Saturday, May 12, 2012

Real Fortune Cookies

We have a New Years' Day tradition in our family. Many years ago, our neighbor, Eva Shiraki, from Monterrey, Mexico (who's husband was born in Japan) taught me how to make Chinese Eggrolls - from scratch. I don't quite know how that all came about, but she was a superb cook and her eggrolls were the yummiest ones I have ever tasted. They have become mandatory for welcoming in the New Year at our house.

Along with the rest of the dinner, we always have Chinese Fortune Cookies. Now we all know that Chinese Fortune Cookies are written to be very general and they could apply to most anyone, but I just have to say that the two that I chose on New Year's Day this year have turned out to be surprisingly helpful and practically prophetic.

Fortune Cookie #1: If you want the rainbow, you have to tolerate the rain.
In Southern England, we just had what the BBC reported as "the wettest April since records have been kept - for the last 100 years." Rain, rain, rain - nearly every day! And it didn't actually end until two days ago, almost two weeks into May. Much needed rain, to be sure: it pretty much ended the drought they have been talking about since we got here. Nevertheless, it has been soggy and dreary and c-o-l-d right up until this weekend. Everybody around here was getting pretty tired of it, me included.

Then the rain stopped and the rainbow appeared - right over the temple. What a sight!

 And, oh, what a weekend we are having! The grass and the walkways have dried out, the sun is shining, and everything looks shiny clean. I have been walking on the temple grounds in the early mornings (rain or shine) with a friend and this morning it was so beautiful. All the flowers on the temple grounds are either blooming profusely or ready to burst. Bluebells, azaleas, lilacs and more. We hear that the rhododendrons are going to be amazing in another week or so. Can't wait!

Today, Don's niece and her husband brought their three little girls to spend a few hours with us while they went to a temple session. They are living an hour or so north of us in St. Albans. We had such a good time with them.

One of our missionaries, Sister Cabrera has put together a garden tour for children, so she and her companions tried it for the first time today with our nieces. The weather cooperated and we wandered all over the temple grounds, enjoying every minute.

One of the girls' favorite parts of our walk was our new duck duo. During the winter we had one lonely little white duck who lived on the reflecting pool on the south side of the temple. Poor little thing used to quack and quack at anybody who came near it - just hoping for a friendly response. Our Chilean sister missionary named him "Pato." Well, that duck was heard, because a week or two ago, a uniquely Dalmatian colored duck flew in from somewhere and has become best buddies with Pato. They are inseparable now and we are all so glad to see them paddling around together in the pond and waddling along in the grass. They look like chocolate and vanilla together. We think love may be in bloom. It seems that even the ducks are grateful for the good weather now that the rain has stopped.

Fortune Cookie #2: When in doubt, follow your heart.
This is some of the best advice I brought with me. There is so much to do here! I tend to be an organizer - lots of lists of things that need to be done. Projects that need to be completed. Things that need to be fixed/repaired/improved in the Visitors' Centre. Meetings to plan, talks to write, people to contact, places to go, things to do... you get the idea. While all of that is necessary, it isn't necessarily important. Instead of getting overwhelmed with everything that could and should be done, I often have to remind myself that it's the people that are important -- working with the sister missionaries, meeting and getting to know the people who come to the Visitors' Centre, spending time with the mission office senior missionaries and the temple missionaries, staying in touch with our family, and taking time for our marriage. When in doubt about how to spend my time, I should always remember to follow my heart.

Thank you, Chinese fortune cookies writers, wherever you are. You've given me something to think about this year.                       ~Pat~

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