Letters from Mom: June 2014

June 2, 2014

Ca-razy!  It's already June!  How did that even happen?  But here it is - summer vacation.  We're adjusting.  Meg, however, has stuff almost every night!  She has conditioning/scrimmage for soccer on Monday and Wednesday nights and conditioning/scrimmage for basketball every Tuesday/Thursday night and weights every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 6am.  hahaha  Needless to say we will NOT be going to every one of those activities!  We've got to have some balance, man!  But that schedule is just a smattering of what our summer is shaping up to be:  Dad and I will be going away for our anniversary this Thursday and Friday, Meg has another basketball tourney on Friday-Saturday, then next week is the Trek for three days, the following week is the Gold reunion, after that is Girls Camp, then the fourth of July, the week after that is High Adventure and the Dixon reunion, then we have a couple of weeks that are blank before soccer practices begin and preparation for school gets under way, but we're hoping for a camping trip with the Prices to fill one of those weekends.  hahaha  Ca-razy life!  But it's good.  It's a different type of crazy from the crazy school schedule and sometimes the fact that it is different is just... good.  Ya know?

So, I'm super excited to hear about your week and weekend with the baptism.  That is so great!  I hope the camera arrived so you could take a photo or two.  Has your package arrived yet?  I hope, I hope?  It sounds like you are in a good place in your mission right now.  That is so wonderful.  I'm glad that you're getting along well with your companion and the others in the house and that you are feeling the influence of the Spirit.  That is something that each of us needs to work on each and every day - drawing close to the Spirit of the Lord in order to feel His influence.

You can certainly see that influence in Randy Bauer's life.  He got his call to Saltillo Mexico, leaving September 3rd.  Apparently, Saltillo is like the Detroit of Mexico: it's a dangerous place!  He bore his testimony in church yesterday and said that if you like driving a car and you don't like getting shot at, then don't go to Saltillo.  So he has adventures ahead for sure - but he can do it.  I'm sure.  It's pretty exciting stuff!  Lincoln leaves this week, I think, for the MTC!

This past week has been a lot of fun with all the family.  It's been great to be all together.  We've played alot of games and had a great time.  Clark and Lindsay's wedding was very nice.  Lindsay has a great family, but it is clear they are dubious about the whole Mormon thing!  And we rocked it at the reception! hahaha   Clark came to each of us and told us, you gotta get up and dance... and we did!  It was interesting, though, to see Clark, the returned missionary, being married by a minister of another faith.  It was a nice ceremony, though.  The Fultons are wonderful people. 

OK, so this letter has taken me literally 3 hours to write because the internet is super dumb and I've had to re-write portions of this letter three times!  I'm sorry that I'm going to have to call it a day/week for now.  Hopefully I can manage time better next week and write more more effectively. 

I love you!


hahaha.... at least she is driving right!?

WOW! there is summer! thats a lot... sometimes i feel stressed scheduling all of my stuff... i cant even imagine. good luck! enjoy every second!

Im so glad that Randy has been able to feel the "mighty change of heart" thats so great for him! he is serving! i was not sure that he would make it!

Im glad you had a great time at the wedding. im so happy that no matter what it is, when the whole family gets together we can all have a great time. i love happy families! yay!

Dont worry mom. thank you for still writing to me! 10 months later! i love you tons aned i appreciate you a lot!

Love you! Elder Gold

June 9, 2014

Well, helloooooo there, Sweetie!  I hope you've had a great week.  We loved the pictures of the baptism.  What a wonderful experience!  It looked like Jorge Cid was the one who baptized Patricio, yes?  That must have been super amazing.  I'm so happy for all four of you guys! hahaha  So how are things working out with the mamita?  I'm glad you have more time to focus on the work - that IS what your focus should be  - because when you get back to regular life, there will be no mamita here for you.  You'll have to negotiate meals AND studies AND girls AND roommates AND work AND church callings AND cars AND everything else.   So I am super glad that you have this time to really zone in and focus on the Lord's work right now.  That is a life changing thing, for sure.  So did you guys end up moving to a different apartment?  I admire your tenacity in being dedicated.  Not all missionaries are like THAT, that's for sure!  There are far too many who are only too happy to hang out and chat in the evenings after a long day.  hahaha I think I might have been one of those, I don't know!  But I'm impressed and happy to hear that you want to use all of your time effectively.  That is a good pattern for a successful life. 

So, there have been a lot of surprises here at the ranch.  What kind of surprises, you ask?  Well, for example, last night Clark had an emergency appendectomy.  Yeah.  Married not even two weeks and they have a surgery.  Ca-razy.  But everything went well with the surgery and he is on the mend.  Poor Lindsay!  One super sad surprise is that Neil Kelley passed away last night.  But in many ways that is a good surprise, too.  He'd been living at the Gables for most of the this year and his health had deteriorated very quickly.  A happier surprise is that Uncle Brent finally got a job.  He is going to work for Matthews plumbing.  He'd been working little side jobs here and there for a couple of plumbing companies, but when it came time to hire full time the felony on his record became a huge obstacle.  But, as of this morning, he has a full time job with benefits and vacation and everything.  So that is great for him.  He feels that he can finally begin to build a new life now that he is fully employed.  I'm super happy for him.  

Another surprise is that Tommy is going to go on a walkabout sort of thing in Arizona for about 7 weeks.  He has really, really struggled for a while now: drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, sex, porn... you name it, and it all came to the forefront about a week ago.  So, Boyd and LeAnn found this amazing treatment program for teens in Arizona called Anasazi, and it is based on the philosophies and teachings of Anasazi Indians.  It was developed by BYU graduates years ago, but they don't support or implement any particular denomination.  What Tommy will do is go down there and have an 8 hour seminar on relationships that Uncle Boyd and Aunt LeAnn will also attend.  After that, he is suited up with hiking gear and he spends the next 49 days hiking in the Arizona desert... with counselors and other program participants, of course.  It isn't like a boot camp where they concoct survival type situations or beat them down or things like that. To my understanding, it is all about natural consequences, about finding and connecting with "your Creator," about learning who you are and how your choices affect yourself and others.  And there are trained counselors with masters degrees nearby and hiking every step of the way, so when Tommy is ready to talk about things they are there, but they don't push and pressure.  There aren't scheduled meetings like in the hospital.  It should be quite an adventure!  So, the Price's are leaving Wednesday to drive down and take Tommy to Anasazi.  This is a little sad because Boyd and LeAnn were assigned to be Ma and Pa for a family on trek that start Thursday.

And that is where the next surprise begins: Dad and I are going to take their places on trek!  Yeah, we found out on Thursday last week... so we will have had 7 days to prepare.  Jinkies!  But when LeAnn approached me about this I felt assured that if it was the right thing, the Lord would open ways for it to be accomplished, that things would fall into place and we would see the paths that we needed to go.  And that is exactly what has happened.  Equipment, pioneer clothing, time, energy, everything has seemed to fall into place.  Oh, we're still a little shell shocked and nervous/excited about the whole thing.  We haven't even met all of the kids that are going to be part of our trek family, but it will work out and we feel peaceful about that.  So, we will ALL leave Thursday morning at 7 and start trekking!  We walk about 8 miles a day, I think, over the course of three days.  There will be a "women's pull" where in all of the men stand to the side and watch all of the women and girls pull the loaded handcarts by themselves in similitude of those women who continued across the plains when the men left to join the Mormon Battalion.  We will also cross a river/creek... about 6 times, since it winds back and forth, just like the pioneers had to do with the Sweetwater.  We'll be joining with another family in camp each night and make meals, have devotional, and discuss things together, but the trek, the walking, is on our own as families.  It's the real deal!  Long skirts, bonnets, aprons, suspenders, cowboy hats... here we go!

Interestingly, when I spoke to the guy who is directing the whole thing, when he asked if we'd take over as Ma and Pa, he told me that they had submitted our names last fall to be a Ma and Pa, but he figured that we simply couldn't go and that is why we weren't called.  To be honest, I was a little sad that we weren't called to participate in some way.  But it seems to me that if we had been called 8 months ago, I would not have been able to do it - I would've had to ask to be released at best because life has been so... full for the past six months.  I was 60 pounds heavier and very unhealthy in mind, body, and soul; I was overwhelmed with school and the plays, worried about Sam and trying to keep him moving forward, chasing around after Meg and all of her activities, and trying to keep up with Janie and all of her parties.  It would've been too much to even think about, but now... I'm healthier (I swam 3/4 of a mile this morning!) in mind, body, and soul.  And of course, Dad is always fit and amazing in everything he does.  He would've been good to go 8 months ago, but I needed the breather, I needed the time.  So it seems that things have worked out the way they were supposed to after all.  Heavenly Father is aware and in control.  I am so grateful to Him!

I'm grateful for you, too, my dear.  I am looking forward to this time next year when we begin counting weeks and not months until we get to see you IN THE FLESH!  But until then, we will embrace each new day with all of its surprises and adventures and learn all we can.  Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift; that is why it is called The Present (from the turtle guy in Kung Fu Panda). hahaha

You I love, my dear!  Until next week - 

Love from Mom

umm.... WOW! thats just lots of info!
Poor clark! hooray for Brent! OhNO!!!!! tommy! crap! but at least they have found something to be able to get it while its a young problem. wow. that gonna be a bit hard for the family but i am glad that they are moving forward with it. how did it come out? does tommy want to change? thats just big... that is sometimes the hardest part about being far away is wanting to help and not being able to. i dont know if i try to write to him it would be good or bad? but just know that i would like to do anything i could.

That great for you guys! and im so glad that you feel like you are getting better! Im glad you are feeling healthy! im glad that you feel good! i agree! your lives have been just crazy recently! but im glad that you feel good mom. seriously. that makes me very happy!

How is sam doing?

Hahahaha... oh mom... that made me REALLY trunky for a second there!

Love ya tons!

Elder Gold

June 23, 2014

Seriously.  I can't believe that June is all but over.  However, looking back at ALL that has gone on, it is little wonder that the time has seemed to fly!  This one might be a bit of a long letter, so buckle up, Pony Boy! hahaha

We will start with trek.  I think the last time I wrote a letter of any substance I told you that we had been invited to go and we were in the midst of preparations.   Trek was an amazing experience.   The first day we spent a couple of hours at the stake center loading and preparing and stuff, then we drove up to Bone to begin our trek.  We unloaded the buses, gathered as families, loaded our handcarts, and started walking!  We trekked for 7 miles that day along dirt roads, up hills, down hills, across meadows... it was pretty good.  Dad and I got to know the kids in our family a bit as we walked and walked and walked.  I'll tell you what, though, the last two miles of that trek were pretty brutal.  My old gams were so, so tired!  Then, we finally arrived at the camp site and had to take our handcarts up another small hill to get our camping gear: tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, etc.  Two hours later we had built our camp (we were with another family sharing cooking equipment and tents, etc.) and THEN it was time to prepare the evening meal.  There was a central camp at the top of the small hill that had all of the food and medical staff and water and stuff - they were hidden so they weren't part of the camp, but close enough to be readily available.  For each meal, we would send an empty cooler up the hill in a handcart and they would send us another cooler filled with food and instructions/recipes for the meal.  I'll tell you what, we had PLENTY of delicious food - in that way we were not at all like the original pioneers.  So after THAT and after it was all cleaned up it was time for square dancing!  My legs and feet were aching so badly (seriously, I had only been exercising with any regularity or rigor for about 10 days before we left - I was NOT in shape for this) that I was not keen to go dancing around in the meadow across the road from the camp, dodging fresh cow pies and sage brush.  BUT Dad and I watched for a while (Meg, Sam, and Janie were all dancing in the same group so it was fun) until they started the Virginia Reel and then we got roped in to dancing.... that is until Dad split his pants!  He had had his water battle on a caribeaner (sp?) attached to a belt loop of his pants.  They were really old pants.  And as he and I were sashaying along, suddenly his waterbottle was down by his knees instead of his hip!  So we just kept sashaying all the way back to camp and taped up his pants with duct tape for the night. hahahaha  That night, after the square dancing, we were sitting around our fire and eating dutch oven cobbler when a storm rolled in.  It had been so, so hot that day and then wind kicked up and it started to rain, so everyone turned in for the night.  We were all tired and sore, so it wasn't too difficult to get all of the teenagers to bed.  hahaha  

The next morning, we were up bright and early, made breakfast, cleaned up, and then started the next leg of our trek.  We hiked five miles that day and almost all of it was off road, through trees and meadows and fields, etc.  Every so often, we would stop and listen to a leader teach us about the Willie or Martin handcart companies, or about the Mormon Battalion. It was after one of these that they separated the men/boys from the women/girls for the women's pull.  I don't know really what the guys talked about, but we discussed the story of Esther and her role in doing something dangerous and scary to save her people...she wasn't alone in that - she had help from others.  Also we talked about the role of women and of men in the Great plan of Happiness, how women are a helpmate for men.  One lady brought that part of the root for that word, helpmate, means "mirror image" meaning that women are equal and the same but opposite and different from their counterparts.  I really loved that. So, then we took turns going up the hill with our carts.  We had two adult women and two little girls on our handcart.  The hill was steep and there were all of the men & boys standing along the sides of the trail with their hats in hand over their hearts.  They had been instructed not to say a word or lend help in any way... even if a cart turned over and rolled down the hill.  It was solemn and quiet, and I was breathing like a draft horse as we worked through the steepest part (embarrassing) but it was pretty short.  I had heard rumors that it was going to be terribly long and difficult, but it was really just a short, steep pull and then we were done.  When it was over, all of the boys and men came and took over the carts.  Dad had tears in his eyes.  As we talked about it later, he mentioned how difficult it was to just stand by and watch us struggle.  While the ladies were talking about Esther, apparently, the fellas talked about the priesthood... or something.  I'm not sure, Dad can explain better, but they had talked about how after watching us struggle under strict rules to offer no help in any way, not a word, not a hand, they should never let a woman struggle alone again in their lives.  It dawned on me at that time that the women's pull was not for us women to see how much the pioneers struggled after the Mormon Battalion left, but it was for the men and boys to recognize how much they want to help and to be inspired to never let anyone struggle alone again when they have power to help.  It was super cool.  Later came the river crossing - only three times instead of six - and it was mostly through mud and shallow water.  It was gooey and difficult, but everyone had specific water shoes, and at the end we all had clean socks and dry shoes to put on after we'd rinsed our feet.... the original pioneers had no such luxury.   That night, after resting and eating and cleaning up, we had a really great fireside by President Searle.  Once again, the wind had picked up and it was chilly.  The day had been almost perfect - not too cold, nor too hot - but that night it got cold!  After the fireside we gathered as family groups and had a fireside/testimony meeting.  Then ate smores, played games, and retired for the night.  

On the final morning, we woke up to nearly freezing temperatures.  It was COLD and windy and rainy.  We had a cold breakfast because we had to strike camp and get everything loaded before we started trekking again. We had our morning scripture study around the fire and then loaded our handcarts.   I wore all of my clothes that morning.  It was that chilly.  We started out in a big old line, finally started walking along the trail and had to stop for about half an hour - a handcart had broken.  Then we were off again.  We trekked three miles mostly along roads to where we ate lunch and met the buses.  Then we returned home, gathered our gear, and came home to hot showers!  It was heavenly! hahaha  But, truly, it was a super neat experience.  I gained such an appreciation for what the pioneers had to go through.  We walked a total of 15 miles and they trekked 1600 miles.  We had tons of food and clothing and equipment.  Most of them were destitute at the start of their trek let alone when they finally arrived in Salt Lake.  They told us that the average pioneer, pulling a handcart for 10-18 hours per day, burned as much as 4000 calories in a day.  The Martin handcart company, at their most bitter point, was rationed only 1/4 cup of flour per day - about 450 calories.  In fact they gave each of us a tiny cloth bag that held 1/4 of flour that we kept in our pockets throughout the trek.  It was very impressive.  I'm so grateful we were able to go as a whole family!

One week after we left for trek, we left for Bear Lake and the Gold Reunion.  It was a fun time!  Truly!  Sometimes the Gold reunions can be kind of boring, but this was a really fun time.  I posted pictures and a few video clips of some of our activities.  We sat around and read books and played games on Friday and then went to the lake on Saturday.  Bailey has a couple of wave runners and Brad rented a canoe and a kayak, so we had lots of fun toys to play with at the lake.  And, of course, despite our efforts, we all got sunburned! hahaha  We came home yesterday, Sunday morning, just in time to quickly change clothes and get to church.  I'm so glad we made it - it was a gift from Heavenly Father because by our own calculations, we should NOT have made it back in time!  Hans Haroldsen was oen of the speakers.  He and Jordyn Wilde are getting married in September - ah, the matchmaking from Oklahoma! continues (Shanley and Gabe, Alex Arzola and Brooke Lott, now Hans and Jordyn... who will be next?!?!) - and he seems really happy.  He told this great story about a man named Juan that he worked with on the mission.  They had set up an appointment to work with Juan's wife and children, but when they arrived she/they weren't there yet.  So, they talked to Juan.  He said it was really, really brief small talk. Finally he confessed that they didn't seem to be the spies that he thought Mormon missionaries were.  hahaha  After that, they were able to talk to him more openly about the gospel and he asked them, "Where has this been?  Why didn't anyone tell me?  This could change my life!"  Then, over the course of many weeks, as Juan started to live the gospel each day, his wife and family began to see changes in Juan: he didn't yell at his kids as much, he was more kind and patient, he even went out to play with his kids.  His family would invite others to meet the missionaries saying, "You gotta meet the missionaries!  Look what they did to Juan!" It was a great story.  

So today we're getting Meg and Janie ready to leave for girls camp tomorrow morning.  Busy, busy, busy. hahaha  Then, it will be just Sam and I at home since Dad will be going up to Girls Camp Wednesday - Friday.  Sam is doing... alright.  His diagnosis changed a couple of months ago to schizo-affective disorder (did I already tell you this?) which is a blend of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the thought disorder AND the mood disorder.  So he has some delusions, some paranoia, and the random hallucination as well as some pretty zippy mood swings.  He cycles from being manic (which is really more of a hypomania rather than the true mania of bipolar people) to being deeply depressed.  Right now we're trying to figure out a pattern in those cycles - some people cycle monthly, daily, weekly... hourly... we're trying to figure that out with Sam.  I've started taking notes on his moods to see if we can get enough data over a period of time to notice a pattern.  Sam will go from being extra loud and really talkative - like can't get a word in edgewise - and having all kinds of ideas and cracking all kinds of jokes to laying on the couch staring into space not wanting to eat or talk or do anything because nothing matters and he cares for nothing.  So we are able to see the different moods, but we don't know if there is any type of trigger or pattern in terms of timing or events that make those moods better or worse.  For the past month, Sam has been pretty... well, he's not the easiest person to live with.  He is SO unmotivated to do anything and I have nagged him for months about finding a job.  So I finally called his therapist and talked to her about what we can do to help this kid.  She said that Sam is pretty comfortable right now and doesn't feel motivated to change.  That was a big old red flag to me that I need to do more than suggest he find a job... again and again... and start getting out the cattle prods to get this boy moving!  In answer to prayer, this weekend at the Gold reunion we had some really excellent discussions with both Grandma & Grandpa Gold as well as with Sam.  Grandpa Gold was very enthusiastic about Sam taking the welding classes, and that was a good thing for he and Sam to discuss... how Grandpa will help fund that program.  That looks to be a big old carrot for Sam to keep moving forward and do... something! Anything!  Also, Sam and Dad and I stayed up late Saturday night and talked about his illness.  Sam really is quite insightful, open, and honest about things which is a great blessing.  We've been trying to tell Sam that while he does have a mental illness that will be with him for his entire life, that does not mean that happiness is closed off to him - he can choose happiness regardless of the circumstances he finds himself in.  Of course, we've also testified repeatedly that the source of all happiness is found within the gospel of Jesus Christ, but Sam kindly (most of the time) refuses that plan.  Interestingly, Sam was able to communicate to us that night that his real issue is that he feels that happiness has been taken away from him forever - like an appendix or tonsils that have been removed and can never be had again.  He feels that his illness precludes him from happiness and so the best he can get is pleasure or diversion - being distracted from the horrors of his life.  It occurred to me that Sam is still going through the grieving process.  Hopefully he will come to accept his new life with a mental illness and realize that he still has options, he still has a choice in how he chooses to live that life.  There is so much more to life and real, lasting happiness is there for the taking.  But I think that Sam being Sam is going to have to discover that for himself.  It has to be his idea.   So our role now is to continue doing what we've been doing: keep those lines of communication open, continue to pray/fast for him, continue to testify as to the source of true happiness, continue to invite him to participate in gospel with us, continue to support him in his efforts to move forward - however small or slight they may seem to be, and to continue to put enough pressure on him to keep him from getting too comfortable where he is now so that he'll want to move (hopefully forward).  Anyway, that is where we are right now with Sam, since you asked. hahaha

OK then, this is a forever long letter.  It is time to close for this week.  Be sure to check for the pictures and video clips.  I got some cute clips of little Kyle Pulsipher and of a really fun game we're currently addicted to called Kubb (koob).  Oh, and Chris Fleming says "hi" and Daniel Forbush got his mission call to Chicago, IL and leaves Sept. 6.  

You I love, my dearest.  You're always in our thoughts and prayers.

Love from Mom

June 30, 2014

Its the last day of June.  The year is half over.  The days seem to crawl, the weeks fly by, and months seem to zoom by at the speed of light!  It is amazing, and we are so blessed.  We are living the dream, my son.  We have a home, cars that work (currently), a yard, good neighbors, family nearby whom we love and actually enjoy being around, a garden, good/improving health, access to education, employment, insurance, wonderful brilliant talented children, and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ!  We have so much to be grateful for in the midst of our trials, challenges, personal sufferings, etc.  We are so so blessed!  That is not to say, specifically, that we are undergoing any new or overly tedious trials....  Just the same old same old.  hahaha  I am just choosing to be grateful, to look at what we have instead of what we don't have.  I found this amazing little plaque thing the other day (I'm not really one to have little plaques with groovy sayings all over the place, but this one was a keeper).  It said, " Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place."  Love it - there is a lot of truth in that! So there you go.

We are super anxious to hear from you this week and find out if you're moving to another sector or if you get to stay in Vallenar for another term... or you stay and Elder Turman is leaving, or...???  We hope all is well with you - we know you will be guided by the Lord to be where He needs you to be when He needs you to be there in whatever capacity He needs you to be in.  You are a faithful servant, Henry, who is willing to do whatever the Lord asks.  That is a great gift and a worthy talent that you have developed within your life and heart.  So we're excited to hear about that and to hear about how the investigators that you're teaching are doing. 

Yesterday, Dad spoke in church along with several other parents who reported on their missionaries (he did a great job).  It was really wonderful to hear about everyone.  Jake Murdoch is a changed man.  His mom talked about how afraid he was to go out and serve because he's not a big talker.  He prayed for the ability to open his mouth and she said that he described a feeling come over him, wash over his whole body, and he was no longer afraid to speak, to talk to people, and to talk about the gospel.  Its so remarkable.  What a gift from Heavenly Father!  He just got called to the district leader - did you ever think Jake would be able to take that kind of leadership position and be successful?  It's super exciting.  Anna Williams will be home in a month.  She has had some amazing experiences, too - I can just imagine her as a missionary: so passionate!  hahaha  And Brooke Williams is doing great - well loved by all who meet her.  She was going to teach the activity daygirls (8-12 years old) in one of the wards in their area how to make duct tape purses!  hahahaha  Aaron Andrews is doing well - he's such a funny, quirky guy.  And, as you may know, Tate is doing well, too.  He's been out 5 weeks in Argentina and can understand the language, but struggles to speak.  Do you remember those days? hahahaha  His mom told about an experience where they were going to visit a family, they do alot of reactivation work, but they weren't too interested in what the elders were saying because they were going to go watch a World Cup game immediately after they left.  So, after about 15 minutes of trying to get a conversation/lesson started, Tate's companion decided it was time for them to go.  The dad said something about the church and how he could take or leave it, it didn't matter to him.  Tate, Mr. Bold, replied, "Well if you could take or leave it, then why don't you take this [handing him a Book of Mormom] and read it."  Or something to that effect - it's a little foggy in my memory.  Anyway, they didn't leave the house.  The dad took the Book of Mormon, and the disaster of a lesson turned into a 90 minute discussion about the gospel.  Pretty awesome.  It is wonderful to hear about these life altering experiences you Woodville missionaries are having!

So, things are pretty good here at home.  As I said before, there are always struggles.  This week Jake and Michael lost their jobs.  Jake lost his due to an efficiency expert who came to the camp and deemed Jake's job superfluous - so he got canned.   Michael got fired, or rather strongly encouraged to resign, because he is not very patient with Melaleuca customers that he thinks are stupid and made a few comments to other employees (never to customers) that were inappropriate.  Yeah.  Customer Service is not his forte.  His baby is due in less than a month and he's out of work.  BUT he is interviewing at a couple of other places, so hopefully things will turn around for them soon.  Jake is applying at a community college in Buffalo, WY for a business teacher and/or an outdoor adventure teacher.  If those don't work out they may start looking for something in this area.  We shall see.  But that means that instead of everyone going to Wyoming for the 4th of July, they will be coming down here!  I think we're going to have a big psuedo campout on Grandma's lawn Thursday night - dutch oven cooking, night games, maybe a movie outside, sleeping out, and then a big old pancake breakfast in the morning.... it should be a good time.  Oh, and Zach is also looking for work!  He graduated from OU (I think) last month so he's looking for a real job in his field.  They got cleared to adopt their little baby girl, Olivia.  Hopefully they will be able to adopt the other three kids within the year.   All four of them have the same mom, but different dads, so they have to wait until both parents have been deemed unacceptable or have refused their rights.  The mom has already been deemed unacceptable, but they have to give the dads a chance, I guess.  So sad, and yet so super great for Zach and Carrie.  They are good parents to those kids, even if I don't really enjoy their company all that much. :)  So, keep those cousins in your prayers, if you will.  Josh is doing alright.  He still lives la vida loca, but he's got a steady job and is really good at what he does.  He's a finish carpenter with this guy.  Did you already know that?  He does all the trim work, and is currently working on a $5.7 million spec home in Jackson Hole... right next door to Channing Tatum's summer home.  He showed us pictures yesterday, and this place is crazy big with amazing woodwork, of which Josh has done a lot.  That's a pretty great skill.  You know, he really is pretty nice to be around.  He was such a punk his senior year of high school.  When we had family gatherings he would lay like a sullen, grumpy lump on the couch.  But he is really pleasant and fun to talk to nowadays.  I dunno what the change was, but its good.  He never stays for a long time, but he is really sweet to be around when he is there.  So that's a nice change.  

So, Lexa is home.  We haven't seen her yet, and I still have the letter from you to give to her (still sealed, of course), but we hope to see her soon and hear all about her adventures.  She said, via Facebook, that when she got home she layed down in the grass and looked at the stars and breathed deeply.  hahaha  Clearly those were things she wasn't able to do easily in China!  She is a lovely person.  I'm so glad she was able to go and do that - to experience life outside of small town Idaho.  That is a great thing.  Heidi, who is in Tennessee with Nate and Cindy, is having second thoughts about her decision to "experience life outside of small town Idaho."  She thought it would be an experience wrought with adventure, but the only adventures she's had to this point is finding a car and looking for a job.  She's a little disappointed, but she's only been there two weeks, so....  Oh, and she is the toast of the town... or, rather, the ward because she IS Heidi after all.  She's been on several dates.  In fact, she went on a date this past weekend with a guy who is going into the MTC on Wednesday.  True to form, she told him at the end of the date, "I know you're going to be humbled on your mission and all, but let me be the first to tell you, you are really cocky."  hahaha  Oh, that girl.  She makes her own adventures.  She went to youth conference with the stake and I don't know what they did, but at the testimony meeting there was a guy who stood and talked about one person who really just made him want to be a better person, and after the meeting was over, he sought Heidi out and told her that he was talking about her.  hahaha  What do you say to that?!?  hahahaha

OK, I've filled this page to overflowing, so that will be all for today.  We'll take pictures over the holiday and send them to you next week.  We love you so much, Henry and are so grateful to have you as part of our family.  We're so pleased with the growth we see in you and in your deepening relationship with the Lord.  You are a good man, and will become even more refined and strengthened in the months to come.  

Know that you are deeply loved.

Love from Mom

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