Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Turning the Page

I promised our friends that I would try to keep our blog posts to once a month, but right now there is so much happening!  We have people asking us to keep them updated on our progress to paradise, so here is an overview:

First off, Ron wanted me to add in some of the things he's been up to:

Ron's crew and colleagues at Jefferson Healthcare sent him off with a fond and fine farewell that included a rootbeer float party, a luncheon at his favorite fish diner and breakfast at a great cafe (yes, food is the theme here).  He is completely thrilled to be retired (again, and finally).  He insisted on working up to the day before we moved out.  CRAZY MAN!!!  Well, I can't think of anyone who deserves retirement more...not that he will be able to rest anytime in the near future.

Ron sold his El Camino.  It was a bit of a hairy deal, but it all worked out in the end and that's what counts.. He also sold lots and lots of guy stuff thru E-Bay.  Those who follow us via Facebook knows how much we've both grown to hate it.  Not that it's not a great service, but the negative sides were sometimes hard to stay positive thru.  For instance, we had a 'well-wrapped' shipment that went terribly wrong when the box opened in route and they tried to stuff the items back - all broken up - and hide it.  THAT was disappointing. This is no problem now, however, because one of our great joys has been to shut that membership down and skip merrily into the retired people's land of tech-less-ness.  HA!

The new owners came Tuesday evening, which led to an abbreviated walk thru with Ron madly trying to tell this poor road-weary guy how all of the equipment worked.  We've encouraged them to call us anytime they have questions.  We've already had a couple of calls, which is no problem, because they are just delightful. Sequimite friends should go introduce yourselves.

So, speaking of Sequim, we left this morning at 7:00 am.  I didn't cry at all ( rrrrriiiiiiiiggggggtttttt).  We spent the morning in the temple, dropped Marvin (our beautiful green Kia) off at the loading gate in Seattle for his fabulous car cruise to Hawaii (he is scheduled to arrive one day before us, isn't that convenient?) and now we are sitting in a hotel room for the night, car-less, homeless but certainly not suitcase-less.  We have NO idea how we are actually going to get all of these things to the airport tomorrow.  This may turn into a series of 'Keystone Cop' adventures with the different places we're going.

Ron asked me what I was feeling as we were leaving (because I was kinda sobbing).  I'm not sad - though I will miss our friends terribly - but the experience of opening the door to this lovely couple and saying "come on in to your new home" FINALLY brought me to the reality that this was all really happening...and then, we were the ones being led out the door (in the nicest of way).  That 1 minute trip down the driveway was just a flood of so many memories.  Ron, on the other hand, didn't choke up until the ferry ride.  GEESH, what a mechanic geek!  Maybe he'll miss the Ivars Clam chowder the most of all.

We figured out today that we moved to Sequim exactly 11 years ago next Friday.  It's been the most wonderful years.  But we're excited to see what the next decade holds.  We certainly know that it's starting off pretty spectacularly.  Yes, because we're going to Hawaii....but also because we are going to be able to live a life we've dreamed of, because we're going to serve the God we love and because we're going to do it together!  We're going to work hard, but that's part of the beauty of it, because hard work is one of the most satisfying parts of living.  How can it get any better?

So, no more tears for me!  Tomorrow, it's on the plane to Texas, then North Carolina, then Utah - all in one week.  PHEW!

Just a few of many, many wonderful people in our lives.  How we love them all!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Sacrament Talk

Today was the day that we spoke in Sacrament.  I have been praying and preparing for quite some time. Conversely, Ron jotted down a few scant thoughts and when he spoke, only referred to one of them.  That said, he was simply marvelous.

Since I had my talk written down, I've been asked to share it.  There are some differences, that happens when one speaks in front of a congregation, and in reading through it, I think it loses some in written form - but I hope it is useful to someone.


I must have written and rewritten this talk at least 10 times in the last week.  I recognized that I would be speaking as soon as we received our mission call - so I've been contemplating what to say for a long time.  I know what I want to share….I just don’t know how to do it in less than 2 hours.  So I’m going to wing it.  I suggest you all pray for me and for yourselves that somehow, we will all get through this experience in one piece.

So, here we are.  Ron and I are leaving on a mission.  I’m sure many of you have thought in these last few months…”seriously, are these people EVER going to leave”?
First there had to be a few miracles performed before we could go.  And I’m here to testify that miracles did happen – great big ones.  The kind that lifts my soul and testifies that there is a living, active Father in Heaven that cares about me, and my family and is willing and patient enough to bend and mold me into something useful.

People ask, what will you do at the Polynesian Cultural Center, Nina?  Well, we know what Ron will be doing.  Very clearly he is called to do his magic in the Facilities Maintenance Department.

Here is a twist of irony.  I have also been called to the Facilities Maintenance Department.  Me, who doesn’t know a lug nut from a coconut.

So my answer is, I have no idea, but I’ll tell you what, whatever it is I’m going to do, I am going to do it with great gusto!

My friends have told me that they are quite sure that I will go over there and whip everyone and every thing into shape.  I’ve been thinking about this and I’m here to tell you that I will do no such thing. I am 100% positive that the only thing that’s going to be whipped into shape is me!

What I've been thinking about is what my real purpose will be on this mission.  As a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I know that every day and in every way my priority must be to share the love and concern of my Savior, and your Savior with everyone I meet.  I will have the honor and responsibility to share the good news of the Gospel.

So how do I best share that message?  The answer is the same for you as it is for me.  We only have to follow the clear and marvelous example of the Savior Himself.

Let me tell you what I discovered I would NOT do:

I will not judge – because it is not my right.  It is the Savior’s responsibility, thank goodness, because He is far wiser and merciful.

I will not shrink back.  If the Mission President says “go talk to those people”, I’m gonna talk to them.  I may faint dead at their feet from fright, but I’m gonna do it!

I will not withhold from anyone.  One of the dearest examples in the scriptures is the fact that the Savior reached out to those that society had shunned.  He knew they were precious – maybe a little roughed up, but children of God all the same.  He never looked down upon them, except with His hand stretched out to lift them.

Isn’t it beautiful how time and time again, when reaching out to someone in need, the first thing He would do is kneel down to meet them on their level and ever so gently lift them to His level - maybe physical, but always spiritually.

As members of this great church, we have a message to share, and it is a message that will change our lives and the lives of those we give it to:

“God is real.  He is your Father.  He loves you.  He wants you to be happy and He wants you to come home.”

I remember a few years ago when I taught a Sunday School class filled to the brim with 15-16 year olds who were pretty sure they were all that with a cherry on top.  There were days I thought I’d have to hog tie then to get through the lesson.  There were days they were doing their best to hog tie me!  But then there were times when it all came together and the Word of God literally filled the room.

I remember one time when I was teaching a message about the worth of a soul.  At the end of the lesson I shared a powerful and simple message from the Savior.  That experience has remained sacred in my heart ever since and with your indulgence, the Lord has asked me to share that message again today.

I contemplated how best to do this, and decided to utilize some young ladies that I care for very much.

Jenny*, the Savior loves you, and you are marvelous and you are worthy of His love.

Heather*, the Savior loves you, and you are spectacular and you are worthy of His love.

Mara*, the Savior loves you, and you are amazing and you are worthy of His love.

* Names changed.

How I wish I could take the time to look each and every one of you in the eye and give you the same message.  Instead, would you listen with your heart and hear your name as I say Brother, Sister, the Savior loves you, and you are incredible and you are worthy of his love.

Now, I ask you…what are you going to do with that information?

Are you going to bury it, or are you going to use it?  Do you have a big decision, in front of you – about work, school, you’re family?  Maybe you’re wondering if this 24/7 gospel is really worth your time. 

Perhaps, you have friends pressuring you, people telling you you’re being foolish, just like those in Lehi's dream standing in the building across the misty river, pointing their fingers and mocking those holding onto the iron rod.  How does that make you feel?  Confused or perhaps angry?  How can you make a wise decision when you feel that way?  There is no way under that pressure that you can find your answer.

How does knowing how precious and how loved you are effect your decision?  Are you listening?  Has the Lord not spoken to your heart?  Maybe it was here in this meeting, maybe at another time.  What does that feel like?  Does it fill you with joy and give you confidence?  This is what you need to look for, and the Holy Ghost will be able to guide you so much better than those negative voices.

The Lord wants you to be happy and you will be happy, if you trust Him and follow His great wisdom.

Now, brothers and sisters, if this information is important to you, it makes sense that it would be important to others.  Once we know who we are, it is our responsibility to make sure that others know it to.

There is such an excellent example of this in John 21

15 ¶So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Ron and I are now asked to give our efforts to feed His sheep.  We are so honored.  And so, we’re going on a mission.  Some people think we’re crazy because we’ve sold everything we own for this mission.  Others think we’re just sooo….cooooollll. 

We’re neither.  It’s just the right thing for us.  Everyone needs to consider and move upon what would be the right thing for them – everyday.  No matter what the situation, you couldn't do better than to always ask yourself “What’s would the Savior want me to do?”  

Although we will be in a beautiful land, a piece of our heart will always be here, in lovely Sequim.  We have been so blessed here and we love you all very much.

I want to testify that I have a testimony of this Gospel and in my Savior and Redeemer.  I know that He will bless us and guide us as we serve and learn from the beautiful Polynesian people.

And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Amen

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Soon to be Elder Jones and His Sidekick Nina

Only 30 days until we report to the MTC in Provo.  Time is FLYING!

I've noted before that we have had a lot of fun sharing the fact that we are heading out on a mission. Everyone has been so supportive and it's already such a positive experience.  This is new stuff for me, but for Ron, it's just everyday life.

I have to think and pray and plan what I'm going to say just to feel comfortable saying "I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints".  This is not to be confused with any waffling of feelings.  I simply get tongue-tied easily.

Ron, on the other-hand is a 24/7, dipped in the spirit, doesn't know any other way Christian.  He doesn't have to think or prepare.  This was proven to me (AGAIN) when I saw his letter of resignation...a cheery little thing thanking Jefferson General for the wonderful years of employment, and letting them know that a better offer has come along - an offer by Heavenly Father himself!  He didn't even think about whether he was being 'PC' any more than he was thinking about making 'a statement'.  He sure is something, and I'm awfully proud and pleased to be married to such a darling man.  I was thinking just the other day about how I prayed for such a man 38 some odd years ago and there he was, literally plopped into my office.

There are so many prayers that have been heard and answered throughout the years.  For me, it's never some voice saying "Go Here" or "Do That", as much as I wish there was.  Imagine all of the angst I could have avoided.  But then, like any errant child, I probably would just have stomped my foot and said "I want to decide for myself"!

There's a reason it's set up this way.  I learn so much more by exercising strength and faith.  There are people everyday who whine "I CAAANNN'T, It's too HAAARRRDDDD!"  I find that excuse lacking in reality.  I may have had difficult times, but none were more difficult than (say), the Apostles of Old, or the prophets, or our Savior.  I've never been asked to sacrifice to that level.  Hard?  Phsaw!  My life is a cake walk!  And still, the Lord has blessed me and walked by my side and answered my prayers over and over again.  He's given me a righteous man to walk this path with me and the best family a woman could ever hope for.

And now he's leading us to a great adventure.  I LOVE great adventures!  I LOVE Ron!  and I LOVE the Lord.  Looks like I'm batting 1,000!