Saturday, November 5, 2016

My Boy is Going on a Mission

Well today my little boy went on a mission to Mexico!!!!!  I feel such a peace and excitement for him to do this thing that he has been wanting to do for a long time.  When I think about him almost there I can't believe that it is really happening.  He will arrive in Mexico around 2:45pm, 1:45 our time. Of course when I see pictures of him I want to cry, but I am still so happy and exited for him to learn, grow and serve.  He was so cute and happy this morning in all his mission garb with his suitcase full of two years worth of stuff.  His room is cleaned out with a few lingering items, Star Wars paraphenalia, deer antlers, scout items and electronics. This mission matters and he knows it, I know it and God knows it.  He is in His hands now and I know he will be watched over.

 One last hug or two as he is standing in line.
He's really leaving!
 By for two!

This last week was filled with family and friends and it was a good send off. We started off the week with eating a Mexican feast at the Bagleys. Suzanne Bagley is a childhood friend that lives
about 45 minutes away.
His last day of work was last Thursday.  He had a great job at the Paramount theater. That job has been a huge blessing in his life.  The owners are great examples and the atmosphere was just right.  He was able to save a lot of money for his mission because of his job.  The owners were also really good to him.
So Friday morning we got up early  and drove to Provo, where we picked up Kate and visited my parents in a Richfield.  It was great to see my dad sitting up and we really laughed a lot.  Megan my sister from Washington was also there and planned to come to Kyle's farewell talk.  Kate, Kyle and I then drove to Manti, where we went to the Manti Temple. It is such a beautiful temple.  Then we went to my neice Amy's where they had a Johnson gathering and we saw, Amanda and Ben who are expecting a baby boy in January, Trevor, Jack, Gwendolyn, and Polly. Laurie and Rebecca came too and Mitchell.
The next morning we woke up and went to the Provo City Center Temple.  Laurie, Megan, Amy, Kyle and I.  It was another beautiful place of peace.

For the ride back to IF we packed Kate, Elliotte, and Mitchell  into the back seat and drove to IF.  That night Megan showed up and stayed at our house with Elliotte and Mitchell as our guests.  In the morning, the Christensens showed up, Ashley, Erin, Jed, Matt, Tyler and Maddie with Laurie and Rebecca right behind them.  Laurie flew from Georgia. and it was her birthday, so we celebrated real quick. The local Jones came as well with  Mark and Sarah, Emma, Jake and Spencer, Grammie, Michael, Stephanie, Craig, Sydney and Regan.

We all went to the church and waited for Kyle to give his talk.  When he was first assigned Kyle asked me how long it had to be.  I only remember him giving two talks as a teenager.  I'm sure there were more, but jumping from 2-3 minutes to an adult talk is a little daunting.  I said 20 and he groaned a little.  He was hoping for 5.  I said 15 at the least.  I think it may have been around 13.  Anyway he did a great job.  He did prepare, but the best part was his testimony at the end.  He actually got emotional.  You had to be there.  Part of it was his testimony and part of it of the love he felt for all the family and friends who have helped him over the years. Of course we all became emotional as well.  That has never happened to him before.  He didn't quite know what to do about it.  The talk was the most stressful part and then he could relax, even more than the mission.
We then gathered at our house for a family dinner.  It was so fun for everyone to be with Kyle on his second to last night. Our neighbor Colleen made it special by preparing a feast of pulled pork.  All the Jones in Idaho and dear friends really helped too.  It was really lovely surrounded by family.


This next part is from Laurie's blog:
There were a lot of highlights that day, but my favorite moment was when we were driving away with Kyle's sister Katelyn. Traditionally the siblings run to the corner waving to the departing family member. This day was no exception. It was so darling to see the little sisters, but then when Kyle, the missionary, came running up the sidewalk in his shirt and tie waving for the last time for 2 years I was overcome with emotion and gratitude for the love in this good family.

The next night, Kyle, our family, Rigby Jones and Mom went to have Kyle be set apart as a missionary.  It was another tender moment.  Kristen was at volleyball practice, so she snuck in for the actual setting apart.  Most of us gave Kyle advice, the most memorable was Regan, "Don't eat gross food."  President Stevens, Bishop Kunz, Jeff and Michael set him apart and it was amazing.  The most important words that I wanted to hear I heard, which were health and safety.  Stephanie and Michael gave Kyle a candy bar lei.

Then we were serenaded by the Oklahoma Jones.  They sang "Feliz Navidad.  We Want to wish you a Happy Mission."  They were in costume and everything. That last night we just sat around and talked.  It was so nice to have this missionary in our midst.

That morning we all woke up early, and drove to the local airport.  It was so exciting and tender to have him already be a missionary finally going to serve the Lord.  I was expecting a cloud over my head that day, but had just the opposite.  I felt a love and excitement for him.
I was hoping some person would take a picture on his journey and it did happen.  He sat by someone who sent a picture and then after Kyle made it to Mexico that person told me that he landed and will be a great missionary.  It was a sweet blessing.

That night we got a very brief message that he is alive and the flight went smooth. Also that he wouldn't be writing for 1 1/2 weeks.  It is better than nothing.  I guess there is not much to say that first night.
Now that he has been gone a few weeks, we have grown a little more used to him being gone.  Even in church I save a seat for him, because he usually prepares and or blesses the sacrament. There has been a lot more singing and dance parties, less trips to the store for milk and food lasts a lot longer.  I miss his cute sense of humor and presence, but he is doing bigger and better things and I couldn't be happier for him.  Here is his first letter.  I think he is going to be OK.  I hope he can live without milk.

Hola Everybody,
The mission has been going great.  The first couple days were a little crazy but I think I'm used to it now. My companion's name is Elder Hansen and he's pretty good. One kind of funny thing that happened this week was with "our investigator." We've had an investigator who we had to teach since the second day IN SPANISH.  It was a little stressful but me and Elder Hansen have been doing pretty good. The funny thing is that while we were teaching her I noticed there was a gigantic moth next to her leg on the chair she was sitting on. It was like the biggest bug I've ever seen and I didn't want to interrupt the lesson so I waited until after we had finished. When the lesson with Nayelli was over I pointed to the side of the chair and Nayelli ran out of the room and hid behind the door. Then I put it on my notebook, held it out the window and it flew away. Nayelli was kind of mad at me for not telling her right off but she was happy it was gone. When we played get to know you games at the beginning I never had a "most embarrassing story," so I think karma wanted to help me with that. We were eating breakfast at comedor and I got this yogurt drink thing.  Our district was eating together and we were just talking when I decided to shake my yogurt drink. All the sudden I was covered in orange goop. Apparently I didn't tighten the cap of my drink so well, so when I shook it the cap fell off and yogurt got all over me. So I guess that's my embarrassing story now (even though it wasn't that embarrassing). We got to go to the Mexico City temple today which was pretty awesome. I loved it a lot. Driving through Mexico City is crazy though.  This city is soooo big I can't believe it. The Spirit is everywhere in the CCM and I don't think I have ever prayed more in my life, but it's awesome. No one in my district wants to do cross fit so that's kind of lame but we have played a lot of ultimate, which is awesome. We live in these house things that are kind of cool but I've seriously only been in the kitchen and the living room like twice and once was to take one of these pictures. It rains like every day here which is sometimes annoying. I ran into Elder Taylor a couple days ago and he seems to be doing well so far on his first week.I can't get mail on any day except P-day unless you send letters through a website called dear elder or lds package something then they print the letter for you here at the CCM and put them in your district mailbox. You don't have to send me any, but if you want to that would be cool. Even though the CCM is basically like school I actually love, love it. I love learning the language and learning about the gospel. The gift of tongues is definitely real and the Spirit is so strong here. Even though my Spanish is still not great, it's getting better every day. I cant wait to actually get out there. I love you all, the church is true and never forget it. Also have a great conference. I know I will (even though I don't get treats for answering questions right). 
Love Elder Jones

Monday, August 29, 2016

25 Years

 25 years ago on June 14th we were married in the Oakland Temple.  Just to reminisce about this, Jeff's family was living near Oakland at the time.  My family has always been in Dos Palos which is about 2 hours away.  We went early of course with some family, friends and ward members.We were eating breakfast talking like normal.  I was in my head thinking, "  How can we be talking about nothing at a time like this.  Don't you know that I am getting married this morning.!!!"  It really was a lovely day, even the weather, was perfect, which is unlike Oakland. 

Just for fun I wanted to mention 25 things I love about Jeff, not in order. 
1.  He's got your back.  Jeff will do anything to support, help and make my life easier.  I know it's pretty great.  Well there is one disclaimer, he does not have your back in a water or snowball fight.  It's to the death and we have all accepted that.  
2.  He is sentimental.  He has this journal of pictures and experiences  that we have been through.  He loves to talk and remember all of our great experiences together.  
3.  He is humble.  I remember when we first got married and we were setting goals for our family, he was all for it and involved.  I had many friends complain about how their husbands would get defensive whenever they would try to set family goals.
4.  He is fun!  I used to consider myself a fun one in my family.  My dad used to say that I play too much and I thought,"  What's wrong with that?." Well I definitely met my match, which has really benefited me because sometimes moms get tired and I like it when the kids want to play with their dad.
5.  He is tall, dark and handsome.  I know you don't get your favorite type usually because you are looking for more important qualities, but I did happen to luck out on that one.  Now he is tall, silver and handsome, and very distinguished I might add.
6. He is charitable.  When we were at BYU, whenever someone stalled their car or needed help, he was immediately willing.  He didn't hesitate.  It's the same way in my life.
7.  He is low maintenance.  He is one of those guys that picks the shirt on top and  only complains about how he is sick of his clothes because  they are 10 years old. 
8.  He is funny.  We have been through a few stressful times and I remember that right before my first thyroid surgery I was feeling nervous and he said something funny and we were laughing and talking like nothing. He is a diffuser.  His jokes don't always come out the way he wants, but it's totally worth it. 
9.  He's a spoiler.  When it comes to love languages, I happen to be one of those people who like them all.  I don't require them all, but am happy with anyway you want to show love.  The spoiling thing is really fun, because I'm not used to it.
10. He does the dishes.  Many people have asked how I got him to do that.  He came that way.  Thanks Rhea (Jeff's mom)!  
11.  He will dance with me. I love to dance and always have.  When we were at BYU country dancing was the rage and I went dancing a lot.  So, when we met, he was willing to give it a try.  It doesn't come naturally and rhythm is a struggle, but the guy keeps trying and still takes me dancing. 
12.  He is a hard worker. I'm not kidding when I say that there is not a lazy bone in his body, I mean it.  If our kids have turned out to be hard workers it's probably because of Jeff.
13.  He is my best and favorite nurse.  When we first got married I don't think I was a great nurse because I rarely got sick, so not much empathy.  Then after morning sickness for months on end and cancer I am so impressed with his ability to serve me so perfectly. He taught me everything I know in the nurse department.
14.  His favorite place to be is home. When Jeff was the Bishop he was really busy and gone a lot, but I never felt neglected because I knew if he could, he would to be home.
15.  He is competitive.  We have had so much fun over the years competing in little things just for fun.  Like who got the best meal at the restaurant, etc.  I finally figured out how to beat him in racquetball every once in a while.
16.  He has a superpower.  He has the ability to run up a mountain no matter how steep, or how out of shape he is or how old he is and love it the entire way.  He is a mountain goat.  Some of our kids inherited this gene.  It is real.
17.  He is loyal.  I didn't realize this when we first got married, but this loyalty has been so great to depend on all these years.  He is totally content in marriage.
18.  He doesn't know how to flirt. I never had to worry when he was in college and some girl would sit by him or give him attention  thinking he was single at first.  He never gives any one the wrong idea.  
19.  He is a family man.  He is so in love with his family and being with them that we know exactly where he wants to be.
20.  He just keeps trying to be an accent person.  it is pretty entertaining to hear Jeff try accents.  They usually end up sounding like a pirate no matter how they begin.
21. He is creative. He has this creative streak that I really admire.  He just makes everything we do a little more exciting.
22.  He is faithful.  He trusts in God and serves Him with all his heart, might, mind and strength.  He has always been a faithful follower of Christ.  When ever he shares his testimony, he gets emotional. 
23. He takes me on a date every Friday or Saturday or both.  I absolutely need a date every week.We both believe strongly in taking that time together, but he makes sure it happens.  I think it is very romantic and I love being with him more than anyone else in the world.
24. He takes me seriously.  I grew up in a family with 7 strong girls.  We talked and philosophized with my parents and were used to be taken seriously when we had an insight or opinion.  He has always treated me as an equal partner and we have made our decisions together. 
25.  He's my favorite.  When we first got married we had a hard time getting pregnant.  Katelyn came after three years of trying.  We were so thrilled to finally get our family started, but those three years we learned something.  We really, really like each other, not just love, but really like.  We know that when the kids leave we will have a blast because we love to be together.

Just for a surprise to Mary I thought I would also write 25 things I love about her

1.   Mary is pure sunshine.  You only have to be around her for just a few minutes before you begin to feel the blessing of her influence on you.  Just like the sun on a spring day.
2.   Mary is an adventure girl.  Mary is game for just about anything.  Cliff jumping, long boarding, rafting, hiking Table Rock, or long road trips she is up for the adventure.
3.   Mary is fearless.   Over the years I have watched her face some huge challenges and she takes them in stride and makes the most of every day.  Cancer, tough church assignments, financial strains, health issues, and the responsibility of being a mother are just a few things she has faced.
4.   Mary is a true disciple of Christ.  She is ever trying to serve and help others.  I have watched her countless times be on the Lord's errand and make a difference at a crossroad moment.
5.   Mary is a "Jolly Holiday".  Mary is the type of girl that makes a holiday.  She still gets excited for holidays just like a kid.  No matter the holiday she still believes and the magic begins.
6.   Mary is a hard worker.  Mary is a master at knowing what to do and when to do it, but still getting all the jobs done that never seem to end.  She never gets the job ahead of the individual.
7.  Mary's voice is "Butter".  Have you ever heard a voice that just makes you happy.  Whether speaking or singing her tone brings me joy.  We had a friend that described things that where perfect as "Butter".  So Mary's voice is "Butter"
8.  Mary's smile is like the ultimate "Butterfly Effect".  Mary's smile is a "Miller smile".  When she smiles your day changes and that benefits everyone else around you.  The effect just keeps on going.
9.  Mary likes treats.  Its always fun to share a delicious treat with someone who can appreciate and make the treat better.
10.  Mary loves people.   It takes only a few minutes to realize that she is a people person and not because she wants attention, but because she completely loves getting to know people's stories and sharing in the joys and lifting up in their challenges.
11.  Mary is silly.  She never takes herself to seriously and has a spazzy side that is fun to watch come out every once in awhile
12.  Mary is confident.  She really believes that given enough time she can do anything.  She is willing to take on a task and will do it to the best of her ability.
13.  Mary is beautiful.  Inside and out Mary radiates beauty.  The is nothing about her that is not beautiful.  If she where a flower she would be the one that a gardener would design their whole garden around to showcase.
14.  Mary is ever learning.  She is constantly trying to improve and learn.  She is always gleaning things to improve upon from any source she can.
15. Mary is humble.  When ever she gets a compliment she is genuinely surprised by the comment.  She does not think that she is that different or anything unique.
16. Mary is the ultimate "All American Girl".  Mary always says that she is not really great at anything but can do a lot of things okay.  All I have to say is I think she is the perfect "All American Girl".  In my mind she is great at anything she puts her mind to.
17.  Mary is a great homemaker.  Mary has made our house a home from day one.  She is a great cook and has made our home beautiful, but this is all secondary to what she does for our home. When she is home our home is truly a sanctuary.  "Home is a haven where faith, obedience, and love give the courage to face the storms of life"  This is a quote we placed on our dining room wall when we moved in.  Mary and I wanted a statement that describe what we wanted our home to be.  She has been a haven to all of us.
18.  Mary is positive.   No matter the situation Mary is always going to look for the bright side of things.  She simply refuses to be negative or dwelling on what is wrong.
19. Mary loves being a girl.  Mary is proud to be a woman and loves the blessing of being a woman.  She is confident in her God given worth and is a great role model to all women around.
20. Mary is a great teacher.  Great teachers don't just stand up and lecture or focus on sharing their wealth of knowledge with others, they make those they teach better and motivated to learn on their own.  Mary has taught all ages and they all are better after being taught by her.  I am ever improving from her teaching me.
21.  Mary is competitive.  She love a good game and loves to play.  I just wish she would agree to one more leg wrestling match.  She won the last one we had (23 years ago) and has never agree to a rematch.  I guess I will always be the runner up.
22.  Mary loves seasons.  Mary loves the change that is brought about by each season.  She finds joy in each season and enjoys making each season special to us all.  Although the winter season I am sure she would agree is a few months to long.
23. Mary is a true romantic.  Everything about romance is fun to her.  She loves the chase, the romantic tension, the catch, the devotion, the struggle, and the match making.  After 25 years the sparks still fly.  Thank you Mary for being willing to keep our relationship young and fresh.
24. Mary is a kid at heart.   Mary loved being a kid and the excitement and joy that comes from discovery.  She has never lost this desire to discover and excitement that comes from it.
25. Mary is my Best Friend.  If I were stranded on a island I would be thrilled to have Mary by my side,  but if I had all the world's population to spend my days with and could choose from a different person each day I would still want Mary every day.  She is everything I hope to be in this life and brings me ultimate joy.   She is the "Angel" that God placed in my life and helps me feel Heaven daily.

Mary Miller thank you for saying "Yes" all those years ago.  You are truly my greatest blessing!