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Fun Weekend in New Mexico

As a family, we headed off for a stake conference in New Mexico! Yes, Silver City, NM, is in our mission.

As we got out of the car in Silver City, everyone was shocked…it was cool and kind of crisp!  We all have been conditioned that when you get out of the car in Tucson, you are stepping into an oven.

In Silver City… NO OVEN!!

First thing in the morning, we headed up the road to the Gila Cliff Dwellings in the Gila National Forest.

As we drove, we all oohed and ahhed at how beautiful it was.

It felt like we were HOME.

These signs were everywhere on our drive up to the cliff dwellings.

That shows you the kind of drive we had.

This is the Gila National Forest. Just BREATHTAKING!

Look at this beauty!! TREES with LEAVES and wild flowers. We were giddy the whole drive!!

Finally made it up to the monument, 90 minutes or so later. All relieved to be out of the car and in the mountains.

We watched a little film in the visitors center and looked at some artifacts. It was very intriguing history and we wanted to go see and experience the dwellings for ourselves.

Let’s go!

From the trail, you could finally see the dwellings/caves.

They were so hidden away…no wonder they were used to live in.

Getting closer.  So cool!!!!

The gentle short hike was so enjoyable and shaded in most parts.

There was a babbling brook that we criss-crossed over and over with bridges.

 

 

A real, picturesque stream!! It was beautiful and sounded so relaxing.

We made it to the caves and were able to walk around and listen to a guide tell lots of facts and stories. Basically, the Mogollon peoples who lived here were only there from about 1275 to the early 14th century.  There were only about 25-80 people that lived in these caves at one time and that translates into just a few families.

A lot of vandalism happened in the late 1800’s and early 20th century so the roofs of individual rooms and such were gone and a little graffiti is seen on the walls from people marking their names and handprints on the cave walls . I really loved the look of the soot on the ceilings of the caves. I could picture the people that lived, cooked, worked and raised families there.

This is from the inside and top of the cave looking out.

Eboo heading down the tall scary ladder!

 

That was so interesting and unique! We all were so glad we made the effort to come.

Now for the drive back…

someone, and I’m not mentioning names, needed some air!

I felt like I was driving in the gorgeous American Fork, Ut, Canyon!!

SOOOO different from Tucson and the cactus.

After we got home, and fed our hungry bellies, the younger kids wanted to go swimming. Dad got in the pool too!

And yes, Mission Presidents can swim. When they are acting as Dad to their kids, they do things Dad’s do and the name badges come off. Kids love to swim, so Dad (and Mom) get to go swimming too!

 

 

Cold shivering kids…that hasn’t happened in a while.

After all our meetings on Saturday night and Sunday, we headed home.

We sure were sad to leave the perfect weather, but Tucson was calling us home.

As we were driving out of town, we stopped and snapped some last photos of the cute older downtown of Silver City and…

…found this amazing colorful and vibrant mural that was on the side of a building.

Goodbye New Mexico, see you next time!

 

 

Eboo and the little diddles.

Cool Presto.

 

Babups matches the mural!

 

JuBean loves, loves, loves watermelon so she wanted her picture with this mural.

Week 2: Transfer Week Craziness

The second week of our mission was….. nuts!

No, beyond nuts…… it was awfully crazy.

First thing on Monday we get a wonderful load of new missionaries, 11 Sisters and 2 Elders, fresh from the MTC. (Taking pictures with each of them was my favorite part.) They are so excited to be here in Tucson and to get to work. [Note to self…NO black skirt in the Arizona 112 degree sun!]

 

 

After pictures, we load up their luggage in the cargo trailer, and then pile the missionaries into our mission vehicles to set off for the Mormon Battalion Monument in downtown Tucson. It’s a long standing tradition in the ATM.

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After getting to the monument, President Browning explains a little history of the Mormon pioneers and the Mormon Battalion to motivate our new missionaries to honor the tradition of hastening the work in this area, just like the pioneers did.

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Then we head to the stake center for lunch and training (sorry no pictures) and then to the mission home for dinner and testimonies.

Lucky for this group, the monsoons started to roll in just as we got to the mission home!

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Looking out from the balcony of the mission home.

 

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Everyone was so excited to see the rain and feel the temperatures get cooler.

 

After dinner, everyone went to their places and got some rest. On Tuesday morning, we all headed to the transfer site for transfers and the Trainer/Trainee Training! (That was a mouthful.) This is where the new missionaries learn who their trainer is and to begin the 12 Week Training program. We had 11 Sisters so we needed a lot of Sisters to help out this transfer.

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Right after the Trainer/Trainee Meeting, the departing missionaries were waiting outside to head north to the Gilbert Temple for their departing day temple trip. We quickly got in the cars and headed to Gilbert. (This was our first and last trip to the Gilbert Temple for departing missionaries because next transfer the Tucson Temple will be dedicated and up and running!!)

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The departing missionaries high five the new missionaries as they head out to their first areas. New and old, arriving and departing….all on the same day.

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After the 2 1/2 hour ride back to Tucson, we are all hungry and ready for dinner so back to the mission home.

The departing missionaries are just about done with their missions….and their shoes show their service.

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After we stuffed ourselves with yummy food, we had a very special testimony meeting and enjoyed hearing from each missionary.

Wow! What powerful people they have all become.

Parents, you should be busting your buttons with pride for what your missionary children have accomplished and how they have grown up and become. MISSIONS are the BEST!!

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All the missionaries receive their departing packets with travel documents, a CD with all their Presidents emails, and other things.

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And just before they all go to get a few hours of sleep, they weigh and jostle their bags to make sure they are under 50 lbs for each bag.  Some get very creative with our primitive weighing techniques!

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Up early and to the airport we go but they all are a little somber (or just exhausted). The last day of their mission and the first day of the rest of their lives IS HERE. The bitter sweet is hard to take in.

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Farewell ATM missionaries! You have worked hard and brought so much joy to so many people by bringing them the Good News of Jesus Christ! May you be blessed for your service in His army.

God be with you.

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First Week in the A.T.M.

We’ve been here a month and this is a post dedicated to all that happened in our first CRAZY week of July, 2017.

July 6-7 we hit the road for a two day tour of all the zones and to have the missionaries “Meet the President and family.” Even our Eboo, Presto, and JuBean came along with us.

Our first stop was in Willcox, AZ, and we met the New Mexico, Gila Valley, and Sierra Vista Zones.

The drive was so scenic and I wished we could of stopped twenty times to take pictures of the Arizona landscape. But of course we couldn’t…we had to move on.

The next day we did it all again but twice! This time we were close in Tucson and met the Northwest, Southeast, and Central Zones and then the Tucson Spanish Zone last of all. The missionaries were all so kind and friendly, and we are ready to get to work with them.

After our last meeting, when it was hotter than I have ever been, we grabbed our first eeggee’s . That is a Tucsonan snow cone-like-slushie that is nice and cold when it is close to 115 degrees outside. The lemon is my favorite.

I LOVE eeggee’s in July in Tucson Arizona!!!!

 

JuBean Turns Six

This beautiful little girl turned 6 one month after we arrived in Tucson. She has been so excited to be the FIRST birthday in our new home and life. What a resilient flexible child. Always seeing the pony in the pile of manure.

In the morning, we jump on JuBean’s bed and wake her up by singing happy birthday to her. Even though JuBean was in bed, she wasn’t asleep. She was just patiently waiting for us to come in.

Next comes the birthday gift treasure hunt. JuBean and her siblings comb the house, one gift at a time, for her hidden gifts. Then after she has found them all, she tears into the long awaited treasures!

 

 

 

 

If you can’t tell, JuBean loves anything and everything watermelon.

 

Our Birthday Girl!

 

Birthday breakfasts are always the best especially when Mickey is part of it.

And then the day ends with a Birthday dinner (this time we ate out) and birthday cake with candles of which there is no photo unfortunately.

Happy Birthday JuBean!!

Our sweet little “sunshine” girl who keeps us all young and hopping. We love you so much!

Trip to Tucson

We headed down to Tucson the morning of June 29, 2017.

Before we left, we said goodbye to our very first, 41 day old grand baby, Lillian, which was so much harder than I had anticipated. Much more agonizing.  It was not a fun family prayer before we left. Sigh.

We also said goodbye to the other children, the married’s, took a picture far away so no one could see the tear stained faces, and then jumped into the packed truck and drove away from our home and from normal life.

 

We now have an Arizona Tucson Mission family, and then the married’s in Ohio and Idaho.

The Arizona Tucson Mission Family

Here are some photos of the LONG trip down via Cedar City UT, Las Vegas NV, Kingman AZ, Phoenix AZ, and then to Tucson AZ.

All the pictures of us outside, it was so so so so hot! It was over 108 degrees if not more.

This is our very first day of our mission, July 1, 2017.

We woke up, put on our missionary badges, and headed over to the mission home to take over the reigns. It was a sunny, beautiful day, but it was a day we will never forget!

#CRAZYDAY.july.1.2017

 

 

 

And I cannot forget to show all of the new beautiful friends we met…these unique Tucson cactus and plants.

How we will be so familiar with them over the next three years, but that first morning we couldn’t stop looking and taking pictures of them.

#IAMINLOVEWITHCACTI

 

 

 

And notice…..no green grass, but look at those BLUE BLUE skies!!

HELLO TUCSON!

We are here ready to get to work.

 

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