Thursday, October 30, 2014

Life is a PumpkinI guess

Pumpkins and gourds are everywhere in Nashville.  Large pumpkins and small pumpkins.  I guess when you don't have to worry about them rotting in 95 degree heat you can have pumpkins sit on your doorsteps and lawns for weeks on end.  Last Saturday it got quite warm (in the upper 80s) and it was very humid, but it really cools a lot in the evening and the mornings are quite chilly.  I would be very comfortable here, except someone in the office keeps the air conditioner on 70 and it gets cold. I already have my little heater on at my feet in my little office.      
For our Saturday adventure we first
went and found a winter coat for Darryl.  We are very fortunate to have a great mall 5 minutes from our apartment.  After we spent all of our money at Men's Warehouse, we headed to Hermitage.  Not took about 30 minutes to get there.  However in the early 1800s it took about 5 hours by horse to get from Hermitage to Nashville. Hermitage is where Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the US (1829-1837), built his Beautiful home and plantation.  However, his wife, Rachel, died a couple of weeks after his election. He built his home in Hermitage in 1803.  It eventually grew to 4,050 acres where he grew cotton.
He started with 8 slaves and eventually had  as many as 150. The house is beautiful and the land around it gorgeous.  It was a warm day when we were there, and it was really humid.
  This picture shows Darryl looking over the vast acreage of the Hermitage wondering just how long does it take to mow all this grass? As I said, it was awfully humid that day so we spent a good chunk of time sitting on those benches.
 Inside the home, the walls are covered with a mural/wallpaper in very vibrant colors.  All the wallpaper in the home is original (restored).  The beds all have dark drapes surrounding the bed to keep out the light.  It must have been hot a lot of the time because even when the temp is not high, the humidity is.
 The gardens are beautiful, even in the fall.  This picture shows daisies and pansies, but there is also a very large herb garden that they used for cooking and medicinal purposes.  Apparently in the spring they plant a lot of tulips.  It seems to me, however, that just about anything could grow here in the south.  As Jennifer Crotts said when she was here..."these houses are beautiful but they sure wouldn't look the same in the Arizona desert."  Same with the flowers.  ..... Another point of interest I found here.  The Democratic Party adopted the logo of the Donkey because of Andrew Jackson.  During his campaign for President the press often referred to him as a 'jackass' so he decided
to adopt it as his own.  I don't know about the Republicans, but I will tell you when I find out.
  This is a slave cabin.Each slave family occupied a 24' square room with 1 door, 1 window, a fireplace, & an attic loft. One of their slaves, Betty, was the Jackson cook for more than 50 years.  Her son stayed at the Hermitage after the Civil War with his family for decades, and is buried in the family garden near the family cemetery.

This is a Dogwood tree.  Who knew?
It looked almost like a Christmas Ivy tree.  Darryl mistakenly called it a bush when we asked one of the employees at Hermitage about it. I won't tell you what he said, but he obviously had no sense of humor and needed to loosen up.

On Sundays we go to church at the Young Single Adult branch in Nashville.  We must seem very immature because we keep ending up with the single adults at church.  This would make it the 4th time we have been assigned there.  The kids (18-30 yrs old) are very nice.  Many of them are in Nashville seeking careers in the music business (singers, musicians, or song writing).
      Well, last Sunday we had a special treat for our meeting.  The Ward (congregation) who meets in the building before us is a family ward.  They had presented their Primary Program (by young children) and consented to give an encore performance for our Branch.  It was great, but the best part was a young boy, about 4-5 years old who stood in the front row and absolutely yelled the songs so loud he was all you could hear.  Sometimes he even put his hands up around his mouth to make it louder.  He was singing....but just very loudly. He didn't know all the words, but he could sure boom out the chorus.
The whole congregation just giggled during each song.  He was so cute and trying so hard.  I felt anxiety for the adults who were supervising this group because it was like herding a group of cats.  It was the best sacrament meeting I have been in for quite a long time.

This is Alek Garcia.  He is one of the Young Adults in our YSA Branch.  We met him the first time we went to Church there.  The thing that endeared him to me was that he was born in Phoenix and had lived in Blythe, California.  I told him we were meant to meet.  We picked him up and took him to the David Archuleta Fireside, even though he warned us that he lived in the Hood!.  Yeah....if the hood is in the honors dorm of Tennessee State College.  Because of his good grades and his difficult beginning in life he has been awarded a $100,000 scholarship for college.  He is very shy, but very charming.  He told me he has his genealogy done back to Adam and Eve. I told him that must mean we are related.  He believed me.
This is Denny Burton.  I am putting his picture here in case he ever becomes famous so I can say I knew him.  He is a songwriter from Canada.  He is a young man who knows his priorities and is a shinning example of "good".

Okay, you knew it was coming....... more tractors.  The bonus is that they are John Deere.  It was a special request from Darryl that we took this picture at the Hermitage.

I had to include this picture I found just because it reminds me of those dirty little mud wrestlers we left behind in Tucson.

We are finding great joy in serving here in Tennessee.  It is not easy, and actually, sometimes it is hard, but that is what brings the real joy and satisfaction.  We work with 240 of the most delightful young men and women you ever want to meet.  They have given up 2 years of their lives in order to serve others and bring truth to them.  As part of my work here, I speak with many apartment managers where our missionaries are renting.  Never has one of them ever had any criticism of them, and in fact when we have to close an apartment when they are moved, they request that we remember them in the future because they love renting to these honorable young men and women.  I love it when they come into the office because they just bring a lot of happiness with them.  Of course by the time they leave again they have eaten anything left in the kitchen, the candy bowl etc.  Yesterday they came in and we made them grilled cheese sandwiches with the homemade bread Darryl had brought it.  They were delighted.  The kitchen in the office has a toaster oven, a George Foreman grill, a microwave and a refrigerator.  If you ever have a chance to serve a mission--it is worth every minute of sacrifice it takes to get here.

We still think of you all......except now it is with a southern accent.  We'd love to have you come out here and help to rake up all the leaves that have fallen on the ground.  I guess I had forgotten about leaves from having lived in Tucson for so long.  Every morning we have to swipe all the leaves off of the car so we can drive to work.  Bye for now.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fun and music

Well, last time we talked I had barely survived the rain storm that made me vow to never wear white again after labor day.  It rained for several days and then cleared in time for Jennifer and Harve Crotts to bring the sunshine back to Nashville.  It has cooled considerably.  It has been in the 60s lately.  The fall colors are still not in full bloom.
   We worked real hard in the Mission Office on Monday through Thursday so we would have time to play on Friday.  The Crotts arrived in Nashville on Thursday afternoon.  It was good to see someone from home, and the 7 dozen tortillas didn't hurt either (5 regular and 2 Jalapeno).  Tim and Emilee were wonderful to go and buy those for us so we could have good tortillas.  We are planning some great chimis and green-chile pork.  We gave 1 dozen to the mission president.
   Because we had worked so hard all week, we were able
to take Friday off and do some sight-seeing with the Crotts.  We toured around Franklin, TN, where the battle of Nashville was fought in the civil war.  There are some beautiful old homes there,  Then we took them down to Pikeville, Tennesse for the grand tour.  There is nothing like it.  Whoever thought I would miss Pikeville.......not me!  But I guess it says something about that little town if I was so happy to go back for a visit.  This is a picture of the Crotts in front of the little blue house on Birchwood.  They are with Elder Hansen and Elder Westra (his new companion).  They came and met us at the empty house so we could run in
  and use the bathroom.  We were all hungry, but no one was brave enough to pic a place to eat in Pikeville.  So, we went up the mountain and visited some of our favorite people.  This is the Pendegrasses.  They were so happy to see us.  Kari is holding a counted cross stitch book in her hands. She showed us her beautiful cross stitch project which is in progress. She is planning on handing that finished work to her mother on the day of resurrection as her mother is raised from her grave.  I hope that works for her.....I didn't have the heart, nor the knowledge, to tell her that may not happen.  Her daughter, Valerie, is still making jewelry and caring for her many cats.  We should all be as sweet as these people are.  I know you have probably been wondering what
William Sapp (the kind hermit) has been up to.  Well, we visited him too.  He is still building his little house. That is it behind him (the black one).  He has done alot, and that is good because it is getting cold up there.  He said it was too cold to sleep in his little travel trailer the other night, so he slept on the floor in his unfinished cabin.  I'm not sure where he found room on his floor to sleep on.  He was happy to see us; but we were awfully happy to see him too.  I think the Crotts enjoyed that too.
   We would have visited another family, but they were out of town.  Darn, I really wanted to see them.  So we wound our way down the mountain and went to Crossville to lunch at the Sister's Cafe.  This is where Harve thought for sure they forgot to put the 1s in front of the menu items, because
everything is so cheap.  We had a hot roast beef sandwich (open faced) with potatoes and gravy, rolls and green beans for $4.50.  that is a ganga.
  Saturday we went to the Nashville Temple for a sealing.  (This is an ordinance in the temple in which husbands and wives are sealed to each other & children are sealed to their parents in eternal families. This means that if we are faithful to our covenants, our family relationships will continue for eternity. People sometimes also refer to this as "temple marriage".) Of course, some of my favorite Tennessee people were there.
 I'll bet you can tell who the couple is and their children. 
Then, the Crotts and the Dunns went to the Country Music Hall of Fame.  It was so much fun.  We were able to watch a short film about all of our favorite old-time country singers.  Can you remember Tennessee Ernie Ford, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline, Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers?  This picture is of one of my favorites......Don William's old blue shirt and his worn hat. He sang one of my favorite songs "Lord, I hope This day is good".   Jennifer and I sat and watched the film so long that the men gave up and left us to go downstairs.   But we got even with them.   When we got home, we left them to nap while we hit the one-day sale at Macy's.  We got some great buys, and then we finished it off at J. C. Penneys.  

The next morning we went to Church.  The Crotts were able to make contact with a young man in our ward who served a mission in Tucson.  Then after the 1st hour of church (yes, we do go for 3 hours...broken into different meetings) they left to continue on their trip.  It was really a shame because when we got to our Sunday School class, who sat right in front of me?  
 David Archuleta.  He was the runner up on American Idol several years ago and has since done very well as a performer.  We had a great chance to visit with him.  He is very shy and he is very humble.  He would only introduce himself as David from Utah.  He said he is in Nashville often to record and to collaborate on writing his music.  The picture is fuzzy because I had to take it very quick.  We were in a small room with just a couple of people, and he was kind of hiding from some girls who were trying to take his picture.He said it was okay for me to take the picture.  He gave a wonderful fireside (a meeting where someone speaks) for all the missionaries in the Nashville Mission that night.  It had been a secret as to who was coming to speak, until we saw him at church.  At the fireside he sang and shared experiences from his mission to Santiago, Chile. The format was that he sang 4 songs and he answered questions from the audience. One of the questions he was asked "What was the biggest thing you learned on your mission?" he responded by saying: "I learned of the power of forgiveness and how it is for everyone and of the Atonement of Jesus Christ." He stated that repentance is God's plan for happiness. He shared several very touching stories.  He was so shy when he started on his mission that sometimes he would just ask to sing a hymn to someone. He and his companion sang a lot of hymns.  He did sing the song Glorious from the movie "Meet the Mormons".  It was a great night for us to be there.  I wish you all could have been thee.  He was so inspiring.  He also spoke a lot about how missions change who you are and the need to be sure you don't go back to your old ways when you return home.  When he got home he had to take over his career and had to change managers twice so he would have people around him who would understand his values and priorities.  They all said it was about HIM!  He would be rich and happy....but he found that that did not make him happy.  He knew what would make him happy.  That is why he left and went on a mission in the first place.  He found joy in serving others and putting the Lord first in his life.  The last song he sang was "I"m Trying to Be Like Jesus".  I got a short video on my phone of him singing, but was unable to get it to load on this.  Sorry.
This is a picture of all 250 missionaries who were at that fireside.  I have a yellow circle around David Archuleta and around Darryl.  I am in the picture also.  Can you find me?  Me either!  But I was there. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Starting to look like Fall

Well, the leaves are starting their new wardrobe.  This picture was taken in Kentucky where it is about 10 degree cooler and Fall has a little more of a head start.
The temperature in Nashville is still in the high 70s most days, even though it has been raining.  The other day we actually had a great hail storm.  I am so glad I have a big window in my office (even though it is behind me) to watch the weather.  Elder Dunn watches all the supplies in the storeroom....but he does a great job of that.  Actually, he gets out of the office alot more than I do.  He is still picking up new cars.  He got another this last week, and tomorrow he goes again to pick one up.  He is alot happier about it when it isn't a Toyota Corolla.  When he gets back from driving it to the office we have to unfold him to help him stand.
This is one of the many tents on the side of the road selling flower and pumpkins.  
Last Monday we (the mission) received 14 new missionaries (2 from the Mission Training Center in Mexico, 2 who came from their home, and 10 from the Provo Utah Training Center. The 2 who came from home are called 2 transfer missionaries.  That means they are short-term.  All the new missionaries (well most) look very nervous and some a little scared.  That doesn't last long. On Tuesday there is a big transfer meeting where all the missionaries who are being moved to different areas come into Nashville to meet up with their new companions.  It is really a fun time.  There were also
~12 missionaries who were going home, having finished their time in the mission field.  At this meeting the missionaries who are going home each stand and give advice to the new missionaries......some serious.....some funny.  Then each new missionary stands and reads a paper which identifies where they are going and who will be their trainer.  They don't get very far into the reading (just until the area is named) when their new companion stands and cheers and runs to the front and hugs their new companion.  Well, hug is a loose term for tackles and just about knocks them down. (It is their enthusiasm that is wonderful).  As I said, some of these missionaries are a little shy at this point and really don't know what to expect, but it is really cute and it doesn't take them long to bond.  I would have liked to get a picture of this, but it would be impossible because they move so fast.        Saturday was our negotiated
day of fun and travel.  We dove up to Hopkinsville, Kentucky
 (about 1 1/2 hour drive).  It was rainy and alot cooler.....enough that I did have to put on my white fleese lined jacket (but if you know me, you know that it didn't have to be much cooler for me to do that).  It was 66 degrees.  The locals there call this town Hoptown.  I don't know why.  We went just north of there to find this old Mormon Church and Cemetery.  Here is the description of it from  "James Wells Robins did not want to go on a mission, but his mother intervened and arranged for him to receive a mission call when he returned home from herding cattle.
Once out in the mission field, he disliked asking people for food and a place to sleep and ultimately decided to go home. His small leather suitcase in hand, he walked along the dusty road toward his mission-free future. But first he decided to take his decision to God. He set the suitcase down on the side of the road and knelt in a thatch of trees. After struggling in prayer, he received the answer to stay. He returned and served faithfully from 1911 to 1913, during which time he was a carpenter who helped with the construction of the Haley’s Mill chapel in Christian County, Kentucky. The little white chapel nestled on a green hill in northern Christian County was filled to capacity and beyond on September 15, 2012, just as it was a hundred years earlier when Southern States Mission President Charles A. Callis dedicated the building"
Early missionaries used to go out without "purse or scrip", which means they had no money nor place to stay.  They were completely dependent on the hospitality of local citizens.  I am so happy that is not what they do now.  Missionary work for the young Elders and Sisters (and sometimes seniors) can be hard.  They are rejected constantly, yet they are taught to not argue, but to keep a happy disposition and to be optimistic. They are very good at that.  I have never seen one who did not answer "great" when asked how their mission is going.  But then, they didn't have to use this outhouse!
Well, you knew it was inevitable!  We did find a tractor for Elder Dunn.  This tractor makes his look pretty new.  There were a long line of old farm equipment along the side of a house.  Sometimes Elder Dunn can find the brake in the car very suddenly. He wanted pictures of each one, but as I said before, it was cool and rainy.  I did include this one and one more.
The people in the south love to decorate.......even their farm equipment.  It is so much fun to see all the fall decorated yards......scarecrows, pumpkins, flowers....etc.       There was one other thing I wanted to mention.  I love how many churches there are in the south.  On Sunday when we go to church we pass lots and lots of big churches with TALL steeples.  Sometimes there are 3 or 4 different churches in a row....and they are big.  The people are friendly and very religious.  I love living in a place when God has such a prominent place.  
Well, that is all for now.  Has it quit raining in Tucson?  We watch the weather. Well, we don't have a television so watch isn't really correct.  We keep tract of your weather.  And to think they thought it was going to be a dry summer.  God has surprises for us all!   Love you all!!!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

We are still in Nashville!

This is our apartment in Nashville.....well, actually we are in Franklin.  You can see by the falling leaves that fall is starting to sneak in. If you walked directly ahead into that breezeway, and at the end of it turned left, you would find the door to our 735 sq ft apartment. 1 bedroom, but we have a dishwasher (yeah) and a garbage disposal.  It is quite nice and I really like it. Our neighbors are all very nice.

This is the view out of our windows.  Although you enter the apartment at the ground level, there is an apartment under us, and above us.  We are located on a hill which lets us have the view of an upper level.  I know that doesn't make sense, but I sure like the view;  It is a furnished apartment, except it had no kitchen necessities....likes plates, silverware, pans etc.  So we got to go shopping.  We now have 4 forks, spoons, knives and cups.  I think I needed a bridal shower.  I'm not quite sure how this happened, because it was supposed to have everything, but we just smiled and said ok.
We actually have 2 couches...the other one is on the other side of the room.  Notice the fireplace.  I think that may come in handy.  We also have a wonderful recliner....but no tv. We are completely out of touch with the world with no tv.  We can watch Netflix and BYUtv on the computer. We could go and get a television, but so far we haven't needed one. Usually we are so tired when we get home that we go to bed pretty early.

Meet the Johnsons.  Susan and Gary Johnson are the couple that we replaced in the office.  They went home to Sandy Utah on September 25th.  For several days I called her and begged her to come back. She was a great trainer, but there was just so much to learn in such a short time.  They had only been in the office for about 5 months, so she didn't really know all the ins and outs of the position.  I manage the apartments for all 240 of the missionaries....that is make sure the rent and utilities are paid, leases renewed, and new ones set up when they open a new area. I also make sure that each month every missionary is funded (they receive a monthly allowance on their debit cards). The problem with this calling is in all the exceptions to the rules.  Isn't that true in life? There is always someone who has to have things done differently for them. Also, most of these missionaries are miles and miles away from me, so there is no quick fixes.

This is what Darryl does.  He goes and picks up brand new vehicles. So far he has acquired two pickups, and 2 Toyota Corollas (all 2015 models. They are ordered in Salt Lake City, and they just notify him where to go and pick it up.  They come into a dealership that is about 40 minutes away, so it is a nice break to go and get them.  I got to go with him for the last one.  After the new vehicles are assigned to the missionaries, Darryl takes the older vehicles which usually have about 50,000 miles on them and prepares them for sale.  Everything is fixed on these cars, including any small scratches.  The church wants these cars to be as perfect as possible before they sale them.  If you ever have a chance to buy one of these mission vehicles, they are always a good deal. You can call any mission office and ask if they have one for sale.  The Church sets the sale price on them, but they are always reasonable.
    We had a special treat last week.  Our Pikeville and Crossville missionaries were here in Nashville.  It was so good to see them.  This is Elder Hansen with a big pretzel in this mouth.  They came up for a missionary temple day.  We saw them over at the temple when we went in for our interview with the temple president, and then they came by the office for a visit.  I don't know how you can become so emotionaly attached to people in 2 short months, but we sure do miss these guys.

When we left Pikeville, we unfortunately left some clothes in the dryer.  Elder Stratling very kindly brought them to us.....including Darryl's John Deere pajama bottoms.  Elder Stratling brought his John Deere Pajamas so they could model them and have their picture taken in them together.

The Penergrass' also came up with them.  Valerie made me a lovely beaded necklace and earrings.  I wish I could see them more often.  They deserve so much and have so little.  We had a long conversation about their options, and I hope they will be able to find a light at the end of the tunnel.

 They also came bearing gifts....their pictures and a John Deer Tractor and a puzzle to do in our spare time.  I didn't get a good picture of Sister McDonald and Sister Hess, so you have to see them as they are on our refrigerator.
Well, that was the best part of our week.

For our Saturday adventure, we went to Lawrenceberg, Tenn.  It is Amish territory, and so we stopped at this little Amish market.  We only purchased post cards for the grandkids. We were going to go to the fair in Lawrenceberg, but we could never find it.  We followed the signs, but it wasn't there.  How do you lose a fair?  It was unbelievable.

,The big thing in the south is....Fried Pies.  They are alot like the Hostess pies you find in the store, but they are greasier. You find them at every fair and every roadside stand.  We actually purchased one of these......a lemon one.  It wasn't great, but we were hungry.

The three young men are Assistants to the President....that means they are great leaders!  The Elder on the right is going home on Tuesday, having finished his 2-year stay in Tennessee.  The note on his back says "I am available and will be home in a week".  This was compliments of Sister Crawford (who is in the picture),  The others says "I am a real hunk and I will be your best friend" and "I am good looking and available".  These guys are good sports.

The Huntzingers are another couple in the office.  He handles the phones and any ordering of books etc. from Salt Lake.  Well Brother Huntzingers reminds me of Mr. Finkel.  Mr Finkel was a man who lived next door to me when I was growing up.  He was an avid stamp collector.  That is what he did all day. He was married to Mrs. Finkel.......the thorn in my side during all my growing up years.  I just laugh under my breath every time Brother Huntzinger comes into my office.  Poor Mr. Finkel.

Well, we haven't stirred up much excitement lately.  We will try to do better.  Next Saturday I think we may try to find a Blue Grass Festival.  It is getting much cooler....and I would be fine if it just stayed like this.  The leaves are falling and the trees are just starting to change color.  We think of the people in Pikeville often.....who would have thought I ever would have missed that place.  I even ventured into a Dollar General the other day for old times sake.  But, I really like my job here in the office, even though it is stressful right now.  Darryl is getting used to his job too.  He has more freedom to leave than I do and so he does.  The other day he just got up and went to Home Depot.

Tomorrow is transfer day in the mission...... it is like musical chairs where a lot of missionaries get transfers to different towns and different companions.  It makes life exciting for them and for everyone in the office.  Tuesday we will be getting 14 new missionaries coming in from Utah and some from Mexico. We also have almost that many missionaries going home.  I think I will be sure to have some extra aspirin with me for the next few days.....but I sure do love all these kids.....they are all great!