Monday, June 26, 2017

Day Trip

The senior missionaries took a field trip to see the Bataan Death March Memorial - sobering.  If you missed this in your history, here is a link: Bataan in Wikipedia or an OSU article here: Bataan. Don't read if you are looking for something light as it is all horrible.

Today in lush green meadow surrounded by 31,000 trees planted in the victims memory the land feels peaceful and serene. There is a wall of names to remind us of the atrocity of years past. A generation of young men who never had a life to grow old in and died after much suffering.
Jeffrey in contemplation of what  happened approximately 75 years ago.

Senior Missionaries and Jonah - Sister Stewart is the pink hat at the back - not that I would accuse anyone of hiding

Message from the past for the present
Today the memorial has three columns that rise up and meet together, they represent the Philippines, the Americans, and the Japanese - united
Looking up in the center

Family outing

We walked around and saw the little train carts they stuffed captives in to transport them to the Camp and walked across a suspension bridge - of course it was fully enclosed so no tourists could not fall off or over.

Later we went to visit an 1576 church which is still in operation. In fact a wedding was going on when we went to visit. This church had stood around 36 feet high but now is buried half way up from the flow caused from an eruption. It took four years for the town and church to be covered. Today half of the church is still functioning - the top half. The bell tower can be seen close to eye level and the wedding was held in a chapel that is actually the old roof.
Top half of church

Painting of the original church

If you look at the ground level you can see half windows
Good thing they built a cathedral type church or there would be nothing left. No sign of rumbling or turmoil today, all was peaceful.

Life in a Mall

The first few months I lived here, I only went shopping with Jeffrey so we could bring everything back in bags and backpacks.  After a bit I did not want to wait for Jeffrey so I went to the grocery store on my own. Not only did I feel I could leisurely walk through the store, I could get get exactly what I wanted by comparing and watching.  Of course I got more than was on my list. As I carefully packed up my back pack and evened out the grocery bags to match in weight the bagger asked about delivery.  I didn't understand but could tell I had some kind of option. I carried my bags home and watched other people, but didn't figure it out.  Finally it was Sister Stewart who mentioned that the bagger will wheel your cart right up to your door if you tip them. Changed my life!
Groceries next to refrigerator

I can get whatever I want, however much I want and a young man will wheel that unwieldy cart right through the mall and down an elevator right to my apartment building. I push it from the elevator right into my kitchen. I leave the empty cart outside of the building door and the bagger comes back sometime and picks up the carts.
It doesn't matter how many gallons of water I buy, they are easily brought home
Now that is the way to shop!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Throw out the manual

This sabbath day started out so wonderfully with Michael and Julia's good news. And then I went to Primary. We have a new Primary President and two weeks ago she wanted to know what I thought, after listening she asked me to teach in Sharing Time. Jeffrey and I have been monitoring the doors because running in and out of classrooms/Primary to mommy is driving me nuts. That problem is slowly working towards reverence.
My classroom lesson was on being a missionary today. I took the topic then found President Monson's address on "Be an Example and a Light" from conference. I made little booklets that started out with title and then the 5 points and asked the children to draw in something in each section that they heard from the video - Wow - it took half an hour and they were fully engaged. Then I used a family home evening site that had activity story cut-outs of Ammon and King Lamoni's sheep. That was a success too!
Sharing time came next and we put one table by one door and Jeffrey stood by the other. The Primary president took down the names of all the children on slips of paper for me and gave it to me when the children came in. We went through the song, prayer, articles of faith recitation, scripture and then she told me it was already 11:30 and to take whatever time I needed. I told her I would cut it short. 
Taking a 20 peso note I asked the kids what you could buy with it. The older children all had great ideas. I likened the bill to the value of our soul that was put in the body that God gave us. I stomped on it and asked what it's value was, crumpled it up, pretended to spit on it and unfolded it and asked what the value was. I asked if anyone wanted it. I told them that I was going to give it to one lucky person if they could be reverent for 5 more minutes as I value reverence and time not being wasted.   The minute someone spoke out of turn or got out of their chair I had the president take the name out of the pile. Then I reminded them of the scripture and asked them to fill in the blanks: My _______ is a _________. (My body is a temple) Which they did. I told them that they could devalue their body and started ripping up a copy of a peso note. The boys in the back almost rose out of their chairs and had a heart attack. That's when I said that lots of bad things can happen to us, but only we can devalue ourselves from what God gave us. Then I threw a kerchief with batting tied inside and asked them to tell me what they could do to add or keep value to their bodies. Hilarious responses, though quite a few told me they could be baptized. I worked with all the answers, then gave my testimony. 
I count today as a success. One boy cracked Jeffrey and I up when the Primary president asked the children if they had learned anything and he answered, "Nothing." Since he had been walking around, poking his brother, and kicking chairs we weren't surprised but gave him credit for honesty.
When I got home I found an email from the Primary president about a trip we took together: "You've no idea how much fun I had and I saw your great example and felt your strong faith in serving the Lord. That is so inspiring and what someone like me who is so young in gospel knowledge needed to see." 
That's when I realized how extremely blessed I have been all my life to have examples of how to run a successful primary and classroom. The first pioneer families here were converted in the late 60's early 70's and since then many thousands more. To expect everyone to know how to run a good primary would be almost impossible.
I also learned that the manual is created for a different type of learner and that manipulatives, crayons, and anything with the right brain is going to work more successfully than the prescribed text. Also God answers prayers!!!!

My heart is filled and overflowing

Julia and Michael August 19, 2017
Just looking into Michael's eyes makes me love Julia instantly. Added to the fact that she reads like a perfect mate for Michael. Loves music, already has four brothers, loves the beach, is outgoing and athletic, eats right, smart (they met in an engineering class), is family oriented and loves Michael. Wow what more could a mother want?!!  Welcome to the family Julia!

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!


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.


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.


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).

Pancit and Lumpia

So I conned asked Sister Chan to show me how to make pancit, a noodle dish that I really like. I have never tasted it the same way twice. When Jeffrey and I asked the Chan's over for dinner on Sunday we found out she is a chef for different organizations and is the one who cooked for the ward at the last birthday party. Sister Chan asked if I had ever had fresh lumpia and I told her I'd never heard of it. Of course just the word lumpia and I'm all over it.  So we made arrangements to meet and go shopping on Wednesday then come back and she would demonstrate how to make both.
Sounds so simple. Of course the day was hot. But the jeepney ride was like Harry Potter's bus ride without the shrunken head dancing. This driver was on a apparent suicide mission to get everyone there as quickly as he could squeeze in and out of traffic while dodging trucks and busses. Disneyland has no comparable ride - of course there you are guaranteed life at the end.
A movie was shot here one time - I have no idea when or which one
We jumped down (do you know my back always hits the roof when I shuffle out of a jeepney?) and landed in Aladdin's cave of food treasures. The open mall has a shade roof over the walk way and went for at least a quarter of a mile. It is lined with stall after stall of every food imaginable.Splashes of color and designs caught my eye as I walked along snapping pictures after Sister Chan. She said the other side of the mall  has different kinds of goods. Everything (I mean everything) is open air. Some cats were jumping over the bags of opened rice and nothing was under glass. It was colorful and eerily beautiful.

When I mentioned plastic to Sister Chan, she asked how would I know if my meat was fresh?
I was like a duckling following her around as she picked out exactly what she wanted. I told her I would just hold everything.

The ride back was normal and fluid. The only downside was the shrimp in my bag had poked through the thin plastic bag and dripped over my knee. The smell seemed to repel a few jeepney customers. Back home Sister Chan told me how big my kitchen was and I realized perspective is an awesome thing. She was very particular about how things were cut - but I'm a good student.

Jeffrey said, "This is the best pancit I've ever had!
After observing, I concluded the key to pancit is the broth the noodles are cooked in. The vegetables are for color and nutrition. (I took pictures of every step - but really will I make this myself?)

The lumpia was extraordinary and the pancit was fantastic. Sister Chan is very gifted.
After watching her, cutting up vegetables and seeing how much work it is to make - I might just hire her or ask her to 'show' me so we can have some again.

I forgot to take a picture on Sunday, so when I picked up Sister Chan I took a picture of Brother Chan and his grandson too.
Brother Chan and his grandson - this is their transportation

Wow, where did the week go?

So many firsts this week and lots of adventures too. I was amazed that my last post was the 3rd and now I'm almost done with the 15th!!  Too busy living life to tell about it.

Some really great news is the fact that the new dentist has arrived! The Whiteheads (from Utah) are walking around in their sleep smiling and nodding at everyone. The phrase, "When the Whiteheads get here......(such and such will happen)" has been spouted many times in the last few weeks. Will the case load lighten? Will the missionary pool get larger? Will we work 6 days or 5 days? Could there be an emergency doctor on call now?  Ah, so many possibilities and who knows the answers?
The Stinchfield's, the Stewarts, and the Whiteheads
Elder and Sister Whitehead are accompanied by their youngest daughter who will be set apart with them also and serve in the Dental Clinic and in the MTC.  President Carlos and Elder Whitehead were in the same mission together years ago.  I don't have the pictures yet as I took them with Sister Stewart's phone, but President and Sister Carlos came down to say hello with Brother Villanueva and then Elder Schmutz came to welcome them also. When I get pictures I'll post.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Ups and Downs

I flunked as a teacher in Primary today. I don't know if its a factor of school starting tomorrow after the summer break, or maybe just the fact that I don't teach very well. After trying stories, scriptures and acting, I just gave them some paper and markers and told them to draw whatever they wanted because obviously they didn't want to learn anything I had to teach today. So they all just had a great time drawing.
On another front I feel so many prayers of mine in regards to Jeffrey and my family and even the dental clinic get answered quickly and better than I dreamed about. Being on this mission is one of the best things (besides getting married to Jeffrey and having children) that I have done in my life. I feel joy, purpose, happiness and fulfillment.
Next week is a broadcast from the area, so I have two weeks to figure out how to do a better job in Primary.

Meet Hugo

Dr. Stinchfield knows a dental office that sends Hugo out (with  his own plastic bag to keep him white) to visit all over the world. He came to the Philippines before he travels on to get his picture taken with missionaries from our Dental Clinic.
Say hello to Hugo!
Hugo and some MTC Philippine Missionaries
Elder Stinchfield, Missionareis and Hugo (he is soft and very plushy!)

Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) Maybe Santacruzan

The trumpets and drums could be heard up on the 26th floor, so I jumped up to see where the parade was. On one tiny sliver of the road going around the mall circle I could see a procession parade with a band, float, and marchers in the early evening.
I missed the security car in front, but all these people in flowing robes came just after followed by others with candles. The people in flowing white robes carried tall lights and something in their hands
I jumped over to another slice of the road and saw the band. The band and float with others behind
Flag twirlers and the percussion

Then more flowing robed persons carrying high lights and something in their hands

There seemed to be a lot of people walking with lights/candles? along with the people in white
I had a hard time deciding if this was the same float or another one, it was the last except for some people in white robes and tall lights behind and another security detail behind.
The next morning at work I had to ask Jonah what celebration parade was being held on the last day of May. She answered that the Flores de Mayo translated Flowers of May is a celebration - each Parrish has their own day in May. So presumably our Parrish in Eastwood Mall held theirs on May 31.

Here is a link if you are curious too. Flores de Mayo

Had a Moment

I had a moment in the grocery store a little while ago. There were some tortillas, salsa and fixin's from a familiar brand and when I came up close the smell flooded my mind with a sense of nostalgia. I was literally stopped in my tracks.
I feel I have really adjusted and adapted to living here and love my life very much. I had this moment of realization that I was in a place that wasn't the home I grew up in. It was okay and I pushed and went on to the rest of my shopping.
Thinking about it later, I thought about the instances when every once in awhile I've experienced a displacement and wonder that am doing what I am doing. One afternoon in Provo I was astounded to realize I was married and had two children.  Do certain things trigger memories of living in a heavenly home every once in awhile? Am I stopped in my tracks as I realize I am on earth in a different place and circumstance?
What will it be like returning to my Heavenly Father who gave me life? The only likeness I can think of is what I may feel when I return to California and my family. What will it feel like to be with my Heavenly Father and Mother again?

Birthday Dinner

It has been awhile since I've seen this sight
We walked with the Solera's family over to the restaurant across the street from the Area office
Christine, Ernesto and Jhon Kyle
Princess and Jhon Andre
We went to a Thai restaurant that Jeffrey had gone to in the past. He loved the food and so did the Stinchfield's when they went. I loved the food but I don't think the little kids enjoyed it as much. Maybe they had filled up on Sprite and water - but maybe not.  The adults all seem to love the food. It was so nice getting to know their family a little better!
I'm not sure of all the different kinds of food we had. Prawns and lemon grass, and some kind of rice roll that was not sushi
It was all served family style and included fish, chicken, rice with lots of extras in it and more
The family after lunch: Christine, Princess, Jhon Kyle, Jhon Andre, and Ernesto - Happy Birthday! Not shown is Elder Jhon Michael who is serving a mission in Baguio