Sunday, December 29, 2013

In Memory of my Mother

Venice Maxwell Whitney Child

January 1955
Bruce and Venice

My baby brother Ward.

My brother Mark with mom in our yard in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Mom was an excellent seamstress. When she wasn’t teaching school she liked to sew all my clothes during the summer breaks. She sewed most of my dresses for dances and my entire wardrobe for my mission including bathrobe and nightgown.

Here we are in front of the Osmond Studios in Orem, Utah with one of the oldest Osmond’s a few days before I entered the MTC.  While we were touring Mr. Osmond asked us in part English and sign language if we would like to take a picture with him.

The three piece rust polyester suit.

Mom and I were in a musical church play together about Mormon Immigrants who moved to Utah during the 1800’s.  Mom played my Swedish mother and dyed her hair blond. She liked the color so well that she decided to keep the same color after the performance.

Mom married Brandt Child 1985

They retired to Kanab, Utah where we liked to visit a lot.

Julz and Jess with grandma 2000.

Mom passed away from bone cancer August 23, 2005.
She was 69.

I miss her.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Memoir from Me

It's Christmas Eve and I got all the presents wrapped around 10:00 pm.  I really thought I would be up until midnight, but these last few years I've been able to get everything done at an agreeable time.

Today was a beautiful clear day and I attended a funeral up at one of the older Grandview chapels.  I had never been in this particular chapel before, and I was impressed by the beautiful woodwork and large windows. Since the funeral or memoriam was around 11:00 am the sun light was shining through and there were no electrical lights that needed to be used. It almost felt like we were in a church some where in Europe with beautiful flower arrangements everywhere.  Emily Harrison was buried yesterday and her family had a service for her today.  I cried during almost all of the talks because this wonderful woman has touched so many lives.

Sister Harrison was my Relief Society President when I had just moved to Provo, Utah as a new bride. My first calling in the ward was taking a cassette tape of the Sunday RS lesson around to all the elderly women in the ward who couldn't get out of their homes very often.  One of the women was Sister Harrison's mother in-law.  I grew to love my calling because these women became my first friends in a place where I had no family.

I knew Emily grew up in Finland because she had such a beautiful accent and loved to talk about her homeland.  I didn't know that she started going to the Mormon church at the age of sixteen.  Her parents wouldn't let her get baptized so when she turned eighteen she secretly got baptized on Christmas Eve. Her parents found a picture of her baptism inside her bible. When Emily got home from school the day they found the picture all of her belongings were packed in suitcases and put outside in front of her home.  Fortunately her grandmother took her in and when her aunt won the lottery in Finland she gave some of the money to Emily so she could travel to Provo, Utah and attend BYU.

Maybe that's why Vuokko Emily Harrison was filled with so much love and compassion.  She had lost everything at a young age but came to Utah and married a returned missionary who had served in Finland while Emily was attending BYU. Emily and Harlan had nine children and I am so grateful to have been able to have associated with the Harrison family for the first six years of my life in Provo.  I felt so much love from the Harrison's that I wanted to be like them.

Today one of the speakers said that Emily told her once that a good marriage isn't from compromising but having the gift of giving.  Someone in the marriage has to give and give and give.

Underneath Emily's picture on today's program it read: Christmas Eve in Finland, families go to the cemetery and place candles on the graves of loved ones to light the dark Finnish winter night.  Emily has done the same with her children for 46 years.  Tonight they placed their first candle on her grave.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sister Florida

Hey Family,
This second week in Normandy has been pretty fun! Especially now that I'm feeling better. We figured out that it was the car's driving wheel that got me sick so quickly. The weather here is more bi-polar than it is in Utah. One day it decided to be 40 degrees, the next day it's 90 degrees, the next day there's so much fog you can't see a thing... crazy. I don't get it. One second you need a coat, the next you need shorts. I'm really starting to miss all the trees in Gainesville. Jacksonville is more what I pictured Florida to be like, but I miss my trees. The sky is too open here.
Thursday we had interviews with President. Mostly he just asked me how my family was.... how my companionship is going.... looked at my planner.... said to keep doing what I was doing and stay happy. It was pretty quick.
Saturday was our Ward Christmas Party!! Theme was the 'Polar Express' they really decked out the whole church save the chapel. Santa came. Everyone was wearing pajamas except for the missionaries. The conductor was Brother Burnett. That's the family who we ate Thanksgiving with, and who gave us bikes to use. He really doesn't have a mustache. 
Saturday was also my halfway mark! Sister Orton and I were in the MTC together so we celebrated by taking mug shots and burning the signs. I apologize for my appearance. I had just ridden home and had helmet hair.
Sunday was my first time at church! I finally got to meet Sister Martinez's recent convert who was baptized just before I got here- Mother Y! As of this week all of Mom Y's kids that are living at home have baptismal dates for the 29th of December!!! We just have to get them to church all three weeks or we're gonna have to change that date. Sister Martinez is excited out of her mind!
I loved the Christmas Devotional last night! I don't know if I should call it the "1st Presidency" Christmas Devotional because only President Monson spoke. I loved all of the speakers, but what Elder Nelson did was very good. They're using that kind of stuff more and more! The person who read Christ's words kind of threw me off though. I'm sad that we couldn't get anyone to it though. The Elders had one of their investigators attend, and we had a few less actives, but most everyone watched it from home. We hope.
We're teaching several people, but none of them want to come to Church. Miss K started investigating because her cousin is a member and her next door neighbor. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and invited her to baptism. She declined saying that she doesn't know if it's true yet. I'm a little frustrated with her cause I don't know what's holding her up. She's been a professional genealogist since she's been 16! I thought the PoS lesson would ring a little more with her. She's more than willing to read and pray though, but she's getting laid off this week so we'll see if she gets to it.
We're also teaching a lady named Sister A who wants to be re-baptized. Her ultimate goal is to go to the temple, but we need to help her work on quitting smoking before that can happen.  -
Anyway. We have to go to a Zone P-day where we'll be rehearsing something for our  Mission Christmas party on Thursday.
The Church is True! The Book is blue! Moroni is on the ball.
Love ya all!
~Sister Carlson

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sister Florida

Hello my beloved family!
This was a really crazy week.
Thanksgiving was really fun! We ate with a family from the ward for lunch.  Then biked to a another family for "dinner". It was way too much food for Sister Martinez to handle and she wasn’t feeling very good for a solid day.
We are in a "Car Share" with the other sisters in the Normandy ward. Sister Heckel (who was once companions with Sister Crowton!!) and Sister Orton (who came out with me in the MTC!!). The Burnett family gave us two bikes that we could use, and the Spanish Elders here gave us helmets. All we have to get are lights to attach to them. Normandy split into thirds, biking every other day isn't that bad! I'm so glad this didn't happen in the middle of the summer.
Saturday was our turn on bikes. I'm very glad that I stole and saved Sister Crowton's tights when she left tons of stuff behind when she left. It's been getting very chilly. We were able to find some new Gators in some apartment place (I really don't like the street system here in JAX - they don't have one. Just a bunch of street names like "Cinderella" & "Mother Goose" - makes no sense!!), then biked to the church for a coordination meeting. After the meeting, we went to a Cambodian Buddhist Temple Dedication! Apparently this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and doesn't happen that often. It really reminded me of "The King and I". There we met up with our Young Women's President and her two sisters. They are from Cambodia. Sister N's sisters are either less-active or not members. They showed us around and got us yummy food. There were a ton of monks there. Lots of Buddha statues. Got to suck on some sugar cane. There were holes dug on all four sides of the temple, and one in the middle of it. People put stuff in the holes that the want to have with them in the next life. If you want to be smarter, you put a notebook, prettier, put makeup, etc. But we were told to be careful to not fall in. If you fall in they have to bury you alive. Like if your child trips and falls in, you can't get them out. You would cry that you can't have them anymore, but they believe that the child will be exalted, or whoever falls in. It was an interesting experience.
As we were getting ready to leave the dedication, we realized that Sister Heckel gave me her cold. Apparently there are a lot of people in the ward with immune-deficiency, and Sister Heckel didn't want me to kill half the ward my first Sunday so she called President and had us quarantined in their apartment. Sunday was interesting. In the morning we had a four hour discussion on the Lord's Prayer, then we got bored and made a fort with their sheets and tables and mattresses. Then we continued our discussion and watched little shows like "the Stone Cutter" and "the Story of John Tanner" that Sister Heckel had, still continuing our discussion throughout the rest of the day. Sister Heckel gets kind of loopy when she's sick so it was really fun. 

Anyway. I'm still on drugs and stuff. It's been a really weird week. I'm sad I missed Sue's baptism, but this looks like it's going to be an interesting transfer!
My new address is:
7101 Wilson Blvd. Apt. 1112
Jacksonville, FL 32210
Try and stay warm in Utah!
Love Sister Jenny