Sunday, September 1, 2013

Elizabeth's Birthday Party at Waterworld!

Villate, Elizabeth, London and Brianna at Waterworld with Mom, Dad and Rachel! 

We all ate Funnel Cake for a Birthday Treat!


Opening presents in the car on the way home!

Thank you for the presents!

Such a fun day!!!

Elizabeth to Temple and Jake get Patriarchal Blessing

Elizabeth at Denver Temple doing Baptisms for the Dead with YW
Dear Little Megan,

How are you?  I hope we aren't giving you to much to read this week.  I know I sent a lot of emails, links to movies and questions.  Hope you still have time to write after reading everything.  Dad and Rachel are at Seminary kick off right now!  Today, I had primary music and Jake had his last Sunday in the ward before leaving for USU.  Can you believe it?  I wish you were both going to be there at the same time but not sure if that will happen at all.  Isn't that weird?  We have been busy packing him up and getting last minute items.  

I started back to work all week and was in and out of meetings and school.  We are trying to start a BYOD (bring your own device) policy at Hulstrom and have the kids bring in either iPads or Chromebooks.  It will be an interesting journey.  We met with district IT on Friday and talked about how it will take $200,000 to upgrade our bandwidth just in our building alone.  I am  not sure how this is going to happen but I guess we will start fundraising asap.   

I had some teacher training at the CO History Museum on Thursday and Friday.  This year they are starting a new evaluation system that promises to be difficult to understand and potentially punitive for teachers.  I am concerned about the roll out and we got to talk to the state about it on Friday.  

Tuesday, I drove the YW to do baptisms for the dead at the Temple.  Elizabeth was so excited and had a great time.  They don't let big groups schedule before 3 now and are open for drop in baptisms.  It has been very successful and they have about 80 people a day coming in to do baptisms.  

Dad and I tried to go on a bike ride Saturday morning since he was out of town all week but when we unloaded the bikes, my tire was flat and that was after Dad had worked on it for an hour before that.  So, we had to load it back up and go home.  Bummer!  It was my last Saturday before school starts.  I can't seem to find the will to face it and seem very anxiety ridden about returning.  I'm not sure why.  

Kris sold her house and they are moving to Draper so I am not sure where we are going to stay when we take Jake on Saturday but Rachel is coming with us to move him in.  We will send pictures from Utah next week!

We had to postpone Elizabeth's birthday party because it was 60 degrees on the 7th and we didn't think the girls would have much fun at Waterworld so we are going tomorrow.  It is my last day of freedom as manditory meetings begin on Tuesday.  It should be fun hopefully although lugging tubes uphill isn't really my idea of a good time.  Elizabeth is so excited!  

I love you,
Dear Megan,

Okay now I can respond to you. I had to go back a re-read your letter. Mom even added a picture of Fufu that she found on the internet. Do you have any idea how amazing your mother is? She seems to have so much energy, I just cannot seems to keep up with her. 

This month I have really been working hard to get ready for seminary. Getting up at 5am will be hard to begin with, since I have been staying up late and getting up late all summer. One of the things that I have been drawn to is a devotional that featured the head of the seminary program. He said that it is okay to have doubts. Doubts about the church, doubts about your life, doubts about your situation, etc..... But what you do with those doubts is what counts. If you soften your heart to listen to the Lord, and try to find the answers in the scriptures, and live the commandments, then the Lord will answer your prayers and turn your doubts into Faith. Building faith over time from one trial to the next, until you come to the perfect knowledge of the truth. It doesnt all happen at once but after much patience, then you will receive "line upon line, and precept upon precept". 

In your letter it sounded like you followed the path to gain greater faith, not more doubt. You are an amazing daughter!, and you are a wonderful example to me. In fact, I went back to my missionary journal to see how I was feeling at times, especally when we couldnt get anyone to listen. it seems like after the trial of my faith, then the Lord would bless me when I least expected it. Keep up the good work and He will bless you, when you least expect it. In fact, it sounds like he is blessing you already. Take every small/large blessing and write it down. You will see that he is extending His tender mercies everywhere. And not just for you, but people around you.

Okay, now I want to be less dramatic. I had to travel for a couple days this week, but it felt like a month. I have been back to Hormel so many times. This big account started with a couple problems and then started to be increadably great. Then all of the sudden it started to go bad again. We are having problem after problem with the loggers going bad, the system works great and then we will get a logger that leaks! Arg, the one problem that we thought we would never have. anyway work is....well, work.

The ward had a 40 day fast that ended today. The ward mission leader (bro. brink) got everyone to sign up for a dinner over 40 days and then had the families fast the day the sister came to their house. Then they broke their fast with dinner and a spiritual thought from the sister encouraging us to "open our mouths" and invite our friends. We have been thinking about your last letter and wondering who we could invite. We are waiting for the right moment but I think we will invite our neighbors across the street. They have a girl one year younger than Elizabeth and then we will invite the sister also. We are trying to be better missionaries!

We are also trying to do better at reading the scriptures at night. Jake and Rachel have been reading the BoM on their own so we decided to read the D&C. Still trying to get better at every night. Not the most successful but plugging along anyway.

Jake is getting is Patriarticle blessing tomorrow night. Those of us that can fast, will but I am really looking forward to listening. He leaves next week for School and like you we are really going to miss him. I cant believe that it is hear already. 

Well, that seems to be all the news that I can think of, I know your mother sent her letter again from last week that wouldnt send and she sent some China pictures.

I know the Lord has been blessing you with tender mercies. Sometimes things are hard but keep your chin up, remember what the Lord has done for you and then you will be able to continue with a smile. 

I love you so much, and miss you. Lose yourself in the work and the Lord will bless you. 


Dad Goes To Girl's Camp!

Rachel, Elizabeth and Dad at Girls Camp in Estes Park

Add caption

I make this horse also named Rachel look good!

Say What?
Dear Zuster Israelsen,

Well, its Elizabeths birthday today. thank heavens its finally here, She has been talking about it for 6 months. She wanted to wake everyone up at 7:30am to open presents but I told her that would not be the best idea. Instead of having a pleasent day, Rachel and Jake would be mad the whole time. So at 8am this morning I told your mother that Elizabeth must not be that excited because she didnt wake us up, but then we went into the front room and there she was waiting for all of us to get up! You would think that it was Christmas. She has also be relishing the fact that she did not have to do anything today. No job, no dishes, anything!

I have been trying to get ready for seminary by taking some training online. It has been helpful to organize my thoughts and how I want to segment the scriptures to get maximum coverage. I am very excited to teach BOM this year. More so than I have been for the Old and new testament. I really want to get a better understanding of the Book of Mormon, so maybe my excitement is purely personal. I have been teaching the Sophomores but they had over 30 freshman sign up this year so they are going to put the freshman and sophomores together and then split them in half between brother Green and me. I hope it works out well. I am going to still team teach with Sister Jones. She always took over for me when I had to leave town for my trips. Which was about once a month. 

I have another inservice seminary teacher training in the morning, 6am. I have been sleeping in for the summer so I have to get back to the 5am routine again. 

Well, this week I went on the YW's campout. I had a blast! I loved going with Elizabeth and Rachel as well as the other girls in the ward. Rachel is away very nice to the other girls and makes them feel a part of the group. I love that about her. Elizabeth got to go even though she was not 12 for 3 more days (she is still learning how to camp and not whine). We went on about a 7 mile hike to Bear Lake, Nimph lake, dream lake, and emerald lake. Then we went to a couple of waterfalls. On our way to one of the water falls the girls saw a mother bear and her 2 cubs that just walked across the trail like they were not even there! I was so bummed that I did not get to see it!!! I was in the back helping the stragglers. The next day we went on a 3 hour horseback ride. That was ammazing!!, the horses were very docile but we went up and down some very steep mountains that were pretty scary. Elizabeth did so well on the horse and she loved it. after awhile she said she was bored and then the really steep parts came and she wasnt bored anymore. Rachel's horse tripped and fell to its knees one time, that was scary. She said that was her first time riding without a leader just holding the horse. Which made me wonder if you have ridden a horse and maybe we should go next summer. 3 hours was plenty of time because my hips and knees started to ache. The girls had a testimony meeting on wednesday night, but very few of them bore their testimonies. I was a little disappointed but we only went for one night and it was hard to get in the mood in such a short period of time. The spirit was still there.

A couple of people in the ward wanted to know if they could write to you and I thought the best way was to post a message to your blog page. So, look for any postings over the next week or 2. The people that really want to write are Sister Carlson and Brother Kirby. They ask about you every Sunday. You must have made a great impression on them while you were in their Sunday School class. 

It sounds like you have been busy with changes again, but you have been having some success. I know the Lord will bless you and the members of the church in your area. The Lord has been hastening his work even more with this new change for younger missionaries. I heard a quote today that the Lord needs more missionaries because Jesus Christ himself is hastening the work. Not that missionaries are out to find more and more, but that the Lord has prepared more people to hear the gospel and He is training teachers (missionaries) to teach them. 

I know you will do your best to help the Lord. I am so proud of you! and Love you so much. 

Love, DAD  

Hello Zuster!

Happy Birthday!  Hey! Rachel, Be Happy!

Birthday Clothes!
Today was Elizabeth's birthday!  I can't believe she is 12 and went to YW for the first time.  I no longer have any kids in Primary - weird!  You are so good to remember everyone's birthday and get a card to them on time.  She was very excited to open your card!  It was an interesting week.  Rachel, Elizabeth and Dad went to Estes Park overnight and rode horses with the YW.  I will let them tell you about it but they seemed to all have a great time.  I stayed home and went to the Dr., worked on my presentation for later this month in Oregon and other exciting stuff like shop for birthday, college stuff etc.  We fed the missionaries (all 4 of them) on Monday night, they are doing a 40 day fast in the ward and challenging each family to pray about missionary experiences.  Then I went over to Eileen Campbell's to listen to Alice tell us about how Bruce is doing with his heart stuff.  He had his 4th stent put in this week (4 blocked veins 80-90% each).   Anyway, they caught it in time and he should live a long and happy life. Jake and I went shopping on Saturday finally as he is leaving soon and I haven't been able to pin him down.  I also got to take care of the Ellis's dogs as the girls and dad were gone.  They get more treats when I go over because I don't like them to jump on me.  

Elizabeth pulled out another tooth today, it is a wonder she can eat anything!

Another Missing Tooth!
Today was Primary music and Just Serve committee meetings around Elizabeth's birthday.  She has been so excited all day.  Rachel did her hair and she got a new dress.  She had a temple recommend interview and gets to go to the temple on Tuesday to do baptism's for the dead.  I get to go with them.  She had ice cream cake and more presents tonight.  

I am going to go into school tomorrow - AUGHHHHH!  I can't quite face it but here we go I guess.

Love you!

July 2013

Elizabeth with Mom and Dad at Garden of the Gods
Hi Zuster!

First, we just got an update from Emily so here is her post if you are interested.  I am recording Emily's MTC experiences on a blog so you can view her letters and photos. 
Thanks to Laura for her help. Click on this link.

I mostly get in the car and drive with Rachel to Waterworld everyday.  She is working, working, working and her shift is usually Thunderbay which is a little stressful.  She can count on at least one save a day and has had a few rough ones lately.  Elizabeth is still working hard at Mathnasium and finished swimming.  She spent her last Sunday in Primary today.  Weird that I will no longer have any children in Primary - then I drive Jake to school in a few weeks - stop the torture already!  

Tuesday, I was meeting with some teacher friends about online stuff and got a text from Loralee.  Apparently Jake had been trying to call me but the call didn't go through.  He was injured at the work site and had to go to the emergency room for stitches.  He was pushing a wheelbarrow full of rocks and got a running start and the front of the wheelbarrow hit a grate and stopped but Jake didn't.  His leg hit a bolt on the wheelbarrow which split open his shin and then cut down.  It is not a nice injury and there will be a pretty good scar for him to remember Egress by.  We went to the dr. the next morning though and he was cleared to work on Thursday.  So, we wrapped his leg up good and he worked on Thursday and Friday.  He is on antibiotics and doing a good job of keeping it wrapped.  
Stitches!  Manly Scar!

Still Standing!

Matt and Becca Thornton and Family

Elizabeth and kids at Garden of the Gods

Matt and Becca and their family came to visit us this week.  They arrived on Wednesday night and stayed until Friday about noon.  We fed them here on Wednesday and then on Thursday, we drove to see the Temple and then to The Garden of the Gods and Red Rocks.  On Friday, they drove through Rocky Mountain National Park and then on to Glenwood Springs to sit in the hot springs.  They saw Moose and baby moose, mountain goats and elk.  I think they saw more than we usually  see.  It was fun to have them but I decided I am to old for grandchildren.  Thursday night we kept the 5 kids so that Matt and Becca could go to Boulder, Pearl Street and eat at Cheesecake.  The boys knocked the medicine cabinet off the wall and broke it so you and Elizabeth will get to have something new in your bathroom!  It was fun to see them and I can tell that Matt feels the weight of the world on him as the Bishop of his ward and Becca seems overwhelmed with it as well.  They have a very young family to have that kind of a calling.  I wish them all the best and hope that we made their vacation a little  easier.  We cooked on the deck and had sausages and pancakes for breakfast.  You dad left me to make pancakes on Thursday morning when he had jury duty and I left him on Friday morning when I took kids down to the History Museum to give some feedback on a new website about Amache that opens the museum experience to you online.  They had some great ideas and the site is amazing.  

I went to see Curtains as the Arvada center on Friday night with the ladies except for Alice.  At the last minute, Bruce has some chest pain and when they took him in they found that he needed 4 stents in his heart but can only to 2 at a time.  He has 4 veins that are 80-90% blocked.  Can you believe that with his exercise schedule?  He is very upset but I am glad they found it before he had a heart attack.  It is important to take care of yourself!  I didn't like Curtains that much.  The cast worked so hard and it is a fun show within a show but it just lacked something...  We are changing it up next year and seeing different things, a new dinner theatre in Longmont, the symphony is doing a Beatles show at the Paramount, the new musical that won the Tony for Best Picture "Once" next May.  It should be a fun year to try new things.  

Today I did a primary song review by playing pictionary with the songs they need to know for the program.  Next week we start learning A Child's Prayer - any suggestions as to how to teach that?  

We didn't hear back from Zuster Robinson and don't dare count on your release date so we think we will have to let the river cruise offer go - bummer.  Keep us posted.  Once we meet up with you, we just want to do what you want to do.  

How is your transfer?  Do you just have one companion now?  I would guess that you are going to be training all the time from now on.  

Love you,