunity to love everyone you come in contact with.  How do you love 240 missionaries that you hardly know?  It is only through feeling the pure love of Christ. Try it..... it works.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

If you stand still too long, a vine will grow up your leg!

Here's the thing about Tennessee.  IT IS GREEN!! It is lush, and it is beautiful.  There are vines growing on everything.  These vines grow up telephone poles, trees and anything that doesn't move.  Every house has a huge lawn area.......therefore everyone has a riding lawnmower.  I think you could get rich going around and mowing lawns for people.  There are no sprinkler systems because it just rains......a lot. I think that the reason there are so many horses is because they help keep the grass down.

Yesterday (Saturday 4/25) the mission had a senior missionary social.  That is when all the old people get together and limp around the sights and then sit and eat lunch and talk, and talk, and talk.  It was great fun.  We went to CHEEKWOOD which is on the west side of Nashville.
It is a privately funded 55 acre estate which houses a botanical garden and art museum. It was formally the home of the Cheek family and the 30,000 sq ft home was turned into a museum in 1960.  You can tour the home.... and the gardens are magnificent.  A lot of hiking for us oldies but goodies. I want to share some pictures with you.
     When they built this home in 1932 it was built with the intention to convert it into a museum in the future.  There is hardly any furniture in the home now.  As you tour the house they have a gentleman playing the piano for your enjoyment


The grounds and botanical gardens are amazing.  The first thing we saw after we
parked our car was this big train track with a "Thomas" train zooming around the track.  The whole arrangement looked a little shaky, but I guess it was good because it really raced around that track.
     They had many activities you could get involved in.
 The best one was this area where they would teach you how to climb this big tree.  I know you will be surprised when I tell you that none of us ventured into that activity.

I didn't get very many pictures of the fun group we were with....we were just too busy talking!
But I did get this great picture of these good looking men, and the Birds (Doug and Elaine).
We have done some other fun things lately, around Nashville.  We went to the Loveles Cafe early one Saturday morning.  You have to go early so you don't have to stand in a long line to wait for a seat.  The Loveless Cafe is in southwest Nashville, Tennessee on Highway 100,
 It is known for its Southern cooking, especially for its biscuits, fruit preserves, country ham, and red-eye gravy. They opened in 1951 and originally served only chicken at picnic tables on their front porch, but eventually converted rooms in the house to accommodate a bigger menu and a need for more dining space. On the walls they have photos of all the well-known people who come there......including the Oakridge Boys,so you know they have got to be good.  We had a great southern breakfast.
 Emilee has asked me to send some pictures of the beautiful homes that we are surrounded by.
They all have huge lawns.  They are beautiful, but I would not like the upkeep.

A couple of weeks ago we went and cleaned out the misson storage room with the assistants to the president; They are hard-working young men, but you can't tell that from the picture.  Elder Lovell, Elder Sheffield and Elder Ashton....they are life savers. But, that is one ugly went to the dump.

I will close with one last picture of a bench at a bus stop.
We saw this near Tennessee State University where I'm sure bail bonds are big business.

I hope you like my blog because it is so much fun to write in my poor english and bad typing.  Love you all!    CD and DD

Spring has arrived in Tennessee

Finally!  It has been a long cold winter with two terrible ice storms that kept us in our SMALL apartment for days.  Elder Dunn got a little unsettled during those days and I was searching our medical supplies for a is all in Tucson.  But now the trees are blooming white and purple and pink before their leaves turn green.  The tulips are out all over town and all the acres and acres of grass is green.  The young horses are in the pastures and all is good with the world.  It does rain a lot.  Each week we have at least one day of rain, and this week I think it will rain every day.  But it is a warm rain (most of the time).  But just I put my long johns on the shelf in the closet, it turned cold again.  Drat!
   Because the weather has warmed up a little, we have once again been able to travel around some.  This is a small town we traveled through which actually showed us which way to turn to go to "the promised land".  I was happy to know where it is, but unfortunately we didn't have time to go there.  We were on our way to Sumner County to a museum because Hiram Bell Bennett, an ancestor of Elder Dunn, was born there.
 We arrived there after a 50 minute drive to find a sign that said:
   CLOSED....WE WILL OPEN APRIL 1ST.  We we about 3 days too early.  This a picture of the statue to honor Confederate Soldiers which stands in front of the museum.
  We enjoyed the drive and it was really nice to get out and about.
We have been pretty busy in the mission office.  All the missions are down-sizing to about 200 missionaries.  The leadership has decided that 250 18 and 19 year olds is too many for mission
presidents to handle effectively.  They have opened new missions in order to even out the numbers.  That means as we down size we close apartments.....which means more work for Sister Dunn. This is a picture of the 'apartment files' drawer.  You know how much I love filing...... Elder Dunn is busy getting cars ready to sell, as we have been cut down to 72 cars, instead of 88.
It would be nice if I only had to work with closing 1 apartment at a time, but it usually ends up as I start on one, at least 2 or 3 companionships decides they need to move. My desk is constantly covered with open files as I manage closing and opening utilities in all these little towns whose whole desire is to make it as hard for me to accomplish my work as possible.  Copies of my driver's license is now all over Kentucky and Tennessee.  When I go to close some utilities
they don't want to let me because I was not the one who opened the account.  It is hard for them to understand that that person left probably 2 or 3 workers ago.
  A couple of weeks ago we traveled to Jamestown Tn., about 2 1/2 hours east of Nashville.  We went to deliver something to the senior couple serving there.  It is a small depressed town which they consider to be in the Appalachians.  It is not what I ever conceived the Appalachians to look like. But while there we visited this small historic village called Rugby.
"Founded in 1880 by English author Thomas Hughes, Rugby was built as an experimental utopian colony. While Hughes's experiment
largely failed, a small community lingered at Rugby throughout the 20th century" (Wikipedia).
Here are some pics from that trip:
This is the church in Rugby. They still hold services there each Sunday followed by a potluck dinner.  There are about 30 people who attend this service each Sunday.
 Built in 1882, the Thomas Hughes Library is the most unchanged of all the buildings in Rugby. The
library's 7,000 volumes were collected primarily by Boston bookseller Estes & Lauriat, and donated to Rugby's Library and Reading Room Society with the stipulation they name the new library for Hughes. The library still contains most of its original collection, the oldest volume of which dates to 1687. (Wikipedia)
The library is really impressive. In order to read one of the books you have to wear gloves.....but you can come and read them all while in the library.

There were many old photos of the area.This is Elder Dunn's favorite.

This is a very charming little town.  You can come and rent a cabin (actually one of the old homes) and hike the trails and swim in the "men's swimming hole".  Obviously they were not the informed 'modern men' we have now.
We left the Champneys smiling and we were grateful in our hearts that we are not serving in Jamestown.  Sister Champney got a snake bite.....not a poisonous snake, but it was a snake.
 On our way back we passed this used car lot.  Do you see anything you would like to take home?

It was a long way home and we missed a violin concert by a young girl in the YSA Branch.  That made us sad.  But we really enjoyed Champneys and Rugby.

I have much more to tell you, but I think I will put it in a separate post.
Love you all and miss you.  This is the best thing we have ever done in our lives and time is going way too fast.  We have now completed half of our mission.

Love, Carolyn

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

IT IS COLD IN NASHVILLE!!!!!  That 20 degrees on the thermometer is the high for today.  It is 4:00 p.m.  Tonight it will get down to 15 degrees-- but tomorrow night it will get down to -3 degrees.  We have about 1 inch of ice under the 2  inches of snow.  This started on Sunday evening and on Monday morning there were Freeze Warnings and everyone is advised to stay in their homes because of the ice.  So we have been home bound since Sunday afternoon.  (Today is Tuesday) and it looks like we will still be here tomorrow.  I handle that okay because I have a terrible cold so laying in bed with all the covers over me sounds really great. But Darryl is driving me crazy.  He did finally sneak out today and drove far enough to put gas in the car--but he is home now with the beginning of the head cold.  Thanks heaven for Netflix......inasmuch as we do not have a television.
   I am actually anxious to get back into the office because on Sunday the auditor is coming to audit the office.  There are a few things I would like to fix up before he comes.  Do you think he will fire me?  Will he send me home?
 The President says that all he will tell the auditor is "Sister Dunn will fix that."   Is that supposed to make me feel better?  Oh Dear!
   Right now the President is in Salt Lake City for 3 days.  He left Sunday and missed all of this great adventure. I sure hope the airport opens before Wednesday night so he can get back. audit.
   About 2 weeks ago we found it necessary to purchase a new laptop.  I don't think I even need to tell you the frustrations of learning a new computer.....let alone to learn a new Windows 8.1 computer.  Well, another thing to do while we are
on lock down.   And since when did Word come as a "cloud" program?  I can't even begin to tell you the frustrations of that and of all the unseen charges incurred in this process.
  This is a picture of Elder Meldrum (for you JoAnn) helping to unload all the pizza boxes after a trainer/trainee meeting.  Pizza is a surefire bet for a missionary lunch.

This other picture is the bottom of Elder Dickman's shoes.  That is a 1st rate hole he has there----the sign of a really good missionary. He has since left for home, having served his 2-year mission.  We will really miss him.
On February 8th, Pikeville became an official branch.  We drove down there for their meeting which started at 10am......which meant we had to leave here by 7:30 am.  It was fun to see everyone again.....most of them were there, but not all.  It warmed my heart of see Jack & Rosala Curtis there (she is sitting....second person from the right on the 1st row).  She has been quite ill.  I reminded her of the day we sat on her porch snapping beans while she told me about her life....and made me laugh.  There were some of the usual characters there too.....but not William Sapp, our favorite hermit.  I wanted to go find him, but we didn't have time.  Elder Stradling made it down
there (2 days before he ended his mission).  He needed a ride back to Lawrenceburg, so we added another 3 hours to our trip home so we could take him.  It was well worth the time just to spend it with him.  I will sure miss that lad.   Here he is with the 2nd half of the picture. This branch included Pikeville and Dunlap, so there were enough to make a branch.  President Speegle is the gentleman with the white hair in the middle of the front row of the 1st picture.  A great choice.
 So on the following Tuesday was transfer day and time to say goodbye to the departing missionaries.  But SURPRISE.  Elder Stradling has a look-alike to take his place.  Who knew there was another Stradling anywhere.  This is Elder Partida and he sure looks like Stradling's brother.  I sure hope he is as great of a missionary.  It was hard to say goodbye, but now we have a gentle reminder.
Elder Stradling got home okay and now is beginning the 'whole rest of his life'.   Good Luck.
  This is a picture of Elder Meldrum and Elder Dickman telling about a miracle!  Each transfer meeting the President has anyone who has had an extra-ordinary experience come and tell the rest of the missionaries about it.  They call them "Miracles".  They are always good and everyone enjoys them.
   Elder Dickman also went home that day.  We miss him too.  He is so super extra-ordinary too.  I hope we see him again.  Maybe!  He is just in Kansas.

This is Sister Osborne and Sister Dixon.  I refer to them as the "Char-Ladies".  They are the 2 sister who cleaning up the terrible, terrible house in Fairview.  This was not Sister Dixon's first round at doing clean-up duty.  She seems to have the bad luck of falling into these "unclean" situations.  But they are in a new duplex now, and all is wonderful.  Sister Osborne is from Yuma Arizona, but her family just moved to Mesa.

Well, that is it for now. I hope all of you are doing well.  I check on you on Facebook all the you aren't getting away with much.  Love you all.....

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Hello!  Yes, it is winter time in Nashville.  It is cold for an Arizona girl.  It is a special kind of cold because it is a wet cold.  This is a picture of the snow we received about 2 weeks ago.  It didn't last too long....about like Tucson snow.  It wasn't as cold that day.....but the next day it was very cold.  But no matter how cold it is we go to work where every time someone comes in the door it send a cold....cold....burst of air through the office.  You can believe that I have a little space heater at my feet all day.....not to mention the 4 layers of clothes I have on.....and that is just to sit in the office which is actually pretty well heated.
   It hasn't been an extremely busy time in the office....just a mild state of "how do we get all of this done?"  The opening of new apartments has slowed to only 4 this month, and usually all in one day.
   I am still at war with Altamont TN, (population 1,290...and about 85 miles south-east of Nashville).  Well, war is misleading.  I struggle with them.  They love to turn the water off in the sisters' apartment before we even get notice that the bill is past due.  It is never past due, they just need a new bookkeeper who can put
the money in the correct account.  This happens about every third month.  The members in the local ward say that they just really don't like Mormons.  Pray for the south!!!!
   Here we are.....the office staff (minus Elder Dunn who is probably out in the parking lot changing a license plate). There are 3 sister missionaries in this picture......(LtoR) Sisters Schenk, Herbert and Bishop. I am between Herbert and Bishop. Sister Bishop has more pairs of glasses than any one person should have.....all flamboyant. I suspect she grew up in a hippy commune. (just kidding, but it would explain a lot).
    About 10 days ago one of the missionaries
mailed the nurse (the little lady in the pink sweater) a letter he had received from the landlord complaining about how dirty their apartment was.  I still can't figure out why he was dumb enough to send it into the office.  However, Sister Crawford hit the roof.  She call the Elder on the phone and told him to get off of his ___ and clean that apartment because she and Elder and Sister Dunn would be there in 45 minutes to check it.  So we went on that adventure to Smyra TN.  Well, those Elders must have really moved fast because it looked pretty good by the time we got there.  We went down and spoke with the manager who said it looks good after the 3rd time she inspected it.  I'm sure those elders will not forget our visit.  Sister Crawford is small, but she makes up for it in fury.
 It was really quite fun.
    That same week, the Young Single Adults had a talent show.  It was regional, but most of the talent was from the Nashville area.  This picture (yes, the out of focus one...I was in about the 6th row from the stage and my phone is not an Iphone) of Denny favorite future famous song writer.  He sang an original tune that was fantastic.  A country song called "Going South".  Apparent Ronnie Dunne (of Brooks and Dunne) among others are considering recording it.  Pretty good for a boy from Canada.  The best part is how humble he is.
   There were many other singer/songwriters and musicians who performed. 13 in all.  A great pianist who just put in her mission papers, and another who played the chop sticks theme song
for Charlie Brown.
   This is Anne Marie.  She is the new Relief Society President.  She sang a funny song called "Taylor the Latte Boy".  If you haven't heard it, search for it on Youtube.  You can find if you search:
"Kristin Chenoweth singing "Taylor the Latte Boy".
If you go to:  you can see the real Ann Marie.
   It was a fun evening.

To catch up on some of my favorites.   Elder Hansen is now a District Leader in Hendersonville, TN and he assured me yesterday that before he goes home he will convert the Oakridge Boys to Mormonism.  Hendersonville is where the Oakboys live.  As district leader I am sure he is designing role-plays for his district meetings to be unbelievably hard and humiliating.
Elder Stradling is ending his mission on February 11th, 3 days after Pikeville Tennessee will actually be made a Branch!!!!!  I think that was the best news of his mission.  He worked so hard for this to happen and he is probably the main reason it did happen.  Unfortunately, I don't think he will be able to attend that meeting because he is in Lawrenceburg TN.  He is a great missionary and we learned so much from him when we were in Pikeville.  I am so grateful that we were able to get to know him and to love him.  We will miss him greatly.  Keep in touch Elder Stradling!

I just had to add this picture because it looks like Elder Hansen is asleep.......again!!!!!

 Yesterday we had quite the adventure.  We were to meet the Assistants' at the office to get their
truck---go to Walmart to purchase a microwave and a crockpot--go to Big Lots in Franklin TN and purchase a king-size bed--take that plus a dresser to Lafayette Tn (pronounced LaFAYette in TN)--and then take a box springs to Smyrna TN.  Sounds easy enough. A round trip of about 3-1/2 hours driving time.  It was great until we got to Big Lots.  There is a gentleman there named Jack that I deal with quite a bit.  As he says:  "I take care of you, Sister".  He says that about every other sentence.  Well, this time he did.  We purchase the king-size bed and frame and he helped to load it in the back of the truck.  There was that bed, plus the other box spring and a dresser.  It was in there so tight you couldn't get a dime between
anything.  Then we tied it down.  We got on the freeway and went about 1 mile and the plastic on the big mattress was flapping badly, so we pulled over to check it out.  Much to our surprise.......the two box springs that went with the king size bed (the new ones) were completely gone!!!!!  There was no sight of them.  No one one yelled out their window to us that there was a problem.  Nothing.  They were gone in 1 mile.  We went back on the freeway and found one of them on the side of the over and when you picked it up all the wood fell out.  We threw it in the truck and called Jack.....who says he takes care of us.  Well,
he did.  He said to bring back the 1 mattress we found and he would replace both.  So we did.  But we were smart enough to first go way back to the office (about 30 minutes away) and pick up the trailer to haul the furniture.  We load it up and were on our way about 3-1/2 hours late.  We were supposed to meet the senior couple in Lafayette for lunch.....but it was more like dinner.  Of course as soon as we got back on the freeway with our new box in back up us started flashing their lights at us.....OH NO.... not again.  So we pulled off the the exact same exit road, and pulled into the exact same parking lot that we did before and went and check the back of the trailer.  FALSE ALARM.  There was nothing wrong.  I
think the flashing lights were a delayed signal or something.  So we were on our way way.   We got to Lafayette only to find there were no young bodied missionaries to help us unload the trailer, so Elder Matthews who is about 80 years old and Elder Dunn (with almost no help from me) unloaded and put together the bed, and carried in the heavy dresser.  We went to dinner at a small mexican restaurant and then said goodbye to this delightful couple.  This is their 4th mission.  They started with their first one at age 30 years old to Samoa.  She was 7 months pregnant when they got to Samoa.
  Lafayette is a beautiful area.  Not a beautiful town, but a beautiful area.  It is the kind of place where we could be very happy.  But we drove on to Smyrna.  We got there at about 7:30, handed off the box springs to the spanish Elders there and drove on.  We got to the office at 8:30pm just as the Assistants drove in so they could unhook the trailer and take the truck.  The President was there also so we told him of our adventure.  He just howled in laughter, which was not good because I needed to use the restroom. But we were relieved that he laughed.  Elder Dunn told him that if we had lost the mattresses the 2nd time when we went back to check we were just going to come back and get our car and drive back to Tucson.  I read Darryl a passage from "Preach My Gospel" on the way back to get the trailer after losing the 2 box springs about Christ-like attributes.....patience during trials.  I'm not sure it helped.

That is all of our adventures for now.  I'm sure there will be more.  Hope all is well with each one of you.  We are loving our mission....every minutes of it....well, minus a few.  If you have ever considered a it!