Speaking in church, superman, an old friend…

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Elder and Sister Carruth-Courtesy of the very talented Susan Larson

Today was an interesting day in a funny sort of way and I have no pictures to show for it. I stayed up late last night and got up early. We were speaking in the Mustang 1st Ward today. I stayed up to finalize my talk and I also got to talk to Leigh for awhile. She requested advice on cooking a venison roast…I don’t eat venison and I have rarely cooked a roast with any success.

I got up early and hurried to get ready so I could go to the institute and print out my talk (no printer in our missionary apartment, although I have been looking at buying a smallish one). We left in plenty of time. The first thing I noticed when we entered the chapel was that the podium was higher than in most churches. Most have two steps up to them, this one had three. I made a comment about it being like the Rameumpton, it wasn’t really. It just seemed so much higher!

As we waited for the meeting, I looked around the congregation. I keep being surprised by the man wearing the bright blue superman hoodie. It’s not that I cared that superman was there, it just surprised me every time I looked that way. It was a bright contrast to the muted colors of winter the rest of the congregation had decided to wear today. Soon after the meeting started we learned that superman was very special today. He has had a fairly long association with the Mustang 1st ward and he was baptized yesterday. He was confirmed by one of the missionaries today. What a great day for him!

Our talks went well…we think. After the meeting a familiar looking face came up to greet me. Immediately I recognized my friend from high school, Paula Muir Brammer. I guess when you get to be almost 61 and you have moved to 18 different houses or apartments in four states and four foreign countries, you might see someone you know somewhere. She is living here temporarily while her husband trains air traffic controllers.

After sacrament meeting we drove some backroads to get to the Midwest City building and to attend the meetings of the YSA branch. It was great to see everyone and I love being there. Sunday school class was quite hilarious, the discussion was about how John the Baptist came to teach repentance. A member of the branch presidency has the funniest stories and today he told one about his grandson, potty training, and how he blames the “wiener” dogs for his accidents. This good man was trying to tie the story to repentance and how this little boy needs to repent. I was nearly rolling on the floor. The teacher also confessed her sin of stealing her sisters fruit snacks and hiding the wrappers in her toy drawer. It was a good Sunday!

Now, I’m off to prepare my next lesson-Paul teaching on Mar’s Hill in Athens.

P.S. I need to take more photos!

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Time flies…

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Choose your own ending…

A. …on wings of lighting.

B. …when you are having fun.

As far as our mission is concerned I think the answer is both!  We have been having fun and the time is flying. As of today we have exactly 11 months left of our 18 month mission.

We have fall semester classes behind us. We learned so much about the first half of the Book of Mormon and four gospels in the New Testament. We learned much about teaching,  ourselves and the students in our classes. We taught two classes and visited two others. We baked a tremendous quantity of treats and watched as they were devoured. I watched one young man eat up to 12 cookies at a time.

We start teaching again next week. We will continue on and complete the Book of Mormon and the New Testament. There are plans for us to teach a Building an Eternal Marriage class that will begin as soon as the students have been identified.

Each month the institute plans a Family Home Evening for the University Ward. We take turns with the Bailey’s so we have planned a few…Write your own obituary, Minute to Win It Games and Making a Gratitude banner. We continue to attend both the ward and the branch alternating between them for Sunday meetings and FHE nights.

Alex, Stacey, Ellie, Daniel and Tyler came to spend Thanksgiving with us. We had a fun weekend hanging out and going to various playgrounds. We even made it to the zoo one morning. The time was far to short.

In our free time we have tried many mediocre restaurants and found three great ones so far, Simply Falafel, Pho Bulous and Cafe Icon. We drove to Okarche, OK during the Christmas break and had the famous fried chicken and okra at Eischen’s Bar…the oldest bar in Oklahoma. The week before Christmas we were in Houston for my scan at MD Anderson. It went well, the cancer is still gone. It was fun to spend time with James, Kristina, Andrew, and their families. David turned 8 in November and decided that he wanted to be baptized when we were there in December. So far we have been to all of the baptisms. We plan to be in South Africa at the end of the year for Izzy’s.

Andrew, Leigh, Rorey and John came for a visit the week after Christmas. the days that they were here it was cold so we played and hung out here. We did get one day of duck feeding and play grounding in.

Things are going well in Edmond.

 

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Our Week

I am not doing a good job of keeping you updated on what we are doing. It has been busy with the start of a new semester…preparing lessons and baking and more baking. I would welcome any treat ideas you have sweet, savory or gluten free. 

During the summer we taught a class in the south stake and Elder and Sister Bailey taught a class in the OKC stake. We are not teaching the class in the south stake this semester, Brother Valletta our S&I coordinator (CES employee) is teaching that class (29 students), but we will visit often and will sub for him sometimes. 

The Bailey’s are teaching the Wednesday night Book of Mormon class here in Edmond and they had 23 students. They also take lunch on Tuesdays to the class at the OU health Science Center. We plan to trade off with them in the future so we can visit this class. We teach a Tuesday night New Testament class in Edmond and we have 20 students registered for that class. We also teach a Book of Mormon class in Shawnee with 4 students. We visited that ward today and met some more potential students. We will work on praying them there. Shawnee is about 50 miles from here, each way. One of the interesting things we learned was that two of our students work for “The Tribe.” That’s exactly how they said it. The tribe is the Pottawatamie Indian tribe. There are many different Indian tribes here in Oklahoma and from what our students tell us they are very wealthy. The casinos are always run by the tribes. One girl works at the preschool and one of the young men works as a bagger at the tribe’s grocery store. 

Tuesday, we will be teaching for Brother Valletta at the Stillwater institute next to the Oklahoma State University campus. He is going to court to finalize the adoption of his youngest son. So we are definitely staying busy. We also go to the temple once a week. It’s only a 30 minute drive from here.

This week besides our missionary activities and attending the temple we finally made it to POP’s on Historic Route 66. It’s an interesting place, it’s a gas station, convenience store, burger joint. They have a huge bottle of pop out front and we hear that at night it’s lit up with neon. We’ll have to check it out.

Here’s the 66 foot tall pop bottle and the front of the convenience store/burger place: IMG_5063
IMG_5064They are famous for stocking 600 hundred different kinds of soda from all over the world. (EXCEPT, the one I was looking for, Shikuwasa, from Okinawa). Although, I did see a few Japanese sodas, none that I recognized. Andrew and Leigh…They did have Cheerwine. Every bottle is $2.19. Here are our selections, both root beer: photo 3 We also had burgers with fries and onion rings followed by this dessert, an apple pie-ish thing topped with ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce and cherries. It was huge and yummy: photo 5   They have cartons to fill with your favorites, which we did not do. At $2.19 each, that’s a pricey 6 pack. However, 6 packs were flying out the door. photo 5 photo 1 All the windows across the front and back of the shop are lined with bottles of pop.
photo 2 photo 4 Then yesterday after our visit to the temple we drove to Choctaw to this: photo 5Yes, we know it’s still August, obviously those who live in Choctaw know something about when to hold Octoberfest that the rest of the world has missed. We went mainly to eat and it’s a good thing since the main attraction seemed to be drinking beer. We had water!
Our meal, bratwurst on a pretzel bun and smoked pork chops smothered in sauerkraut with red cabbage. We also had potato pancakes with applesauce:

photo 1 photo 2 We listened to two bands, the first played polka type music and the second played Cajun??? There were even a few people dancing.
The decor:
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Today on our way back from Shawnee took Route 66 again and got to see the Round Barn in Arcadia, it’s just a little east of Pop’s. It was built in 1898.
photoOkay, so there you have our week. We love you all and miss you!

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Wishing and hoping

If you remember I spent 3 or 4 days each week with my grandmother. One of my favorite memories was breaking the wishbone. Whenever Gramma would cook a chicken or a turkey she would dry out the wishbone and save it for Susan and I to break. The idea is to each take a side of the bone, make a wish and pull until the bone splits apart. We were mostly impatient while waiting for the bone to become sufficiently dry- which probably didn’t really take very long in Utah’s dry climate. Time passes very slowly when you are small.

For my birthday, Rick bought me a silver wishbone charm for my bracelet. It reminds me of my Gramma and my sister and the fun memories that we made.

I was delighted when I saw this sculpture on my morning bike ride. It’s right at the entrance to the trail in Hafer Park.

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Yes, good old Nigel is here with me. He definitely needs a tune-up.

Yes, good old Nigel is here with me. He definitely needs a tune-up.

 

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Catching up is Hard to Do!

We have been in Edmond for over a month now and I have not taken many photos. Being a missionary is interesting. We have found that it is a lot like being newlyweds in that the apartment and furniture are much the same. I have added a few new things and will add a few more as we go. What you see is what was here except for the new mixer and shower curtain. Here are some photos so you can see for yourself:

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Living room

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You definitely needed to see a closeup of this 70’s couch. I’d love it if it was reupholstered in a current fabric.

Living room looking towards the kitchen

Living room looking towards the kitchen

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

My new toy!

My new toy!

The laundry room

The laundry room

The dining room

The dining room

The bathroom

The bathroom

Our Bedroom

Our Bedroom

The closet

The closet

The view

The view

Our other view

Our other view

We are working hard to figure out how the Lord wants us to serve while we are here in Oklahoma. The YSAs (young single adults) here are so easy to love. We are teaching just one class on Thursday nights down in Moore. We are alternating attending the University Ward in Edmond and attending the YSA Branch in the south stake. We also alternate attending their family home evenings on Monday night.

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Centerville and the MTC

We spent the last week of May and the first week of June preparing for our mission. We flew from Houston to Salt Lake City on June 4. We spent time with Susan, Nicole, Cody and their children. We had a great time visiting with them. Nicole built a fire pit earlier in the summer so we had a fire a couple of nights and made s’mores. Susan had taken all four days off from work. Friday we went to Morgan to put flowers on the graves there, my mother, Art and grandmother. Then we drove up Ogden canyon to a restaurant called The Oaks. We sat outside right over the river. It was a fun time.

Dining on the river at The Oaks-Susan and Presley

Dining on the river at The Oaks-Susan and Presley

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Saturday we ran a few errands and later that evening we went to Little America for dinner. Susan and Nicole both said how much they liked eating there, but that it had gotten too expensive when they remodeled. I had halibut. Mom always had the halibut on Friday. We thought about her (Nana) and all the times that’s we had eaten there with her.

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Little America-Rick, Me and Susan

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Cody and McCall

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Zak

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Presley and Rick

Nicole and Harlow

Nicole and Harlow

Sunday we went to church and spent the afternoon visiting. Then we went to Farmington to put flowers on our dad’s grave.

See you next year!

See you next year!



Monday morning, Susan, Nicole and the girls drove us to Provo, to the MTC. They were all in tears as we walked away. It will be at least 18 months before we see them again. Nicole and Cody are such good parents. We enjoyed all the yummy food that Nicole made for us while we were there.

The MTC was a inspiring experience. I was quite overwhelmed with the Preach My Gospel week. I was having a hard time learning the order of the lesson elements and remembering the things I needed to say. We taught volunteer “investigators” Wednesday and Thursday. Things came together for me on Friday. We were paired up with another missionary couple and they were playing the role of a less active couple. During that experience I realized that I might have what it takes to teach. During the role play the sister began to cry when Rick asked her to read Moroni’s promise. I didn’t understand why she was crying because she was just acting. After we asked her and she said that at that moment she realized that this maybe exactly what the couple they were portraying might need. We were inspired as we taught and hopefully they will be able to touch the lives of that family and help them return to church.

Other MTC highlights were getting to see Julie Evans, one of my Tokyo seminary students, her mom Rika McIntyre, and her sister Erika and her husband Darin and their cute baby Aiden.

Rika

Rika


The firesides and devotionals were inspiring. We heard from Elder Quentin L. Cook and his wife, Sheri Dew and Elder M. Russell Ballard. One of my favorites was a video of a talk given at the MTC by David A Bednar, The Character of Christ.

This past week we spent Monday- midday Wednesday in CES training. We learned things that were more specific to our mission call. This morning we woke up at 4:00am and took the MTC van to the Salt Lake City airport to catch our flight back to Houston. We will load up our car tonight and drive to Edmond, Oklahoma tomorrow. I am excited to get busy. We will spend Saturday getting unpacked and set up in the apartment. I have already started my menu plan and grocery list for next week. I am excited!

Here are some photos from the MTC:

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We had all of our classes in this chapel just north of the MTC. We got there through a gate in the fence from the MTC.

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We attended a session in the Provo Temple. We were married here almost 40 years ago.

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My first encounter with this fragrant tree. I think it’s a Russian Olive tree.

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The building with the window at the back of this photo is where we stayed.

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Cycling Missionary Statue

 

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Day 54- Truck Driving and a letter

Today my friend Dee sent me a link to a blog written by my friend Marilyn. The blog title is Running with Cancer. My heart is so sad…too many friends with cancer. I wrote Marilyn a letter right away. She is very courageous and is working really hard to beat this and get well.

Later this afternoon I got to drive a brand new Nissan pickup. The mission just got it and I was helping Rick get a car that needed body work to the shop. He asked what I wanted to drive and I said the truck. It was a powerful little thing and I had fun driving it while Rick drove the damaged car. Having fun driving really doesn’t seem like it should be counted as service.

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Day 54- Happy and Sad update

So remember that letter I wrote to Ardeth Kapp on Day 18 ? Well she wrote me back! Such an unexpected, but wonderful surprise!

Remember my message to my friend Nancy on Day 26 ? My heart was so sad when I learned that my friend passed away on January 14, she was only 54.

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Day 53- More Cookies

Cutler’s is a sandwich shop in Centerville, Utah that I like to visit whenever I am there. They have great sandwiches, soup and best of all cookies. They make several different kinds but I am partial to their sugar cookies. I found a recipe for them from a woman who lives there and attended a class the owner taught. I was really hopeful that they would be the same. Sadly, they were not. BUT… they really are good sugar cookies. I frosted and decorated and delivered some to Kristina (who also loves Cutler’s sugar cookies) and took some to Family Home Evening last night. They were a hit. I love sharing my baking!

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Day 41- Long ago

When I was in high school I met a girl named Jackie Hugie. I didn’t know her well and she moved away. When I got to BYU she lived in my dorm and on the same floor. We got to know each other a lot better and we even lived in an apartment together the next year. After that we lost contact until today when she found me on Facebook. She found me through a mutual Japanese friend, so amazing. I wrote to her today to find out what she has been doing all these years. One of the best parts of this project has been connecting with people I haven’t been in contact with for a long time.

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