Sunday, December 18, 2016

18 December 2016 - Last week of School and Seminary

Ok, the last week of school and seminary for the year 2016 is over...Hooray. The end of the year is quickly coming and it presents a good time for refection of how the year has progressed and what has been accomplished. A look back to the past is nice but a forward glance brings with it an excitement for the upcoming year and the progress that can be made.
  This past week on Monday and Tuesday there was a light dusting of snow on the ground but it didn't shut down anything, such as school or seminary. Stephen substituted for the band class Monday at KentLake and surprised Samuel and a few others in our ward. He was a little disappointed that he didn't get to really teach anything but he did have some fun teasing some of the members of the band. He also subbed in a Spanish class but they had an assignment they were working on so he didn't get to do much there either. Eric Taylor and his wife Detzy were still with us but they spent the day in Seattle touring the life there. They did leave that night on the red eye back to Florida. It was nice to have them visit.
  Tuesday Stephen ran errands and Kathleen prepared her Seminary lesson. That night Samuel had a basketball game at Tahoma HS. He didn't get to play but they won so it was all good.
Best picture I could get of Samuel.
  Wednesday Samuel had another game at KL but he was able to leave early so he could go to the YM activity which was at the Hayward's house watching "Forever Strong" about the Rugby team. He enjoyed himself.
  Stephen picked up another substituting class of Spanish immersion for 5th graders at Scenic Hill. By the time he got home he looked tired and he mentioned that his head and tongue were very tired. There was a band concert on Thursday night where Samuel played the trumpet to the part of the "neighing horse" in the Sleigh Ride. He didn't mention his solo before the concert so it was a surprize to see his horn up for the part.
Cinnamon rolls a la Ralph.
  Friday was our last class in Seminary so Kathleen made cookies, coconut bread, cinnamon rolls and orange rolls and brought them with milk and orange juice to class. The lesson was on John 5 about the healing of the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda. Christ healed him without being asked to do so. The picture by Carl Bloch is gorgeous and the story is even better. It shows the Lord's compassion and his power over all things in creation, even our bodies. If you haven't seen the video in the Bible videos you should check them out. We also covered Jesus' witness that he was the Christ, the Son of God and that He was there to do the Father's will.
  Friday night was the annual High Council dinner with the Stake Presidency. Stephen was in charge of the White Elephant Game so he borrowed the ideas from the Heath family and made his own variety of the game. It was more entertaining than before so it was a big hit.
  Friday, Kathleen was coming down with a bad sore throat. By Saturday it was worse along with congestion, sinus headaches, coughs, sneezes, etc. She stayed in bed until 9:00. There was 10 pork roasts that had to be cooked up for the Ward Christmas Party so she managed to get them in a counter-top roaster and roasted to perfection so Stephen could take them to the party. The party was to the theme of Who-ville from Dr. Seuss. There was a grinch who stole Christmas in green and all. All the meat was eaten so it must have been a success.
  Today was a missionary farewell for the Bishop's son, Ben. He's going to the Sendai, Japan mission where Uncle Leonard served years ago. The gospel makes the world very small indeed.

Monday, December 12, 2016

11 December 2016 - Teaching, Trips & Temple

Stephen has been sick most of the week. After spending last Sunday in bed he was able to go to an to a few classes and substitute teach this week for several schools. He taught at Neely-O'Brian on Tuesday and Panther Lake on Thursday. Friday was at Sunrise Elementary and he was surprised at how messy the room was. Disorganization reigned and it was a wonder the kids could learn anything. He had to pick up the floor before the kids got into the classroom and then at the end of the day he had the kids pick up the room. It was that bad.
Kathleen taught Seminary twice on Monday and Wednesday and got a substitute for her class on  Friday so she could fly to Las Vegas, rent a car and drive with Susan up to St. George to visit Francene. They got there late but were warmly welcomed by Jay and Mindy that night and they were able to spend some nice time with Francene and Sarah, Jessica, Hadlie and Christian came later that morning. Susan checked Francene over and had the nurses put a dressing on a wound on her heel, reposition her and talk about what she has been doing. She was in tears at the first and said she didn't do anything for Thanksgiving but Mindy reminded her that they had taken her to the church where Leonard's family gathered for Thanksgiving and she played "Pie in the Face" with the others. She is emotional at times and then fades in and out of her surroundings. She complained a great deal when anyone would try to lift her arms or legs without getting her permission to do so. Susan explained that it was the only way that she had any control of her situation.  Jessica had to take Hadlie to the urgent care because she was complaining of an ear ache and was running a fever. Hadlie had an ear infection and  Christian had a barky cough. They did really well under the circumstances.
Decoration up in the room and on Christian
  Everyone decorated Francene's room with Christmas decor from the dollar store. She had a nativity that was put up on her night stand and wooden deer that Grandpa Langford had carved which went up with a nutcracker soldier on her armoire. Her cabinet drawers were decked out in wrapping paper and bows. It was festive.
Hadlie was not feeling well.

Two queen beds.
The sofa
View from the window....
  After a very late lunch at the Black Bear Diner, Susan and Kathleen headed back to Las Vegas and Jessica and Sarah made their way back to Provo. All arrived safely. Kathleen turned in the rental car after Susan had registered at the Venetian Hotel for the conference she was attending in Las Vegas. Kathleen got to spend the night with her for Thursday night before she flew home Friday morning. Rebekah picked her up at the airport and then went to her glass-blowing activity that her boss at the Dental office was providing for the staff. That evening she had her office Christmas Party which is an annual event.
  Thursday night Eric Taylor and his new wife Detsy (from Venezuela) came to stay for the weekend. Stephen was in charge of making the home ready for company. They are sleeping in Ben's old room and Samuel was to clean up the bathroom. Detsy had never seen snow before so Eric was taking her to Leavenworth but the snow was too thick on the road so they didn't make it all the way there. They went to visit Eric's kids and introduce Detsy to them. She is a missionary from his mission in Venezuela and he knew her from years ago. She was married to the Stake President but he left his family and the church and she has raised her children all by herself. All 3 kids went on missions and are active in the church. She has a strong testimony and they plan on being sealed next year.
Kappy, kneeling in front of Stephen.
  Kathleen made it home in time to change and get ready to go to the temple where she was the escort for Sister Kaprice Baranet-Hughes. She was getting her endowments out and there was such a wonderful group of supporters. The sister missionaries asked for a ride to the temple so they came early so that Kappy could go through the initiatory first. She was the only person going through for her own endowments which made it very special for her. Lots of people from the ward came and she was in tears. It was a spiritual high.

Kappy with the Spanish Sister Missionaries,
Yost and Jorgenson.
  Saturday was another opportunity to go to the temple. Kappy was sealed to her deceased husband by proxy with the missionary who found her. He came back from his home with his parents to tour Seattle and be with Kappy in the place of her husband. He seemed a little nervous about what his roll would be especially after the sealer pronounced "husband and wife". His father teased him prior to the sealing about having to give Kappy a kiss over the alter. Kappy was just pleased and seemed to really appreciate everything that she was doing. Her father is in the final stages of cancer and she was told he probably wouldn't make it through the weekend and he was scheduled to be in respite care for this weekend. She is hoping that he doesn't pass away in her home.
  A quick side-trip to the Bellevue Stake Nativity activity was such a blessing. They really made the whole building out to be a walk in Old Jerusalem. It was a lovely, spiritual experience with so many testimonies of Christ and His birth.
We filled clear bulbs with floor polish and
glitter. It made a nice christmas ornament
without all the glitter mess.
  Saturday night was a "craft night" at Rebekah's house. She has her little house decked out in Christmas cheer and she has invited Lisa Lewis and Kathleen over to make some decorations for Christmas or other holidays. It was a fun night.

Candy Cane snowflakes.
  Sunday was a wonderful treat. The talks were on the Light of Christ and brought out the church's message on giving service for 25 days before Christmas. There have been so many little opportunities to serve. Helping people reach something on a high shelf, saying "hello" with a smile to a stranger, picking up a gift that someone can't get. Lots of little things that make someone's day brighter. During church the choir practiced with the primary children for the Christmas Day Sacrament meeting. They will be singing one song with the choir and the children sang so beautifully it put most of the choir in tears.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

4 December 2016 - Perot Museum, Home and Nativity.

Stephen sleeping on the bench.
Emeri about the brontosaurus fossil in the back
Monday was a lovely day and Liz and Jenna chose to go to the Perot Museum in Dallas. The kids loved going to the different floors and playing the games and chasing around. Joshua kept heading for the stairs so Jenna was always on the alert. Stephen sat down for a minute and was fast asleep until Kathleen came to wake him up. There was a ride in a "make-believe" oil fracking drill. There were displays of gems and fossils, stars and space. It was wonderful.
In the ride into the oil rig.
  It was dark and late when we got back to the homes. Jenna's mother, Susan had to leave that morning so she missed out on the fun but her sister Sarah was there helping with the kids and having fun of her own. There was a stop at Dallas Temple where pictures were taken before and after the sun set. There was a nativity set up at the temple and a new fountain in the front of the temple. The kids loved running around and posing for pictures.
Dallas Temple in full frontal view.

Seeing the Nativity at the Temple.

Moroni on the temple


The whole gang with Sarah Furniss taking the pix.

Crotchet Nativity by Rebekah
 Tuesday was the flight back home to Seattle but it left at 7:00 so the whole day was spent finishing up the project Stephen was working on putting up shelves in the pantry/laundry area for Liz and Austin. The flight home was uneventful and Rebekah was there for a pick up.
  Wednesday was a late start day so there was no Seminary but there was an in-service meeting at 5:45 AM. That meant Kathleen could sleep for an extra 45 minutes. Samuel made it to school and stayed after for Basketball practice. That evening Stephen made his meetings and spent the night at the church. Samuel had missed the temple trip for Priests and Laurels so there was no activity for him. Rebekah had made a crotcheted Nativity set for her parents. Kathleen set it up in the house to start off the Christmas festivities.
Seahawks Tree.
  Thursday was a trial by fire for Stephen as he worked as a para-educator for special needs students at Cedar Heights Middle School. It was his first foray into teaching. It was an eye-opening experience with kids who would spit at anyone who came close, kids who tried to jump on other kids and students who would try to leave. Kathleen spent the evening sitting at the house of Kappy Baranet with her father who was in bed while she and another new convert sister went to the Maple Valley Nativity.
Maple Valley Nativity
  Friday, was Stephen's second teaching experience but this time it was with Kindergarten children at Meridian Elementary. The teacher had left a detailed schedule to follow but there was so mix up as to where everything was. One little girl hid under the desks so she couldn't be found. Stephen came home without a voice and got sicker as the evening went on. While he was busy at school, Kathleen had a special day with Rebekah. She and Rebekah went to the Victorian Christmas in the afternoon at the Puyallup Fair grounds. There were lots of things to look at but it was sooooo very cold that it was hard to get around. Stephen picked up Samuel at school after the BBall game at Kentlake for the JV and C team. Their team lost by 2 points and Samuel was disappointed but alright.
Rebekah wants to do this idea.
  Saturday Kathleen had to work during the day and in the evening she was able to go with Rebekah to the Maple Valley Nativity where Rebekah played the piano for two sisters who were singing as part of the program. We were able to stay for a little while to see the displays but Rebekah needed to get back to her place to finish some homework that was due. Stephen was sick and stayed in bed most of the day and most of Sunday. He has a bad cough but he was able to start a fire in the fireplace to warm up the house since it's suppose to snow this week. Jon did send a text about his adventures in the Wild Pig was history so it's being added here. Congrats Jon on your success.
Three pigs for the freezer.
  Sunday was Fast and Testimony meeting which is always nice even when the same people get up and say almost the same thing each time. The music chosen was the beginning of the Christmas hymns and after the meetings and choir practice it was nice to come home and catch up on the blog and listen to the Christmas devotional by the First Presidency. It was a beautiful message of Peace, Joy and Hope. A beautiful way to start off the season.

27 November 2016 - Texas, Thanksgiving, Baptism, Fun and Family

Monday was exciting. After Seminary there was packing and planning and coordinating to get ready for the flight to Texas. Samuel had to be picked up early from school and Brian came over to transport family and luggage to the airport. A four hour flight and time change meant that the plane landed after 9:30 in Texas. Austin was there to pick up the travelers and shuttle them to his home. Stephen and Kathleen picked Emeri's room with the King Size mattress even if it was on the floor. Samuel spent the night in Isaac and Andrew's room. Josiah was staying with Liz and Austin and Kimball was staying with Jon and Jenna. Susan and Cory were enjoying some private time for their anniversary.
A spitting dino that got them wet....

T-rex with Oakley and Grandma.
This dino was suppose to be the pattern
that Jurassic Park used for their Velociraptors.
Triceratops and kids....
Add caption
Crawling on a Dinosaur.
  Tuesday afternoon was a trip to the dinosaur park where we met up with Susan and Cory. Stephen went with Jon to "sight in" some rifles for a "wild pig" hunt that he was going on with Nathan Kruse. After a lovely lunch at the "cabin sites" and more exploration in the Museum, we drove back to Jon and Jenna's home for dinner. Elizabeth had Austin bring French bread and Jenna fixed a nice butternut squash soup that we ate with rice. Just after dinner was getting finished, Gary and Finau Furniss and their four kids came and Samuel was having such a great time that he decided to stay at Jon and Jenna's house with them.
  Wednesday was shopping for the food that was needed for Thanksgiving dinner. The Fudgy Pecan Pie was made by Austin and the Banana Cream Pies were made by Kathleen along with some Better than Pumpkin Pie. Everyone was invited to the Heath House to prepare the rooms for the dinner the next day. After some work and great conversation, everyone left but Stephen and Kathleen. It was great talking with Tammy and enjoying her spirit and her hopes for the future. It was hard to leave.
The Basketball players and cheer squad.
  On the way back to Liz and Austin's place, they decided to see Jon and his family, Samuel and the Furniss gang who were at the church playing basketball.  The teams were evenly in number but not in ability. Samuel was with Jon and Br. Furniss against the Furniss kids Gary Jr., Sam and Anna. It was fun to watch but the even more fun to play. Kathleen started playing with the adult side and Samuel went to the Kids. Then Finau started to play along with her daughter Lola. Jenna was trying to corral the kids and keep them from getting hurt when Kathleen took a backwards dive landing on her backside and then smacking her head against the floor with a crack. That ended the game for the evening. Kathleen had some nausea and a big headache but otherwise survived.
  Thursday was Thanksgiving. The annual turkey bowl left Br. Furniss with a bruised shoulder and Katelyn had a bad sprained ankle from being double bounced on the trampoline with her eyes closed. At least it wasn't a break but both went to the emergency room to make sure. Dinner was at 1:00 at Tammy's house but didn't start until 2:00. There were several turkeys, ham, green bean casserole, sweet potato casseroles, salads, jellos, rolls, corn bread dressing and condiments. Everything was delicious and it was a wonderful feeling to be with so many family members and friends. Gratitude for all that the Lord provides for us in our daily lives was evident.
Lights on and cards out.
  After dinner and cleanup, everyone went home to put babies to bed for a nap before the night's activities. The older little ones helped make Thank you cards for the local police and firefighters. Their mothers cooked up cookies and cupcakes and made nice displays to take to the local stations in Prosper. It was a fun delivery to the Police department as they turned on their lights and seemed so happy to see the kids. The Firemen were just as happy and let the kids crawl through the fire trucks.
Capturing the "Thanks" given to those who serve us daily.
Firemen hats and tours through the trucks.
All the families gathered together again in the evening. Dessert was served along with hot chocolate and apple cider. Then the little kids were put to bed and the teens left for the media room and a movie. The adults then got together and played a game of white elephant gifts which was great fun and very memorable as Jon finished the game with a surprise ending giving Jenna the gift that she wanted.
Everyone in front on the trucks at the station.
  Friday, Jon took the Furniss family out with his boat and Stephen went shopping for boards for some of the projects that he wanted to do for Liz and Austin. The ladies went back to Tammy's house to help put things back in order. After some games, food and fun, people started to go back to their places of sleep. Susan and Cory were waiting for people to get back but there wasn't time.
The smiles were worth the effort.
Cousins on a special baptism day for
  Saturday was a 10:00 baptism of Katelyn Jenna Ralph by her father, Jonathan Stephen Ralph. Her grandmothers gave talks on the Holy Ghost (Susan Woods) and Baptism (Kathleen Ralph) and her grandfathers (Gary Furniss & Stephen Ralph) were the witnesses. It was made very special by Jenna and a special cake by Tammy Heath. Katelyn was on crutches due to the sprain and was carried down into the water. She didn't was to use the crutches very much so she did a lot of hopping around the room but she didn't seem to mind and it was her special day. After the baptism we gathered at Jon and Jenna's house for pulled pork sandwiches, veggies, salad and the beautiful cake. It was so special.

Cousins after the baptism...

Kimball and Katelyn both had baptisms
this year. 
A special cake for the 8 year old's
baptism day.
Kimball had a great time.
Leaving with Love....
The Furniss family
  Soon after the Furniss family had to leave to make it to New Mexico for the night. They were making their way back to California. Samuel had a great time with them and kept in touch with their travels by text. Susan and Cory left next, going to the airport for their flight back to Boise. They had a rental car that had to be turned in first. It was sad to see them go but great to have them there for such a special occasion.
Goodbyes all around.
Josiah doesn't want to leave...
Brother Love!
  Sunday was a special experience at the church. They had a special musical testimony meeting with members coming up and announcing their favorite hymn and why the love it and how it strengthened their testimony of the Savior. It was such a unique idea. It was very memorable. Sunday evening Ernie and Sharon came through from visiting Lindsey and Dan on their way to Louisana for the night. They stayed for over an hour and it was so fun talking with them and hearing their positions on things.
Sharon & Ernie visiting Stephen & Kathleen and family while
heading back to South Carolina.