Tuesday, July 26, 2011


O.K., it’s official. I’m homesick. I’m going to get a grip - soon - but this is a new experience for me. As far as I can remember, this is a first. When I went to Girl Scout camp as a kid I was so excited about the camp, the activities, and the counselors I adored that I hardly thought about home. When I got on a bus in the middle of the night and headed from L.A. to B.Y.U. at 17, I had worked so hard for the privilege that I could hardly wait to get there. By the time I started to miss my family it was almost time to go home for Thanksgiving.

This time, I know what homesickness feels like. It feels like the time, in 1982, when Don and I our first opportunity to go to Israel. A trip of a lifetime - but we were leaving three daughters, ages 14, 11, and 5, at home. As the plane sat on the tarmac in Salt Lake City preparing to taxi out to the runway, it was all I could do not to jump up and run screaming from the plane as they bolted the door shut. All of a sudden I couldn’t remember why I had thought leaving my kids to go Israel was such a good idea. In the end, the kids survived just fine without us, and we walked where the Savior walked. It was a life changing experience. Since then, my study of the life of Christ has taken on new meaning. I know Nazareth, I know Bethlehem, I love Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. I can imagine my Savior there as he traveled and taught, performed miracles and took upon himself the sins of the world. I would have missed all that if I had run screaming from the plane.

I’ve never been away from our kids for longer than a few weeks. Well, that’s not exactly true. They’ve left for months at a time - but I haven’t! They came back and so will I. This is temporary. So why am I struggling? I’m grateful to be with Don and to have this time together. I know the pain of missing our family will all be worth it. I know we and they will have experiences that will greatly enrich all of our lives during the next 2½ years. I know we will learn things and grow in ways we could not otherwise. I’m so excited to see the finished product when we come home!

Today, as I was driving and Don was sleeping, I found a new friend to help me get through this new challenge of homesickness. Johann Sebastian Bach. Classical music was the only thing I could listen to on the Ipod without crying, so Bach and the harpsichord kept me company across the plains. Harpsichord Concerto in D. Concerto in C for 2 Harpsichords. It was magnificent. We had a great time together this afternoon.

I’m so grateful to be traveling with an IPod. I’ll have to remember comfort of good music during the coming days and weeks - which brings me to another subject: being connected. Smart phones, an IPod, an IPad and a couple of laptops connected to the Internet by mobile ap. Here we are somewhere out in the middle of America watching amber waves of grain as far as we can see, and so far we have talked to our kids on the phone, by text, and by email. Soon we’ll give them a cyber-hug on Skype. Gotta love living in 2011. ~Pat~

Monday, July 25, 2011

And They're Off...

We’re on our way at last -- after a tearful good-bye to friends and neighbors, four of our daughters and their husbands, and all our grandchildren. (Amy and Colin are in Alabama with Air Force. We’ll see them soon.)

I knew it would be tough and it makes me cry again just thinking about each of the them, but I know it will get easier as the days go by. And I know this is a good experience for all of us. I’m so proud of all of our family for the way they have supported us in this decision. They’ve been cheering us on since the day we got our call -and they were the ones who picked us up off the floor and said, “Sure, you can do it!” when we got the second call, too. We’ll be missing a lot of family get-togethers and a lot of opportunities to help them, to listen to them, to do things together, to give them a hug. I’m sure they’ve thought about that - I sure have - but they have been so supportive. Their faith has given us faith; their courage and unselfishness has been an example to us. We love them more than anything else in the world -- to the moon and back!

After we finished our superb CES training on Wednesday last week and left the MTC, we had a couple of days to pack and load the car, then we spent Saturday with the family at Utah Lake. Every hour with them was precious. Yesterday (Sunday), after church, the family came over in the evening to celebrate Don’s birthday. Rachel, with her mom Janet’s help, surprised us with a family pedigree chart of cookie faces. It even had all four family dogs! When they walked in the house and we first saw it, we felt so loved and supported by the whole family. Each one has added their support in their own way and we have felt it. We didn’t want the evening to end...

Yup, we’re on our way, and our air-conditioned MDX - with a cargo carrier on the top - is stuffed to overflowing. I realized while I was carrying out my last little box of hair dryers, shampoo, make-up, etc., to the car this morning that that one box, alone, probably weighs more than the entire 17 pounds the handcart pioneers were allowed. We’ll only be in Washington D.C. a few months. The pioneers were starting over, forever, in a new land. We’re driving; they walked. We have a couple of laptops, cell phones with Internet access, dishes, pots and pans, personal possessions, blankets, bedding, shoes, and a hanging rod full of clothes and coats. We can stop as often as we want to get something to eat -- grocery stores, restaurants, and drive-throughs everywhere. Not much pioneering going on here, but a whole new experience before us, nevertheless. ~Pat~

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Set Apart

A week ago, on Sunday, July 10th, before we entered the MTC, we gathered with our family in the Corner Canyon Stake offices and President Lane Wright, from the Stake Presidency, set us apart for the responsibility we have undertaken to be full-time missionaries. President Wright counseled us that we were being set apart from our current life activities to serve the Lord. He conferred the authority of the calling individually on our heads, then blessed us with promises that will help us to do the work we have committed to do. It was a sweet, comforting experience.

This week, as we begin week #2 in the MTC, we are very grateful for the added help we received through Priesthood authority when we were set apart -- particularly the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We have needed ability beyond our own. There's been a lot to learn.

When we excitedly entered the MTC last week, we had no idea what to expect! We have been surprised at how much we didn't know. We have been impressed with our instructors - young returned missionaries who are bright, capable, responsible, caring young men and women - and their ability to teach us. We have struggled to learn how to teach to the needs of our students. We have gained an understanding that we must teach people, not lessons. We have marveled that we have learned to work together in new ways -- something we thought we had already learned living together all these years and raising a family. We are grateful to have the health and ability and means to devote this time to serving others. We are exhausted, invigorated, anxious, excited, empowered, and humbled by this amazing experience.

Yes, we have been set apart. Set apart to do much more than we imagined - already! ~Pat~

Monday, July 11, 2011

7-11-11 -- Our Lucky Day!

WHAT AN EXPERIENCE this morning to walk through the doors of the Missionary Training Center for the first time and realize that our long awaited dream is finally reality! It was a moment we'll never forget.

After a wonderful weekend spent with our kids, grandkids, and so many dear family members and friends, the car trip to Provo was a little unsettling as the enormity of this life-changing experience settled on us. As soon as we arrived, though, there was a very kind man waiting to greet us and show us where to go. We got our official missionary name tags, some paperwork and basic instructions, then went to lunch with several hundred young elders and sisters in the MTC cafeteria.

At 1 p.m., our group of 62 senior missionaries met with the MTC Mission presidency. We introduced ourselves to each other; there are missionaries in our group going to Singapore, Indonesia, Poland, Ghana, Kenya, Scandanavia, Canada, Hungary, Germany, Florida, New Jersey, California, and Michigan. Wow! Many of them are on their second or third missions and enthusiastically looking forward to this new experience. Amazing people anxious to serve others.

By 3:30 we were done for the day and heading back to Draper. (O.K. - we stopped at the BYU Creamery for some ice cream....) Most of the senior missionaries are being housed at the MTC or the Provo Marriott for the week. We'll drive back and report in by 8 a.m. tomorrow morning to begin four full days of classes with the rest of the group. So far so good!! ~Pat~

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway.

“If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.

“If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.

“If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.

“What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.

“If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway.

“The good you do today, people will forget tomorrow; do good anyway.

“Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

“You see, the final analysis is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway."

  • Mother Teresa

We have always wanted to serve a mission together, but it is not easy to leave family and friends and a comfortable home in order to serve. We will miss our kids and grandkids very much. We choose to serve anyway.

We’ve had good examples to follow. Our ancestors left a rich heritage of sacrifice and service. We have been blessed by their lives and examples. Now is our time to give. We don’t know whose lives we may affect or who may affect ours, but we will go forward and serve, anyway. ~Don~