Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Wonderful Thanksgiving Week

Dear Family & Friends,
            What a great week this has been!!  We started off with being busy on Monday sending out letters to the missionaries who are coming in January that we just got their recommendations last week.  Jim & I worked on the Transfer Board on IMOS and got that all taken care of and submitted except for the new missionaries who would be coming in on Tuesday.  We left the Office at 3:30 to go to the Mission Home to help prepare the Farewell Dinner for the six missionaries who are leaving and also one more missionary who has to go home because of health reasons.  I was also able to have a phone visit with both Brent and Shelley.  Shelley was at our home in Payson with her in-laws for a fun few days including Thanksgiving.  After a delicious dinner, we got home about 7:30 and I did a couple of loads of laundry, and we wrapped some Christmas packages to give to the Boyles to take home with them.
New Office Elders--Lindstrom and Claridge
            Tuesday we had missionaries in the building all day as they were meeting other missionaries to transfer to new areas.  Some had never been in the Office before so we showed them around.  Got some letters out to missionaries, finished updating the new missionaries and their Trainers in IMOS and submitted it around 3:00 p.m.  I ran a quick trip to the bread store, then Jim and I left at 3:30 to go help with the Welcome Dinner for the new missionaries.  It was fun to meet them!  We ended up not eating until 6:30 so weren’t done cleaning up until 8:30.  We went home as Christi, Shawn and their family were not arriving until 10 p.m.  They stayed at Larry’s and Holly’s. 
            Wednesday morning we drove to the Rodney Parham building for the Training of the new missionaries.  Then went back to the Office and sent out a quick email to let their parents know they had arrived safely.  Worked on calendars, emails, and sent out several reports that different groups in the mission needed, including printing up some for our Office.  We did our Office cleaning—me doing the dusting and Jim the men’s bathroom and the Greens doing the other stuff.  We left the Office at 3:30 and went to spend the evening with Larry and the Boyles.  We had a good time eating, talking, playing ping pong, watching TV, then we left at 8:30 because we had to stop at the store to get last minute stuff for Thanksgiving dinner. 
            Thursday—THANKSGIVING!!—we went over and had crepes for breakfast plus buttermilk syrup, then watched the Macy’s Parade, made the Waldorf Pomegranate Salad, Larry cooked the turkey in his ceramic smoker and it was ready by 2:00.  Jim helped Larry install a trailer hitch on his Jeep.  We had mashed potatoes, Larry’s special gravy, dressing, and corn on the cob.  Wow—it was all so delicious!!  
Thanksgiving Dinner--Yum!!
We had fun going around the table to talk about the things that we were thankful for—including people, gifts, books, movies, B of M people (both major and minor), songs, etc.  Lots of fun things to talk about. 
Holly's beautiful mantle
We all helped clean up, then watched a Hallmark Christmas movie, ate pies, played a “Harry Potter Scene It” game, then watched another movie, and some played “Ticket to Ride.”
            Friday we ate Christi’s Bacon Pancakes—yummy!!  We went to the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum which had submarine that served in WWII, and a tugboat that had been at final signing of peace with the Japanese, thus bookends to the war.  
On the submarine Arkansas Razorback
We got to tour the sub but not the tug.  The sub was really interesting.  Then we ate at Larry’s Pizza, did some Christmas clothes shopping, sent the men home and shopped for Abby’s Christmas dress (she must have tried on 40 different ones but hard for her because she is so slim and tall that most were too short or too wide or both!!  Finally found one!!  Went home to make Shepherd’s Pie, and I watched a Disney Special while others played video games or Balderdash. 
            Saturday Larry took us on a nice hike up one of the Pinnacle Mountain trails.  

Found a good photo tree

Hiking on Pinnacle Mountain
Wore me out so I didn’t make it to the top—oh, well!!  Then we went to a place called Playtime Pizza and had a great time eating and playing lots of games.  My favorite was the go-carts, and I had fun watching the grandchildren do lots of fun games.  We were there for almost 3 hours.  Then we went to see the movie “Moana” and really enjoyed it!  Went to Larry’s and Holly’s to played Runs and Sets, and went home exhausted!!
            Today we all went to Larry and Holly’s ward and enjoyed a lovely Sacrament meeting where they talked about the Atonement.  Very nice.  We left with Christi and Shawn and family to go home and make lunch while they packed up.  They left at 12:45 and we headed to the Office to take care of a few things, then home for naps, blog writing, dinner, watching some BYUTV, and recovering from an awesome week.!!
            This afternoon we watch the Music and the Spoken Word and then a BYU Devotional given by Brent Scharffs, a BYU professor in the Law School who spoke on the Audacious Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ.  I thought it tied in quite nicely with the Sacrament talks on the Atonement and our thankfulness.  How thankful we are to have a knowledge of the true nature of God, that he is a man and he is the Father of our spirits, that we lived before we can here, and we will live again because of the atonement with God and our Savior Jesus Christ if we keep the commandments and our covenants, live good lives, and serve others, enduring to the end. Then not only will we be with God, but also with our righteous family and friends.  Who would not be thankful for that if they truly knew it.  Well apparently there are many who will not.  One of the interesting points that Dr. Scharffs suggested was that the 1/3 of the hosts of heaven that did not follow God’s plan may have chosen not just in rebellion to God, but that they didn’t want to face the trials that we go through in this life.  I had never considered that possibility and can see how some may not want to face such a challenge.  He told a touching story of a young boy who was in his deacon’s quorum he was teaching, that was in serious automobile accident and in the hospital for quite a while.  This was in the early 90s before they were testing blood very well for the HIV virus, and he received a transfusion that was infected.  That was pretty much a death sentence then.  The boy told of two non-member friends that came to visit him.  One said to him that he was sorry to hear about what happened to him and what did he do wrong to have God punish him.  The other said he was sorry to hear about what happened and that he must have been so righteous that God gave his this great challenge.  Then the boy said that he didn’t believe either was true, but that it was just the price of mortality.  And so it is, we do live in mortality with good and bad things happening to good and bad people.   It is how we face these challenges of life that ultimately counts.  May we have the faith and courage make those right choices that will lead to the happiness that we each seek.   
            Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving—we sure did!!

            Elder & Sister Hartzell

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