Sunday, January 31, 2016

31 January 2016 - Missionary opportunities

Another quick week and many more blessings to be thankful for in our lives.
Monday was was fairly normal until the night time when we were dressed for bed and I received a phone call from one of the sisters that I visit teach. She was very distraught and needed a ride to the UW Medical Center. Her daughter, Kim, was being transported there from the hospital in Enumclaw. Of course, I told her I would be right there and your dad got dressed and we drove to her house to pick her up. She knew that it was bad and that her daughter would probably be close to death but by the time the ushered us into the room where her other daughter, Virginia, and her family were sitting they told us that she passed away during transport in the ambulance. There were many tears and a very upset husband (not a member) and finally some resolution of what to do next. We got home around 1:00.
Tuesday, I had a class at the hospital on post-partum hemorrhage. It was a fun class because it was all pretend…essentially a drill to prepare for the actual emergency. After I got home we got ready to go to  Samuel’s game at KM. He actually got to play for the last 2 minutes but he didn’t make any shots since the little guy guarding him stole the ball. We still won by a significant amount. That night he played BB for the church league also. The eeked out the win over Clarke Lake.
Samuel went in when this was the score.

Wednesday, there was no school due to the end of the semester and we’ve not had any snow days. It was a nice break. We worked outside in the yard, moving the remaining trees and pruning the apple trees. We still have a lot to do… ;-) That night I was invited to go to an investigator’s home with the Spanish speaking sister missionaries in Renton to give a lesson to the sister that we met at Baja Fresh. The lesson was on the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”. They asked me to say a few words and I tried to remember my Spanish. Hopefully I made sense. The sister’s name is Yenesia and she cares for 4 little children (not all hers). I don’t think there is a husband involved but she is very sweet and she had read the Book of Mormon through Alma 13. She knows the gospel is true. Her mother and younger sister were baptized in Mexico and she is scheduled to be baptized next Saturday and she asked if Stephen could perform the baptism. It was an amazing meeting.
Sr. Yost, Sr. Huhem, me and Yesenia

Thursday, I taught Seminary about the anointing of David to be King in 1 Samuel 16. It contains the scripture mastery of the “the Lord looketh upon the heart.” It was a fun lesson. Samuel had an orthodontic appointment on Thursday and I thought they were going to take his braces off. Well not that day and not until the middle of May. We were both disappointed. That night there was a big competition between KL and KW at the Show-ware Center. It was a double header of the boys and girls varsity teams and a “spirit competition.” Samuel played in the pep band. He came home pretty disappointed that KL lost the boys game and the spirit competition.

At 9' 9", Goliath was pretty tall.

Friday started out with a lesson on David and Goliath in Seminary. I had drawn a huge poster of Goliath and the students were suppose to write on him something that is challenging in their lives. They didn't seem interested. I didn't get a lot of participation. I was pretty bummed after the class was over. I just need to have more of the spirit and less of the artwork. 
That night Samuel had his last basketball game of the season against KW. They beat them by one point the last time the played so KW was out for blood. The beat us by about 20 points. We just couldn’t hit the basket and they played a tight defense. It’s actually been nice for Samuel and he’ll miss the games. He got in pretty good shape and could walk better so we’ll have to keep doing something so he stays in shape.

On the defense with hands up in the air. Go Samuel 

Coach Karim making strategy.

Friday night was our Stake Temple night. Stephen and I made the 7:00 session. The Maple Valley Stake also had their RS temple night that night so I saw people that I know from there too.
Saturday, I went to a funeral in the Sumner Stake Center for the daughter of the sister that I visit teach. She will be buried in the Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday and your dad was asked to speak then. There were a good number of people there even though the daughter was inactive and married to a non-member.
Saturday night was the adult session of Stake Conference. They had a panel of a police office (Br. Sumpter in uniform, gun and all), a fire chief (a brother from the Renton stake in uniform) and a nurse (Sr. Lindsay works at Valley in the ER and she was also in uniform). The panel was facilitated by President Stroud on the topic of community service. The whole evening was “Coming closer to Christ through service in the family and community.” After the panel, the mayor Suzette Cook and the Kent School District Superintendent Calvin Watts spoke about Community Service opportunities and Leadership in Learning. Both did a fine job but it was apparent that they thought they should receive an applause after they finished. They both left after they spoke and then President Stroud finished up. Stephen conducted that meeting and gave the introductions.
Today at Stake Conference, Stephen was the first speaker. He did a great job speaking from his heart and using just a few notes. Just before he spoke the choir sang a number and the conductor needed the lift to stand higher. Later in the meeting the Mission President quipped that he forgot the choir was performing before Pres. Ralph and he thought the lift was for him to “stand taller”. His message was on standing tall for the gospel of Christ. The meeting was very inspiring with the topic of “Coming to Christ through Righteous Living.” Stephen spoke on the importance of Scripture Study not just reading. Br. Thacker spoke on prayer, Sr. Cox spoke on the temple and Br. Oxborrow spoke on fulfilling your calling. A sister about to leave on her mission spoke on the influence of friends and being willing to live the covenants you have made even when no one else does. Sr. Tyler spoke on the importance of family and Pres. Stroud finished it up by bringing it all together.
FYI - There were some sustaining also. Sr. Carrie Manning was put in as the Stake RS president and Kelly Johnson was called as her 2nd counselor. Br. Wareham in the Lake Sawyer ward was called to the High Counsel to take Br. Williams place.
Stephen is back at the stake center for temple recommend interviews and a baptism then I’ll pick him up and we’re going to Yesenia’s home for another missionary lesson on Temple marriage. It should be good.

It’s been a great week!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

24 January 2016 - Missionary opportunities and More!

Another week has flown by and much has been accomplished.
   Monday was MLK day and so Samuel was off of school. Samuel and Stephen made it to the gym while I worked on cleaning the kitchen and other areas in the house. That night the missionaries came over with our recent convert and another sister who is investigating the church, Sr. Holman. She has been meeting with the missionaries for over 8 years but has a smoking problem. The elders are really working with her and committed her to the addiction recovery program and she seems to have a very real desire to overcome her addiction this time.
   Tuesday started off with Seminary and the new Learning Assessment that the students have to pass in order to get credit for the course. We moved the kids apart and covered up the scripture mastery clues on the wall so they wouldn't get any help. We had 4 kids not pass the first time but since they get to take it over as many times as needed they all have passed. Samuel passed with flying colors and I was very pleased with that.
   Tuesday morning  Stephen went to the temple to speak with President Maucotel about the Recorder position that will be open soon as he is preparing to serve as a mission president. Stephen came home with a true desire to serve in that position but he feels that he might not get it. I'm asking for your prayers that if the Lord wants him to serve in that position that those in charge will be inspired to "assign" that to him. I believe he would love that opportunity. Thanks!
   I spent several hours at the Family History Library with Mary Kozy. I'm just getting into understanding what I can do to "clean up" our family information. There are so obvious errors...such as mothers dying prior to the birth of a child. I ordered RootsMagic7 to help out with the mess. I'll be asking everyone for exact information of birth dates and places and spelling of parents/children etc. Please know that it is to make everything accurate. If you have a copy of a birth certificate I would like a scan of that also... ;-)
   Tuesday night Samuel had a game at  Tahoma Middle School and when I got there they were behind by about 15 points. Mike and Cathy and Becky Jo and Ryan were there also but I didn't think that Samuel would get to play because we need to be way ahead for the coach to put him in the game. Mike said the other team had been shooting a lot of 3 pointers. As I watched our team they seemed to hustle much more than the other team and by the end of the second half we were ahead by 20 and Samuel got to go into the game. They passed him the ball and it hit his face but he hung on to it and attempted a basket. It bounced off the rim barely missing. They got him the ball again and it was an airball. On the third try he swished in a 3 point shot and the crowd went wild, especially his coach and teammates. You could tell they really want him to make it.
Samuel at Curtis taking a shot. Look at
his teammates and coach.
   That evening Samuel had a basketball game at the Kent Building. His team played some very big boys from Clarke Lake and they barely won by 1 point in the end. The court is so small that it makes it difficult to play with 5 on a team. They were mostly Polynesian kids too.
   Wednesday night I went to the Family History Library where Mary Kozy taught a lesson about Family Search Wiki. I was blown away... there is so much to do and so much help. It was difficult to decide where to go and which line to check out. Thankfully Family Search has little icons to let you know that there is a problem with some information and you can start there.
   Thursday I taught Seminary and then Stephen went with Rebekah to get some things for her house. He worked there until after 1:00 so we didn't get much done here at the house but planning. We were going to go out to the new Cafe Rio here but it was so late by the time he got back that we just had some lunch here. I'm on an elimination diet again. It does make me feel better but I have a hard time figuring out what to eat. When you don't eat milk, grains, and legumes that cuts out a lot of my diet. Thankfully Benjamin gave me a diffuser pitcher for Christmas so I can make tasty water concoctions to enjoy.
One of the dishes that I can have on my diet.
Cabbage and Kale salad and baked potato.
    Friday after Seminary it was raining so I worked inside then the sun peeked out for a few hours in the afternoon. It was beautiful. Stephen and I worked outside, transplanting a Hazelnut (Filbert) tree and pruning out the raspberries. We had to move the chicken coop and one of the compost bins before we could dig a hole big enough for the tree but it was done prior to the rain starting up again.
The filbert where the compost bin used to be. 
   Saturday we spent deep cleaning our bedroom. Wow, it looks nice now. I can imagine some new bedroom furniture in there... ;-) Stephen hung the picture of the empty tomb up over the head of our bed. Hopefully it will remind me daily that He is risen and I need to follow in His footsteps to arise from my bed and do His will.
You can see the pictures and enjoy the space.

Finally got the picture of the "Empty Tomb" hung.
Thanks to all of my children for such a wonderful
   Saturday night we went to the temple. It was a wonderful experience for me. I received some enlightenment and understanding that I hadn't had before. It was nice to sit in the Celestial room and talk with Stephen about it. Also a sister was there in the Celestial Room and she knew Sarah. Her son Sean Nielson is a good friend with Derek Clements. She mentioned that she had served a mission in the Philippines that included Tacloban at the time, though she never served there. She remembered seeing Sarah's picture of her holding her companion's face. She also said she was at the temple the night that Sarah received her endowments and she was one of the people who chose to go to another session so that family and friends could be with Sarah. It was fun talking with her.
   Today at church, the Williams spoke because they are leaving for their mission to New York, New York South a week from Monday and next week is conference. They had some great messages about temple work and missionary work. I really feel like I need to get into  Family History so that I can work in the temple which is part of my patriarchal blessing. I look forward to serving in any way I can. Right now, I'm a Seminary teacher and though it has been a struggle in some ways I hope the Lord is accepting of my efforts.
   The Sabbath is truly a delight. I'm grateful to be able to write my history. I'm grateful for my children and their lovely companions, for grandchildren and extended family. Mostly I'm grateful for my Savior, for the sacrifice he made to complete the atonement for each of us so that we have the opportunity to be forever with our Eternal Family. I hope and pray that each of my family feels that love!
Here's my Christmas gift from my children
this past year. Thank you all so very much!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

17 January 2016 -- Women's Conference

Another week has flown by and 2016 is in full swing.                        
The beginning of the week, Monday and Tuesday, I taught Seminary and finished up the Book of Judges. The whole book focused on the cycle of sin and repentance and rescue through a Judge in Israel. It is amazing to see how easy it was for the chosen people to forget their God and worship the false gods of those around them. It made me consider, what were the “false gods” that I have worshipped in my life? How do I keep from falling into the trap of the “sin cycle”? Better to “cling to the rod” and worship the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent. Little things matter so much!
This week Dad put up the railing in the back stairway. He still needs to stain it but the hard part is done and it looks nice. We also worked on cleaning out the kitchen, organizing the pantry and cupboards. Things are starting to look good but it seems to take two to three times more time than you think it should…lol.
Samuel had 3 games this week. He only got to play in 2 of the games but he is happy about being on the team and he looks good in his uniform. I did have to wash his pants before one of his games since he fell on his knees in the mud. Otherwise he is getting in better and better shape. He had Scout merit badge clinic on Saturday (yesterday) and he is one merit badge away for his Life Rank. He is working on Family Life, Personal Fitness and Radio. Hopefully he’ll get all of them soon and start on his Eagle.
While Samuel was at the clinic, Stephen and I went to the Stake Center for brunch with the RS sisters and their Women's Conference this year. We had some nice speakers and a video presentation after the meal. President Stroud asked if I wanted to sit on the stand with him and Stephen and I said that I always like sitting with Stephen but when it came down to actually doing it, I was very uncomfortable and didn’t feel like I should be up there. But it was nice to see all the sisters. I talked with Maika Sueferling about her new grandbaby and spoke with the sisters from the Spanish Branch along with lots of sisters from our ward and around the stake so it was a productive meeting for me.
CafĂ© Rio is open now here in Kent and I tried it out on Friday. Stephen had lunch with his old friends from work and that left me by myself since Rebekah was substituting 5th grade at Neely O’Brien (which she says she will never do again…lol). I had a burrito and enjoyed it very much. It was very much like the one in Provo except there were booths instead of tables and chairs but it reminded me of the wonderful times I’ve spent with my family and friends in Provo. The food was nice but the memories were so much better. Love you all!
Friday night we had Sisters-in-White at the temple. Your dad and I went to the 3:00 session and then to the 5:30 meeting in the downstairs chapel. We stayed in white because he had to sit up front and he wanted me to sit with him. With Stake Conference the end of the month, it looks like we will be going to the temple every week this month. It’s great! I hope we get to do that more often.
Stephen is deciding whether to apply to some specific jobs at the temple or in other areas of professional interest outside the church. Please keep him in your prayers so that we make the right decision that will be what the Lord wants us to do. This decision will make all the difference in the next few years for us. Thank you!
Please remember that you are always in our prayers…that’s why they take so long…and you are all so very loved.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

10 January 2016 - Starting off Right

   This week started off with school being 2 hours late due to sleet/snow in the foothills. That meant there was no Seminary and Stephen and I missed the gym due to getting Samuel to school during the time we would usually be at the gym but it turned out ok. We worked at getting the wedding accessories packed and put away and started on some Christmas. Brian and Ruth came by that night to share the left overs from the wedding that we didn't package up. The rest went to Sr. Baranett, the Knutzens and the Nielsens or in the freezer. It was so nice to have Brian and Ruth here and to talk without having to worry about getting home right away.
   Tuesday was a gym day and we went to the Family History Center with Sr. Baranett since she is a new convert and she had some names to look up. She was able to get the temple work slip for her husband who had passed away several years ago. She just beamed at it. After a few hours there we went to watch Samuel's team play at Kentlake. He didn't get put in since it was a close game. They lost by 3 points at the last but would have won if the coach hadn't called timeout when a team member shot a 3-pointer and made it. Sad loss.... but Samuel didn't seem upset at all that he didn't get to play.
   Wednesday we hit the gym again and then dressed up warm to drive to Seattle to make the Argosy Harbor Cruise at 12:00. It was cold but clear and dry making it an unusual day for a Seattle winter. The cruise was educational and fun but it was only an hour around the Harbor. We did get to see the docks where the cranes are from the sea side view and where they are building a new ferry. It was very interesting.
Coast Guard Cutter in the background. 

The cranes from the seaside view. They are huge and built in

Another Coast Guard ship.

The hull of a new ferry being built in Seattle. The top part is built in another shipyard
and then put on a barge and hauled to where the hull is and they put they together and solder it.

The  Space Needle seen while leaving the dock.

The best looking passenger on the ship.
A nice lady from Australia took this pix for us. 

A selfie attempt.

Another Selfie....
And another.....

The Space needle with a park in from of it.

The Ferris Wheel in Seattle....
   We had to make it back to Kentlake for a 2:30 IEP meeting for Samuel. They talked about his progress and made plans to keep him on track for graduation. They were excited to hear that he wanted to be a sportscaster and Mrs. Gleason said she'd ask permission for him to help her make the announcements at the games. They also recommended Drama and Speech club for Samuel. I talked about having him do his health class online from BYU. They were ok with that as long as I talk with his counselor, Ms. Wainscot.
   That night Samuel had his yearly planning meeting with food and broom hockey at the church. Stephen had his usual meetings so I worked on Seminary. I really that I had it down but it seems to leave my brain by the time class starts the next day.
   Thursday morning was early with my finishing the book of Joshua and practicing Joshua 24:15 to pass a Scripture Mastery. The students either passed that off or the other one that they were working on. We went to the gym and then came home and starting on Christmas decor. Moving things upstairs and downstairs. Vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning. I think Stephen was surprised at how long it took to get it all done. It seemed never
   Samuel had a game in Mt. Rainer that late afternoon so Stephen went to it and was able to record Samuel's first basket shot of the season. Of course, I had to post it online. There were so many people who thought it was great. Stephen mentioned that when our coach put him in since we were 20 points ahead that the other team's coach had to call a timeout and tell his players to "back off" of Samuel. That was an incredible thing for both the coach and his players to do. The whole gym seemed to be cheering for Samuel as he tried over and over until he finally made it with a bank shot. He was pretty happy and so was everyone else.
   Friday I taught the first lesson in the book of judges. It included the story of Ehud the judge that killed the "very fat" Eglon, king of Moab. It also included Deborah and another judge. The main message was the cycle of sin that the Children of Israel went through over and over as they forgot God and began to worship the gods of the people who dwelt in the land rather than removing the people as the Lord commanded them. It's a great message that we all need to be reminded of from time to time. Remember the Lord and keep His commandments. Remove yourself from any areas that cause you to sin and/or remove those things that cause you to forget God. We finished up with a scripture mastery quiz.
   Stephen and I went to the temple for an early session. The traffic was so bad that we decided not to make it at 11:00 but to do our errands first. We made the 12:00 session and were home by 2:45. We worked toward finishing planting all the tulip bulbs that should have been in the ground weeks ago. I finished way after dark and your dad helped a lot but had to go before it was all done. Hopefully they will be coming up within a few months.
   That night we watched the movie the "Gospel of John". Vinay came in about half way through the movie and he had so many questions. It was amazing to me to realize what a big change he is having to make to have the gospel become a part of his life. Those who do not understand the importance of Jesus Christ in their  lives are at such a disadvantage in this world. Hopefully he'll have a greater desire to learn truth and live it.
   Saturday I went to a Regional Seminary meeting at the Federal Way Stake. There were some very exceptional classes. I really liked the one on getting principles from the scripture reading block. The had examples of how to pull important lessons/principles from almost each verse. Almost each word was a lesson. I loved it and I felt that I really need to work on my daily scripture study so that I can hear the word of the Lord constantly in my mind.
   When I got home around 2:00 Stephen was finishing up the stucco on the ceiling fix in the family room. It looked great but he kept saying it wasn't good enough. I couldn't tell a Samuel had a game at 3:30 so I took him to Kentlake then did some errands (filled the gas tank) and went back to watch his game. They beat TJ high school and Samuel was put in the last 90 seconds of the game. He had to stay for the next 2 games and since one of my Seminary students plays on the JV I stayed and watched the first half of the game. My student, Nathan Hanis, did well but his team is too slow and not enough passion. They lost by 20 points. Samuel stayed for the varsity game and then his dad picked him up and took him to the youth dance at the Maple Valley Stake. He is quite the busy That meant someone had to pick him up at 11;00...that was his dad.
Samuel is number 15 on the Left standing....
   Today, church started at 9:00 and choir ended at 1:00. That gives me plenty of time to plan for my lesson tomorrow and to write this blog. I hope to hear from all my children. And I hope they know that I know that the gospel is true...the gospel is peace...the gospel is the good news that Christ lives, He suffered and died for us, He is the only begotten in the flesh of our Father in Heaven, He is the lamb of sacrifice for our sins. May you all know this truth in your lives and may it sustain you always....
Love you All,

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Year 2015 - In Review....

Highlights for the Year Past - 2015 was full of memories. Here's a few.
We took a cruise to the Caribbean with Brian & Ruth and Bruce & Annette in February. We were able to tour a Mayan ruin in Belize that made us more aware of the blessing that the Book of Mormon is in our lives. Being in other countries helped us to appreciate the inspiration that formed our great nation. We went to church in Houston before going back to Dallas to visit with Jon & Jenna and their 3 children, and Elizabeth & Austin and their 4 children. It was such a wonderful trip and a delight to be with family and explore new places. 

Climbing a Mayan ruin in Belize. You could see Guatemala from the top.

Getting started on the cruise.
Beautiful place to snorkel.
 Honduras, Mexico and Belize were all of the itinerary.
The food is great...mainly because I didn't have to cook it... ;-)
Before we left for the cruise out of Houston, Stephen helped put in a larger patio at
Jonathan's house. Of course, Austin was a big help.

Of course we had to bring back some shirts for the grandkids....  What's more fun than seeing kids and grandkids and then going on a cruise with your true love. Can't think of a better way to start off the New Year.

In April we were back in Provo to celebrate with Jessica as she graduated from BYU. The weather was wonderful and we loved spending time with her, Juan and Hadlie. Her accomplishment was celebrated by several siblings that were able to make it for the special occasion. We took Sarah back to BYU to start her Master’s program in Speech Therapy. 

 Walking at the Marriot Center for her diploma.
Both sides of Jessica's family were there to congratulate her on her achievement
 Jessica met Cory Brighton for the first time.  Susan met him at the first of the year at a Single Adult party in Seattle.
A major accomplishment!

Having fun with the BYU cougar and sharing the thrill with Sarah who missed out on her graduation due to going on her mission the day she was to walk at BYU. What is sister love for????

A surprise party at the house.

The Graduate!

July was our stake’s Youth Trek and Stephen participated in the whole week and played his harmonica in a special performance that included his famous “handless” rendition and his “nasal” performance.  The kids and adults both raved about his harmonica playing after Trek. They were impressed. Samuel also enjoyed his first Trek experience as he participated as the Company Bugler. He wasn’t too thrilled about all the walking but he made it.
August was a Scouting High Adventure in Canada on kayaks in the ocean, where Samuel and Stephen got a close-up view of breaching humpback whales. They enjoyed the trip, the food (they came back with a love of pita bread sandwiches), and the beautiful Pacific Ocean. 
The whale is at the top of the waterline in the picture.
Doesn't he look like he's having fun....
Stephen and Samuel paddled a 2 man kayak.
Stephen and Kathleen also celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary with a day in Paradise, a local ski resort that has some beautiful scenery and a tram that takes you up to a restaurant on top of the mountain.  
View of Mt. Rainer from the top of the tram.

Kathleen spent much of August in Provo enjoying time with Sarah, Jessica & Juan and Hadlie waiting for baby Christian Gregory to arrive. He made his entrance on the 20th and has been a delight and joy to his parents. Kathleen flew back to Seattle to start teaching early morning Seminary for a week before driving back to Provo with Stephen and Samuel to visit with Christian again for the Labor Day weekend.

Growing family. Juan and Jessica with Hadlie and Christian Gregory Salcedo. 
Sarah became officially engaged to Michael Andrew Gordon on September 19, 2015.

 October, Kathleen flew to Dallas to help with the arrival of Joshua Garret Ralph on the 5th. He was nice enough to wait until all of General Conference was over and to come right on his due date. Jon & Jenna did a great job and are now pros in the labor and delivery dept. as they add the 13th grandchild to the family tree.
Jenna with her midwife, Jon and Grandma. Joshua
is busy getting warm.

Another growing family...Jonathan and Jenna with Katelyn, Nathan, Gracie and Joshua Garett.
The last week of October Stephen, Kathleen and Rebekah flew to Hawaii to spend a week on the Big Island. What a lovely experience it was. It was fun to see the different flora and fauna on the tropical island and watch the ocean waves and try to snorkel. Rebekah earned the trip as her award for filling out the correct brackets in her work’s March Madness tournament, and blessed her parents with a trip full of wonderful memories.
Sunset on the beach. A very beautiful Hawaiian night.

Visiting Mt. Mauna Loa which is a huge caldron crater that is
still active with smoke and at times lava.

The sulfur walls up the caldron walls. It still smokes and belches sulfur.
Going into a Lava tube cave near Mauna Loa.

Climbing a side vent of Mauna Loa. Surrounded by lava pebbles.

The Black Sand beach where the sea turtles
come to rest.

The southern most tip of the United States.

The ocean waves were very violent and the wind was strong at the south
end of the island.
On the north end there were lots of waterfalls.

More of the North side of the Big Island.

Visiting the northwest side of the of the island.

The Botanical gardens on the northeast side of the Island.

Another famous falls.

On top of Mauna Kea is several observation stations. We made it most of the way to where the public could use the telescopes. Unfortunately the full moon didn't give us much hope of seeing stars.

The very north side of the Island was very green and lush.

The middle of the island was grazing land with Mauna Kea in the distance.

A cocoa pod where the cocoa bean comes from. We visited a chocolate factory where they grow, harvest and produce cocoa in various forms. It was delicious.
Samuel tried out and made the freshman basketball team for his High School. He now proudly sports a team jacket and black vest on game days. He has actually played in some games but mostly cheers on his team. We are so proud of him for trying out and doing his best. He is an example of courage and determination. He is a blessing for us.
November 16th was Stephen’s last day with Boeing. He was laid off after 26 years and views it as a retirement test, which has turned out to be a blessing as he can help out with all the happenings during the last months of the year. He has been so helpful that Kathleen can’t imagine him going to work for anyone else….  ;-) 

Katherine Jestes made it to the wedding.

Mary Kozy, Melissa Kozy and son James came too.

Photo Bomb....
On November 21st Susan was married to Cory Steven Brighton in the Boise, Idaho temple. Grandpa Ralph was able to perform the sealing ceremony which made it extra special. The next day we drove back to Kent with Grandma and Grandpa where Samuel received his Patriarchal Blessing from Grandpa Ralph that Monday.

On the day after Thanksgiving, Benjamin became engaged to his friend from before his mission, Carli Treu. They are planning an April wedding in the SLC temple.
On December 29th Sarah and Michael Gordon were married in the SLC temple. The weather was clear and very cold. It was a white wedding, inside and out. With Susan, Sarah and Benjamin getting married within 5 months we have/will have added 3 very special members to the family. The Family tree continues to branch out and blossom.
Adding the newest member of the Stephen Lowell Ralph Family.... Michael Andrew Gordon and Sarah Mickele Ralph were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on December 29, 2015.

Lots of Bridesmaids were there to welcome Michael into the family tree.

After the beautiful sealing by Grandpa Lowell Ralph we had pictures outside in the very cold weather. Hand warmers were helpful but not enough to keep the bride from getting chilled. We were late to the reception that evening in Alpine, Utah due to traffic congestion, but it was a lovely affair for the bride and groom and all those that attended.
Cutting the cake in Alpine

We left the next day to return to Kent and prepare for a reception here. The roads were clear and dry so we made good time. There were so many people to help with decorating and with the food prep and serving. It was wonderful but also very hectic.
Cutting the cake in Kent.

We had a wonderful time. Lisa Clement and Sarah's old roommate from BYU helped with the decor and did a beautiful job. Stephen rigged a flashlight from the basketball standard in a up position to shine on the food table. We used goblets upside down with candles to make them look elegant. There was way too much food from Baja Fresh but it was better than running out.
Sarah and Michael have made it back to Provo. School was 2 hours late today with no Seminary so I have a little more time to prepare for the week.
We are so very blessed. The past year has been eventful and full of memories and blessings. We are looking forward to the start of an even better year to come!