Monday, June 26, 2017

Missionary Monday week forty-three

June 26, 2017

We love to get letters from the boys.  Both are going great.  I am going to go back and post all of their letters and pictures but I'll just start with today's letters now!  It's so interesting to look at these two.  They left one day apart.  They have had transfers at exactly the same time--they have both been in three areas with this last area for the longest.  Both got transferred this last week and both are now the district leader.  Their mission moms look like sisters and there are getting new presidents July 1st.  Weird?!  They are both happy and sweaty.

From Landon:

Happy P Day everyone!

I feel like I have a ton to write because  a lot has changed, so I
will try to include it all but if you have questions feel free to ask.
First of all, Monday night after P Day was over we got a call from the
Zone leaders saying that they had more information about transfers.
They told me that I had been called as a district leader, and then on
Tuesday I found out I was being sent to Sealy TX.

Now, up to this point on my mission I have been serving in areas very
distinctly part of the city.  Actually they have all been right next
to each other so I have really only seen a little part of the mission.
Sealy, Texas, is not part of Houston and it is very different from my
past areas.  In Jersey Village I was on bike and I was concentrated on
a few little parts of the area with big apartment complexes and lots
of houses.  Sealy is definitely in the country and because of that I
am responsible for several small towns and my area is gigantic, but I
also get a truck.  I am in a branch out here that was recently
combined from the English and Spanish branches into a mega branch
which also means I have to do some translating for the people that
don't speak English.  Honestly I love it out here I believe this is
exactly the place where I needed to go.  My companion is Elder Marquez
who is also a native Spanish speaker though he grew up in California
and is also on the last transfer of his mission.

We had kind of big surprise as well with Jersey Village there used to
be two companionships but now there is only one. So Elder Smith who
has driven a car about three times in his mission is now taking over
the entire ward in car which is a ton of work.  I know that he will do
great with it though and he has a great companion as well.

The majority of the  Spanish areas in the mission are closer to the
city which is why Sealy is sometimes referred to as "outer darkness"
by the Spanish missionaries.  The reason is that there isn't as much
Spanish out here and you are far away from most other Spanish
missionaries.  Actually although I am now in an English zone my
district is made up of Spanish missionaries which is pretty nice
though we are the only Elders.  Although "outer darkness" has kind of
a bad connotation it is really pretty awesome out here.  Honestly when
you imagine a mission in Texas this is probably more of what you
imagine, there are a ton of really cool country people here and this
is the first time in the mission I have really gotten a chance to know
some true Texans.  For example: on Thursday we went and visited some
recent converts in English.  They live a bit out of town in a nice
little trailer and their names are Rachel and Bubba.  They are super
cool! They live in this little trailer and gave us food right out of
their garden.  Bubba is kind of hilarious, he had a  beard and was
wearing a cut-off button down shirt and he always speaks with a
country southern accent.  We asked them to share some of their
favorite scriptures with us and Bubba chose Mosiah 26:25 which says:
"25 And it shall come to pass that when the second trump shall sound
then shall they that never knew me come forth and shall stand before
me."  The reason he chose this scripture was because it mentions
Trump, specifically the second Trump which,  according to him, means
that Donald Trump is going to get a second term.  He was of course
joking but it was really funny because the majority of the people I
have served around don't really like our current US President.

This weekend we also had a mini missionary with us most of the time he
went home at night but was with us the rest of the time.  I think he
had a great experience to see how missionary work really works.  Any
one preparing to serve mission should do so by doing missionary work.

Yesterday we had a really great opportunity to go to a Fireside in
Katy which is basically the outskirts of Houston.  The guest speaker
at the Fireside was a man named  Glenn Rawson.  If any of you have
seen the TV series the Joseph Smith Papers he is the Host.  By the way
if you haven't seen it you really should and I believe it is on he
Gospel Library app.  His words were about Joseph Smith the Prophet of
the Restoration, church history and the testimony of these things.  It
was truly inspiring and I truly believe that we should try to be
familiar with our history.  It is rich with miracles and witnesses of
every kind and an honest study with faith in these things will
strengthen your testimony.

I didn't know what to expect out here but I have been happy to find
out that there is a lot of work to do out here and it is a joy to
serve here.

Elder Hatch

From Dallin:

This picture was sent this morning from the bishop and his family that is hiking with Dallin.  

Hey everyone!  Wow this has been a week of serious change for me.
After six months in Lebanon and three months with Elder Macdonald I
have been transferred to Cleveland, Tennessee.  I also have been called
as a District Leader in this District which includes The Athens
missionaries and Dayton missionaries.  It's been a huge adjustment but
I have loved it here so far.

For half of this week I went and said goodbye to some people in the
Branch, although a lot of them were busy so I only so a few people.
It was sad to say goodbye to some of my friends but I know that the
missionaries that will still be there will take good care of them.  We
went to Transfers on Wednesday morning with a  couple members from the
English Ward and also e Sisters.  There I got to see a lot of my old
friends and most importantly meet my new companion!

Elder Fillingim is from Show Low, Arizona.  Which is a very small town
of about 6,000 people near Snowflake Arizona.  Elder Fillingim is
really just an awesome guy and really good companion.  He laid back
but he cares about the work and is ready to work hard and be obedient.
He is a talented Athlete, he set a few different weight lifting
records for his weight back in High School, but he is also very humble
and not prideful at all. Elder Fillingim has been out about a transfer
less than me and was actually trained in Dalton Georgia(the only
actual Spanish Ward in my mission) by Elder Macdonald.  Honestly right
off the bat Elder Fillingim and I became really good friends.  I am
very happy to serve with him and I think we are going to have a lot of
success here in Cleveland.

The Cleveland area is good.  There are a lot of investigators in the
area book that have a ton of potential.  There is also a lot more
Spanish than I had know about before.  One thing that has recently
changed here is that we use to have Sisters but recently they have
were taken out and the missionaries struggled with miles to be able to
visit them all so a lot of good investigators haven't been seen in a
long time.  So we have had to go through that a lot.  On Sunday
afternoon we had a great experience related to that.  We spent a lot
of hours looking through old investigators and trying to contact them
by phone call to set up a time to come by.  Well I found one
investigator that had some good records.  The previous missionaries
had written that she had wanted to be baptized but no one had seen her
in over 100 days.  We decided to go contact her and another woman that
lived near by.  We knocked on the door and she answered!  We explained
to her who we were and that we wanted to begin teaching her again.
She said yes and I asked her if she still wanted to be baptized and
she said yes!  Then we taught her the restoration pamphlet and she
still remembered everything!  The other lady we met next door was also
on the list and she had been reading the Book of Mormon a lot as well.
Little things like this are small miracles to me that make this work
possible.  Knowing that he Lord is on our side.

One amazing that has happened is Alex and Erica.  During my first
transfer on the mission I went on an exchange with Elder Molloy.  We
were both only about four weeks out of the MTC and excited about the
work.  That day we probably knocked on hundreds of doors.  At one
place we went through a whole set of little apartment buildings until
we met Alex.  He opened the door to us and told to give him the
message right there.  So we taught him the Restoration right there.
We then found out he has actually met with missionaries before back in
California.  He told us missionaries could come back and talk to his
girlfriend(who basically an atheist at the time), and if she liked
what we said then he would consider joining the church.  OK so fast
forward 9 months and now I am in the same area and Alex and Erica are
our best Investigators!  Erica had gone through a massive change of
heart and truly believes and wants to be baptized.  The only thing
holding them back is Alex.  They are not yet married and are pretty
much either in or out together.  Alex knows it's true.  He knew the
church was true that first day when I knocked on his door.  The thing
stopping him is fear.  Fear of change.  Fear of Commitment. And Fear
of failure.  I had the opportunity to go teach them last Saturday
night.  It was a good lesson but it's tough to know where it will go.
We committed them to get married and work toward baptism.  They are so
close.  I know it is not a coincidence that I was sent here at this
time.  God is truly in control and I will serve him.

I have a million stories to tell and a thousand things to say about
this new are and change in my life but I do not have time to say
everything.  Being District is certainly a change and an important
responsibility.  I am going to need to turn to the Lord and become
better to be able to do the things that I am meant to do here at this
time.  I know that in the scriptures there is peace and knowledge to
help me.  I love you all!  God bless!

Elder Hatch

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Washington D.C tour guide (Summer week 5)

Summer week five June 18-24

Rustin is the president of the Idaho Optometric association this year.  It has meant a lot of traveling (Boston, DC, New Mexico, Portland, Boise...) and he has put in a lot of work.  We decided to tag along to his Washington DC meetings this time.  Austin has been working on the JumpCo play Guys and Dolls so he stayed home with Jackson (at grandmas house, more on that later) and Jenna and Benson came with Rustin and me.  We had such a great week!  There is no way to describe everything we learned or did but I'll put in a bunch of pictures and maybe a few highlights. And I have a few quick suggestions:

1.  Take a good insulated water bottle and fill it with ice in the morning
2. Bring some prepackaged snacks.  Food at museums and monuments is crazy expensive.  You can't take a lot of food into the museums but they didn't say anything about nuts and granola bars...
3. Bring two pairs of shoes.  Your feet will thank you.
4. Don't bother with your fancy camera.  It will get really heavy...
5. Get a bus pass for at least one day.  We did the old town Trolley which included a tour of Arlington cemetery.  And they had a pick up at our hotel.
6.  The metro costs as much as a taxi.  Just take a taxi or Uber.  However, I'm counting our metro ride as a bit of real world education.
7. If you forget to get tickets to the holocaust museum you can go online at 6 am the morning you want to go.  The African American museum is sold out for like two years but you might checkout the door.  Sometimes groups have extra tickets as they go in. We weren't so lucky...

We rode in trains, metros and cars.  The taxis were definitely my favorite! Every driver we met had a story to tell.  And they were all so kind!  One man from Morocco invited us to his house for dinner.  But then he told us his wife is due to have a baby in less than  week and I just couldn't see us barging in expecting dinner so we didn't go.  But I REALLY wish we had.  Home cooked moroccan food? How did we pass that up?!

We met a 20-ish man who was a farmer in Ethiopia who is working three jobs and trying like crazy to have enough left over so that he can send some $$ home to his wife so she can join him here.  He sounded discouraged.  I wish there was some way to help him.  His one bedroom tiny apartment is $1100 per month.  I told him to move to Idaho... :)

Another driver from the middle East has been here for more than thirty years.  He is so proud of his children who have both gone to college and have great jobs.  

I left feeling so grateful that we have such a wide variety of people in our country who all do there best with what they have.  

DC is amazing.  It definitely is't a relaxing vacation but we loved every minute.  We walked until we could barely move.  Poor Rustin was in meetings all day but by the time he got done Jenna, Benson and I were so tired we just wanted to lay down and read!  We did  have all day Tuesday with him so that was good.  

The Spy museum was surprisingly awesome. I could read about spy's and their stories all day.  

We also went to Lincoln's theater.  Likewise, I could have stayed in there and read about the politics and subterfuge that led to Lincoln's assassination all day long! 

The highlight of our first day was our trip out to Arlington cemetery.  We bought a tour bus pass and it was awesome.  The cemetery has a calming and serene feeling about it.  And the magnolias were blooming!  The sweet lemon-y smell of magnolias take me right back to our days in Memphis!  The thick, hot humid air made me feel like I was home in Memphis again too.

We spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday exploring the museums and monuments.  There is a lot more space between the museums and monuments than you would expect!  We were pretty much hot and sweaty the whole time. 

 I love reading about history.  I could have stayed in the American History museum all day long!  I love reading about all the wars and battles and leaders and nurses and clothing and food...

In case anyone is wondering--the Shake Shack is as good as all the reviews say.  YUM!

We were able to eat breakfast in the hotel every morning (except when we accidentally slept in until 10:45...). We found a few food trucks to try for lunch and we found some great affordable restaurants near the hotel.  One night Jenna, Ben and I accidentally wandered down to Chinatown in a seriously sketchy area. It got dark before we realized how late it was and we were definitely out of place.   I pulled the kids into a restaurant off the street when a fight broke out right in front of us.  The police were there almost immediately and everything calmed down quickly but we completely were out of our element.  Funny think is that the kids didn't really notice.  Benson was just moseying along like there was nothing to see... I think he thought it was all awesome.

We ate one crazy fancy meal that was paid for by the state Optometry board. I couldn't even come close to eating enough food to make it worth it but everything was so pretty I enjoyed every second!  And I have a bunch of ideas of food to try--creamy polenta with mushrooms and tomato risotto and cauliflower rice with truffle and fish en papilotte.  Rustin ordered beef Wellington which was delicious and so pretty. 

The monuments/memorials were touching.  The reflecting pools are beautiful.  There was a nurses' monument kind of tucked out of the way and it really touched me.
The expression on their faces--it reached my soul. For some reason the Vietnam memorial also really touched me--I was realizing that some of those names on the wall were my parent's friends.  I appreciate their sacrifice so much.

Jenna and I were really impressed by a story from the Holocaust museum.  Most of the stories there are horribly sad--its easy to feel angry at people who were so cruel. One story, however,  was a light in the darkness.  A survivor told the story of a guard she grew to love.  She said when they first arrived at their camp the guard was outside barking orders.  She said she had never heard a person that sounded so harsh and literally barking.  She thought, " this is going to be terrible." But it turned out that that guard was a decent woman who saved many of their lives.  She encouraged them and kept them in line so they wouldn't get in trouble by any other guards.  One day the survivor said she was sick with a high fever so she had stayed in the bunker instead of going to work.  But that day a really mean supervisor came to inspect the camp.  The kind guard went in and helped her and two others get dressed and go to the factory where they worked on looms.  The guard knew how to operate the looms so she got everything set up and got it started for them and she said, "today is life and death, you must not look sick." She saved their lives.  I think there are a lot of good people in the world.  Even in the midst of terrible things.

I have a whole list of things I want to read more about after our visit--the Mexican-American war, Lincoln and his role in the Civil war, pretty much all of the war stories...I'm fascinated by battles and strategy all the little things that played such a role.  I want to read about spies and some of the early spies in our country. Spies played a huge role in the wars! I want to read about the enigma machine and how they broke the code... There are also so many stories of innovators/inventors that are just fascinating.  How do people think of such amazing things!? What type of life and environment do they have that encourages such creativeness and such inquisitiveness?  I took pictures of just about an entire floor in the American History museum!

I haven't even touched on the art museum.  I will just say that I love Rodin.  His sculptures of beautiful women with full thighs and pooch-y tummies were refreshing.  And truly beautiful.  Artists are amazing. There was a super popular Da Vinci painting at the museum but we really loved the American and French artists best!

Overall I came home with gratitude for those who have gone before me and with a desire to learn more about the amazing things in our world.  But more than anything I am grateful that I got to go with Jenna and Benson this year and Dallin and Landon last year. And Rustin of course.  I'd say we are all pretty lucky.

Summer week #4

June 11-17

Our schedule is going to be packed from now until after the fourth of July.  It makes me a bit anxious when I have to leave my house for long periods of time because I know there are so many things waiting for me to do when I get back!  This week was no exception... 

The best part of this week was our Patterson reunion up at Harriman State park (right next to Island Park).  Spencer found this awesome bunk house/cabin that slept 40 and has a great big kitchen and dining area.  We had a blast.  My favorite part was  the canoe ride.  We went just before dusk and we paddled five miles down river.  The sun was in it's perfect golden hour coloring and we saw moose mamas and babies and we saw so many different birds and fish.  It was absolutely serene.  It will forever stay in my mind.  Idaho is beautiful.

We also loved seeing all the kids together.  They make up games and they play and tease each other.  They took pictures of license plates when we went into Yellowstone Park for the day.  The got all 50 except for Mississippi I think? I don't know but they had a blast.  There's nothing like cousins!

The cousins all wanted to watch a little movie one night so they crammed on one bunk, and when they ran out of room there they laid on top of the partial walls around the bed.  

 Jesse took me for a walk.  It's a good thing my sisters have babies and toddlers for me to play with! 

Yellowstone was cold and rainy but stunning as always. 

As soon as we got back to Twin Falls the Robinsons brought out their hammocks and we hardly saw the kids on the ground again...

We missed Kendra and Ryan and family because baby Cora was still hanging out with her {exhausted} mama. 
 And Trevor was home working on tractors and cutting hay.  See you in the winter Trev!!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Missionary Monday week forty-two

June 19, 2017

From Landon:

Transfer calls were yesterday and we learned that I am out as
expected.  I have spent about 4 and a half months here in Jersey
Village and it feels like a really long time.  There are
aproximadamente 26 Spanish Elders in my mission and about the same
amount of sisters which is really small for the entire mission that we
cover.  Because of this we always try to predict what is going to
happen at transfers it is kind of fun and we call it the transfer
game.  I think it kind of got started because we get the transfer
information really weird.  Last night we found out who is leaving from
their areas but not where they are going or anything and tonight we
will learn any new leadership that is coming out.  With leadership
information we can usually make pretty good predictions but we don't
find out actually where we are going until tomorrow when we get to
transfer meeting which is alway super chaotic.

This week was pretty cool we had our last Zone Conference with
President Mortensen in which his training was focused on a few really
important things to do with the upcoming changes.  He talked about
sustaining the new president and basically trying to forget President
Mortensen and exactly how the process will work as far as
transitioning goes.  Basically as soon as President Peterson reaches
Texas he is the president of the Texas Houston Mission. He also told
us about life after the mission and our goals and the things that are
most important in life which is basically marriage and family.  At the
end of the conference President and his wife gave each of us a big hug
as we left.

Other than that this week was good and pretty normal, I did a ton of
biking this week.  On Tuesday I went on an exchange with Elder Miranda
and he came down to me on bike.  It seemed pretty normal to me but I
took him on some our more adventurous routes and it included crossing
this big cement canal thing where you have to go really fast to get up
the other side.  He almost made it.

Mario and Maria were doing good and Mario even said he wanted to be
baptized along with his wife so that is great. Except on Saturday we
were supposed to have a lesson with them and when we called to confirm
it we found out that they were in the hospital because Mario got
jumped on Friday night.  He was just leaving work when 3 guys stacked
him and stole his money and his phone and beat him up pretty ugly. We
stopped by on Sunday though and he seemed to be doing pretty good.

I am really exited for the new transfer and my new area.  I will be
sure to let you know where I am next week.

Elder Hatch

Hey! This has been a very eventful week.  We have transfer news, we
had the last Zone Conference with President and Sister Griffin, and we
met lots of great people.

Last Tuesday was a good day.  I had a very interesting experience.  I
was reading he scriptures that day and thinking about how I could
become a better missionary.  I came to a verse in the scriptures
talking about the sons of Mosiah in Alma 17:9: "And it came to pass
that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted and
prayed much that they Lord would grant them a portion of his spirit to
go with them....".  As I read this I realized that I need to fast more
if I am going to have he Spirit with me.  These stories in the Book of
Mormon are true and we can learn a lot from them.  The sons of Mosiah
fasted even though they were traveling through the wilderness.  This
was surely something difficult to do walking all day without even a
path to follow.  So I thought these things and I thought I should fast
but then I didn't really want to so I ignored it and ate breakfast.
Well I kept thinking about it and I realized that this is something
that I needed to do because the Lord wanted me to do it.  In the last
General Conference we learned that 9 out 10 times that first little
prompting we recieve is the Holy Ghost, so I went and did as the Lord
commanded and fasted for 24 hours.  This proved to be more difficult
than I though because we ended up doing a lot of physical labor in the
hot sun that day.  I decided that the Lord would provide a way for me
to accomplish the thing he has commanded me to do so I would be
protected from dying of dehydration and heat exhaustion.  As I fasted
I felt that I learned a lot and had a chance to put off the natural
man more fully than before.

We had an exchange the next day and I went with Elder Hess.  We had a
great time and I enjoyed getting to be with a fellow Idaho Missionary.
Elder Hess is from Fruitland Idaho which is about 40 minutes from
Boise.  There really is a difference in talking to someone who really
is from the same state as me. Not Utah not Arizona not California,
Idaho!  Haha it was cool and we managed to actually have a good amount
of success and get in with a few Investigators that we have that have
difficult to see.  Like Maricela, a woman that we met a few weeks on a
hot day that felt like it was pretty unproductive.  She is one of the
sweetest and kindest of our investigators.  She told us she has been
feeling a lot of stress and that it has resulted in pain.  I had the
opportunity of giving her a blessing of healing.  We then taught them
some of the first points of the restoration and assigned them to read
the first few pages of the restoration pamphlet.  Elder Hess and I
actually did manage to get to bed pretty close to on time even though
it was an exchange.  It was a good change up in the week.

The last Zone Conference with President Griffin was a much anticipated
event.  The trainings given there were actually all ones that I feel I
can benefit from.  The Assistants talked about 4 pillars of missionary
work: Attitude, Obedience, Hard Work, and Knowledge.   The STL trained
about the schedule which is something that always is important to
focus on keeping.  Sister Griffin talked to us as a mom and told us
that she never wants to here that we are lazy or conceited like the
stereotype for our generation.  President Griffin's training was
something different than anything before. He had us all sit in a
circle and asked us questions and then taught off the answers he gave.
 He only asked for missionaries questions and the first person he
turned to was me.  He asked me why I came on a mission.  I wasn't
really given time to think about the answer and I knew he didn't want
a basic "seminary answer" or "Sunday school answer."  As I thought
about it and answered his question in front of the entire Zone I
realized how lucky I was to have the experiences I have had.  I told
President, and the entire Zone, that I went on a mission for a few
different reasons.  Really it is just what I had always wanted and
planned on doing.  I have had many good examples and I always wanted
to grow up and be one of the stripling warriors.  The stripling
warriors aren't really fighting wars anymore so this is the next best
thing.   As I have thought about it since I realized that I really
have had many powerful experiences that gave me the opportunity to
build a real testimony and a true desire to serve the Lord before my
mission.  This is a blessing owe to my parents, church leaders,
grandparents, and other family members that have taught me so much and
given me such opportunities.  A testimony and true knowledge is
probably my most prized possession here in my life.

We received transfer news on Saturday morning.  I am being transferred
to the Cleveland North area where I have been assigned to be the
District Leader.  This is actually very unexpected for me because I
will actually be serving as District Leader over the area where I was
trained which is Athens! I had thought that I might one day return to
my first area of the mission but I did not think that I would get to
visit it while I was at my third area of the mission!  It's great and
I am very happy and excited for it.  Although there really isn't a ton
of Spanish in Cleveland.  I will be there with Elder Fillingham who
was actually trained by Elder Macdonald in the Spanish Ward of our
mission in Dalton Georgia.  So I will be able to practice and study
Spanish with him.

I love Lebanon and I have loved the opportunity to learn so much and
become a better man and a missionary.

Enviado desde mi iPad

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Happy Anniversary!

June 4-10

Happy anniversary to Rustin and Me!
We've been married 22 years.  We ran off to Boise for a quick one night escape.  It is so nice to get away from the regular schedule sometimes.  Austin and the kids do really well without us.  We really are in a great stage of life!!
Last week we were driving in the car and my phone died so one of the kids pulled an {ancient} CD out of the visor above the drivers seat and turned it on.  I probably haven't seen it for more than ten years.  It was a CD that Rustin made for me when we had been married a couple of years and he titled it  "love songs for my love." At the time I thought it was a great little CD with familiar songs that I liked.  I didn't think much of it really. Rustin asked me many times if I liked his CD and I replied with something totally un-romantic like "yeah, sure, it's great! Thanks."  Well this time when that CD started playing I heard it in a different light.  Eighteen years ago I don't think I really knew Rustin.  I don't think I realized then that when Rustin listens to a song, he hears (and remembers) every word. Seriously, every word.  After twenty-two years of marriage  I know that when Rustin made me that CD he did it carefully and intentionally.  The words of those songs, if taken as a literal declaration of love, are amazing and sweet and so thoughtful.  It really touched me to hear them in a completely new light.  I feel like I want to go back to the young thoughtful Rustin and be a little nicer and a little more appreciative.  Thanks honey for being kind and thoughtful back then even if I didn't really appreciate it.  I appreciate it now!

Penny delivered puppies on Thursday of this week.  She had twelve (!!) babies but two were still born.  It was a long drawn out delivery which is exhausting for everyone.  The first stillborn puppy (congenital deformities) really slowed things down and poor Penny had three hours of laboring/waiting for the little one to deliver.  I'm not sure what happened with the second but I'm afraid it may have been too much time in the birth canal, slowed down by the one that was before.  Delivering puppies doesn't always go perfectly.  By the end Penny was so tired her head was bobbing as she fell asleep in between contractions.  She wouldn't lay down and relax (can't blame her...) but she could barely hold her head up!  Once the last puppy was delivered she tucked them all in and they all went to sleep.  I supplemented her with calcium during this delivery because it was so drawn out.  She covered really well and is a super momma.  We have been really blessed with the puppies since the boys left for their missions.  Just as one litter goes home the next litter is born.  We couldn't have asked for better timing.  The Lord knows what we need!

We also added chickens to our chicken coop!  I'm so excited for fresh eggs again!!