Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Quayd... April 16, 2017

This week, Quayd had very little to share other than his huge testimony.  I know that they finally rode the mountain tram that he's been excited about, but he literally did not say one word about it.  I know that he rode it because of the photos he sent.  They are beautiful!  I'll add them below!  For those who don't know, missionaries get one set day per week to do their letter writing home, laundry, cleaning, shopping and if they have time, to do a little exploring within their area.  Quayd is only miles from Disneyland, but that's in another mission, so he will never get to have that adventure.  Not that he would choose that over this beautiful day he spent in the mountains!

Happy Easter!!!!!

I cannot explain the feeling, I have knowing I can make it back to my Father who is in heaven. I cannot describe the Excitement to know that I can be with my family and my loved ones for all eternity. I cannot express the joy I have felt while serving my mission for him who made it all possible. And it is unimaginable and fulfilling, knowing we can be more like him with his help. I love my savior and my redeemer, My brother and my friend. He is risen. He lives! I know he lives because I've seen him in my life.

I've seen him in other people's lives, stretching forth his mighty hand and reaching people in ways I cannot describe. The feelings and the things, that I have seen are in a way unmeasurable and continues. I love serving him, I love doing his work. At times it's hard. At times I beg for a rest. Or at times I wish to stop because I think too much and sometimes, I can't see my potential and I think I can fail or that I can let these people down. If I'm not out, playing his game, following him with exact obedience like the 2000 stripling warriors and learning his doctrine, as well as his gospel.

But, I know he did what he did to help me carry on through those doubts that I have of being a successful missionary, of helping people come closer to Christ. He helps me just as he can help you because he lives. He has lived through it each day and each moment. I have said it and I will say it again. Missions are hard but the blessings of a mission are tremendous! I can't count or comprehend how much I've learned from this amazing experience. There have been so many learning opportunities, blessings  and rejections that I've had during my time here and it's great!!!

I can't express how happy I am to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. It brings so much peace knowing that He rose and we can rise with him, that we can rise with him in glory, if we choose to do so. My testimony of the savior grows stronger everyday as I serve him. Every day as I cry a little and sweat a little but not to the point of blood.  That would be probably sacrilegious, but my testimony grows in my lord and my God. I just wanted to share my testimony of our savior since it’s His resurrection and since we all have a chance to know him as he knows us.

I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every single one of us and he wants what's best for us. That's why he has given you and everyone else a savior, our brother, Jesus Christ, to come into this world and teach his gospel. He taught us that The Lord’s way is not hard. That LIFE is hard that making the wrong choice is hard, but not the GOSPEL. We can follow him and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love, and joy, or we can go some other way and go it alone without His support or without his atonement and live in a world of madness!!!!

I have seen blessings of his atonement and I have seen many who have used his atonement in vain. They do not understand the role of the savior's life.  They do not see the peace and the joy that he gives. There is no other way to obtain this. The joy the repentance the starting over again except through him!!! Christ suffered where he took upon Himself our sins. He suffered the penalty of our wrongs and He paid the price of our salvation. I can't imagine what he suffered, the thought of being weighed down for the sins of the world, causing him to fall onto the earth pleading with his father to remove the cup from him never-less partaking of the bitterness of it and then bleeding from every pore! I can't imagine that! Nor can I imagine what happened after suffering for the world. Being spat upon, scourged upon, looking at the faces that said crucify him!!!! And then having his hands and feet nailed upon the cross, where he bled and died and in a loving manner pleaded with our father saying forgive them for they know not what they do.

 I don’t know how he could love us, forgive us, cry for us and our salvation looking into the eyes that hated him and mocked and scorned him for his perfect righteousness. I don't know how And I can't express enough for what he did ... I only know that He did and that because He did,  I don't have to die. Because of his Love. You and Every single one of us may be forgiven of our sins. Because Only He can bless us, protect us, give our hearts to beat and give us breath.

Only He can give us strength to bear up the burdens of life and give us knowledge, peace, and joy and forgive our sins. He can and will change us. He can do all these things and will do much more, if we just remember Him, and have faith in him and strive to live as he did. Jesus Christ is the Way. The ONLY way!!!!! And I have seen his love touch those who have searched all their life to find it. This is the lord work and his glory and I'm greatful to be a part of it I cannot wait to the day to see that miracle in the day of the second coming! It's because he lives and because he went through all the pain and the afflictions that we have a second chance!  It's because of his atonement and resurrection, we can live to see our loving Heavenly Father again!

Love you all and hope you have a good week!


-Elder Corbridge

Most P-days since he's been in California, he's done laundry and they've played basketball.  This, as far as he's told me, was his first big adventure, which is farrrrrrrr more up Quayd's alley, than a basketball hoop.  This boy is a nature lover, like his Dad. I would be willing to bet that he felt closer to Doug on this day than he has since he left last July!  Nine months tomorrow.







Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter... a day late...

I've gotten some sort of cold that's settled right into my lungs and I'm almost certain that I've cracked a rib coughing.  Seriously!  This body needs to just stop already!  So, Easter Sunday was spent, for me, curled up in a bawl, feeling cranky, cold and achy.

I do, however, appreciate and think often of the life and atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ and His example of love and compassion for each of us.  I loved reading the thoughts, quotes and traditions of so many family and friends on Facebook and Instagram.

Our Easter celebration consisted of the girls cooking a ham and carrot cake and Doug making Dutch Oven veggies.  The end.  I did buy Easter treats and surprises and put them into a large galvanized bucket all together.  WITH the Easter Grass, which was still in it's plastic bag.  I didn't have the energy to move, so it was handed to them as I brought it home from the store days before.  The girls laughed and especially appreciated the grass, still packaged.  It is what it is.  Sorry.  Epic Easter Fail.  Oh well.  Good thing they are older!

I will share my Easter Tablescape, which is as simple as can be, but I like it and I'm feeling quite simple these days.   And yes, that's a real nest.  Friend, Ann, gave it to me.  The eggs, however, are not real.



Liza and Buddy facetimed in the afternoon.  Aylabelle showed me every inch of her pretty easter dress and told me what the Bunny had brought her.  It was very cute.  Edie looked adorable too and she was sporting one of the cutest bows I've ever seen.  Wait... it was the baby that was so cute... not just the bow.

Life is good.  Even when you ache and fever and cough.  A. Lot.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

ZJ's first real dance

Since ZJ turned sixteen, she has been just dying for the first dance that she could attend.  Oddly enough, just Monday, they announced "MORP", which is Prom backwards, a girl's choice dance.  I thought that it was pretty lame to announce a dance on the week of the dance.  No one knew anything about it!  ZJ did some homework and found out that it was a casual Disney Themed Dance.  Everyone was supposed to come as a Disney character.

The hashtag on this was "Dad always gets the first dance!"

 ZJ wanted to ask Kendall, who she insists is more like asking Quayd.  They spend every waking moment together, driving together to and from school.  She goes to the library and activities with him and girls that he is dating.  She's like the tagalong sister, but they have a special connection.  Zee tells me that she and Kendall are going to get married and have an RV that is filled with animals.  They've named their Ducks and Goats and dogs.  One day, she came home and told me that they needed couples therapy because Kendall didn't like the song she turned up on the radio.  They are just hysterical together.  Layne and Julie, Doug and I just laugh at them.  But, hey... they are good friends and have fun together and I know that she is safe when she is with Kendall.

SO, apparently on Thursday, someone asked them if they were going to the dance.  Kendall said, "I guess not.  I thought I was." I think that he was expecting Zee to ask him.  So on Friday evening, at 9:00, Zee was telling me this and I said, "Go ahead and ask him!"  So, she did!  He worked until midnight and when he pulled in his driveway, across the street, she raced over to him with a gigantuous bag of popped popcorn and said, "I hope it's not too late to PoP the question!  Will you go to Morp with me?"  He said he's ask his mom and let her know in the morning.  We had spent the whole last few hours looking at possibilities for costumes.  And she pretty much knew that Layne and Julie would say sure, go!

SO.  Doug and I met Stott and Wendy for lunch at 11 at Beehive Grill, then we went to the fabric store and grabbed some fabric that felt like suede.  We came home and I figured out a little pattern for a Pocahontas dress.  ZJ had to cut the fabric because I don't have the arm strength yet to use the roller cutter.  But, I sewed, she fringed and then I beaded the dress.  I also made a belt for it while she made a braided headband. She used my mocasssins and voila! Pocahontas!  She looked adorable!

Looking online, every picture of Capt. John Smith was a denim shirt and jeans, so Kendall had it pretty easy.  We had a fun afternoon making her costume, then they went out for pizza, hung out at the USU Library and then played games at Kendall's until it was time to get ready for the dance.





 
 And I put this photo in for Doug.  He just adores Zeej.  It's so funny because she makes us laugh allllllll the time.  She has more personality in her little pinky than most people will ever know.  She is hysterical and so dang animated!  The night before the dance, she was "moderating" the happenings of the house in her "Newscaster", as she calls it, "Professional" voice.  She walked out of our bedroom after prayer and Doug just got tears in his eyes and was laughing out loud.  "She is so wonderful!"  She really is!  Animated much?


ZJ looked adorable and Doug was in tears seeing our baby, going to her first dance. Grace was just excited for Zee to be going!  Grace and Kendall went to a dance together last year.  They are friends, like siblings, but nothing like Zee and Kendall have been since the day that they met.  It was cute to watch him walk in because he is more like a brother to Zee.  BUT.  When he came in, he said, "WOW!  You look amazing!  You did that all this afternoon?"  Zee said that in the truck, he said it over and over, how beautiful she looked.  I reminded her that this, by all rights and means, her first date.   She said, "But, Mom, it's Kendall!"  ha!

Anyway, it was a fun night. They came in just before midnight and she was talking 90 miles an hour.  There was one other Pocohantas at the dance but Zee said that their costumes were nothing alike because the other one was strapless and very short and very immodest.  She felt like a Princess... a modest princess.  WHY do these girls today think that they need to look like the Kardashians?  EeEEewwWWWwWWWW!  That's just my humble opinion!  She said that there were lots of Mickey and Minnies, a Belle and Beast, just lots of great costumes but she loved hers.  I was happy that she was happy.  I will miss these days in the next few years, as the girls are growing.  It's hard to imagine that we will have an empty nest in the next five years or so.  What will we do with ourselves when we don't have teenagers to keep us busy!?

Life is good!  Very very good!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Other happenings...

I've somehow gotten a cold that has settled in my lungs.  Doug's certain that I have walking pneumonia.  All I know is that my ribs are so sore from coughing and everytime I sneeze or cough, it feels like someone is trying to pull my arm off my body at the shoulder!  Not cool.  It's spring.  I want to be outside in the sunshine loving life.  Instead, I am inside on my recliner loving life and hating the cold.

Aside from our big anniversary celebrating last week, we had a few other big events over the weekend... worth mentioning, for sure.

Louise, Jeana and I were asked to go to the mortuary and dress Sally's body for her funeral.  It was a tender hour.  We laughed, we cried and we hurt.  But, mostly, we loved.  Sally looked beautiful, although we all felt that she needed darker lipstick.  We didn't do the makeup or hair, we just dressed her.  I'm sure that Sally's Spirit was right there with us.  What a wonderful gift and experience to be the last to serve her on this earth.

Louise, Jeana, Myself, Lynne, Tina



Since Sally's funeral, we, the lunch bunch, have started group texting.  It's not something that we've done before but it's been fun.  We've talked about everything from decorating our homes to well... you name it.

On Sunday last week, Doug came home from church and told me that he'd felt impressed to invite four of the YSA boys over.  So, the girls and I got busy and prepared a nice Sunday dinner and they all arrived at 3.  They stayed until after six, sitting around the table, laughing hard, sharing life stories and missionary experiences.  What a blessing to have these young adults in our lives.

I purchased enough food to feed 20 of them for Easter Sunday, but with the bug that I have, Doug has said that I'll be staying in bed all day while he and the girls prepare dinner.  They don't know it yet, but they are going to learn to make my tasty carrot cake from scratch!

I have been spending a lot of time with my friend, Ann, who is the other counselor in the YW.  We have truly made a deep connection through our serving these girls. We make Sonic Runs regularly, enjoy shopping together and just gabbing and laughing all the time while we are together.  The girls tease that they are going to have to separate us when we get the giggles in YW.  She's a hoot! My heart is hurting because in a few weeks, she weill be leaving for a summer job in Alaska.  I am going to have a very hard time without her!  I keep telling her that she needs to fly home every weekend and for girls' camp!  This week, we've been preparing for New Beginnings!  I can't wait!

It's just been a busy week until this bug stopped me in my tracks!  SCREECHING HALT!  I don't have time for aching shoulders, broken feet or walking pneumonia!  Sadly, life gets in the way of the fun and good times.  Oh well, it helps us to appreciate the good ones, right!?  Life is good!

 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Quayd April 9th, 2016

It's good to hear from my friends and family. This week was a good week, and at the same time, a haze. Lots of stuff that happened. This week was the preparation of Jackie and Anna's baptism.

This week was the decision to truly follow the savior's example and be baptized in his name. I'm grateful for the stress and the preparation of this baptism. It wasn't like the Mendez family, my first baptism. But, it was close! Not only that, but, preparing for Jasvinn and her two boys to be baptized this coming week and getting the Winchells to be baptized this coming 2 weeks.

A lot has happened this month and it's only the beginning of the month! Some highlights from this week. We taught Jasvinn and her two boys. It was fun, but at the same time truth will always be revealed, when influenced by the spirit. Jasvinn is so ready to be baptized! She comes to church almost every week. She loves the scriptures. She reads them with her kids almost all the time. They are committed and did I mention they’re ready!?!  


I love that members of the church can have a testimony one that is bright and intact and strong. We know God will help us in times of trial. Nephi had struggles and the Lord prepared a way for him to accomplish the His task. When Amulon tried to persecute and kill the believers, the Lord helped them. We testified that the Lord will prepare a way, as long as she was faithful to our Father, that all will work out.

I was able to quote Ezra Taft Benson: Here then is a great truth there. In all the pain, the agony, heroic endeavors in life we pass through a refiner’s fire and the insignificant and unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright intact and strong.


All these trials and challenges, I can testify, make us into a bigger, brighter and firmer person of hope and light and truth. I see it in Jas everyday, as I serve her and her family. It's extraordinary, seeing the change in people. Its been a delight seeing it with this family. As we left, I was impressed to tell her the story of Helaman and his 2000, but I forgot the impression. Then later that week, we were to have another lesson with her and her two kids. My companion were trying to think of what we could do. My companion yelled, “Their MOTHERS KNEW IT!” The armies of Helaman! 

We went in and told Jas, basically, that she was one of the modern day mother of the stripping warriors! She, like that, along with her boys, we told the boys to listen to their mothers and follow with exactness. We also talked about obedience and how obedience can lead to blessings.  Our trials and challenges can be made light with the Savior's help. We saw it in Alma and Nephi and the bright young men in Helaman’s army. We told Jas that she need only do what she is doing… to continue praying, continue reading, continue teaching her boys the ways of the gospel and if she do this she will be blessed, she will have a way to get baptized! I bore witness that God will prepare that way to do whatsoever thing he asks us to do. Love this family!!!!

Now as far as baptisms... Jackie and Anna. This week, has been one hectic week, but very rewarding.  There was a little time attack… a member teaching most of the lessons part. We had to buck through the lessons this week to finish. This week has been all about Jackie and Anna... Lessons, dinner, full stomach, fearing that we weren't going to finish on time and move the date another day. All that bunched together and you have a pretty good baptism!

These two  women are bright in truth yearning to learn more. I'm so grateful I had the chance to teach these daughters of our loving Heavenly Father!  They are very special and they were ready! It was a good  baptism. Anna's family came and witnessed her taking upon the name of Christ. I'm sure they felt something thing special that day and I'm sure one day they will come to the truth and knowledge of the gospel and see the blessings that these two sisters have received.

 I was invited to give a talk on the Holy Ghost for them. Sister Westbrook, Jackies best friend, gave a great talk on baptism, referring it to a Kit Kat candy bar… if you aren't aware of the name she said to KEEP the commandments ALWAYS remember him and last TAKE upon us his name. It was a great talk!  Then, I got to see the coolest thing one of the greatest things - to witness in these 2 years, the best years of life, no one can offer but God - Jackie went first and Brother Westbrook baptized her.


Then, it was Anna's turn. It was a moment to capture! Anna is shy.  She was hesitant to get in the water, but brother Westbrook told her it was going to be okay. I saw him whisper to her and heard him ask, “Why are you getting baptized?” She responded in a small whisper, but I was able to hear it, “Because I'm following Jesus Christ.”  After that, she was brave and was immersed.  Take a moment and think of your baptism, the smile you had on you face, realizing you were doing something, maybe one of the most righteous decisions you've made in your life. I saw that! This baptism… everything was going in slow motion and I enjoyed every second of it!

I know the gospel is true! I know that Jackie Anna made this righteous decision in their life and I'm so grateful that I was there to witness it. I’m going to be even more happy with Jasvinn and her boys, when they receive the blessings that Jackie and Anna had the opportunity of having along with the Winchell’s. They haven't come to church at all.  They are solid. They are ready, but, coming to church has been a problem with them. Well, the stake decided to bring artillery. The whole stake is focused on them. I'm grateful for their effort. These families need the gospel! They cannot survive without it. I'm grateful to be one connected to that true vine, that vine being Jesus Christ.

We had ward conference and bishop gave a great talk about all we can. Labor and do it with a good attitude and if we do that we can be truly happy. Heavenly Father wants us to labor in righteousness.  Bishop said It's good to be with you, it's good to labor with you, work and serve with you. He talked about the importance of work. He said if we are sweating a little and crying a little while we are doing it, this is when we know we are laboring and trying to please God. It insures that our hearts are committed in love. And that we want to serve each other.

Work is important! Gordon B. Hinckley said forget yourself and go to work. Work in this life is the most important thing we can do. We work to have faith. We work to repent and become better with the faith we have and we work to reach our goals. Giving up things that may be not be easy and do maybe a hard thing, but, it's the harder right that matters and in this case, it's following the Savior, Jesus Christ through baptism and even harder with all that we have. working to the very end and receiving our just reward.

Heavenly Father requires that we work in his vineyard.
I've been called to the work and, believe me, being here these almost 9 months… I've sweat a little and have cried a little and have pleaded for a break. So I believe and know that I'm doing hard work, but I have also understood the work of my Savior, Jesus Christ. He worked. He worked with prayer, performing miracles loving everyone and helping everyone come to the truth.

Like in General Conference, he did not dodge sinners.  He was not lazy in showing people their potential. He healed and he blessed, he did all that he did and not only that he worked to the last days of his life. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he worked to the point of falling on his face and pleading with his Father, “If this work could have a respite, just enough to have him breath, a freeing breath, he asked if he had to finish his work. I can testify that he cried a lot and he sweat a lot, to the point of blood and each drop, so that we could do the work that we have been given and that work is small but it's fulfilling.

We sweat a little and cry a little, but when we look back at the work we've done and see the task that made us better, in the long run, we smile and we smile because Christ helped us through it. Christ worked hard and he continues to work today. He works with me, as I serve my tithing of work in this life. I want you to know that I'm grateful for his work. I'm grateful for the souls that have been found in his work and I'm grateful for my tears, whether they be sad or happy and the sweat of riding my bike, bearing my testimony, knocking door to door and just doing his work. I'm grateful that this is the work to bring to this people Christ’s gospel. I’m grateful to be a part of it.

I love you all!


Elder Corbridge

Monday, April 10, 2017

40

windy, rainy, snowy, sleety, cold, warm anniversary day

Doug and I celebrated our big 40 years together on Friday!  We had a perfect celebration day.  We had talked for the past two years about what we'd do for our big 40th.  Never did we take into consideration that I might have a broken shoulder!  A few months ago, we thought we might take a hot air balloon ride in Park City, but then we decided to wait on that until I'm more sure of my shoulder because the landings are not smooth.  We will definitely do that in our future, but when I am recovered sounded better.

For our big day out, he took the day off work and we slept in. That was perfect since it was spring break and no one had to get up.   We woke up and just stayed in bed talking for an hour or so.  We were talking about how different our love is today than it was 40 years ago.  We talked about how different our lives are than we had ever imagined and we talked about how we wouldn't change a thing!  We got in the hottub for a while before we got ready for the day and then went to lunch. Doug had a big surprise for me, so we did some shopping for that but didn't find what he wanted to surprise me with.  That will keep and is still in the works.   Then, we went to see Sleeping Beauty together.  I was surprised at how packed the theater was for an afternoon matinee, but then again, it was Spring Break.

We came home to check on the girls and see what was happening at home for a bit.  My shoulder does not do the sitting up for long periods well, so we had a short nap.  We were still full from lunch and decided to go to the Crepery for a treat at about 7, then came home for a late night dvd.  A perfect for us, simple, casual, fun and romantic day.  It really was.

I can't believe that we've been married forty years.  That's just insane!  Forty years!  It's crazy to imagine!  Doug kept saying that he can't wait for the next forty.  I kept saying, "Not in this life!  I don't want to live to be 98 on earth! Too many aches and pains that go along with!  (Spoken from the mind of the bionic shoulder lady!) But, I'll happily take eternity!"

It was a perfect weekend for us, though.  We just hung out together.  Nothing fancy or big at all.  I remember my grandparents 42nd anniversary celebration and asking Uncle Bobby why he did 42.  He said that he didn't think that Grannie and Granddaddy would live until their 50th.  He was right.  Granddaddy passed away less than two years later and Granny was gone shortly after that.  It's strange how he knew.  I was in my 20s at the time and that seemed so old and so long.  Now, in my 50s, even burying a good friend yesterday, I still feel young and the end of life seems forever away still! I plan on a very fun celebration at fifty years, that's for sure!  Let's hope that it is, anyway!

Anyway...  It's been a wonderful four decades.  It's been a rollercoaster of the ups and downs of life.  But, I can't imagine or wouldn't want to imagine life with anyone else on this earth!  He's my better half, my soul mate, my true love.  I am blessed with this good man who treats me like a queen and as though his soul purpose is to make me happy.  I am so blessed to have him as my soulmate!  My friends all agree that I won the husband lottery!  I couldn't agree more! I am blessed!  And as Doug says, "We're only beginning!"  Life is good!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sally

Last night, at 10:00, we knelt around our bed for family prayer.  We'd just finished scriptures without Doug because he was in charge of the YSA ice cream social, following temple night.  It was Grace's turn to pray.  Her prayer, last night, was shorter than normal.  She prayed, mostly, for her brother, Quayd and for our dear friend, Sally Jones, who we knew that within hours would be "graduating", as Doug refers to death.  When it came time to ask for blessings upon Sally, Grace hesitated and said, "Please bless Sally with... (long pause)... peace."  That's all she asked for.

A few moments later, we got the word that Sally had passed away from a glioblastoma multiforme...the most aggressive brain tumor there is.  It's the same tumor that has taken the lives of my Uncle Junior, both of Carol's husbands, Jon and Robert, an incredible 36 year old nephew of Carol's, and another dear friend of mine from our old ward.  Six brain tumors.  Six wonderful people.  Oh, how I hate cancer.

Last year, on the morning that Sally was preparing to leave for the airport to say goodbye to her father, who was dying of cancer, she became quickly ill, was ambulanced to the hospital and it was discovered that Sally had a brain tumor.  She had survived breast cancer ten years before and come through that ordeal with flying colors.  Her father passed days later, while Sally was in the hospital.  I'm still shaking my head in disbelief.


Sally is my wonderful friend, who joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, after almost twenty years of attending, holding several music callings and being a Visiting Teacher.  Sally was from Oklahoma.  Her father was a minister of another faith.  Out of respect for him, she waited years to be baptized.  Her baptism was attended by so many people that it was, literally, standing room only.  It felt more like a sacrament meeting.  What a joyful night that was!

It was only a year or so later, that Sally went through the rigorous task of becoming a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Watching General Conference was a thrill for the babes, as they searched for "Aunt Sally" during each session.  Sally sang like an angel.  Oh, her voice!  When I got the word that Sally had passed away last night, Grace crawled into our bed next to me and we cried together.  I cried because I will miss her, because her husband and son will miss her and everyone who knew her will grieve her loss.  Doug was flossing and came into the bedroom.  We told him the news. Doug took a deep breath and said, "And now, it's time to celebrate her life!"  He was right.  It is time.  The past eleven months have been the time to grieve.  Now, she is free of the pain and she can sing with the angels.

For the past twenty years, Sally, four other friends and myself have gotten together and known ourselves as "the lunch bunch".  Sally was our glue.  She really was.   In the past year, Tina, on the left, has moved to Idaho, Jeana next to her, moved to Idaho, Louise is still in the old neighborhood, Sally has now left us, Lynne moved to the south end of the valley and I've moved but am only blocks away.  We've all been through love, marriage, baptism, death of several family members, divorce (of kids), grandkids, job changes, health issues, you name it.  It is hard to imagine us without Sally.



I would like to share a few of my favorite memories of Sally.  My first will forever be this... our lunch bunch luncheon that I hosted in my home, shortly after we moved to Smithfield.  Instead of going out, I wanted to have us gather there and as we sat around our table, Sally shared her experiences, as she was preparing and auditioning and interviewing (it's the most extensive "audition" you can imagine) for the choir.  We were sitting around our table (and I remember that the table was delivered just hours before they arrived).  Sally was telling her story and then just sang for us.  She sang "Love at Home", unaccompanied.  I had goosebumps and tears fell from my face, just at the sound of her voice.  (As they are now, as I type this memory.)  It was the most beautiful song I've ever heard sung.




She's so elegant!  These were friends who visited her after a Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance.  She's just so classy!

My second favorite memory of Sally was just two years ago, about this time.  We'd just moved into our new home here in Logan.  Sally only lives about ten blocks away.  In the middle of our painting and remodeling, Grace was determined to audition for Bella Voce.  I gave Sall a call and asked her if she could give Grace some pointers.  Sally has been a voice coach/teacher for most of her adult life and shared her gift with hundreds of students through the years.  Sally insisted, "Bring her over!"  We stopped painting, cleaned up and raced over to Sally's home where she spent several hours over the next two weeks helping Grace learn a lifetime of music lessons in just that short time.  I sat in for some of it and was in awe, watching Sally.  It was fun to see Grace growing by the second.  Sally's animation with her movements, her absolute joy in teaching...it was incredible to witness.  I was moved to tears just at the sheer joy of watching her!


So animated!



So graceful!


Her voice.  My heart.


So giving.  I can honestly say that I've never heard an ill word spoken about Sally.


Sally and her husband, Bill, were so kind to our kids. For several years, from the very first year that we had them, at Christmas, Sally and Bill would drop by during the holidays with gifts for the kids.  Never something from the toy section of a department store.  Always something unique and different and something that kept the kids entertained for hours.

Another favorite memory was of a time that we had lunch together, for hours, just the two of us, and she shared some truly personal experiences with me. Sally was always so positive and cheerful, but she'd had her share of trials in life, like everyone else.  There was once and only once that she spoke of them to me. I was honored that she shared them with me and other than with Doug, I've never shared them with another.

Mostly, her laugh will be what I miss.  She was feminine and delicate and gentle and graceful.  SO, so graceful.  She moved like she sang.  She was positive and upbeat, no matter what the challenge.  And such a great listener.  Always asking questions.  Always interested in others.  Oh, I love this lady.  She will be missed by anyone and everyone who knew her.  She was gentle and kind to everyone.

This past few weeks have been hard.  I chose not to go and see Sally.  I could not do it.  I said "goodbye" to Carol's husband, Robert, two years ago, less than hour before his death.  When I think of Robert, I see him lying in that bed.  I always quickly replace that memory with the many laughs we had together.  He had the best laugh ever! But, it is a sad memory that is there first. I did not want my last memory of Sally to be of her in the hospital bed where she would leave this earth life.  I wanted to remember her standing there at her grand piano, smiling and singing, "In my own little corner, In my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be!" with Grace. I want to remember her laughing as we joked about our age. I want to see her drinking Diet Coke across the table from me! Sally knew how much I loved her.  She still does!  This is how I will forever remember Sall.


Oh, how happy I am to know that she has "graduated" and is free of pain, that we have this wonderful Plan of Salvation, that we have a loving Heavenly Father who wants us to return to him.  Because of this, even on the saddest days, life is good.  Sing on, Sally.  We will miss you.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

this week for Quayd


Quayd didn't write much of a letter this week.  He's got two baptisms on the 8th.  He loved Conference and said it was what he needed to hear.  He loves the area and his companion and seriously, that's about all he said.  It was a busy P-day for him. He's still dealing with his health issues, but hanging in there and working hard.  He loves his mission!  We love him!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Hello, April!

A few happenings from the past few days...

First of all, ZJ does my hair for me every other day.  So, on Saturday night, after we hottubbed and I'd showered, she said she was ready.  I said, "Do whatever.  Do your little pickinninny knots, if you want.  and she DID!  I about died when I saw myself in the mirror!  NOT Flattering AT ALL!!  I slept like this and when I woke up and she took out the knots, I laughed harder than I have ever laughed!  EVER!  I facetimed Liza and she didn't notice until she put her glasses on and the double take that she did was hysterical!  I facetimed Denise and she was dying!  I sent a pic to my mom and then called her before she opened it.  She said, "Who the HELL is that!?!?"  We were laughing so hard!  Aylabelle giggled and went her own merry way.  She thinks I'm silly anyway.  ZJ said that I was laughing harder than the "Chewbacca lady on YouTube."  I think she's right.  Anyway, here's the before... I can't believe I'm sharing this...

And here's what I have looked like for the last two days... simply because it's spring break and anyone that comes to my home and sees it will laugh like we did.


So here's a few of my NEVER AGAIN shots of my funky hair, which I wore around the house for two days!  NEVER. AGAIN!  And it was definitely me looking like the April FOOL Joke gone bad!

General Conference weekend is always a highlight for us all.  President Monson looks tired and weary.  My heart ached to see him aging so rapidly.  It was a powerful two minutes that he spoke and we will follow his counsel by increasing our service and reading the Book of Mormon more intently!  I loved Elder Holland's talk and of course, President Uchtdorf makes me happy just to see his shining countenance!  He doesn't even have to speak but what a wonderful message!  Loved it!

Doug's not sleeping.  He's taking notes.  Don't ya love his little laptop desk?


I was so happy that Doug built us a fire for conference.  It's been almost two weeks since we've had one because it's been warmer weather.  But, true to form, it's usually cooler and wet on Conference weekend.


Doug moved his chair over next to mine and ZJ moved right in on the fire.  She and Zulu love that fireplace!



We had Dallin and his friend, Ashlyn over for all four sessions of conference.  The girls made conference Quick Breads on Saturday and Sunday, between sessions, we had a brunch with cinnamon rolls, which I made!  It wore me out but I figured that rolling the rolls out was the same as rolling my arm up and down the wall with a sock on it.  We had sausage and biscuits and gravy, eggs, potatoes, the rolls and they brought a huge fruit bowl.  Wonderful day!  We love having the kids in our home.  We were not sure who would actually make it but the few that we thought might, ended up going home to their families for the weekend.  Dallin is from Minnesota, so we are his family!  What a wonderful weekend!



I'm waiting to hear from Quayd right now and felt very guilty that he didn't have cinnamon rolls, but such is the life of a missionary, right!  It's all about sacrifice..even cinnamon rolls on conference Sunday!

Liza and I were facetiming and EdieAnn is just talking up a storm to me.  I can't get enough of this little angel!  Could she be any cuter!?  She giggles now!  It's the cutest thing ever!!!  And she looks so much like Liza's baby pictures, it's not even funny!


Here's a silly story that I won't soon forget.  As I've mentioned, I have no muscle in the front of my shoulder.  It was cut for the surgery to get down to the humerous and then, the new shoulder sat in the brace for eight weeks, which caused atrophy in this muscle.  Not to mention that I have an eight inch long scar that starts just to the side of my collarbone and goes down to just above my "elbow pit".  SO.  I haven't been able to wear a bra.  I've tried for the last three weeks and it's just terribly painful.   Last week, I said, enough is enough and decided to go to Kohls and buy a few new ones that might not be pressing against this incision/scar.  However, I can't put one on because I can't reach behind or to the side very far.

 So, Doug goes with me. We explain to the saleslady that he's got to go into the dressing room with me to assist.  We spend an hour in there and I must have tried on thirty different bras.  Doug was blown away by the fact that there were so many different types, by the price, by the fact that I tried that many on.  I explained to him that my very first job as a teenager was working at JCPenney and hanging bras back on the hangers and putting them back on display after people had tried them on.  He was dumbfounded.  SO. I found two (that I bought but still can't wear) and we go up to pay.  It was buy one/get one half off and we paid $73 for two bras.  I was whining about the price.  I said, "I can't believe that we just paid $73 for less than half a yard of fabric!"  Doug, very matter-of-factly, said, "Babe, they had to pay someone to hang all those bras back up!"  Okey dokey then.

There's more to share but, Doug's on his way home and it's spring break, so we are trying to have a fun little "staycation" this week.  We talked about going up to the cabin and decided to just stay home where we can enjoy our own comforts. It's also our 40th anniversary this week.  Still no big plans.  Everything just seems too difficult right now.  Oh well. We're going to see Beauty and the Beast tomorrow!  Grilling out tonight...even in the chilly weather.  I'm dying to get into the hottub when it gets dark.  Life is good!  Busy, happy, painful and good!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

some observations about this shoulder of mine

Ten things I did this past week that I haven't done since December:

  1. I drove myself to Physical Therapy...
  2. Followed by going to Sonic drive-up window all by my lonesome!
  3. I opened the Strawberry Jam jar, which is a huge accomplishment!
  4. I shaved my legs!
  5. I taught the lesson in Young Womens!
  6. I wore a bra with both straps over my shoulders.  (I won't be doing that again anytime soon though.  OUCH!)
  7. I cooked most of a meal!
  8. I did dishes!
  9. I unloaded the wet towels from the washer to the dryer!
  10. I squeezed the conditioner bottle with my right hand! (Not risking another mishap like the last one!)
Nine people who I could not thank enough for their almost daily continual watchful care.
  1. Doug
  2. Zee
  3. Grace
  4. Denise
  5. Carol
  6. Brenda
  7. Ann
  8. Joni
  9. Craig, my PT!

Eight things I have and do miss doing the most (or at least a LOT):
  1. Being able to open the hottub on my own so that I can get in anytime of the day or night, even when I'm alone.
  2. Driving anywhere I please anytime I please in any direction I please.
  3. Personal Care with both hands...everything from showering, to putting on make-up, to getting dressed to doing my own hair.  (Ever try to give yourself a pony tail with one hand?  Don't waste your time.)
  4. Being fully dressed.  (See #6 above.)  And that's something that I never dreamed I would miss!
  5. Walking casually through a store... Taipan, the grocery store, the one that I do not like at all that begins with a W. When someone else is driving you, you don't want to waste their time and get right to business and get out as quickly as possible.
  6. Sleeping on my right side or face down.
  7. Opening things by myself...from locks to jars to pill bottles.  There's been many days when I was at home alone that I wanted to ask our mailman to open a jar for me.  (Okay, I confess, once I did.)
  8. Cleaning my way.  As much as I appreciate all of the help that Doug and the girls have been, as they have helped keep things company clean 90% of the time, everyone has their own way of doing things and I miss that.
Seven things that I have learned through this experience.
  1. I'm going to put this first, but it's not the biggest lesson at all.  Truthfully, I have had six major surgeries in my life.  I gave birth to a nine pound baby naturally with no drugs.  I've had my foot damaged for life.  BUT. I have never known pain like this.  This is the most I have ever hurt in my life.  It hurts while you sleep, while you hottub, while you laugh.  It hurts all the time and it hurts a LOT.  And it hurts in different ways.  One minute, it's jolts of shocking nerves zapping through the arm, shoulder and neck.  The next it's a dull burn.  The next if feels like someone just punched you right on the worst bruise you ever had.  It pulls, it throbs, it stings.  It hurts.  All the time.  Every minute of every day and night.  So, through all of that pain, I've learned that I'm tougher than I ever dreamed.  I've tried to take as few pain meds as possible.  I've tried to work through the pain and the therapy and the aches.  And I can still smile and laugh.  I can do hard things... harder things than I thought.
  2. I have learned to appreciate little things...like a text or a phone call to ask how I'm doing and big things like "I'll pick you up for Therapy at 8AM." (as in "I'll climb out of bed, get dressed and drive through a blizzard to help you and then 90 minutes later, I'll do it again to bring you home because I'm your friend.) I have been so darned blessed with great friends and loved ones!  I also appreciate the little things like being able to cut your own food because both hands work or butting up your own shirt. (I'm just as fast one handed now, however!)
  3. I have learned that people are incredible.  I'm still in shock that Brenda would fly across the country to surprise me and help when she just finished her own cancer treatments.  I have loved the visits and texts and calls and surprises in the mail.  It's been incredible!  People care. I can't even list all of the people who have told me that they've been praying for me every day, even twice a day!  That's humbling!
  4. I have learned and I say this with tears in my eyes, what it means "In sickness and in health."  Doug has been more incredible than I could have even wished or prayed or hoped for.  He's amazing.  He works all day and comes home and cares for me until bedtime, then cares for me until he walks back out the door...all while being Mom/Dad/chauffeur, cook, Priesthood leader in the YSA, friend, father and grandfather... and all with a smile.  I fall in love with him over and over again every day!
  5. I have learned about trusting in the Lord's timing.  I didn't ask for this challenge.  I have not liked this challenge.  BUT.  I love that Heavenly Father has given me this challenge and opened my eyes to some things that I had never seen before. I won't share them on the blog, but suffice it to say, I feel like a different person inside, as a result of it.  (And I don't mean from my Titanium new shoulder!)
  6. I have learned that there is such a thing as "too much" Diet Coke.  I actually crave water and milk a lot now.  I'm not sure if it's a healthier outlook thing or what.  But, I've actually drank less Diet Coke in the past three months than ever before.
  7. I have learned that there is something very powerful (and I already knew this, but it's been strongly reinforced) about the power of prayer. I've prayed a lot this past few months.  I've always prayed.  I pray every single day, many times. But, my prayers have been different.  Deeper.  More meaningful and I have felt carried through a lot of this experience and have been so grateful for that good spirit and also knowing that not only were my own prayers being answered through the service of others, through my body reacting to the Physical Therapy, through the love I've felt from my Savior, but the prayers of others have been felt over and over again.  (This was supposed to be a light post, but I have to express that!)
Six things I have watched while I recouped:
  1. Call the Midwife all seasons (A must watch series!  Fascinating!)
  2. The Crown every episode (LOVED it, and gained a whole new appreciation for the Royals.  Would not want to be one!)
  3. When calls the Heart. all seasons (The most sweet and tender show since Little House on the Prairie!)
  4. This is Us. every episode (The best that TV has had to offer in years.)
  5. The people VS OJ Simpson. the whole series (Totally NoT what I expected.  Much better!)
  6. More movies from our own library than I should admit, but what else can you when you don't leave the house for 36 days, followed by two months of depending on others to drive you everyplace, you can't do much more than lift a remote and you fall asleep every time you pick up a book?

Five things that I have loved about being pampered and cared for:
  1. ZJ doing my hair every other day!
  2. Doug getting me ready for bed every night...filling the diffuser with essential oils, getting my icewater, turning back the blankets and removing the comforter and 10 pillows from the bed and on and on and on.
  3. I love that Doug bought me a huge new wardrobe of jumbo jet size button up shirts so that I could be comfortable in them, lying and twisting around in the recliner each day and during Physical Therapy.
  4. The food that friends have brought in has been so wonderful, I feared that my family would hope I have to have another surgery!
  5. Again, I have felt the prayers of so many friends and family! I've heard from friends that I have not actually spoken to in years.  It's been wonderful!
Four really random acts of kindness that have meant a lot:
  1. a friend setting her phone alarm to the same times of my physical therapy each day, so that she could stop what she was doing and say a special prayer for me as I began.
  2. a friend coming to care for all of my houseplants, picking off dead leaves and checking soil
  3. a friend randomly dropping by quite the DVD library of clean, wholesome, uplifting movies
  4. Many, MANY Sonic Route44 Diet Cokes with one slice of lemon and extra ice!  (they remembered the order, which is totally awesome!)
Three things I cherish about this experience:
  1. I'm still in shock when I think of the night that I fell and how Buddy was such a champion. He held my arm, while standing, and didn't move for almost two hours. He never left my side.  He stayed until the wee hours of morning at the hospital and ran errands and made sure that I had anything I needed in the hospital.  He never complained.  He was so sensitive and caring.  He didn't have to do all that.  He had a newborn baby with jaundice and a wife who was dealing with a three year old who'd just become a sister, the jaundiced baby, post delivery woes and having her mother in the hospital.  Yet, he was there for me, like a ROCK!  I can not say enough about his compassion for his mother-in-law!
  2. I'm also still in awe that my dear friend, Brenda, would come across the country to care for me, just weeks after her own cancer treatments.  What a wonderful surprise and gift as that was just a few weeks out and my first week at home alone after the holidays.  What a gift!  And her prayers for our family and my health have meant more than anything!
  3. Doug.  Have I mentioned that he's treated me like a queen?  Even more than he's always done?  I didn't think that possible, but he's my hero!
Two observations I've made:
  1. It doesn't matter that you have a huge jumbo-jet size brace/sling on your body and pain in your eyes, people will hug you and, somehow, will always manage to put their hand on your eight inch long incision and squeeze or pat it.  It's ironic because they are trying to be so gentle and not hurt you, but they instinctively will squeeze.  It makes me laugh. (It's made me cry, too, but it makes me laugh and hey, at least they hugged!
  2. When you can't do something, you really WANT to do it!  I've wanted to iceskate and dance and ski and swim more than ever.  I don't iceskate.  I dance anyway, even though it's "armless" dancing.  I missed the best winter ever for skiing.  And I'll probably never swim the English Channel now.  Darnitall.
One thing I am certain of:
  1. No matter how much pain, or how inconvenient, or how much of an interference this has been in my life, I know it's for my good and I will continue to grow from this experience.  It's not over by a long shot. They tell me that I have, at least, another 9 months of pain and discomfort ahead of me and that the healing may never bring me back to what I was before, BUT, I know that Heavenly Father gave me this challenge for a purpose...to learn and grow from. So, I may as well learn and grow because nothing is going to change it now except that!
ETA:  I wrote this before my doctor appointment.  I went into the appointment feeling like I was ready to conquer the world.  After all, I drove twice now.  I should be all better. My doctor was out of town and I saw the Physician's Assistant, who I really like. When I raised my arm forward to almost shoulder height, he informed me that I was using my back, not my shoulder and that I'm no where near where I should be by now.  He grabbed Craig, my PT, who came in and we discussed my treatment plan for the near and distant future. I left the office sobbing on Doug's shoulder.  I was sooooooooo discouraged.  I'd been feeling great and had such a positive attitude!  

So, last night, I sobbed a while, had our YW Presidency Mtg and then decided to cowboy up and deal with it. When I went to PT this morning, I told Craig about my meltdown.  He said, "Sophia, you have made tremendous progress!  I'm amazed at how far you've come!" I decided to trust Craig's positivity and encouragement.  I will begin once a week PT next week (because of insurance) and if I need more, we'll up it to twice.  Craig pushed me hard this morning and my mind is back on track.  I'm grateful that I'd written my positive thoughts before the doctor appointment, just to remind me that I have much to be thankful for, even though it may not be moving forward as fast as some would like to see.  Well... trust me... no one wants this to be history more than me!  (Well... maybe me and Doug.)

Life is good!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Quayd - Week 36

Quayd's letters are much longer than this.  I edit parts of them out each week.  He blows me away, the way that he makes analogies to the gospel principles that he is teaching. Before he left, I figured we would be lucky to get three sentences a week.  I even bribed him with the promise of a package for every fourth letter he sent.  I'd forgotten that Quayd loves to write and he loves to teach the gospel. Put them together and we have very long letters! I love it.  Thanks for your prayers and good thoughts in his behalf! 

For every person... there is a time. For every purpose in life. There is a time. For every choice there is a time. Only god knows the time of all things. The mistakes and trials we face, it's all in his timing and He knows the fullfillment of our time. These are our times, where the gospel is fulfilled, where the church is restored,where the gathering of Israel has started.  And why we don't know everything? The timing of our Heavenly Father or know the timing of things to happen when we make choices and when there is a consequence to every action, to every choice?  Here's the reason. we don't and that's okay. That's why  - he expects us to live.

Life means to live. To live for the right time, at the right time, living at the right place, living the life God has given you and doing the right thing. The savior died so we could live and not only live but live in righteousness, to live a fulfilling gospel-filled life. To live with faith with repentance, with the Holy Ghost to comfort us and to endure through those trials that Christ died for us so we could transcend the trials we face in this life.

Every drop of blood, every tear He wept, it was meant to be fulfilling. Even for us to overcome our struggles, our weaknesses, our trials and challenges or the endeavors of life. Whether it is losing a loved one, or seeing a family who you've come to love leave the gospel, or hearing a rejection that could change the life of someone or just things in life.
Agonizing pain or loss of a loved one, friend or family or even a pet. Or losing every opportunity you get or depression because of the things you had or can't receive in life because of weakness or anger and even regret.  All that.... the Savior felt.

He died to fulfill the meaning of life and that is - simply to live it and find hope joy peace in the journey. Even when it's seems hard and you can’t endure, the Savior is there with his hand reaching out for you. It's just a matter of letting him lift you. How do you do that? by praying, by reading, by coming to church and feeling of his divine spirit. Even that promise, if we partake of his sacrifice or even his body of flesh and blood, His spirit would be with us.

But will we let him lift us from our burdens, trials and challenges, by reaching our hands out or are we going to continue to weep and feel lost and hopeless. I can testify that those who feel lost or hopeless, there is hope and there is joy, even true joy and you can find it in the gospel, or in the scriptures, even the Book of Mormon, that the prophet of the restoration and so many are willing to proclaim the truth, even if it means dying to seal that testimony.  This book... the Book of Mormon, is true.

I had the chance to experience it with one of our investigators. We read the chapters of 3 Nephi 11-18, where the Savior came to visit the Americas.

Personally, I have never seen so many tears coming from someone searching for the truth. I have read the Book of Mormon, over and over again in my life and I have passed the chapter a thousand times and felt nothing to give me a conclusion that this truly did happen… Unless I see my wonderful mother crying, because that's when I know that we are feeling the spirit. When I look upon her eyes and see the tears shedding from her face, that's when we say, “Man, we are feeling the spirit!” haha Love you, Mom!

But, I got the chance to read it with our investigator and had the chance to take the time to look over it. It is a blessing, it teaches the words and phrases of the Book of Mormon and the message of faith in Jesus Christ, and repentance because of his atonement. The willingness to believe him and follow him through baptism, so we can emulate him and have his Holy Spirit to be with us and help us, so that we can persevere in life and have the tenacity to live in righteousness until the very end.  It adds to my testimony.  Elder Oaks said, “Read the Book of Mormon with the spirit, with sincerity and pray.” We cannot read it like we are reading a magazine or chapter book or cook book.

The scriptures or the words of god are to be looked upon with earnest desire, to be feasted upon until our spiritual bowels are full, which I consider an unending process. It’s not to just get through a task, so you can teach a lesson in Sunday school or in Seminary, just to say “Okay, I shared that scripture thought, now I can sit down.” But, when we take the time and think about it and apply it in our very own lives, that's when we feel the spirit and when we understand the impressions of the spirit!  I have come to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon is true. I have. I know it's true!!!!

I'm so grateful for the chance to see the influence and power of the Book of Mormon and not only that, but seeing and witnessing the Holy Ghost testify in the very heart of a soul, testifying to the individual that it is true.  Tears shed through honest eyes. The personification of a child of God within, wanting to radiate, wanting to burst out and testify with all the heart and faith and testifying, with all the joy in the meaning of the word, Hosanna! There is hope! This is a moment to treasure.

That hope is and has been, Jesus Christ, the Savior, redeemer, light, truth and way. That hope in his name is unimaginable and the chapters that we read explains that hope and the faith they had in the Messiah and the tears wept as they felt the prints on his hands and feet and side, tears of faith and understanding that he truly died for the sins pains and afflictions of the world. It's remarkable, a message, such as this and you can't find it, in any other book. unless it was instrumented by God.  The Book of Mormon is true and I'm grateful to have witnessed that for myself again and I'm sure I shall witness it many more times in the years of my life.

Can you imagine what it would be like, if we didn't have this knowledge and isn't it incredible that we do have this knowledge!?!? that god still loves us. that the doctrine our father gives is guidance, peace and joy in our lives.
Never underestimate the power of this book. It changes lives. It changes hearts and I'm so greatful that Jackie knows the truth of it. It's opened my eyes a little as I hope it does for all those who are listening.

Anyway enough said of that.

 I got the chance to learn a few things in zone confrence and guess who taught... PRESIDENT DIXON!!!!!! Yeah baby!!!!! Man, it was great stuff and the wisdom he shared was remarkable. I think it got the mission pumped a little... let's hope it did! so we can get a flame burning in the world of Redlands California. when I mean flame. I mean Holy Ghost and baptisms of fire!!!!

oh yeah got to love the heat!!!!! anyway here is some things I learned.

A vine what is so important about a vine? Well the way president Dixon explained it was in this way. It is Jesus Christ. He is the vine, the true vine.  President Dixon was talking about how we need to live. He brought up Uncle Larry again and his talk of living and living in abundance, but he talked about how we need to seek nourishment from the vine to live and not die. If we disconnect ourselves from the vine, we end up falling and all the fruit we bear seems to wither away . Tresident Dixon said and I quote, "they'll turn into raisins instead of grapes".

So he said to Abide in the vine. That is the way of life, relying on the true vine, having that faith that that vine is going to carry us, as long as we are holding on and abiding. Abide means to live and Permanently connected ourselves in the doctrine of Christ. Because the gospel is all about the Savior and his atonement, we have faith in his atonement, right? And if we have faith then we are repentant. Because of his atonement which leads us to want to emulate and follow him, and we can do that by receiving the Holy Ghost to connect ourselves forever by enduring the storms of Satan. But, What if we are not abiding. Well, repentance is the opportunity to live to enjoy to be renourished by the spirit and to reattach ourselves to that true vine as we bare more fruit of righteousness.

The devil may say that there is no way to reconnect ourselves. This may be what he wants us to think and, being out on a mission, I've seen a lot of that. He may say, “ It's too big. There's no way you can make it back. You've fallen and you can't reconnect yourself, when you have already fallen.” Don't fall into that advice from the devil. There's always away back up and it's steps. It's faith and repentance.  That's how we reconnect.

It's the gospel of Jesus Christ, the way, the only way!!!! There is no other way and if there is another and there is. It’s a path of madness. Satan wants us to think that it's impossible to live a life such as this... but I've seen the miracles of the gospel and abiding the precepts of Christ. Jasvinn told us Sunday that she would live the word of wisdom and give up coffee. She explained the struggle she had, but finally found a way to get away from that addiction.

She can feel the spirit more. She feels in control and she feels happier. I'm grateful she is soon to be baptized and that's the blessing of following the gospel and abiding in Christ that will come to her.

Another thing I want to share before I end this weekly report is this. I had the chance to visit Beaumont Ward!!!!  I got to see a lot of familiar faces. My companion, Elder Allen left for endowments with one of his investigators in Fontana, a great couple I love that couple so much. I was happy for my companion to go and see them be sealed for all eternity. great stuff!!!! Anyway, I got to see Brother Byers and brother Daniels and  most of the seniors in that ward.

 After that, Elder Powell, my roommate, was driving to a members home and I noticed it was close to a family that I loved so much. I said to my roommates, “Are we going to the Goodman's!?!?!?”  They thought it wouldn't be a bad idea. So we stopped by and that made my day! They answered the door and asked what we wanted... Elder Powell told them that Elder Corbridge was here and that I wanted to see them. I was a little anxious of the response. Would they be like “Elder Who???” Instead I got a different reaction, Brother Goodman happily said, “Bring him in!” Sister Goodman greeted me and I felt like I was back at home.

I love the Goodmans! They are a great family and seeing them again was a highlight!  We talked for 35 minutes and had a great time! I was just grateful that they still remembered who I was and every time I see them, they ask, “Are you back in Beaumont Ward. I wish that was the case. I love the members of this ward but that's not the timing of my Heavenly Father. He needed me here in the Oak Valley ward. It's a great ward.

The members are awesome. I love this ward.  There are 3 families that needed me at this time. I often wonder what would happen if I stayed in the Beaumont ward. Because I love that ward, but I'm grateful for the timing of God and being here to teach Jasvinn, her two boys and Jackie and her granddaughter and dale and Linda Winchell.  These people are amazing and I can't wait to see them follow the Savior through Baptism! But seeing the Goodmans returning to Beaumont ward for a day... I must say was God’s timing.

After we left the Goodman’s, we had the impression to see another family that I had met, maybe three times. They’re less active but they have a great family and are making it back to reactivity. Anyway, we walked over to the house and usually irthee dog, Annie, usually would wobble over to us, but this time it was different.  When we walked in their yard, I remember asking elder Powell if this was the house with the puppy. It was. I was excited to see their dog. We approached the door and my heart sunk. In the window, I saw Sister Tabor crying... I knew something was wrong. Brother Tabor greeted us in but his face was sunken with sadness. Sister Tabor asked if someone was alive. I was all but confused, but at the same time I knew something terrible must have happened. I saw their boy, maybe 13 years old, crying as well and then it hit me, there was no sign of the dog. No barking or the tail hitting us as she greeted us. And it hit me.  Annie was gone.

Brother taber told us that she was hit by a truck flying 50 miles per hour. My eyes watered remembering the experience that took me weeks to get over, my own dog getting hit by a car, my friend and buddy. A dog I trained, slept with. My dog hat I lost days before my mission. I remember that exact same pain that Sister Taber was feeling and I wept for their dog that was hit because I knew how hard it was and is.

I had the impression to tell what happened to my dog, but I stood there shocked just envisioning the experience that took that sweet dog away. Their dog was maybe a year old and had so much more to live. Sometimes, we don't understand the timing of all things, but that's why we have to trust in God and Jesus Christ. We have to trust that he did feel our pain like this moment. A few minutes later she asked if it was her fault, if she didn't follow a prompting. She explained that if she would have just gone outside, none of it would have happened and her kids wouldn't have to witness that horrific sudden moment of the extinguishment of life leaving that dog.

That's when I knew it was time to bear my testimony because that day where I lost my best friend was the time to realize that there is a Plan. The night before I had a dream of losing my dog. It was a nightmare but it was just a dream. So, I thought.  I had so many impressions to just play with my dog. Earlier that morning I told him to wake up and stop being lazy. Something about him was off that day and it was weird but I ignored him and decided to film or watch tv. My sisters decided to take him for a walk. I didn't even say goodbye or tell them to take the leash. I had never done so before, so why would it matter? But, I felt this unusual feeling After I was done showering, I felt that sudden pain. I got dressed started filming some more and then I heard the voices upstairs, pulsating,the words, “He's dead!”

I remember running up the stairs, tripping making it to the last step and seeing my sister with our black dog in her hands, his eyes barely open, but merely closed and I remember my heart sinking, as I wept tears and tears screaming and yelling and regretting the whole time, “Why I didn't follow the impressions that I had that day!” I told her about my sister carrying that dog that long half mile, pleading with all her heart to “Stay for your boy. Stay for your boy." But it was all too late. I remember her regretting taking him on a walk and not paying attention to him when he walked off the curb and thinking it was all her fault.  She thought that I hated her because she lost my favorite dog, but It was my fault as well.  I want to take the time and say thanks to my sister who carried that burden, rushing with that favorite dog of mine and pleading to make it home for that boy. That was not an easy thing to do. I never thought of it until that night, as I told Sister Taber my story and as I continued to cry. Then I had the impression to also testify that it wasn't her fault that for whatever reason it happened and it happened because of God’s timing. I told her the plan and told her that it would all be okay and that she would see her again, that Annie would be running instead of wobbling over.

I believe in God’s timing. I believe that for whatever reason, my time going on mission being about 8 months ago was the right time and I believe that I am at the right place at the right time, that being God’s time, and doing the right thing within this time of 2 years. I believe and know that President Dixon has called me to these three areas and that he was inspired to know what time I should serve these people of Fontana or Beaumont or Oak Valley. The people I've met, the experiences I've had and continue to see. it was the right time for me to reach them and share with a testimony that still grows in this time. I'm grateful for the gospel that was restored in these last days, our time. It's now up to us to live to that time and make the best of what time we have left.

Thank you again for your prayers. I hope all is well.

Love,
-Elder Corbridge