Friday, February 20, 2015

New Blog is under construction

It has been just over 3 months since we returned home from our Church Mission to Scotland and Ireland.  We had a wonderful experience and I enjoyed writing about our many travels throughout those two countries.

Now we are home we have moved to Arizona and are getting settled into retirement life.  I have my workshop set up and spend time with the wood turning hobby.  I miss writing about our activities and decided that I should continue to log my activities and highlight some of the work I am doing.

New posts will be coming and I will chronicle our activities since coming home and report on things happening.  When I posted to our blog while in Scotland I often wondered who read what was written.  This will be much the same...the main reason for posting is just to write about what I am doing and not worry about whether anyone is reading the posts.

We now live in PebbleCreek located in the city of Goodyear, Arizona.  The air is clean and the weather is warm.  We enjoy the sunsets and sun rises from the patio of our home.

Sunset from our patio

Our backyard looking over the golf course.

Our home...

Sunrise view from out patio...

More posts will be coming soon...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The work for us is done...

We have now been home over two months and getting settled into retirement life.  Our thoughts often go back to our experiences in Scotland...they have been life changing.  We were able to touch the lives of many as we helped them prepare for finding work.  They in turn have touched our lives in a way they will never understand.  I have posted some pictures that representative of our work through the employment center and the workshops we taught.

 Our "home" for the 18 months was the Employment Centre in Edinburgh.  Many hours were spent on the computer preparing material for the workshops and sending emails.

 We set up a sign-in sheet and enticed people with treats when they visited us.  Below is a bulletin board Carolyn prepared.  She would update this board every few months to get people thinking about employment opportunities.  Below is our Centre setup for a Career Workshop.

The people we worked with were a special part of the experience.  Martin Gardner was our supervisor and worked out of the Centre in Birmingham England.  He is a very talented individual and is totally committed to serving the people of the UK regarding employment opportunities. 

 We taught workshops in Galway, Limerick, Tralee, Belfast, Beath, Kilmarnock, Glasgow, Dumbarton, Falkirk, Aloa, Cumbernauld, Edinburgh, and Livingston.

This is Eva and Donovan Bowen, and their two daughters.  Eva and Donovan were the Employment Specialists in Belfast, Ireland.  

An exercise to get class participants to talk with others.

A youth night in Cumbernauld Ward to stress the importance of planning for a career

 A career workshop in Dumbarton, Scotland. 

In additon to the people with whom we worked, we established great friendships with other senior missionaries during Mission Conferences and activites enjoying the beautiful countryside...

 Elders Jones, Browning, Hansen, and Boden with two younger missionaries.

We enjoyed traveling throughout Scotland with the senior missionaries.  We would usually drive the Mission Van but if there were too many, we would also drive some cars.  Above is Sister Brown, Elder & Sister Hansen, Sister Wagar, the Bodens, and Elder & Sister Browning.

  Elder & Sister Jolly were our counterpart working in the Birmingham Employment Centre

A day trip to see another castle was alway fun...Elder & Sister Jones, Elder & Sister Hansen, Sisters Wagar and Ferguson.

  In February, 2014 we attended a Senior Missionary Conference with all the Senior missionaries working in Scotland and Ireland.

At the end of the conference we gathered around the "stone" which was dedicated by President Brown.  The stone has the inscription - "What e'er thou art, act well thy part".  This is the motto of the mission and wise words to live by...The work is now done for us but the work continues with other missionaries.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Players...

As we end the blog relating to our mission I wanted to post a few pictures of the "players"We developed fond relationships with some wonderful missionaries who were serving the Lord with all their might, mind, and strength.  We hope to maintain these friendships and the great memories of serving together.

 Elders Brown and Windhausen were the Zone Leaders in Belfast.  We had met Elder Windausen earlier in our mission as we did flat inspections.  He is from Germany and almost sounds like an German accent at all.  Both were wonderful young men.


Elders Rogers and Pienarr worked in the Edinburgh Ward.  Elder Rogers was from Austrailia and Elder Pienaar was from South Africa.  We introduced them to root beer floats and to our surprise, neither liked them.  They thought the root beer tasted like medicine.
 This was the Morningside District Missionaries in the Edinburgh Ward.  Elder Star was the District Leader and Elder Welsh was his companion.  Sisters Crawley and Hobbs added some beauty to the District.  Sister Hobbs is from England and Sister Crawley is from Gilbert, AZ

 Elders McKhann and Moser were Chinese speaking missionaires in Edinburgh.  Makin is one of their investigators.  Makin was baptized and we helped her find a part-time job to gain some work experience

Sister Hobbs learning to knit

Elders Moser and Norsford brought Shirley (Xiaoli HU) to dinner at our flat and after dinner we taught her to play Uno.

Sisters Firth and Caswell

Sisters Crawley and Jackson

Sisters Jackson & Crawley with Florina.  Flo is a special young woman who we love dearly.  We have had wonderful times with her helping her to find employment.

Sisters Hobbs and Adams celebrating Sister Hobbs birthday at our flat

Sister Hobbs 20th birthday dinner at our flat

Sisters Lowry & Cardon

Elder Oman and Brother Gibb from Falkirk

Elders Jackman & Leaver

 The Chinese Elders would ususally bring investigators to dinner with them.  Here is Elders McKhann and Norsford with Makin and Zining

Root Beer floats were a big hit with most of the missionaries.  We stocked up on A&W Root Beer when we visited Steve (our son) in England at Christmas.  Elders Star and Utley enjoyed the treat

Zining had never tasted root beer or had a root beer float.  It was a treat for Elders Wells and Shubin

Sister missionaries were wonderful to work with and brought a special spirit with them.  Sisters Birch and Clegg

The All Scotland Mission Conference with President Teixeira of the Europe Area Presidency

The All Ireland Mission Conference with President Teixeira of the Europe Area Presidency.

We didn't get a picture of many of the missionaries with whom we worked.   They are special young people who were dedicated to serving the Lord and testify of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

An end of an adventure, but now a new beginning...

So much has happened since I last posted on the blog.  I will add some additional items now to catch up on our activities for “the record” just in case anyone is still reading.  At least I will have a record for the ending of our mission activities.

The last weekend we were in Scotland we received permission to travel to England to visit with our son Steve and his family.  Steve is stationed at the US Air Force Base at Lakenheath, England, which is near Cambridge.  We went with his family to cheer on James, our grandson, as he participated in the high school cross-country meet.  This took place at a high school near London and there were three other schools participating.  It was fun to see James run and he managed to record a "personal best time" in this competition.

On the way home we stopped at the Audley End House and Gardens.  The house is an early 17th-century country house outside Saffron Walden, Essex, England.  It was renowned as one of the finest Jacobean houses in England.  Audley End is now one-third of its original size, but is still large, with much to enjoy in its architectural features and varied collections.

 These old homes are fun to tour and each gives a "window into the past" of what life might have been like.  As with many others of these home, we were unable to take pictures on the inside so these just show a wee bit of the gardens.

We returned to Edinburgh to meet the couple who would be replacing us – Elder & Sister Leavitt – and prepare for the trip home.  It is with mixed emotions that we worked through this week. 

 We took one last trip down to the heart of Edinburgh.  I have grown to love this city and its beauty.  Above is the St. Giles Cathedral.  It is a beautiful building and I love to go in and see its grandeur and the beautiful stained glass windows.  The Mission will be presenting another concert here at Christmas, performed by a group of young missionaries.  The acoustics in this building are quite something to hear...

Below is the house of John Knox, the Scottish reformer who played a major role in changing Scotland from a Catholic country to a Protestant country.  It is located along the "Royal Mile" which I love to walk to see the history and the interesting sites.

There was much to do the final few days to ensure our files were complete and everything was ready to turn over the work to the Leavitts.  We are anxious to return home to see friends and family but sad to leave Scotland and the many people whom we have grown to love.  This has been a wonderful experience and in many ways we don’t want it to end…but we know that there is “life after a mission” waiting for us in Arizona.

We left Edinburgh on Saturday, October 18th and flew to Washington DC.  We stayed with our son John and his family for the weekend.  It was great to see them.  On Monday we flew to Orange County and were met by some family and friends.  On Tuesday I stopped into the office of Rutan & Tucker to see many friends.  It was a great reunion.  That evening the Flemings hosted an open house to welcome us home and again we were able to get reacquainted with many friends.  Wednesday morning we went with Carolyn's brother and his wife down to the beach to eat breakfast.  I must admit, as I sat eating breakfast and looked out over this view, I wondered why I decided to leave California...

After breakfast we left California and headed to our new home in PebbleCreek in Goodyear, Arizona.  We were greeted by "welcome home" signs prepared by our grandchildren.  I then remember the main reason we moved - to be closer to family, especially some of our grandchildren.

 Thursday morning I woke up early as I was still adjusting to Arizona time.  I sat on our patio and watched the sun come up and a new day begin...

A new chapter of our life will now begin as we get settled into retirement.  So far, the time here has been very busy getting settled in and continuing to unbox items that have been stored in the garage from our move from California prior to our mission.  In many ways it feels we have now gone full circle to return to Arizona with a wonderful 18 months in Scotland and Ireland as part of the circle.

I really enjoy PebbleCreek and am excited to get involved with many of the activities offered in the community.  

This is the main entrance to our community...yes, it is a beautiful place to live.  It may not have the ocean, but it will be our home for now...

One of the things we had looked forward to in coming home was to participate in the Open House of the new Phoenix Temple.  This will be "our temple" now as is only about 30 minutes from our home.  We wish all our friends could have been here with us to enjoy the beauty of this building while it was open to the public.  One can go to the Church website and find pictures of the interior.   I will post a few pictures here.

 Temples are special buildings of worship to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They provide a special place for worship and a place to perform sacred ordinances...such as baptism for those who did not have the opportunity to be baptized while in this life.

 There is an unparalleled peace and beauty inside the walls of a temple

I invite all to listen to the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  We have a wonderful message to add to your current faith in God and is son Jesus Christ.  Let us add to the good that you have in your life.

Will there be additional posts to this blog?  Yes there will be!!  I am not sure what form it will take, but I intend to continue to post some activities as we begin our next phase of life.  We will be going back to California to give our report of our mission to our Ward.  We will be speaking in the Sacrament Meeting on November 23rd.  You are invited to attend.  The meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. and will be held in the LDS Church building near the corner of Los Alisos and Muirlands, in Mission Viejo.  We have also been asked to participate in a Stake Fireside that evening to talk about our mission experiences and hopefully motivate other seniors to consider serving a full-time mission.

This has been a wonderful journey and I am excited to see what life will now bring was we begin the "life of retirement".  Thanks to all who have read my blog...I hope you have enjoyed reading about our travels as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Until the next post...Cheers!!!