Wednesday, November 19, 2014

O Home Beloved

November 19, 2014

O Home Beloved

O home belov'd, where'er I wander, On foreign land or distant sea,
As time rolls by, my heart grows fonder And yearns more lovingly for thee!
Tho fair be nature's scenes around me, And friends are ever kind and true,
Tho joyous mirth and song surround me, My heart, my soul still yearn for you.

The flow'rs around me may be fairer Than those that bloom upon thy hills;
The streams, great, mighty treasure bearers, More noted may be than thy rills.
No world renown my humble village Like these great towns may proudly claim;
Yet my fond heart doth thrill with rapture When e'er I hear thy humble name.

Ye valleys fair and snow-capped mountains, Ye peaceful hamlets 'mid the trees,
Ye murm'ring stream and crystal fountains, Kissed by the cool, soft, balmy breeze,
Words cannot tell how well I love thee Nor speak my longing when I roam.
My heart alone can cry to heaven, "God bless my own dear mountain home."

We love being home and especially spending time with our family and friends. It's good to be in the valley of the mountains with a different, but very real, beauty from Atlantic Canada.

Kylee was baptized and Sophie was blessed the first Saturday we were home. So glad they waited for us and grateful for another day of family togetherness.

We spoke in church on November 9 and were so happy to have so many friends and family members join us at church and at our home after the meeting. Elder Hunt came and played the violin, but had to rush off to two other meetings so we didn't get a photo. We did get to meet his beautiful fiancé, Erika, though.

Landon Clyde at the luncheon after our homecoming talks. Gracie Nicole, Halle Jean, Samuel Alan, Mason Eric, Neve Avery, Kylee Jo, and Sophie Veone were there too, but must have been playing or asleep. 

Ella Grace

Caden Lucas

Logan David & Dallin James

Noah Brent, Liz and Abby Elizabeth
Sister Amber Lewis & her mom surprised us by dropping by.


Christy, Janet, Brad and Heidi. Life of the party.

Shirlee & Roger Hendrickson, our much-admired relatives.


Shelley & Randy Childs, friends from high school and college. 

The Tibbitts and Tiffanys and Sister Echols were welcome guests, along with Sister Gochnour's mom & siblings.



Homeward Bound - October 20-26

Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping,
Home where my music's playing,
Home where my FAMILY'S waiting
(Not so) Silently for me.

Sunday:  Manida and Camelle Curries got this photo of us driving down Smythe Street in Fredericton for the last time. Love it, love them, love Fredericton.

Monday:  We are in the US! How fitting that we got to see Sisters Pierce and Starkie. We picked up Sister Pierce at the airport when she arrived and Sister Starkie (Sparklie) was in the MTC with us. They had our little travel phone up and running for us now that we are leaving the mission phone behind.

Two of the three String Sisters, Veone and Violet, are homeward bound with us. Tonight they are staying in style. 

Tuesday:  Loved the leaves, the birthplace of Joseph Smith, and a fun little sugar house restaurant where they make fresh Vermont maple syrup. Kind of felt like Canada.

Wednesday:   Loved having the Sacred Grove all to ourselves. It always feels like being in the temple. Also walked up Hill Cumorah to the Angel Moroni Statue. 
Thursday:  Long day of driving over lots of flat country, but still some fall colors. A nice time to visit, plan, and count our many blessings. Stayed in Lincoln, Nebraska. 
Friday:  Look who we found in Laramie!  Elder Tyler Skinny Skinner and his fiance, Morgan Muchmore. Had a great dinner with them at Born in the Barn. We are so happy for them.

Saturday:  Last night on the road in Steamboat Springs. Kind of reminds us of Park City. Went to Fish Creek Falls and found authentic Mexican food!  Stayed at the Worldmark resort and it was nice.  Too bad we didn't spend much time there.  Tomorrow, tomorrow, we love you tomorrow!  Home is only a day away!


Farewell dinner at the mission home.

Hello, Utah!

Sunday:  Made it to Heber in time to surprise Gracie for her last Primary Program. Heather then whipped up some t-shirts for us to wear to Neve's 6th birthday/Halloween party.  She transferred  a note Neve sent us that said, "Grandpa & Grandma, I'll see you when I'm 6."  We waited at the church until the coast was clear and then walked into Dave's backyard and waited until the grandkids noticed we were there.  Later that night we had our release interview with President Gifford and reluctantly took off our missionary tags.  So ends this choice chapter of our life as full-time misssionaries.

We love and will miss the Canada Halifax Mission, but...

There's no place like home! 

Shining Moments in Fredericton - October 18-19

We were blessed to spend the last days of our mission where we Fredericton. Here are just a few shining moments there that few by too quickly.

We stopped in Moncton on the way to Fredericton to visit with our dear friends, Jean-Marie and Anne-Marie Goguen and Max, the Prince of New Brunswick. They were in Moncton looking after his mom for the weekend. So glad we got to see them and we will miss them so much!

We found the Sexton family at NAPA, but didn't get a picture. However, Sister H. bid a final farewell to Frenchy's, the "French Bargain Boutique" where she spent happy hours with Anne-Marie and other friends.

We couldn't say goodbye to Fredericton without connecting with Manida and Camelle Currie, the first family we taught when we arrived. They are friends and stalwarts now in the Fredericton Ward. We picked up Elder H's suits that Manida did a beautiful job of altering. So talented and loving!

Enjoyed a night out with Barry & Louise Hatt and Theresa Anderson. We met the Hatt's the day after we arrived in Fredericton, but we were all in Bathurst for a meeting presented by the Orange Blossom Concert missionaries. They are amazing friends and member missionaries and Christians. They referred both Julie Goguen and the Curries to us. Friends eternally!

We were happy to visit with Donna Clark, another of our neighbors from our apartment on Douglas Avenue. Such a marvelous friend and extraordinary cook.

Our adopted mom, Theresa Anderson. She and her husband Bob lived across the hall from us in our Fredericton Apartment. We have never had finer neighbors and friends. We all miss Bob, but will always remember his love and humour and stories.

The Fab Four of Fredericton:  Elders Davidson & Waldie and Sisters Hughes & Drew. They are dynamic.

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Elder Waldie was reunited with Veone, who we were taking home with us. We even got to do a number in sacrament meeting on Sunday. So many memories of concerts and music and friendship.

Louise, Jessica, Sam & Joseph Hatt

Had a wonderful time at Pat & Sam Hatt's new home. Sam was a counselor in YW and is now the president. We love the entire family so much and were so glad that Allyson arrived in time for us to meet her.

Michael, Carin, Jacob, Mason & Liam Sexton at their new home.

We did manage to remember pictures when we went to see the Sextons and their beautiful new farm. They are so excited to have this dream come true and are pioneers in every sense of the word. Our hearts are forever changed from knowing them.

We also got to visit and hug many other members in Fredericton, but missed getting photos. Some of those were Emmeline Barnett, Rachel Mattice, Naoise Moeller in YW, Dave & Carol Ray, Gerta Kadisch, Jim Thibeau, David Airey, Elias Doiley, Susan Gorman and many more.

We will never forget our shining moments here and the people who made them shine! How great was our joy here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Shining Moments in Dartmouth - October 17

Note:  I didn't have access to update the blog, so I sent this post out as an e-mail in October, but it is dated November when I added it to the blog.
We had many final shining moments in Dartmouth. Here are a few photos, but there are still people and events we missed.
This is one of the many beautiful photos from David Keddy, a photographer/musician/new friend Sister H met on her final walk at Lake Banook. We have been able to share some Gospel truths with him and we both believe God helped our paths to cross that fall morning.

The gloves that match our socks that match our Hudson Bay Point Blanket, generous gifts from President & Sister Leavitt at our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner/farewell at the mission home.

A demonstration of the pink iPad in action with the MPW.

Some of the wonderful metro missionaries who came to the open house at the office on our last Monday--the real Canadian Thanksgiving. Love them all so much!

The senior office missionaries:  Elder & Sister Harding who are taking over for 3 couples, Brother & Sister Green from our Dartmouth Ward who are doing supplies and helping with cars. Not pictured are President & Sister Wentzell who have jumped in to take care of the mission vehicles. We know of no better group of missionaries.

JJ Choo, my friend and hair stylist, on our last Sunday in Dartmouth by the Halifax Temple.

Big night out at McDonald's with Brandy Eele and her cute kids that we are going to miss so much.

Delly & Linda Trembley, some of the first members we met here who cooked us a wonderful farewell dinner and made beautiful gifts to remember them by.

Aubrey & Thelma Fielden stopped by the office to bring her famous salsa and a recipe for he strawberry jam. How we hope to someday be anything that resembles these two wonderful Canadian pioneers.

Terrible picture of a wonderful evening with a delicious Italian dinner and more lovingly-made gifts for us. These are two more of the stalwart pioneers in Dartmouth.

Elders Steimle and Watson and Sister Brown, the office missionaries as we were leaving.

Selfie with our beloved Sisters Turner & Howell...on the iPad of course.
Final view of the mission home. So many wonderful memories with the Leavitts and all the other missionaries here.

The President's Assistants, Elders Torrie & Jason, who assist with just about everything in the mission.

In short, it would be very hard to IMPROVE THE SHINING MOMENTS in our last bittersweet days in Dartmouth.