Monday, May 16, 2011

Dear Keaton -

When I got this picture on my phone on Saturday, I cried.  I saw you and Dad standing there, and my mind got dizzy.  I thought to myself ... "Wait a minute!  Dad said he was working in Utah ... Keaton is in Idaho ... oh ya, they're right next to each other.  Gosh Dang it Gary!"

I realized that Dad had pulled a fast one.  He called your Mission President to ask for permission to see you, but he forgot to ask for my permission.  Silly Dad.

After I was done huffing, puffing and pouting, I realized that his decision was wise.  If Dad had asked what I thought about a quick visit ... I would have stomped my foot and said absolutely not!  And then, once I saw that my opinion didn't matter to him, I would have swiftly packed my own bag and hopped on board.  And then, once I saw your face ... I would have clutched you like there was no tomorrow and probably stuffed you in my bag and took you home.  Who knew how wise Dad really is!

His report (and your Mission President's report) is that you are solid.  This little distraction would not affect you, because you are focused and steady.  I'm so proud of you ... still a little bit mad at Dad ... but SUPER proud of you.

Have your best week ever!

Love, Mom

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Arkansas Trip - Day 3

I woke up in the morning feeling like P Diddy ... just kidding.  We woke up early the next morning and drove through some curvy, windy roads to get to Blanchard Springs Caverns.  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

We took an elevator 200 feet into the ground ...
and came out to see this. 
The pictures don't do it justice ...
trust me ... 
it was super cool. 

After exploring the deep underground,
it was time to get cleaned up and go baptize Grandma Freda!

This was, by far, the best part of the trip.  

 She was so excited and couldn't stop smiling.

 So proud of these two Shakers!

This is Elder Quinn and Elder Syme. 
They taught her everything she needed to know.  
They loved Freda and she adored them.

After 18 years of waiting for another member of our family to join us on this spiritual journey, it was finally here.  It's so exciting to see a lady of this caliber, who has always been a very good, righteous and happy person ... actually find a whole other level of happiness and meaning.  Freda knows her Bible.  She has studied her scriptures for years and arguably knows them better than many.  As she studied, prayed and came to realize that there was another book that added to her knowledge and the Bible ... she said "It just HAS to be true!"  She never looked back.

We are so glad that we were able to experience this as a family.  Watching a person that is darn near perfect, grow in strides that didn't seem possible, is a testament of what is available to everyone.

If you are not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and you would like to learn more about it ... check out our website.  It's so exciting!

Keaton even added his input on the website.  He's so cute!

I know that this is the one true church on the earth today.  This statement might sound a bit uppity, but shouldn't you know this about your religion?  There are many good people and awesome works going on in our world, but I stand firm in my knowledge that this is the one true Gospel.  It is perfect.  I am so grateful that my Heavenly Father has created a plan that has helped me grow while I'm here, so that I can return to Him with my family at my side and live in a state of glory that is incomprehensible.  I know that I have family members already there preparing for us and teaching those that didn't get to hear this message while they were here.  It's amazing.  If my testimony can testify of one thing ... it's that there is more.  So much more.  Amen! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Arkansas Trip - Day 2

This was our super fancy cabin, right by the White River.  It was so fancy that they placed the water heater right next to the shower, and we almost conquered all of the ants trying to take over the kitchen.  Freda stocked our kitchen full of food and made sure we were all taken care of.  Bless her heart!

 It was absolutely beautiful outside!

 We were driving a van, 
so I cracked myself up all weekend long referring to our 
"van down by the river".  
Sometimes I can't get enough of my humor! 

First thing Friday morning, the boys found a fishing guide ... to guide them ... as they fished.  While they fished, Freda and I lounged around watching the Royal Wedding.  I felt absolutely no connection to Princess Kate as I squished ants with a damp paper towel ... in a van down by the river.
 This was the happiest hound dog you ever did see.  Y'all. 
If I were a dog ... this is where I would want to live.
Here come the boys back from their expedition!

They had the best time and that boat was full of Trout.

 See the fishing guide in the background?  He was picking up the fish, smacking their heads on the side of the boat ... thud! ... and then cleaning them up. It was gross ... I walked away.

 Shortly after this picture was taken, Jake picked up one of the slimy, skinless, freshly slaughtered fish ... snuck around behind me, and stuck it in my face. 
I screamed.  Loud.  
And it touched my hair.

 Then Gary got on the phone and started talking to Junior
(no I did not make that name up)
to find out what was going on around town. 
Wouldn't you know it ... there was a truck pull that very night!

 So we headed over to meet Junior at the "Reel 'Em In" restaurant ... 
where I did not order the plump frog legs.

And we headed over to Thayer, Missouri for the event of the evening.  Now if you've never been to a truck pull ... you've just never lived.  These trucks are L-O-U-D ... and they've been training for practically their whole adult lives to be able to pull things ... super big, heavy things.  The entire county brought their families, dogs and coolers out to witness the smoke,
smell the oil (pronounced ole') and hear the rumble.

Feast your eyes ...

That was one full day!

Arkansas Trip - Day 1 ... y'all

We had a wonderful time this week as we gallivanted around the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas.  Thursday night, we tried out a new airport!  It's a smaller place, and we actually got to walk out onto the tarmac and into the plane.  It was a little bit exhilarating ... it felt sneaky.

 Jake and Garrison were so excited to fly!

 As soon as we landed ... Gary ran into his buddy, Roger.  They hugged.

 And they talked ... and talked ... and talked.  They were happy.

 Then we drove for a couple of hours,
saw our first armadillo
and checked into our place. 
All of our adventures will be posted this week.  
Come back ya'll.