Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Whiteheads - the New dentist family

The Whitehead family has not been here even a week yet. Already they have made a difference in the Dental Clinic. On Intake Dr. Whitehead and his family got a front row seat in the action.
Screening missionareis - Elder Whitehead puts on his gloves to check another mouth, his wife writes down what he finds. 
Dr. Whitehead asks thoughtful questions in his determination of category rank
The other Sister Whitehead helps out in the Dental Clinic and also the MTC.
Directing traffic on intake day. The buildings look the same and the missionaries can get lost easily.
Sister Whitehead practices on Sister Whitehead the procedures that they will use with the missionaries.
After intake on Friday, the Whiteheads were at work on Monday taking care of missionaries. I would describe it as baptism by fire. They are also trying to find an apartment, getting immigration cleared, getting a car and phone, and trying to live in a brand new world.

The paper work had dramatically increased and life is faster. Sister Hoem's has been gone a week and boy do I miss her!  I've been dog paddling all week trying to stay just far enough ahead to keep the chairs full and record all the necessary work.
I love this life!

Missionaries

An older brother and his sister are in the MTC at the same time and in the same district. How cool is that?
Elder and Sister Ramirez surrounded by their district

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Father's Day - Surprise!

Jeffrey and I taught in Primary and helped out in Sharing Time. We sat by the doors and didn't let children out. The children learned some songs they were going to sing for their fathers and right after church we went into the men's classroom and they sang. Jeffrey asked if we could go and I said no we need to wait for the video show. He said ok - probably thinking we needed to do something else. Half way through the video, Jayson, Caleb, Kelsi and Nate all pop up talking. Jeffrey puts both hands in the air and told the person next to him that those were his grandsons, then he turned to the other person and said, "That is my son, and daughter, and grandsons!" Thanks guys it was great!!

The cookies and father's day cards turned out great also. Tonight we are going to the Albos house with some others for a visit, Jeffrey doesn't know it but it's a surprise Father's Day dinner. I'm not quite sure what the surprise is because it is Father's day.

I am grateful to my Father in Heaven for the fathers in my life that I have been blessed with. My own dad was pretty special and wonderful, my grandfathers were terrific, my sons are really awesome fathers and the Savior, Redeemer of the world, Father and Son made it all possible.

Localizing

This week has been full of adventures and trying out new things! The members of this ward have opened up their hearts and let me in to different aspects of life here of which I am so grateful!

I've noted one interesting fact, everyone seems to have many names. The children in Primary have a name that doesn't show up on the ward membership record. They have nicknames and then they have like four others names. The same with the adults. Sister Bayas was called to be the Primary president and when I tried to contact her I found the name they gave me was Miranda. I had to figure out if it was a first name or last name. Then she friended me on Facebook and her name was Ann Lorraine Salvador Miranda and I noticed that Lorraine was a name she frequently uses. I usually call her Sister.

The Primary President and I put some cookies and cards together for Father's day yesterday afternoon and we needed a few more supplies. We walked over to the grocery store and picked up our supplies. She was so careful to keep an umbrella over my head as she could tell I don't respond very well to the heat. She even made sure I didn't get hit crossing the street. When we came out of the store she bought some quail eggs and fish balls from a vendor - they were delicious!! I love the food here - there are so many spices and flavors that satisfy the soul. On the way back she hired a tricycle so I could have that experience too. So much fun!  Actually my thought that I was too big to fit wasn't true. I had room left over. It might be squishy if Jeffrey and I rode together but there is quite a bit of room in those tricycles.

The fish balls are colored orange on purpose and the quail eggs had a batter over them. I don't know what the spicy sauce was but it was just right!
In a tricycle


This is Sister Bayas, or Miranda Definitely the Primary President!


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Family and Bread

My heart is overflowing with the wonderful things happening to different family members. Their stories are not mine to tell though I can tell you to go ask because it's all pretty wonderful.

Rachel did say I could share her assignment about our family. For those outside of the family the layered meanings won't show. I baked my first batch of bread when I was 8 years old and have always felt you've made it when you can bake bread. The oatmeal was added to the family recipe after Nate and Kelsi added it to theirs and we copied them with great results. Which just shows how a family develops and evolves around each other. Michael's bread on Sundays was really a treat. Anyway here is Rachel's paper:

Rachel Adams
FAML 160
Brother Williams
Bread From Heaven
            The smell of freshly made bread is one that makes people close their eyes, breathe deeply, and sigh with satisfaction. It is a calming aroma that creates a homely feel wherever you are. My family is like a loaf of hearty oatmeal bread. Oatmeal bread may sound gross to some, but that is because they do not understand it and perhaps have not had it baked properly. Each of my family members contribute to the loaf as a whole. We all play a part and are necessary for the bread to turn out right. If any piece or ingredient is gone, the overall experience and taste are not what they could be, or should be.
Of all the ingredients, my mother embodies the sweetener best. She is the sugar, or in our case, the honey in the bread that makes it pleasing to the taste. It does not take much for the entire loaf to be enveloped in sweetness. In fact, too much honey and the bread it ruined. But even when a member of the family is feeling the cloying effects of too much honey, they will come running back for the healing properties that my mother possesses; her kind words, soothing spirit, and her practical first aid knowledge can bind up any wound, like a physical or spiritual salve.
Her counterpart is my father. He is the yeast of our family. He is the person that pushes everyone to be better. He enables us to rise up to any challenge. He taught us to push the boundaries of the bowl while staying solidly within the parameters of our Maker. However, too much yeast can make the dough overflow and get out of hand, a balance is always needed.
Together, my parents are like the crust of the bread. They protected us by taking the brunt of the oven’s heat and kept us from getting stale. But when the time came for their children to leave, they peeled away and let us go.
The oldest child in my family of eight is my sister Rebekah. She is the salty one, the person who can bring you to your knees with a single glance. Her brackish nature is caused in part by being the first. She will never know the importance of her role as first child. She was the one that took the brunt of our parents mistakes. Bekah is the one that paved the way for every one of us after. But salt is absolutely vital to make bread taste delicious. Rebekah is the savor of our family, the one that brings out the flavor in everyone else. Sometimes, she does not realize how critical she is to flavoring our family; when she is gone, her loss is felt. Bread without savor is boring and flat. The Adams without Rebekah is unfinished and tasteless.
Nate comes next as the oil. Oil plays an important part in keeping bread dough from becoming too elastic and worn out. He adds enough lubricant to our lives to keep us from wearing out. He developed peacemaking abilities though his years of observation and critical thinking. He keeps us from sticking to old grudges and breaking apart.
Andrew is the one who likes to shake things up. He is the mixer or kneader that throws in new, conflicting ideas that disrupt the status quo and makes everybody think differently. At the same time, his mixing causes us to become closer and by individually seeking out each of our thoughts, he bind us together as one. He could also be described as the knife that cuts through to the center of us all by asking the personal questions and bringing out the truth.
Matthew is the smart one. He is the flour that we all made fun because we knew that none of us would achieve the level of greatness that he would. He is active and all over the place, unable to be contained by parents or measuring cups. He touches the lives of everyone around him and leaves a dusting of his awesomeness wherever he goes, much like flour sprinkling the entire kitchen after bread is made. His passion and zest spurs him to rise higher than those around him.
Mike is like Matt in many ways but is definitely his own man. I like to think of him as the oatmeal in our recipe. Sometimes people outside our family do not understand where is is coming from (why did you put oatmeal in your bread?), but our family appreciates the richness and depth that he brings. His dense spiritual knowledge gives our bread a heartiness and fullness that feeds the soul. He is also full of himself in the best way possible. That confidence drives him to be the best at everything he does. Plus, oatmeal is a power food that people eat for energy and Michael always has tons of energy and stamina.
Kelsi came into our lives much later when she married Nate. She is the water or milk that goes in this bread. When making bread, water tamps down the dry ingredients and keeps the mass of dough from flying every which way. Kelsi gives our family structure with her inner-resolve and determination. Because of the organization she provides, we are able to move more fluidly.
Debbie is also a very welcome addition to our bread loaf. She is like the gluten of our family. Before she came we were gluten free and did not know how much our lives were missing. Gluten does not form until flour becomes wet. So when Debbie came in, she became a binding agent for the flour and water to create a more wholesome family. Kneading brings out gluten and makes the bread more chewy, or in other words, more delicious. Her highly educated thoughts and culture help us all understand things in a new light. She puts ideas into comprehensible words that we can grasp onto for clarity and insight.
Lastly, there is me, Rachel. I compare myself to the butter that you put on the bread after it has come out of the oven. Due to the fact that I am the youngest, and a girl who came after four boys, everybody tended to like me a lot and think of me as a sweet little person to dote on. Because of my position, I have a unique ability to reach my family members and “butter them up” so to speak. But I also have a tendency to tell people what they want to hear. I do not like conflict so my opinions shift with the crowd. Just as butter can be fattening in large doses, it can be unhealthy if you only hear what you like all the time.
            With so many family members, there is a lot of room for multiple family dynamics. As the oldest and just because of the type of person she is, my sister Bekah developed the ability to understand my father better than some of the rest of us ever could and she was better able to stand her ground. Salt has two main properties in bread, one is to bring savor and the other is to act as a yeast inhibitor. When the yeast becomes too much, the salt tones it down and slows the rising process. Rebekah will not be bullied into changing her mind. She would often pinpoint what my father was trying to say and explain it in words that made sense to the rest of us, preventing him from becoming more frustrated and an overall happy family dynamic.
            An important part of baking bread is finding out if the yeast is good. To do this, sugar and yeast are put into warm water. If the yeast is active, it will activate and rise. Yeast breads also rely on gluten for structure. A majority of the time, my father will take my mother’s side and Kelsi and Debbie’s side of an argument no matter what anyone else says. He actually tends to take women's sides in general but he is noticeably influenced by these three.
            Butter and honey go very well together. My mom and I were and are very tight. With fat and sugar what can go wrong? Well, if these things are focused on too much, other important ingredients are left out. Usually my mom and I worked in tandem to make the family sweeter and nice, but there were times where I monopolized my mother’s attention and resources so the sweet flavor of the bread was gone and the rest of the family suffered.
            The fact that two of my brothers are married shifted the dynamic of our family immensely. They now have families of their own that they must first look out for. And although it may seem like that would break the family down, it has only changed it. Our loaf may be a little misshapen but it is only getting bigger and tasting better.
            Armed with the knowledge that I have after looking so intensely at bread and my family, I have realized some things. My mother needs space at times in order to love the other members of my family in the ways that they need. My dad acts the way that he does in order to keep us from stagnating and having boring lives. My sister needs to be told how vital she is to our family and that her input is valuable and valued. I can learn a lot from Nate and Kelsi and their ability to keep people together through forgiveness and careful planning. Andrew is so good at getting to the heart of people and that is a skill I can utilize and develop. Matt and Debbie go through life with zest and intelligence that enables them to be their best selves. Mike’s spiritual density and confidence are how he becomes successful and show me that I can do that too. Most importantly, I need to become my own person with my own thoughts and ideas. This will enable me to not just say what people want to hear, but to tell them what they need to hear. If you leave with nothing else, know this: oatmeal bread is scrumptious and my family is the best.


(Sorry, none of the pictures would transfer over. Rachel had the ingredients in one picture and the other pictures were bread in progress until she had the final loaf.)

Another Milestone

Jonah and I set out on another adventure after we got back from the Bazaar on Tuesday morning.
Putting my trust in Jonah's guidance, she put her trust in my driving. Here is my Facebook post about the journey:

Two thumbs up!! We made it, we are alive, successful trip - DRIVING in downtown traffic. This means we crossed a multi-lane road WITHOUT a traffic light or stop sign (for anyone) and then later turned left from two lanes of traffic unto a four lane two direction road (No lights) - AND NOBODY GOT KILLED and we didn't have a collision. Ok so maybe somebody honked when I let a boy and an old man cross the street making them wait instead of letting the man and boy dodge traffic.
But Nothing would have been possible without Jonah Magno sitting as navigator and guide!!!! Thanks Jonah, that's one more merit badge in living in the Philippines Metro Manila!
You will notice there are NO PICTURES, maybe just fingernail prints in the steering wheel.
We did accomplish our mission and bought some shirts, a tie, and some socks for the missionary grandson whose birthday was Monday. On the way home after surviving a perilous left turn, Jonah and I gave each other a spontaneous quick high five because we did it!  She brought me to her home and let me see where she lives.
Walking up the alley where she lives, the walls are painted a deep blue, clothes are hung way overhead and someone has a rack of potted plants. I felt I was in an underwater aquarium, it was beautiful. Jonah's place could fit in our bedroom and had beautiful blue on their walls too. I really liked the color. I noted everything was very neat and tidy, shipshape. I felt honored that she would let me see her home. I can understand why people are not invited over to each others home, there is no room. Then from her place I found my way home all by myself.
I can do hard things.

Bazaar

The 'Dental Debs' finally got a chance to go to the Bazaar that the senior ladies in the MTC and Area office tell us about each month. I wondered what AWCP stood for and why vendors got together once a month for ladies to go shopping in a convention center. I found this site online that tells about their aims. American Women's Club of the Philippines is an expat organization that helps women adjust to a new country and donates to charities. I am sure they have other laudable goals and aims too.
We have all heard about the nifty stuff you can get there and watched the fun things the others have brought back. so when a day occurred on an intake week we didn't have patients in the chair we  all took off!
Sister Stewart tallest, Sister Adams and Stinchfield middle and Jonah Magno in the front
Big van to take us all in
Temple missionaries in the back. The Bischoff's are almost gone......
Jessie is always the designated driver especially in downtown Manila
We arrived somewhere near the Mall of Asia
The Convention Center does not allow cameras in the Bazaar - so I'll just have to tell you that it was filled with a little of everything! Long tables and dividers with jewelry, clothes, bags, doodads, quilts, woodworking, puppets, dolls, toys, baby things, etc.etc. 1/4 of the hall was dedicated to different food stalls and I think almost every type and country was represented. I was amazed at the diversity but was told that the September and October bazaars are phenomenal and I hadn't seen the busiest months. 
Shopping really isn't my thing but I was looking for birthday gifts for my Philippine grandchildren whose birthdays are coming up. I found a traditional Philippine game that has little bowls lined up and shells that you drop in each bowl until you can fill your "eating" bowl with many shells. The person with the most shells wins. Of course it is much more complicated than that.
And then I turned my attention on Jonah because I've adopted her as a daughter for a year. She is Andrew's age and such a lovely person to be around. I hope I didn't overwhelm her but she seemed to have fun as I looked through dress racks and urged her to try some of them on. When we found a dress I had to get shoes and some jewelry because it was all there. This kind of shopping is so much fun!
Then Jonah introduced me to Korean food and I really think I like their food! 
All of us traveled back with wonderful bags from recyclables and showed each other our treasures - fun times with the ladies (and a few gents).