Saturday, November 30, 2013

Memoir from Me "Pumpkin Pie"

For as long as I can remember I have never been able to eat very much pumpkin pie.  I don’t know why, it’s just one of those desserts I’ve never really liked.  One of my daughter's also does not like pumpkin pie so I know she takes after me.  This year for Thanksgiving I decided to buy only one kind of a dessert, and yes it was pumpkin pie.  I even purchased two of them at Sam’s club.  This way I knew I would not have to stress over sweet consumption.

For the first time we went out to eat at the Marriott Hotel Thanksgiving Buffet.  My dear friend Pam came along and we were excited to try a new experience.  The food was great and I totally ignored the dessert table. Although there was a classical guitarist who sat next to the table of many sweets. He made the atmosphere very relaxing and played one of GW’s favorite songs “Classical Gas”. It was nice tasting different foods and we were able to get new ideas on how we might prepare the big feast next year.  The gravy was made with corn starch which had a different taste, but very good.  I didn’t even eat the mashed potatoes because the yams had pecans in them and they were very fluffy and light.  Everyone liked the cooked shrimp best with a great cocktail sauce.  In all, going out to eat was nice since I didn’t have to work as hard, but the cost was a bit pricey.

Thanksgiving night we had more friends over for cold cuts, rolls, fruit salad and pie.  It didn’t take very long for me to prepare since I had baked a turkey the day before.  I had also purchased a new game called “Wits and Wagers”.  I like to listen to talk radio stations and Dave Ramsey had recommended the game.  I’m happy to say the game was a success! I think those are my favorite memories, sitting around a table playing fun uplifting board games. Other games we like to play when we have company over are: Apples to Apples, The Worst Case Scenario, Would You Rather, Yahtzee and Fact or Crap. There have been nights while playing games we have been able to wear off a few calories because of episodes of laughter.

This year I didn’t feel stuffed from consumption of food since fruit and chocolate covered almonds was my dessert. That is why I like pumpkin pie.  It fills family and friends up and you don’t even have to think about it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sister Florida

Hey Family!
So... I've been transferred to a place in Jacksonville called Normandy. It's on the West Side of St. John's River in the JAX West Zone. I'll leave tomorrow. Three days before Mrs. S's baptism. Dang. My new companions name is Sister Martinez. I've never met her. Jacksonville is about a two hour drive away so I don't think I'll be able to get permission to go to the baptism. Maybe I'll get permission to call. I now have a huge testimony to grow where you're planted. When I first came out, all I wanted to do was get transferred from area to area, and see a lot of the mission. Now all I want to do is stay in Gainesville. If the Lord puts you in a situation, hit the ground running!
Funny thing though, Mrs. S told us that next summer for their family vacation, they're going to Salt Lake City! Y'all should meet up and have lunch or something! Show her around the conference center :) Her daughter arranged the trip and she's not even a member!
Sunday Mrs. S was able to have a 'get to know you' interview with the Bishop, have her baptismal interview by Elder Wilde, and watch the baptism of an eight year old in the Ward. After the baptism, the young man's grandma asked Mrs. S how she felt. S said, "I just want to jump in there after him!"
Can y'all write Mrs. S some letters of encouragement? She is super bummed that I'm leaving.

Anyway. We have another baptismal date! We've been teaching a less-active lady's son named C and he's preparing to be baptized December 28th. Which I will also not be there for. He's a super nice kid! 
This last week we blitz 2nd and 3rd Wards. (A blitz is where all the missionaries in the zone come together to tract in just one area to help the area get new Gators). It was really fun to tract in areas that I had been in six months ago! Friday we did 2nd Ward and I went with Sister Whetstone. We found a new gator named J. Saturday we did 3rd Ward and I went with Sister Chambers (who was trained by Sister Atkinson, who was trained by me :)) and we found a new gator named K. It was super fun! But the Friday blitz almost made us late for our Missionary Movie night (we watched 17 Miracles).
Sister Shelley's new companion is going to be a Sister Wood. I've met her a couple of other times before. She's awesome! There are so many missionaries out now that our mission has hit the cap for how many cars we can have. They're doing this thing called 'car share areas' where two sets of missionaries share a car. GV 1st Ward will become that tomorrow! There's a new set of Sisters (not Elders like we thought it would be) who will be sharing the car. I wonder what Normandy will be like?
The picture I'm sending is of most of the Sisters in the Gainesville Zone. These are the people I would have spent Thanksgiving with ;)
Anyway. That's all I can think of right now. We have a lot I need to do today.
Love ya all lots, 
From Sista Jen
P.S. I'm sending a package with presents and also stuff I don't want to try and stuff in my bags. When you get it, only mom or dad can open it and look inside!! They will then wrap all the things that are presents, and stick 'em under the Christmas tree. I keep thinking that there was something else that I was supposed to say... maybe that I've run out of stamps? That I'm freezing? I don't know. I'm super stressed about not forgetting anything, that I'm pretty sure I'm going to forget something. I forget things when I'm stressed out.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Memoir from Me "Strange Sightings"

Last week I attended a fun Relief Society activity where we shared recipe’s for large groups of people.  After we ate the food that was brought that evening to sample we started talking about random things.  One of them being life on other planets.  I know, kind of far out there for RS. My neighbor who sat close to me and lives south of our home said that her father in-law had seen a UFO flying object up in Washington state years ago.  So I decided to relate an interesting experience that happened to me and my oldest brother over thirty years ago.  I have only told my immediate family about it before so I thought why not share with others.

There was a big snow storm that hit Northern Utah around 1983 and Kent, my brother, was up on the roof of our house shoveling the snow off so the roof wouldn’t cave in.  I stood on the ground near the house in case he slipped off and fell. I remember the night sky being very clear and  I could look up and see stars everywhere.  Kent and I are pretty close and I enjoyed having some alone time with him so we could talk about whatever came to our minds.

This event all took place after ten pm at night so I don’t remember seeing anyone else out in the neighborhood shoveling snow.  All of sudden three triangular flying objects came up over our house from the north in a very fast, zig zaggy, and synchronized fashion.  That's the only way I can describe it. The flying objects had bright lights but they were very high up in the sky.  They seem to only hover above Bountiful, Utah for no more than about five seconds. I think I was the one who told my brother to look up when all this took place.  We were very quiet after it happened and then Kent told me to run in the house and call KSL radio station to see if any one else may have reported the same sighting.  Unfortunately no one had called in so I’m sure when Kent was done shoveling we went inside and told my mom and sister in-law. I know they believed us but over time I haven’t really given the incident much thought.

When I got home from the RS activity last week I decided to email my brother just to see if he had remembered the cold winter night when we had witnessed a strange sighting.  I didn’t hear from him until the next day.  Sure enough he had remembered and that made me happy.  It’s not every day you experience something way out of this world that you can share with another human being.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Memoir from Me "Something to Remember"

I had an interesting experience about a month ago that I thought I would share.  Fall Marching Band is over and life seems to be a little more simple and relaxing.  I attended the last Mt. Timpanogos Marching Band Competition when the weather was still warm and the air had excitement with hundreds of instruments and High School students from all over Utah.

I’ve been supporting the Provo High School Band going on ten years now and I have never gotten tired attending band competitions.  The first BYU Rocky Mountain Competition was so wonderful I really felt I was listening to the future “Second Coming” horn performers.  I was so excited to be witnessing such great and powerful music. Watching choreographed marching steps from happy clean youth was something to behold.  Color Guard is another entertaining phenomenon.  It takes lots of practice to catch flying flags, rifles, and swords. All at different times of course. Jess started out performing with Color Guard and then became drumline captain this year which she has really enjoyed.

Back to the last competition which was held at Pleasant Grove High School.  The official title is the Mt. Timpanogos Competition because American Fork Band Parents are the ones who sponsor the big event since American Fork Marching Band is one of the most awesome high school bands ever organized in the history of the world.  John Miller has been the band leader for over twenty-eight years and will retire this year.  American Fork has been champions for over twenty-five years as a 5A school which has over three hundred bandies.  That is not only amazing but a lot of work and organizing.

Since Provo High is a 3A school because of a smaller band they still did very well.  I feel pretty good as a supporter since I help move pit instruments out on to the field at some of the competitions and football games. I don’t attend all of the competitions since there are usually eight within a six week period. At the Mt. Timp competition I went to the ticket gate and paid my fee along with my youngest daughter who wanted to watch and observe.  I left her while I helped move the instruments out on the field since the band is judged by how fast they can get into position.  After Provo High’s wonderful performance Julz and I decided to go home for a few hours and work on her halloween costume and then we drove back so we could see the big high school bands perform.  Luckily we still had our red wrist bands that were given to us earlier in the day so we could re-enter the competition.  Or so I thought.

I left Julie in the bleachers while I went back out by the restrooms to stand in a very long line.  As I was getting ready to re-enter, the gate person with an American Fork High Band hat told me I couldn’t enter.  He said I had the wrong wrist band so therefore I must have made it myself.  At first I was a little confused because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  In fact I had to look at the wrist band again to see what he was talking about.  I was informed that my band was a lighter red and therefore I was trying to get into the competition without paying. I explained to the proud AF High dad that I had paid earlier in the day and had gone home for a few hours and maybe the water from the dishes I had put in the dish washer had made my paper red wrist band go lighter.

What really shocked me were the women standing by the gate person who were looking at me as though I had just committed a felony for not paying the entrance fee.  I informed the gate man that I had actually written a check out to AFH Band for both me and my daughter and had contributed $10.00 to the cause. And if he would like to follow me to the ticket office I could prove to him that I was not being dishonest!! They still did not believe me and by this time the line behind me was growing by the minute.  This was my first experience of being falsely accused.  It really happens in America!  And it was a total of a huge amount of money!!  I was starting to get very upset so I informed the group that I had a twelve year old daughter sitting in the bleachers all by herself with the hundreds of other band supporters so I was leaving. And I left.

I finally found Julz and informed the people around me that I apparently had a wrist band that was too light.  They laughed and noticed that my daughters wrist band was the same color.  The next thing I noticed  was Mr. Gate Man walking with another crowd of people who I thought were looking for me.  It almost felt like the Gestapo was after me so I told Julz that I was going to the ticket office and that I would be right back.  I was so careful running through the crowd so I wouldn’t be seen. I reached the ticket office in time to tell my story to the sweet ladies who believed every word I spoke. They informed me that the paper wrist bands earlier that day had been a lighter red color so they knew I was telling the truth.  Luckily one of them escorted me back to the entrance gate to let Mr. American Fork High Dad know that I was innocent!!  Unfortunately he was gone but the same women at the gate were still there and they apologized to me.  I felt relieved to know that my own peers were finally seeing the light.

By this time I had missed a couple of the big bands performing but I had actually seen them perform at other competitions.  Julz was the reason why I went back in the first place.  She is considering playing the clarinet for Provo High Band so I’ll be committed for another five years!  Only next time I attend a High School Band Competition you can be purty darn sure I’m going to ask about the color of the wrist bands.  I decided to keep my Mt. Timpanogos 2013 light red wrist band so I have something to remember.

When I finally made it back to Julz guess who was sitting right next to her?  Mr. Gateman’s family.  He had two kids and a wife and he sat five people away from me.  I decided I was going to enjoy the evening and not let anything bother me.  The air was cold but my heart was warm.  Julz and I had our coats, hats and blankets. Music can lighten the soul and I was grateful to have recovered from another experience.