Sunday, February 26, 2017

26 February 2017 - Winter Break, Flower and Garden Show and birthday wishes

So the past week was spent at the Ralph House staying warm.
Monday was the birthday of Carli T. Ralph and it was fun to hear about her trip to California with Ben. Happy, Happy Birthday, Carli! Monday was also the first day of Spring Break. What a relief to stay in bed until 6:30. Stephen decided to continue working with Neeser Construction. He enjoys being needed and accomplishing the tasks placed on him. The school is almost finished.
   Tuesday was much the same as Monday. Samuel was again put to work with chores and extra cleaning. He's a great help for Kathleen. There was no basketball games at the church but Samuel and Stephen finished up their home teaching for the month. The Faulkners like to schedule late in the month.
On their way to the NWF&G show.
Garden waterworks out of instruments
Aquaponics greenhouse with a beehive at the
end of the walkway. 
   Wednesday was a special day for Kathleen. Stephen and Samuel escorted her to the NW Flower &  Garden Show. She had tickets for 2 days and she was so excited about going to the classes since they counted as required CE for her Master Gardener. There were plenty of garden displays and informational booths along with tasting booths for oils and chocolates. Samuel got pretty bored and he and Stephen decided to go home early and then pick up Kathleen at the end of the day after Stephen's meetings at the Stake Center. He had taken Samuel to the  Family History Library in Auburn before YM. He just wanted to get a picture of the set up so he could plan for the new Kent Family History Library that will be opening this coming July.
Samuel waiting in the Auburn FHL with Mary Kozy.

  Stephen decided that Samuel shouldn't be left home by himself on Thursday before Youth Conference so Kathleen stayed home with him rather than make her second day. Samuel was taken to the Stake Center at 5:00 to begin a Youth Conference on "What's My Story". They learned about different refugee situations around the world and had refugee families and other (a boat girl from the Vietnam era) speak to the youth. They taught them about how it feels to not understand the language of the new country where you're going and the difficulties of the refugee camps. It was very impressive for the youth that went and the adults who participated also. Conference lasted until Saturday afternoon and then the Renton Stake had a special AFY with speakers that the youth were encouraged to go to so Samuel went there and participated in the dance at the end. He had a great time!
   Friday, Stephen went to work and Kathleen stayed home instead of going to the NWF&G show by herself. She wasted a ticket which she doesn't like to do. That night, the temple was closed so Stephen and Kathleen opted to work outside and move the Black Lace Elderberry plant.
   Saturday, Kathleen had to work and Stephen went to the Youth Conference as well as other church activities.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

19 February 2017 - Up to the plants and a UW game

The school that Stephen is working on in Puyallup.
This past week was a busy, full week of seminary, work, school and more in the Ralph House. Monday was gentle. Kathleen didn't have to teach Seminary but she was still there by 5:00 getting the room ready. Stephen chose to work for Neeser Construction and Samuel had school and seminary. Rebekah came by that night for dinner but left right after because of her homework. She did drop one of her classes because it was just too much on her plate.

The school without siding.
   Tuesday, Kathleen taught seminary and had baked some brownies for the class for Valentine's Day. The lesson was on Acts 13 about Herod killing James the brother on John and finding that it pleased the Jews so he took Peter prisoner and was planning his execution for the next day but an angel of the Lord released Peter during the night. The "moral" of the story is to do things that please God and not seek to please men. The class put on a play and it was video recorded so they had fun.
    Stephen chose to work for Nesser again. They really need him since he was the youngest man in their group. They worked on putting up the underside of the eaves on the school building. Hopefully he'll get some pictures soon. He came home as soon as possible so he could take Kathleen out for a Valentine's day dinner. They chose to go to Cafe Rio since they have their Tuesday special. It was nice and quick. That night Stephen had meetings at the Kent building so he took Samuel to his basketball game and stayed for meetings. Kathleen prepared herself for seminary and work.
   Wednesday was the typical morning routine but after Seminary Kathleen had to go to work at the hospital. Standing up and/or walking for most of the day made her knee swell up so she was limping around for a lot of the day. At least she could rest her leg that evening. Samuel had Young Men where he learned how to cook a meal that would be good at college or on a mission. He helped cook up some sausage gravy and biscuits. He also helped plan their fund raiser for High Adventure. Another spaghetti feed/auction. Stephen had meetings that night at the stake center. Kathleen stayed home to prepare her lesson for seminary.
   Thursday seminary lesson was Acts 15 about the end of circumcision and the Law of Moses during the Jerusalem council. The message for the lesson was the importance of councils and how the Lord has used them throughout the ages including today. Also that His church is run through councils from the premortal council in heaven to quorums to the family councils. Every member family should be having family council on a regular basis.
   Stephen worked for Neeser and Kathleen and Rebekah served in the bishop's storehouse for a four hour shift. The problem Kathleen had was that her knee would let her bend very well and when they were counseled to bend at the knee to pick up boxes she almost laughed since it hurt more to try and bend her knee than picking up boxes at the waist. Rebekah left early since she wasn't feeling well but she had helped stock and helped patrons prior to leaving. That night Kathleen was able to pick up one of her sisters that she visit teaches so that she could meet with the bishop for a temple recommend interview. She is going to the temple for the first time and she'll be sealed to her husband. She has done lots of family history work but has never been to the temple herself. Now she'll have lots to do at the temple.
   Friday was a beautiful day. The sky was clear and deep blue and the temperature was in the upper 50's. That made it a great day to finish planting the native trees and shrubs in the front yard and move some plants in the back yard. Kathleen managed to get most of the plants in the front planted before Samuel came home but he helped pick up branches and clean up the trails in the front yard with a fair amount of complaining. He was absolutely helpful in the back by filling buckets of water that were needed for the jostaberries that were moved and replanted and the aronia berries that went to the back yard. Thankfully Stephen came home early enough to help since he dug up the jostaberries after they were pruned way back. Hopefully they will all survive. It was a physically exhausting day.
Samuel in the seats.
   Saturday, Kathleen was back to the hospital for a day shift. She was in another delivery and ended up delivering the baby herself since the doctor had walked out the door 5 minutes earlier and said that her replacement was coming. Neither doctor came and the baby just came out without the mom pushing. Of course the doctor was not happy but they should know better than to leave a mom that close to delivery. Fortunately mom and babe were just fine. Kathleen was in a lot of pain after that shift. It was too many days on her knee. Thankfully she didn't have anything to do at home when she got there since Stephen and Samuel went to a basketball game at the UW vs. Arizona. They had a great time at the game and came home with two free starbucks mugs with lids. Also, they were in pretty good seats since the arena was half the size of the Marriott center at BYU.
A pix of the court during warm-ups.
   Sunday was easy since Stephen didn't have any stake meetings. Pres. Stroud is in Hawaii with his daughters. Sr. Stroud went back to Spain instead of going with her family because her mother is ailing. Pres. Morgan is also out of town so Stephen is doing all the stake business himself. The talks during Sacrament meeting were on the Book of Mormon. They were excellent. The Book of Mormon is proof that the church is true. If anyone is seeking for truth and has an open heart they will know that there is no way that that book could be written by any ordinary person or even a genius, much less a person with a third grade education. The Book of Mormon is true which means that is had to be translated, as they claimed it was, by the gift and power of God. That means that Joseph Smith is a prophet and restored the church of Jesus Christ in it's fullness. Along with the priesthood power that provides the ordinances of salvation. What a marvelous thing to know. This is the "good news" for our time. Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world and His church has been restored in it's fullness. Hallelujah!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

12 February 2017 - Snow Days and Stake Conference

Out the front door. Arborvitae are hanging low.
There is beauty in new fallen snow. It's so white and clean. The snow started on Sunday and by Monday morning there was 6 to 8 inches on the cars and yard and trees. It was a wet snow that was easy to mold and make into snow men. Unfortunately that wasn't what we wanted to do with it. School was canceled and we made a fire in the built in fireplace stove and kept the house warm. We  never lost power so that was a blessing. Several ward members said that their power was out. We lost a tree in the front yard and the magnolia tree in the back yard looks pretty sad but it's all good. It looked like a winter wonderland. 
Out the back do

  By Tuesday the roads were clear so Kathleen took Samuel to his church basketball game at the Kent building. Samuel didn't make any points but it was a fun game to watch. Kathleen kept the score sheet so she couldn't get upset by the referees or plays. They won but it was a close game. On the way out of the parking lot. The camry got stuck and spun it's wheels. There was a car behind so Kathleen kept trying to move the wheels for better traction but to no avail. Finally the car behind her figured out there was a problem so he backed out and let Kathleen make it back down the incline and drive around the parking lot and get a good run up the hill. She made it easily and since there were no other cars on the road at that junction she was able to make it home safe and sound.
   Wednesday was disappointing that it was not 2 hour late start. They just canceled the whole day. Sad. They still had YM/YW that night at the church. It was a Etiquette dinner for the youth. Samuel said it was fun but when he got home he was still hungry. Spaghetti was not sufficient for a growing youth. Stephen had Stake Presidency meeting that night to get ready for Stake conference. Since he was unable to work at the school during closure he worked for John Sharp on the construction company. He was very tired each day but glad that he was able to continue to work.
   Thursday, school was back in session and Stephen opted to teach his first grade class at Soos Creek. He really likes that class because they like him. He came home satisfied with his work. That night the sisters had enrichment meeting with Sister Billie Atwood speaking on Self-esteem. It was an enlightening presentation. In a nutshell, she said that as we become disciples of Christ and follow him, doing all the small things, that we will find that we are happy and have greater self-esteem. She did give us a list that included things like organizing your surroundings, overcoming addictions, being kind, serving others, prayer and study, to help develop self-esteem.
   Friday Stephen was back at the construction site but he planned on coming home early so he and Kathleen could take Kaprice Baranet to the temple for the Stake temple night. Stephen ended up staying longer to help out so Kathleen took Kappy herself to the 4:00 session. They got out in time to meet Stephen before he went to the 6:30 session. The drive home was packed with cars and trucks on the highway. It appeared that they closed Snoqualmie pass so there were lots and lots of trucks on the side of the freeway just waiting.
   Saturday morning Samuel had Stake Youth choir practice in the morning. Kathleen drove him there and then went to the Bishop's storehouse for some drink mix that they were going to use for the adult meeting that night. It topic was temporal and spiritual preparedness. Stephen lead the discussion on using the Home Storage facility here in Kent. They had a video presentation about what was available from the facility. The idea was that if you are prepared spiritually, you will follow the counsel to prepare temporally and vice versa. There was light refreshments after the meeting and then Rebekah and Kathleen needed to go to Fred Meyers to pick up some canned chicken for a dinner that Kathleen was preparing for a sister in the ward who had her baby. She also picked up some animal crackers for our lesson on Peter's dream of the "unclean animals." Rebekah also wanted to pick up some items so we got home late but Samuel and Kathleen still had time to watch "Agents of Shield" while Stephen worked on his talk for  Sunday.
   Sunday was Stake Conference. Stephen left early for Priesthood leadership meeting at 7:00 where he was to speak on "delegation". He had several brothers help him out with his topic and he assigned each priesthood leader to delegate a member of their presidency to bring cookies to their next meeting so they could discuss how to delegate and report their meeting to the Stake presidency, including who brought the cookies. President Stroud then assigned Stephen to bring cookies to their next presidency meeting this Wednesday. That went over well.
  Rebekah came by early to practice the piano since she was playing for the choir. She also conducted the music for conference so she was busy. Rebekah and Samuel had to be to the church early to practice and Rebekah asked her mother to turn the pages for her to everyone in the family was sitting on the stand. Stephen had a 15 minute talk to give and he also had to read in the names of the General and Stake leadership for a sustaining vote. His talk was on the pathway to discipleship and he related his experience in having his grandchildren here for the summer and taking them on adventures to Twin Falls where they followed a path to the falls. He related that to the path that Peter discussed in his 2nd epistle. "add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue knowledge. And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness, Charity."  He gave stories and discussed each trait that would lead a disciple of Christ onto the pathway to the Tree of Life. He developed the idea of temperance being self-control and the importance of controlling what we take into our bodies including what we view. He hit pretty hard on pornography and President Stroud also hit that subject the night before.
   After the meeting, Kathleen came home and made mashed potatoes to go with the meat that was cooking for the past 48 hours in a pot on the counter with a Sous Vide cooker inside. It's a new method of low heat cooking that gives you a moist piece of meat, cooked to perfection without drying. It's also good for fruits and vegetable and avoids the problems of carcinogens from high high or flame cooking. It turned out very nice.
   Kathleen also had to cook a meal for a sister who had a baby this week. She made Chicken Divan, rolls and peach crisp. Of course she made enough to have some at home. The rolls were a big hit.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

5 February 2017 - Cold and windy

   Back to "mostly normal" would be the theme for the week. There have been a few out of place happenings such as Monday, before FHE by Samuel, there was a call from Michael, Kathleen's brother. He explained that Catherine had been admitted to the hospital when they got back from Washington because of low blood counts. They couldn't figure out why she was dropping her hematocrit. After 8 days they finally determined the diagnosis, Multiple myeloma. A blood cancer in the bone marrow. This is the same cancer variety that Larry is fighting. The beginning symptoms in both of them were very different. Larry had pain and breaks in his bones along with a rising Calcium level. Catherine had intestinal bleeding, no pain, but a continuing drop in blood component levels. They are not blood relatives so it does make one wonder if there are any environmental similarities between the two of them.
   Monday Stephen worked at the construction company. They are working on building a school and he was doing the caulking around huge windows. He came home very tired but satisfied with being able to work. Kathleen taught Seminary that morning on the book of the Acts of the Apostles. Of course the title to the book should be ‘The Acts of the Resurrected Christ Working through the Holy Spirit in the Lives and Ministries of His Ordained Apostles,’ according to Jeffrey R. Holland. The book of Acts is a wonderful segway from the mortal life of Christ to His works through His apostles. It shows how His church was organized in the beginning and is a witness to the truthfulness of the restoration of His church in these latter days. The book gives a glimpse into the early church members receiving personal revelation, living the law of consecration and having love one to another. It details the workings of the apostles, from choosing members of the apostleship to the receipt of revelation for the whole church and the blessings of missionary service. A great reason to study the scriptures.
   Please remember to add Stephen to your prayers this week since he is assigned to give 3 talks for stake conference. He needs the inspiration and power of the Holy Ghost and would appreciate your thoughts and prayers for him. 

   Tuesday was a day off due to the end of the semester. Stephen went to work for the construction company so it was just Samuel and his Mom getting the house organized and cleaned. Kathleen made it to the gym to work out but Samuel didn't want to go since he had a basketball game that night. Stephen and Samuel were suppose to go Home teaching but Stephen let Samuel go to the game and he took Kathleen as his companion. She got a little taste of what it would be like to go on a mission with her husband...not bad.
   Wednesday was cold and windy. Seminary was early and chilly. Stephen taught school at Soos Creek Elementary in the First Grade class that he really likes. There was a "reptile man" who came for an assembly with his snakes, turtles, alligators and lizards. Stephen got to pet the alligator who was trained to sit on command. He saw a child be wrapped around by a Boa constrictor but who wasn't afraid at all. He enjoyed the day.  They asked him to teach that class for the remainder of the week since the teacher was getting a new infant in her house. It appears that her niece had a child while on drugs and the infant was removed right at birth. It is so tragic when addictions are so great that nothing or no one else matters in this life. You can only feel sorrow for the situation, the infant, the teacher and the young mother.
   Thursday was still cold and windy. It was so cold that no one wanted to out in the weather. Stephen was back to the first grade class that requested him. He had to cancel the work he had scheduled with the construction company but since they were going to work outside it was probably a blessing for him. 
   Friday was so cold that it started to bring down freezing rain. It started after Kathleen made it to Seminary so they still had seminary even though school announced that it was 2 hours late due to the freezing rain. Samuel got to stay home until 9:00 but he was already up and showered and dressed before they got the message. Stephen was still teaching first grade at Soos Creek but it was 2 hours late also so it was a short day for him. Kathleen and Rebekah ran some errands in Federal Way, including going to a Natural foods store, to DI and to Winco. They had to make it back for Samuel. Rebekah has been extra busy with her work, piano lessons and three online classes from BYUI for her web design major.
   Friday night warmed up enough to melt everything and Stephen and Kathleen went to the movies at the Auburn 17 theaters. They saw Rogue One which they enjoyed because it goes right into the first Star Wars movie ever made and gives you some background on that. 
   Saturday was a temple day for Stephen. He made the 7:00 AM session and then after he returned and Samuel was done with his chores, Samuel went to "hang out" with Parker Welch and Stephen and Kathleen cleaned off the back porch. The chicken which had been "free ranged", like to eat the dog food on the porch and poop all over the place. They moved her pen closer to the house for easier feeding and then chased her down and put her in her pen. She has started to lay eggs again already. The porch was to be pressure washed but the nozzle was broken on the pressure washer so a broom and scrubbers had to be utilized on the porch. After it was sufficiently clean and dry the swing and grill were put back on the porch. It looks so much better now and Kathleen doesn't mind going outside to the back yard.... She was able to clean out a couple of garden boxes along with the outdoor clean up. There is plenty to do outside and lots of plants to transplant here and there. it will be fun to get it going again. Hopefully many of the plants survived the winter cold. There's going to be a lot of pruning of fruit trees, too.
   Sunday was Fast and testimony meeting. All three members of the stake presidency came to our ward since there was a baby being blessing and President Morgan was invited to be in the prayer circle. President Stroud and Stephen are the other two and already in our ward. It looked like they were going to change the bishopric or something. It was so fun to see. We had two confirmations after the baby blessing and that left only 20 minutes of testimony bearing. Kathleen felt the need to bare her testimony but she didn't want to take anyone else's time so she waited to see if there was going to be a lull in the meeting. When Sr. Manning got up she thought she wouldn't be able to but Sr. Manning went toward the back of the room so Kathleen got up and bore her testimony of the importance of knowing the mind and will of the Lord through the Holy Ghost. She used the example of the early apostles and the restoration of priesthood authority that allows us to have the gift of the Holy Ghost who bears witness of Jesus Christ. After church we went back for choir practice and Samuel is staying with Rebekah for a stake youth choir that will perform next week for Stake conference.
   Fires were started every night this week. It has been that cold, windy but mostly dry. Now the forecast is for snow tomorrow. We'll see. Probably cancel seminary... Not a problem... ;-)
   Wishing you the best week of the New Year. May you all be blessed!!!