Friday, May 31, 2013

Memoir from Me "Plants by Mail"

This is the first time I’ve ordered plants by mail.  I was very hesitant at first because when my plants arrived they looked very dead. I bought three trees, two rose bushes, and three perennial grass bushes.  After a month of being in the dirt two of the Red Maple trees are coming to life.  The roses have always looked healthy and I only have one grass plant showing green so far.

Pink rose bush to hide ugly pipe.

First perennial grass bush.

I spend $25.00 every year for three annual grasses.  The magazine said my perennial grasses should survive our cold winters.  (we’ll see)

When the maple trees came in the mail they all looked like dead little sticks with roots on them.

#1 Red Maple Tree
 # 2 Red Maple Tree
 #3 Red Maple Tree
There’s no sign of green yet; it still looks dead.

This is what they are supposed to look like someday.


The exciting part was that the trees were only $1.00 each, Pink Roses were $3.00 each, and the grasses were also $3.00 each.
I did have to pay a $12.00 shipping fee.
So if I don’t succeed in bringing back all of the plants by mail to life, I won’t feel too disappointed.

Friday, May 24, 2013

BYU Young Dancemakers

 Julz is in the back with her mouth opened.




Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mother’s Day

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dear Family,
This last week has been crazy! Since there are a lot of last minute missionaries who's Visas didn't go through our mission gets to house some of them so there were a lot of last minute changes to transfer instructions. I actually wasn't originally going to get Sister Pettingill! Instead I was supposed to get Sister Carrigan. I know this because the Assistants hadn't changed my transfer instructions when President had made the last minute adjustments. Because there were no other Sister Missionaries left in our Zone, I got to ride the Transfer bus with Sister Crowton all the way up to the Mandarin Building in Jacksonville that was the fulcrum of the transfer. It was kind of a long ride, since we stopped at two other places to pick up missionaries on the way up, and to drop off on the way back. I'm miss Sister Crowton :(

Oh well... Sister Pettingill and I are getting along great! She does not want to waist ANY time. Thursday was kind of a tough day since I was the only person who can plan, and we spent a lot of the time trying to tract, which we realize that we're both very bad at the CONTACT approach. That first part of the day was really awkward. Chasing after people who are walking their dogs. Makes me laugh looking back on it. But the day got better when we had dinner with the Ward Mission Leader, Brother Salmon. After dinner we went across the street to see if a potential was home (her name is M and she's a high school-er who is really into tennis - she's really good at it!). We had first met her while tracting the Town of Tioga subdivision (a very fancy neighborhood) and she was babysitting at one of the houses! Well, it was a miricle in the making because it happened that she was home, had some questions on the Book of Mormon, and loved the For Strength of Youth pamphlet!
Friday wasn't as awesome. We had two Conference Calls, one concluding our 6th week of training, and another to all of the missionaries who have Elders and Sisters in the same area (which number is increasing every transfer). On top of that was weekly planning. Sister Pettingill doesn't really know anything about the area so as we were going through I had to talk about everyone and everything and it kind of took all day till it was prime pross time. We still haven't gotten Companionship Inventory done - but we're not really worried about that. At least we got a lesson in with Charlie later that evening. The Ward Missionaries here are great! They come to Missionary Coordination Meeting on Sunday and they come with us all the time to go to lessons! Sister Chapman came with us to C's lesson.
Saturday was a day of miracles! We headed out to Newberry (an outlying town next to Gainesvill that's in our area) to teach a lesson and during the course of the lesson I realized that I had forgotten my name tag! So we had to go back to the apartment to get it. After walking around in a bunch of mud (it rained a TON last week - the Elders called us during weekly planning session to tell us our parking lot had turned into a miniature river) we finally knocked on Ben's door. Ben is a potential who had spoken a little with missionaries before. His dog had just died the week before and he had just gotten home. We had a great lesson on his doorstep about if there's a God and our testimonies about why we're on missions. He's got the feeling of an elect - full of questions and a desire to act.

On Saturday we also finally met a less active that has always turned us away before. Sister H has five pit bulls and is not a very socializing person, but she let us in when we knocked on her door on Saturday evening! The two pit bulls that were inside with us were really nice (they have really uncanny facial expressions by the way). Sister Pettingill read 1 Nephi 17:13 and asked if at any point in her life, did Sister Hamilton feel guided by the Spirit - as a result of that, she shared her testimony with us. She stopped coming to church at 15, but still regards herself as Christian. The thing that helped her in a dark time of her life was a book called "The Power of Positive Thinking" by a Methodist Minister. We are hoping that we can go back and see her again!
Sunday was crazy! None of our investigators could make it to church, but it was the Sister's turn to teach Gospel Principles! It was on Chapter 16 - the Church of Jesus Christ in Early Times or something. Scared me silly. After the lesson people were coming up and telling me that I did a good job, but I forgot most of what I had said after the fact. So I'll just have to take their words for it. All I remember was that the Elders would make eyebrow faces any time I looked at them.
Sunday after church was great as well! We got to see another less active that we've tried several times before, but I had never met, and we also got to teach Becky. A Vet student getting her PhD. I love talking with Becky! She's so nice and she's interested in coming to Bible Study this Wednesday :)
Anyway. That seems to sum up this past week. How is Jessie and Jake? Tell them they've got to write me for my birthday.
All my love,
~Sister Carlson
P.S. I wouldn't worry about Sister Crowton not coming - I gave her birthday t-shirts for Jessie and Jake since I missed their birthdays. I gave her your number too. Attached is a pic of S. crowton and I and one of the G family who are the BEST

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Hello yall.
It is so nice to read all of your letters! I did get Julie's email with a few pictures attached - nice outfits Julie and Josie ;) I also got Dad's letter that was sent April 24th. I'm gonna write her again next week about another kind of bug that's coming out as it gets warmer.
I think it is ironic that it is right after I leave that yall get trees for the yard. We've never had trees. I leave and go to a place where I'm practically buried in trees, and yall get two trees. Interesting.
Well, the reason I'm writing to you on Tuesday instead of Monday is because my first transfer had ended. They call the Missionaries Monday night and tell them if they are being transferred, and give them Tuesday as a P-Day to get everything washed and packed. Wednesday they pick everyone up in transfer buses and move everyone around. Sister Crowton will be leaving me tomorrow morning. Sad day. Yesterday we met with the Relief Society President so Sister Crowton could spill out her brains about the women in the Ward that she has visited since she got here in February before she leaves. Sister Davis is the one who drove us down after I flew in and she also gave us a lot of stuff for our apartment.

We had lunch again with Sister May at the Gainesville Alehouse yesterday! She ordered a huge plate of deep fat fried shrimp. Her grandson was there and he actually told us about his girlfriend who might want to talk to missionaries again! I had fish and chips (fish and french fries, not real English chips) that was really good and Sister Crowton was able to say goodbye to Sister May. Earlier this week we had visited her and she showed us all of her stuff that she had made. She has a drawer full of doilies that she had made and she gave us some! She also gave Sister Crowton and I two little hand purses that she had made out of fishing twine. She's so cute.

We also met with the G family last night. I love the Gales! They were able to come to sacrament meeting on Sunday and Sister Gale brought her friend Hanna, who has several mormon friends and loves learning about other religions. She was there for the lesson last night as well and asked us a question about what someone told her and it was a reason she didn't really like the church. Someone had told her that mormons believe that after we die, all the mormon people are in bubbles floating around while everyone else burns in hell. They are really careful not to let others pop their bubbles so they won't burn too. After a certain amount of time, God will take them out of their bubble to live with him. It was interesting. That lesson started out as reading from 1st Nephi, to D&C 8 and how we recognize the spirit, to Plan of Salvation. Brother Gale also asked about all the other people who hadn't heard of Jesus Christ and what would happen to them. 'If ye areprepared, ye shall not fear!' It was a really fun lesson. The Gales are just fun people - I love going over to get to know them more.
After meeting with the Gales, we had to hurry fast and get gas and race back to our apartment because the Transfer Conference Call started at 9pm. President Barry read through all the transfers and my new companion is going to be Sister Pettingill who I came out with in the MTC! We are going to be finishing each other's training. Both Sister Major and Sister Houtz in GV 3rd Ward are training NEW missionaries and Sister Houtz is opening an area to sisters at the same time. We now have three pairs of Sister Training Leaders who cover all the sisters in the mission. Sister Hale (the sister that Sister Crowton began training last trasfer) has finished her training and has been called to be one of the six Sister Training leaders. Another Sister who came out in my group who hasn't finished her 12 week training, Sister Call, has also been called as a Sister Training Leader. They're kind of like Zone Leaders and will go to the same meetings as they do with President. 

Miracles are happening everywhere and planning has definitely taken place in all of it! Smackting is definitely inspired. 'Smackting' is from the term coined by Sister Barry "Smart Tracting" where you would tract around the houses of members and less actives.  My first week here we were smackting since all of our appointments fell through in that area and I talked to a gentleman who was smoking outside his house. The Elders have been teaching him and he has set a baptismal date for the end of May! Hopefully, that will go through. We were also smackting around a Media Referral and met a 'Marrying Reverend and Junk Dealer' who teaches at Alachua County Prison. We had a lesson with him and made a return appointment! He gave his next door neighbor as a referral, who wasn't interested, but she gave HER next door neighbor as a referral, who set up an appointment with us! Crazy!

One of the things that I think I need to work on is the 'picturing everyone in white' - that Conference talk that President Monson gave in Priesthood last October about that really successful missionary. Every now and then I think while we're teaching or knocking on doors, that these people wouldn't change or that they probably wouldn't accept the gospel. I can't imagine them wanting to be baptized. That kind of thinking isn't faith and it only adds to my fear of knocking on doors. I am working on strengthening my faith in God that he can help me to love everyone and to have faith in humankind. I need to give everyone that chance of hearing the gospel. I also want to work on getting the members involved in going to lessons and be Book of Mormon mentors. Sister Crowton and I think that's what Sister May needs. Someone to read the Book of Mormon with her while we're not there. Plus that means that she'll get more visitors. She's kind of cooped up in that little house and she needs some nice friends.
Yall have a good week! All my love,
~Sister Carlson