Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memoir from Marci


For the last five years I have really looked forward to summer break. My body just seems to flow with the natural movements of getting up in the morning when I feel completely rested. My eating habits seem healthier, I appreciate the small things like slowing down, not always in a hurry to get to the next thing in my life. I even like chewing my food slower. Summer is just a restful, peaceful time for me. The heat doesn't even bother me any more, although it's nice having central air in the house.

Getting outside and moving around in my  little secret garden brings so much pleasure and delight to me. My little seedlings have started to sprout and my tomatoes are growing strong in the warm sun. This past spring has been very cool and rainy. Lot's more moisture than usual! I'm not complaining, it was nice. My tomatoes have kind of struggled and haven't gotten a head start like they did last year so next spring I may keep them in the house longer by my warm bay window. Our Provo mountains are beautiful, they have more green covered all over them. I feel so blessed to live in such an amazing valley!

Last month I renewed our membership to the Provo Recreation Center since GW is now an official senior citizen. The price for a couple is $200.00 a year so I couldn't wait to get started again and use the facility more often. When the rec center first opened we had a family pass for about eighteen months but it expired about a year ago. I have missed the weight lifting machines because they seem to stretch my stiff bones and muscles.  Yesterday I found out that there is a weight lifting coach on hand three days a week. The price is $5.00 a session if you already have a membership so I'm going to budget one session a week.

Today I met my new coach. Her name is Krisy. She is majoring in Exercise Fitness at BYU and she is just a tiny young thing. It doesn't bother me one bit to have a pretty healthy gal helping me, I like her happy attitude and I think we'll get along just fine. She asked me what my goals were for the summer. I told her I usually always lose around ten pounds every summer and gain it all back on by the time the school year is over. So my goal for this summer is to lose twenty pounds and maybe keep going once school starts so I get back to my thirty year old self again. I listened to George Noory on the radio last night and his mother told him that even though she is eighty-seven years old she still feels like she is in her forties! Now that would be a nice goal to have, always feeling like I'm in my forties. Although when I was forty I was forty pounds over weight through out that age so I'm shooting for thirty. That was my ideal self.

Here's the funny thing. Even though I'm not my ideal self right now, I still like myself. My body struggles more when I try certain things so I guess in the back of my mind being lighter would probably be easier and better for me, but if I don't make it I'm ok with that. I'll just keep trying. Life is good.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sister San Diego

The title of a fabulous talk by Jeffery R Holland!
Explains my entire week...
Trails. Satan. Etc.
It just means something amazing and life changing is about to happen.
Confront your trials and face your fears.
Also... Speaking of Elder Holland, HE'S GOING TO BE HERE IN 3 DAYS.
I've already been having dreams of meeting him haha! My excitement
level CANNOT be measured.
All is well! Sister Essymba and I have literally been playing "Come,
Come Ye Saints" on repeat for the past 3 days. Life=theme song.
She also taught me a song in Kota! (One of the 13 African dialects she knows)
It goes as follows:
"Yow bay ya papay yow bay ya
Koomoo NA goo gala yo bay
Papa bung a buh bana"
Now.. Video tape yourselves reading THAT and send it to me so I can
make my companion smile ;)
Once upon a time,
Sister Essymba and I were driving in the car. She declares to me out
of the blue:
"Sister Carlson,
When my grandmother was 14, she was lost in the forest for 5 years.
She came out of this experience knowing everything about the earth.
Which leaves will heal you, which leaves will kill you. She is a wise

... I know.
The work!
Keep breathing deeply because we're still so busy I can hardly keep
up! I'm starting to think that's just how life goes in La Jolla.
It's been kind of fun connecting with those whom I knew a year ago.
For instance:
This week we had a lesson with a gal named J. We invited H
to come along since they are both UCSD students (reminder, I taught
H a year ago when she was investigating) J LOVED the Plan
of Salvation and it was incredible to hear H's testimony of when
she first was taught the plan. It struck me at that moment that I was
surrounded by converts (and a soon to be recent convert). How
beautiful this gospel is and how often I am reminded of that by my
very own recently converted companion. To hear a converts testimony is
equal to non-other. I would say that's true even in my own family.
(Thanks dad)
I am so thankful God allowed me to come back to La Jolla. We've been
visiting so many people I already had connections with and it is
bringing miracles. Drawing people back to the fold and inviting others
in! There is no better work.
With the thought of drawing others in, I would like to end with a few
notes I took at the last MTE's. President showed us a short clip of
David A Bednar, standing in front of these missionaries, telling them
how to pray ha!:
"Please bless those that aren't here his week, that they will be here next week"
Totally faithless. That is the prayer of an object. That prayer in
essence is: we're not going to do anything.
Instead- "we thank thee that we could partake of the sacrament, thank
thee for the spirit, we are now going to conclude this meeting and go
home, Heavenly Father, today we're not going to ask thee to bring
people to church next week. We're going to go do it, and we're going
to do it now. Everyone here knows at least one person that is not
here. We're all going to go get them. We're going to go to their homes
and ask them with love, why weren't you at church today? Can we help?
I have no authority, if he bishop doesn't like what I'm praying, he
can ask me to sit down, but he hasn't asked me to sit down. So I'm
going to keep going. We always talk, we hardly do. We don't need any
meetings to do this. We're going to go. Please inspire us so that we
do not now all go to the same house"
Pray with the expectation to act. 25% would come back if we acted. Ask in faith.
Cut the fluff.
Fear not.
I love you all
-Sister Carlson

Our apartment

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Jen's Birthday

 A fun gift from Sister Carlson
San Diego Padres

Had a great visit with Dr. Dunn

Lakeside 6th Ward Young Women and Young Men hiking the Y.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sister San Diego

All is well!
Crazy busy week. I am currently sitting in Costco while sister Essymba
gets an eye exam. You know what they say: "if you can see, you stop
getting headaches".
That's not a saying :)
Ha! I don't even know where to start..
Tuesday- Added D with a date.
Wednesday- Taught at Zone Meeting with Sister Schmitt.
Thursday- MTE's! Gave a STEPP talk. Went back to Mt. Woodson with Sister E heh..
Friday- MTE follow ups. Added Sherif with a date.
Sunday- R's confirmation! I gave a talk on being a disciple of
Christ. W bore his testimony at the Mission President's Fireside!
Had the chance to sing with Sister Starr!

Okay so we just spent the rest of our P-day with Sister Schmitt and it
was a blast haha!
We traveled in-between Costco and Walmart (driving the mission
president's wife places... Breath in.... Breath out) she is so
amazing. At Costco, she was talking to the woman taking her money...
And she was able to convince her to meet with the YSA missionaries in
Chula Vista. Ah Sister Schmitt. I just spent my day laughing and
loving her. At Walmart, she was cracking jokes right n' left then gave
me a pep talk about my life when I get home. Apparently she and sister
Richardson have planned my singing carrier. We get to teach with her
tonight as well! Ah :D Sister Schmitt.. Mission mom ;)

Well. No time to write anything else. Ha!
I love you all so much.
The crowning characteristic for love is loyalty. Here's some thoughts
from my talk. Don't laugh:
Now I'm here replacing sister Wilson, it's a hard task to do. One, she
is so loved, and two, I literally cannot fill in her shoes. She's a
size 10, I'm a size 5.
Once upon a time I asked sister Wilson what was the number one thing
she learned on her mission: it's kind of flipped but she learned who
she can become. What it means to be a disciple of CHRIST.
Friday we had a meeting with our mission president. He showed us a
clip from a talk Jeffery R Holland gave:
"What I need, Peter, are disciples--and I need them forever. I need
someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach
my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly,
truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned
me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It
is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the
ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to
change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last
time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify,
labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you
exactly what they did to me.”
Then, turning to all the Apostles, He might well have said something
like: “Were you as foolhardy as the scribes and Pharisees? As Herod
and Pilate? Did you, like they, think that this work could be killed
simply by killing me? Did you, like they, think the cross and the
nails and the tomb were the end of it all and each could blissfully go
back to being whatever you were before? Children, did not my life and
my love touch your hearts more deeply than this?”
My beloved brothers and sisters, I am not certain just what our
experience will be on Judgment Day, but I will be very surprised if at
some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what
Christ asked Peter: “Did you love me?”"
If he love me, keep my commandments.
D&C 42:29 If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments.
Obedience burns miracles, but exact obedience brings miracles.
To do missionary work, we first have to focus on ourselves. Sanctify
yourselves. Love God. Be obedient . No growth in the comfort zone and
no comfort in the growth zone.
Once you've fixed yourself on Christ, share! Remember these people are
your brothers and sister. Remember the worth of souls.
D&C 18:10-16
Fear not. Isaiah 41
Sorry if it doesn't make sense! Haha!! Look
Revelation when I went to the temple today? "Be more like your mother"
Take it what you will. I cried.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Jess has been gone for almost an entire year. These are emails sent her to since May 2015.

May 2016

Dear Jess,

Next week we get to hear your voice once again! Our church starts at 9:00 am and goes to 12:00 noon. I am really looking forward to seeing your beautiful face and talking to you at the same time! Technology is amazing!!
Today our testimony meeting was very spiritual. The spirit was so strong you could cut it with a knife. I think my eyes stayed moist during the entire meeting. I enjoyed hearing from some of the soon to be high school graduates, like Vanessa Hinckley and Brooke Tuinei. Their testimonies really touched me. 

Dad went with me to the Finance class during Sunday School. It was awesome. I am learning lots! In fact dad liked it so much today that for Mothers Day he is going to hold a family meeting with Jake, maybe Brittany, Jen and Julz. We are going to talk about what we learned today and maybe next weeks lesson.

This next up coming week is dance week at BYU. We have tickets for Friday night. Julz will have to miss a rehearsal on Wednesday night since she has a Jazz concert. So there will be a lot of driving on my part but the weather has been so nice and cool that I don't have many complaints. 

Dad fixed almost all of the broken things around the house yesterday. It took most of the day but no matter we saved a lot of money.

Love, mom

Email to Jess April 2016

Dear Jess,

Conference just ended and we are all happy and uplifted. The spring weather is beautiful outside so I opened all the windows. My eyes are kind of itchy from allergies but I don't care. I just love conference weekend. I got a lot of cleaning done yesterday so I'm happy to have a clean house as well.

Some of the talks that stick out in my mind are probably the most recent Sunday talks. I really like it when apostle's share stories about the veil. When Elder Cook shared about the extra person in the mirror in one of the celestial rooms I went wow. That daughter was aloud to show herself from the other side so she could be sealed to her parents. I can't wait to see my mom someday, I miss her although I think I felt her spirit a few days ago. Maybe because Three Lakes finally got sold. She told me about thirteen years ago if the property ever got sold I should pay off what we owe on our house.  I'll probably do that some time in a few days! I didn't think it was ever going to happen but it has truly come to pass!!

Another talk that touched me was the General Authority from England. Not only did I love his accent but he opened my heart for the families that have to leave the Middle East. He also touched Elder Uchtdorf as well. I'm glad the church is reaching out to help all the millions of refugees. The news tends to make the refugees sound like a bread in place for terrorist. How can that be when half of them are children.

Elder Gong opened up his talk about his wife losing her cell phone which was great and Elder Hales gave a funny  story about the young man having a dream who his future wife should be. The young woman he was dating gave an awesome answer!

I'm so happy to observe that your two sisters seem to growing closer. They really enjoyed going to the new Saturday's Warrior movie last night. Jenny said the entire theater was almost all females since the show was during the priesthood session. Eliza Tuinei talked Julie into running for sophomore secretary. Eliza ran for Vice President and they both won on Friday. I now like to call Julie Madam Secretary. She also wants to try out for Concert Choir after spring break. I hope she doesn't get mono like I did when I was a teenager. So far she has been doing very well.

Any way I mailed your package on Friday and when I get paid on the 15th of April I'll deposit another fifty dollars in your account so you can go out to eat or go buy something. Thank you for being such a good example. We love you and pray for you every day.

Love, mom

Emails to Jessie April 2016

Dear Jess,

You are officially no longer a teenager. Welcome to the adult world! 

Spring break is over and tomorrow Julz and I start back at school. The good part is school only has six weeks left! Ya hooeeee!

I read three books over the break. Two that an lds author wrote about romance  during the 1800's over in England. Very similar to Jane Austin and Jane Eyre novel's. The third book is called "Wonder". It's about a young boy who was born with a very deformed face. He had twenty-seven plastic surgeries for the first ten years of his life. His mother home schooled him until his tenth birthday. That's when the story begins on how he copes in a private school some where in New York City. The book was on the best sellers list for a while and even though it's for youth and teenagers to read I learned a lot about how the parents raised the young man to have such great confidence. School is very hard for him at first but he learns to adjust to his new environment. Wonder was a very good book and now I'm ready to go back to school to try and encourage younger kids to read.

Fast and testimony meeting is always good at our Ward.  I was doing fine until Lynn Belnap got up and started talking about her newly wed daughter Hannah. Apparently her diabetes is getting worse and her blood sugar is out of control. Through all her pain Lynn said that Hannah is still grateful for all her blessings and her husband. Hannah is really trying hard to look at all the good in this world even though her health is in serious jeopardy. Lynn read a part of Hannah's text saying that God is good no matter what. I couldn't hold back the tears.

God is good.

Love, mom

April 15, 2016
Hi Jess,

Tonight was our ward talent fair. They called it a fair this year because members brought things to display that are more like hobbies. So we had it at the Stake Center because one side of the gym had a bunch of tables set against the wall with everyone's hobbies or talents. There were three beautiful quilts. I hung mine and Pam Schow's quilt blocks that we are sewing from our RS sewing quilt class. Julie made a poster of her dancing photo's from BYU and played the dance she and Kirsten choreographed back in 2014 on Jenny's computer. 

I'm sending you a photo of Jim Robertsons rock collection, it was really neat. There were all kinds of things that were displayed. Then we had another program with singing, poetry, piano (Julie did her recital piece), violins, guitars and ukulele's, even a mandolin. I decided not to sing a country song this year. Instead I entered the cupcake competition for our first annual "Cupcake of Wars. I really took some time and researched on pinterest and youtube.  I was going to do an awesome german chocolate cup cake recipe that Stacy Bell gave me at work but I changed my mind since there were so many chocolate cup cakes.

Instead I found a carrot cupcake recipe with cream cheese in the middle of the cake part and cream cheese frosting on top with sprinkled sugar pecans and carmel syrup dripped on top. Well guess what I didtn't place in any of the categories or get 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. But, I won best in Crowd Favorite!! I was so surprised since there were so many cupcakes. Everyone who attended got to vote and I tied first with cute Cambree Thomas.  Kristen Thomas's daughter who is only twelve years old. I was soooo excited I screamed when they called my name because it was the last award of the evening!! Any way it was a fun evening and I won a baking cook book to go with my small collection of cook books. 

It's kind of funny since I've never made cupcakes from scratch. I've always bought the cake mix from a box. But I found out tonight the top winners used a box mix but just added pudding mix for moisture. Go figure.

I'm now up stairs writing to you since I can't go to sleep and your sisters are down stairs watching Pacific Rim with Michael VanWagoner. Dad left this morning with Grandpa to drive to New Mexico for Dad's dam conference and meetings with other dam engineers. Grandpa will stay in the hotel with dad at night and go visit his 97 year old brother and his 93 year sister in-law. This very couple both still live at their original home from when they were first married.  Dad and grandpa will visit for a week and then maybe drive to Phoenix Arizona to visit Grandpa's 88 year old sister. Dad said it all depends on how Grandpa feels. They may be gone for ten days or come home in seven. 

You looked really cute in the photo with your new b-day clothes! Your denture photo was my fave!!

Love, mom

Provo City Temple Celebration March 2016

Dear Jess,

The Saturday night temple celebration is over and it's a good thing I didn't go because I nearly cried through the entire program. Dad and Jen should be getting home soon but I have a feeling Julie won't be home for a while. Not one seat was vacant at the BYU Marriot Center.  Wouldn't it be great if you some how got to watch it due to wonderful technology. I hope some time during the next few weeks you'll get to watch the most inspired program put on by 1,000 youth.

I cleaned out my closet this afternoon and boy am I giving a lot to DI. It feels good to get a little spring cleaning done now that the weather is getting soooo nice. This morning after cleaning our church I drove to the Provo Library and parked my vehicle like I do at least three times a week and did my walk to the BYU bell tower. I wasn't even planning on going into the Marriot Center to watch the dance temple rehearsal, but as I got closer I decided to go in and watch. Lo and behold guess who was running the entire finale? Miss Kathleen Shefield herself. Now I think I know why she didn't teach this year. The entire program moved so smoothly that I have a hunch she probably over most of the celebration.

Anyway dad and Jen just got home and they said a friend of dads met them at the Marriot Center and gave them reserved seats right behind the General Authorities! So they had great seats through the entire celebration. Tonight I need to get a decent sleep so dad and I can rise early to get to the 9:00 am dedication. We have to be seated thirty minutes early so we are planning on leaving around 7:30 am.

Your package came on Jake's birthday and Brittney really, really liked your gift! Jake liked it as well and he said he would read your letter later. That was so thoughtful of you to mail your brother as well as Hanna a gift. Your sister's and Eliza T are over there right now delivering the gift and singing a song for her that Julz wrote. I hope Jen emails you the song, it is very good and very thoughtful. Jared Ockey thinks they should put the song on YouTube and charge $1.50.

Back to Jake's birthday. Of course he wanted to go to La Casita so we could all gorge our selves. Some of us even took half our meal home but after having birthday cake from Costco we all were in a food coma. I rented a PG movie that everyone really liked and then Jacob taught Brittney how to play the card game, Exploding Cats. I still can't get over how nice Brittney is to Jake. She seems calm and laid back. They seem really good for each other.

Love, mom

March 20, 2016

Email to Sister San Diego
Hi Jess,

We just got back from the temple dedication! It was so awesome!! Since dad and I got there an hour early we got to sit in the Terrestrial room. We even got to sit on the comfy cushion theater chairs that are so beautiful. (Everyone one in the Celestial room had to sit on folding chairs except Elder Oaks of course and the speakers. It pays to be early.) I think that's why dad and your sister got reserved tickets yesterday, because they went early. They already had the regular tickets that Julz's church leader gave me, but dad ran into the man he helped build the movie theaters in the temple parking lot so they got dang good seats in the Marriot Center. Come to think of it most of the couples in the Celestial room today were general authorities and stake presidents with their wives, so I'm sure they didn't mind sitting with an apostle on what ever chair there was available.

One of the most awesome parts was the beautiful window in our room that faces east. We had been sitting for about twenty minutes listening to the tab choir and watching movies of the different temples around the world on the TV screens when all of a sudden the sun came up over the mountain and shown through the beautiful large glass stained window!! The people to my left were smiling like me, it was great! It was like the Holy Ghost was joining us for the first Provo City Center Temple dedication. 😊
After about forty-five minutes Elder Oakes and his beautiful little wife came into the room, so  we all stood up as an apostle of the Lord walked up to the  the front of the room by the veil curtain and gave us a BIG wave!! That was really awesome! Elder Oaks conducted the meeting and gave a talk right before the dedicatory prayer. His voice was so deep and powerful I truly felt a witness that God's special witnesses are on the earth today.

Jenny Morrise sang in the small choir in the Celestial room, they sounded wonderful. In all it was a very memorable, glorious morning!

We only had to stand outside in line for about a half an hour early this morning and it wasn't even that cold thanks to my new pretty royal blue jacket I got at the DI for only $8.00. I think I'll call it my temple jacket from now on. There were spring flowers every where around the temple, it was just an all around wonderful day!

Love, mom

Early March email

Hi Jess, 

Michael VanWagoner just got home. Dad and Jen just went over to say hi. He was a strong missionary to stay out for two years. About every three or four months Kathy VanWagoner would announce in RS to pray for Michael. Due to his health issues he almost came home when he would get really sick but he stuck it out and that takes courage!

I forgot to mention Peg and Jeff Carter came up to dad and I after we gave our talk in the 1:00 pm 4th Ward Sacrament meeting. Peg attends the 4th Ward since she can't come to our 9:00 am meeting. (Due to the Tab Choir Spoken Word every week). Anyway, she thanked us for our talks and wanted me to say hi to you from her since she told me she doesn't get the chance to read your emails very often. So hi from Peg.


Sister San Diego

No time.... But eh, I'll be skyping in next week ;)
Then you'll never hear my voice for 6 months... Ha!
As to when we will be skyping? I am not sure. Both of our wards meet
before 12 so it will probably be eveningish.
Be at the ready :D
I'm loving being back in North Zone! #1!!!! Today, I'm in a trio with
Sister Essymba and Sister Clarke from Temple Square (whom I went on an
exchange with Saturday). Wow.
I just realized what a stressful week I just had HAHA! Ah man :) God
is Good though and so many incredible things happened.
Let's see... So much has happened.
And what an incredible event it was.
I can't even put it into words. Basically, I had the most spiritual
experience of my entire life.

Later, I came to realize that it's all in my patriarchal blessing. How
sweet the gospel is. W cried and cried and cried. His entire
atheist family came and really enjoyed it. I sang "I Stand All
Amazed".. Couldn't get through the 3rd verse without choking up.
We taught the restoration! When I started talking about families, I
pulled up a picture of y'all and started crying again. So many tears.
This mission has not only changed my heart but my entire life. I'm
fortunate enough to return to my refiners fire. I will only come out
stronger. Let the growing begin.
My exchange with Sister Clarke was amazing. Getting to go back to UC
2nd was incredible. I've probably said this before but Sister Clarke
is legit Hanna Ockey. They are the same person. Hanna just so you
know. You would be an incredible missionary.
We had an amazing time together and taught incredible people.
The next day we basically had another baptism. Filled the font,
taught, prepared the music. It was for the Zone Leaders but... We take
credit ;)
Stress city! Haha! It's been great.
W's confirmation on Sunday was great. His little Sister Morgan
came! She's 15 and is basically Julianna.... So Boo. I know what you
would be like if you were atheist ha!
Leaving Mt. Woodson was a hard thing to do..
Those people.
I won't be able to go with W to the temple but I know the new
sisters will have a great time with him there.
I am SO looking forward to working here in the La Jolla YSA and SD 7th
wards! Our new apartment is beautiful and I had a great Prep day with
the Zone. I know miracles are waiting and I'm so pumped.
I love you all!!!
-Sister Carlson