Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heading to Iowa for a Week!

Well, I think I am just about packed. I am leaving in the morning to fly to Moline so I can spend a week with Billy and Dad. I get back next Tuesday. Lisa is flying up on Friday with Ashby so they can all see her. My dad is anxious to see his great-granddaughter, but doesn't travel anymore. He is 81, in great health, but says it is too much hassle to travel. So we are taking the little munchkin up to him. He is really excited!

I think Billy is excited that we are coming, too. We haven't seen him since December. He called last night and said he was actually cleaning the second bathroom for us. Now that is a big deal!

The Moline airport is about an hour from my dad's and a little more than that to Billy's, but the difference in pricing between Moline and Cedar Rapids is so much that we almost always fly to Moline. Besides the price being as much as 2 or 3 times more, there isn't a direct flight, so it takes all day instead of 2 hours. Besides, we are used to it taking 45 minutes or more to get to the airport in Atlanta anyway, so it doesn't really seem so far.

We don't have any big plans besides visiting and relaxing. We are coming back on the same flight Tuesday, so I can help a little more going home. Lisa is on her own coming up. I haven't been up to Iowa since Dad's 80th birthday party in December 2007 and Lisa hasn't been up since she sang at the airport concert in June of 2007. We are all looking forward to it! It will really be fun to see what Ashby thinks of all those airplanes - the big ones we are flying in and all the little ones at Grandpa's.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Painting with the Young Women

I had a fun time with the young women at church on Wednesday evening. Another sister (who is a real painter) and I (who am a play painter) were asked to help the young women paint pictures of a lighthouse. The goal was two-fold: 1) help them learn a new skill or at least be exposed to a new skill; and 2) to prepare for the Young Women in Excellence program later in the fall. They have talked about lighthouses during the year as it has been sort of a theme for them. You know, letting your light so shine and so on.

I happen to love lighthouses, so I was excited to offer my little experience. The other sister got the boards for them to paint on and she and I just brought all our paints and brushes. The girls were divided into two groups and we each took one. We were all in the gym, though, so we could see what everyone was doing.

After giving a little introduction - I did that since I talk too much anyway and Daina is very quiet - we just let them go. They had a lot of fun. Some of them went right to work and knew what they wanted to do from the beginning. Others required a lot of encouragement to even make a pencil mark on the board. I just kept walking around the table, giving a little hint or help here and there, but mostly encouraging them. I found that I could find something to praise on almost every painting. Some were really good with color, others had a real sense of perspective, others were very stylistic.

When they were all finished and laying out together, the effect was very pleasing. The leaders kept the paintings and they will all be displayed at their program which is a chance for all the young women to share various projects and skills that have worked on during the year. I think all the girls are or should be proud of their paintings. One of the nice things about art is that it only really needs to please you. And, I hope, all the young women were pleased with themselves.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wonderful Trip to the Columbia SC Temple

I had a great weekend. The Atlanta Temple closed for renovations on June 1st, and I have really missed being able to go and work there once a week. I have been trying to figure out how to get to the Columbia Temple, which is where my area has been assigned during the time Atlanta is closed. I had received a letter from the temple inviting me to consider coming as a worker, as well as other information. I have been trying to figure out details on how to make that happen.

A couple of weeks ago, I just decided that I was just going to go and quit trying to figure so much out. I sent an email to all the Relief Society sisters to let them exactly what my plans were and inviting anyone who wanted to ride along to let me know. Lynn Rajani, a good friend, emailed back and said she really wanted to go if she could work a couple of things out. She did and we went!

I took off from work a little early, filled up with gas, got a sandwich, packed the car, and picked Lynn up. We were on the road about 12:15. It is a 3 1/2 hour drive so we arrived at the temple about 3:30. Lynn had packed a cooler with fruit, salads, turkey meat, cheese, etc., so we ate a bite at the picnic table by the temple. Then I went on in while she took the car and found the motel where we had a reservation, got us checked in, and made some phone calls she needed to make. She is not a worker, so wanted to attend just one session that evening and one the next morning.

I was greeted with such warmth and love, it was wonderful! Temple workers are always special, and the workers in Columbia were even more so. I was set apart as a worker by President Turner, the 2nd counselor in the temple presidency. Then a worker took me on a tour of the temple. That didn't take long, as the temple is very small - smaller than most ward buildings even. It is, however, very beautiful, as you would expect with any temple. I next served as a patron in initiatory so I could see their procedures, and finally went on the 7:00 session so I could see how that worked. That meant I was able to complete all my family file initiatories and a family file endowment. My experience at the veil was overwhelming, probably because it had been so long since I had had the chance to do it.

Lynn had made it back to also attend the 7:00 session, and then we went to the hotel, stopping at Chickfilet on the way so I could a sandwich. We were both tired, so it didn't take us long to get ready for bed and turn the lights out!

I got up early the next morning - 4:45 - so I could shower and get back to the temple, dressed and ready for the 6:00 preparation meeting. Lynn dropped me off and went back to get a few more minutes of sleep before coming back to do her session. There was a good number of workers on the shift and I was impressed that many of them had driven as much as 2 1/2 hours to be there for that 6:00 meeting - and they do this once or twice a month! Sister Boyd, from my stake, was also there as a worker on that shift. Later in the morning I also the Dunfords, who plan to work the afternoon shift.

My first assignment was as a patron in sealings, so I was able to finish all my family file sealings. Then I was the 2nd follower on a session. By the time that finished, the shift was over. It went so quickly! And I enjoyed every minute of it. I knew I had missed being at the temple, but I didn't realize just how much! I look forward to doing this once a month. I am scheduled to work every 2nd week on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Fortunately, they are willing to work with those of us who come so far so we can change the times we come as we need to. I know there are already some conflicts for some of the weekends I am scheduled, but I will just switch to other weekends those months.

When we finished, we left temple, stopped for a good lunch, and then started home. We were home around 5:15. Since we split the hotel and gas, the cost wasn't too bad. Hopefully, someone will be able to go with me each month, more for the company than anything. Even so, I am already looking forward to going again on September 11th, alone or not!

I feel so excited about this opportunity. It will be more of a sacrifice than working in Atlanta, but I can already tell that it will be an experience that I will treasure.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Odds and Ends

Sometimes things go by so fast that I lose track - and so it has been the last few weeks. So I guess this blog will just be a little of this and a little of that!

We had our vacation in St. Augustine and it was fabulous! We had about 25 family members there and it was great. I spend most of my time at the pool, since I don't do the sun. But, I did get down to the beach a few times and even played in the waves some. It was particularly fun having Ashby there for her first beach experience. I would like to report that she is a true "Cantrell" as she loved the beach from the first moment. The worst part of vacation was that it ended. I sure hope we can go for two weeks next year.

Then on the 24th was Ashby's first birthday. Her Grandma Vanett and Granpa Pulsipher both came into town for the big day. It would have been wonderful, except that poor Ashby got sick. Earlier in the week, the doctor said she had strep. Then she broke out in a terrible rash and it was back to the doctor again. This time it was a viral infection, nothing to do with the strep. So, she was down most of the week. By the weekend she was beginning to feel a little better. Anyway, the big party was scaled down considerably. Even so, she made the one year mark.

I have been having fun learning about Facebook. I have quite a few friends now and have reconnected with some people I hadn't heard from in years. That part is really great. I have also had a few of the teenage girls at church add me as a friend and I get a real kick out of their posts! I was sitting by a group of them at church Sunday and in the course of talking, I mentioned Facebook and there was a general shocked reaction - "You are on Facebook?" - like I was too old or something. I told them I was cool. They got a kick out that. I even had one of them add me as a friend today. I guess I really must be cool!!

Billy had a run in with a dog a few weeks ago. He was out riding his bike and a dog ran out of a driveway and attacked him! He managed to get away with only one major bite. He went straight home and called the police, who took a report and pictures, and told him that this was the second report of the same dog biting someone in a week. They were going to impound the dog to make sure it had all its shots, etc. The doctor gave him a tetanus and put him on some anti-biotics since getting an infection is almost guaranteed with a dog bite. We haven't gotten a recent update, so I don't know what has happened.

Bill is teaching seminary again this year and I have been trying to help him get things ready. I told him I would help with the fluff, but he had to provide the substance. We have been working on games, a map, costumes, and a bunch of other little stuff. School starts next Monday, the 10th, and seminary will start on Wednesday, the 12th. Sure seems like a short summer!

Well, that hits the high points of the last few weeks. We will see what the next few bring.