Monday, February 29, 2016

 "Leap" of Faith"
leap day
[ˈlēp ˌdā]
1. The intercalary day in a leap year; February 29.

1. Jump or spring a long way, to a great height, or with great force:
What better time than leap day to "leap" back into the blogging world and pick up where we left off.  I found that I couldn't keep up with both a Texas Fort Worth Mission Facebook Page and a blog so had to choose the easiest and quickest way to get pictures and information out into the web world.   BUT with our three year mission coming to an end, I am determined to "jump a long way" and do both! Blogging our transition home from this great leap of faith, "and great force" that we took almost three years ago.
Where to start?! One of the many reason I decided on the blog name "Ames All Around" had to do with documenting all the areas of our life. 

Around means to be located and situated on every side, so as to reach a new place or position, typically by moving from one side of something to the other: in existence, vicinity, or in active use: in or to many places throughout (a community or locality),  and one of my personal favorite definition: so as to encircle or embrace (someone or something)
 Although Texas will definitely hold a special place in our heart for these many things listed, it's about so much more.

It's about watching these missionaries eighteen, nineteen,  twenty years old, seniors and senior couples who have retired, turning in applications and watching them serve, volunteer, sacrifice, struggle, grow, develop, improve in their communication skills; obtain an incredible increase in confidence; and an overwhelming love for the people with whom they have served.

It's about watching missionaries acquire abilities to set and reach goals, to gain a sense of responsibility for themselves and others, to concentrate on their educational studies and to build positive relationships with people of varied backgrounds. 

It's about watching missionaries
 build a strong foundation for the future, both within the family and the Church and in academic and professional pursuits, and obtaining direction for the rest of their lives.

It's about watching Missionaries' lives  completely dedicated.  Paying their own way and putting off school, dating and work for two years or eighteen months in order to focus entirely on service.
It's about a missionary waking up at 6:30 a.m., exercising, studying, planning and meeting new people to help resolve their concerns, with their afternoon discussing gospel lessons with people they meet and volunteering for service in the community.

It's about them teaching to interested individuals and helping them learn and keep commitments that will bring them more peace and happiness than they have ever experienced. It's about attending a baptismal service for someone who's decided to join the Church. Then it's about watching these dedicated, hard working missionaries return home around 9:30 p.m. plan for the next day and fall into bed, usually exhausted and happy.

It's about being part of something even LARGER than I can ever comprehend with  84,000 missionaries currently serving in 405 missions around the world.
 It's been a great "leap" these past (almost three) years. Coming a long way from where we were, raising to greater heights in every area of our lives, and coming back with great force than ever before!
Happy Leap Day!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tonight my heart is in the heartland~
This Kansas City girl was 15 yrs old when the Royals won the World Series in 1985. 
 It was so much fun to see the city become so united and blue everywhere!  Have to admit, it's hard to not be homesick for my home state during times like these~  
The Royals stadium holds an especially special place in my heart for so many reasons and memories growing up 
And it's where Rodney and I went for our very first date! 25 years later and he still looks just as adorable in a baseball hat
"Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, during a news conference expressed his gratitude to the media for his experience as a Mormon missionary in Spain"
For it's root! root! root! for the Royals....they didn't's a shame, it was one, two, (a pop fly ball)they were out-but an awesome ball game! 
And awesome state, an awesome team, an awesome city, awesome memories and an awesome place to always call home.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Facebook Page ~The Texas Fort Worth Mission

I've never considered myself a "blogger" but have loved following different blogs that family and friends have kept.
: a Web site on which someone writes about a personal opinion, activities, and experiences.
: a Web site that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also: the contents of such a site
- blog verb
-blog-ger noun
-blog-ging noun

So when I was asked by our church leader-Stake President Jeremiah Morgan if I would be willing to keep a blog, I was very hesitant.  But I'm so grateful he did, because now there are experiences, miracles and history of our mission that we can always look back to.   I've also loved those parents who have received comfort by seeing their son or daughter posted somewhere in the blog, helping them feel just a little bit closer to their missionary. With that said, I am now finding that with our "The Texas Fort Worth Mission"facebook page, it is much easier to post pictures, training's, and events of the mission and missionaries then to try and post them in a blog. 

 So have decided to just blog mainly about our mission experience and other family adventures along the way.  And any and all are welcome to read, but we will be posting most of the missionaries, training's, and events on our Facebook page- The Texas Fort Worth Mission~so please visit our page and like it to receive updated pictures and posts!!  See you there! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy FIRST year!!!

It's official~!! We have been here in the mission field for ONE FULL YEAR! and what a year it has been! In some missions its customary for missionaries to burn a tie at six months and then a shirt at the year mark.  For Sister missionaries, it's a blouse at six months, then a skirt or dress at a year.  I remember receiving my oldest son's burnt offerings in a Ziploc baggie that he sent home after 6 months.
Actually have no idea who this Elder is....discovered this picture on google images when researching the traditions of missionaries burning  suits etc.  sure hope he doesn't mind.  I just couldn't resist with the cowboy hat!
I'm not sure where these traditions started or what they represent.... I thought I had read once that it was to represent the burning desire one would have (in this case the missionary) to serve in the mission they were called to and that it meant that he or she was ALL in.   Well if that were the case, then we would be in real trouble!  Because our burning desire to serve with these great missionaries in the Texas Fort Worth Mission is almost more than we can bear and our burnt offering would most likely end up like this~ 

So rather than burning articles of clothing, or anything else for that matter, we'll just stick to grilling and serving with all our heart, might, mind and strength with these young (and senior) missionaries.
Elder Fitzgerald was known for his award winning grilled steaks, so of course we signed them up for dinner (they are in our ward here that we attend)  When we asked him what was required to grill award winning steaks, his reply, "a good marble steak, salt-n-pepper, olive oil, and a full fledged Idahoan". He took care of the Idahoan.

In an attempt to try and describe what this past year has been like for us, I turned to my journal to recount some of the experiences, emotions, and adventures.  Only to discover that I actually had five journals from this past year....five!  In opening one of them up it reads, "I feel that we have been turned inside out physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even socially"  I then go on to describe in detail about the why, when, where and how. 
I have to admit, its a pretty good read if your interested about a family who answers a call, packs up, leaves their home, families, job, and city that they have resided and loved for years, and travels to (no not the wilderness) but to Texas.     
  It wasn't for the BBQ, Tex-Mex, the stars at night being big and bright, pecan pralines, bluebonnets and wildflowers, the honey butter chicken biscuits from Whataburger, the caverns, beaches, cities, deserts, Blue Bell ice-cream, and Kolaches, and it wasn't for the southern hospitality, shopping, diversity, museums, cowboy boots, beautiful horses, Longhorns, or warm winters. 


  And although those are all great reasons and some of the things we love about Texas.  The reason we came to Texas was not only because we were asked to serve as a Mission President and spouse, and not only because we were asked to serve all the missionaries, senior couples, church members and the people of Texas.  But most importantly and ultimately, we were asked to serve our God.

Men and Women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. 
Ezra Taft Benson
As I read through my journals of the past year, we truly have had more joy individually and as a married couple than we ever have.  Our vision in every aspect and area of our lives have truly been expanded, our minds have indeed been quickened and sharpened, we have been strengthened where we should have been weak or even broken, our blessings have truly multiplied as have all of our children, our opportunities have been nothing short of miraculous, our souls comforted and lifted, friends and family lifted and more peace in our lives than we have ever experienced.

And not only will more know about the nature of God and our relationship to Him, the answers to life's greatest questions (where did I come from, why am I here, where am I going) the doctrine of eternal families, the standards of mortality that anchor us in an ever drifting world. Not only will more know about who Joseph Smith really is, why he sacrificed his very life, and as they learn why he did so, and who he really is, loving and appreciating him.  But they will know that we have a Savior, even Jesus Christ, who atoned for us and they will know that there is no physical, emotional, mental, spiritual trial that we will confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. And that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declares that a complete restoration of Christ's ancient Church has occurred, with the necessary authority, doctrines, ordinances, and organization that had been lost from the world for centuries!!  Because we have served and will continue to serve, we will know a whole lot more about us.  It is and will continue to be life-altering, and it will forever change how we look at things.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Interviews and Exchanges

                             Interviews and Exchanges with missionaries

Every quarter President Ames meets with every single missionary in the mission.  He begins at 8:00 am and will normally meet with them for 15 min.  This giving him a chance to see where they are at spiritually, mentally, and physically, to answer question or concerns that might have and provide instructions.  During interviews the Zone Leaders are providing training and instruction that was discussed in the Missionary Leadership Council held.  It is so powerful to watch it come full circle, and really seems to unite them as missionaries and as a zone.  Then after a quick lunch, President Ames goes on exchanges with four different companionship that the Zone Leaders have set up.  In order for President Ames to go on an exchange with the sister missionaries, I need to be with him and sometimes depending on my schedule with the kids, I get to go and its definitely become one of my most favorite things to do!  (especially the Spanish speaking)!!
After exchanges with the missionaries, President Ames then goes over the appointment with them, asking them questions, giving them feedback and instructions. 

President Ames then spends the rest of the evening with one of the ward or stake leaders that the Zone leaders have arranged. It helps him to know of the strengths and concerns in the different areas/stakes and mostly gives the leaders the opportunity to let President Ames how he and the missionaries can help them in their particular area/Stake/ward.  Our hope is that I will be able to go out on visits/exchanges with some sister leaders in the stake and wards as well.

Interview weeks.... though exhausting are truly amazing!! Our missionaries are truly using their time effectively, and teaching to the people's needs and desires, giving them hope, happiness, true and everlasting knowledge.  Our missionaries are just amazing.

Friday, June 6, 2014

June MLC

Missionary Leadership Training

This is always held the first Friday of every month. "It is where full expression from all participants (Mission President and his wife, assistants to the president, zone leaders and sister training leaders) are invited in a council setting, unifying the efforts of both male and female council members". 

Its always an amazing experience as we observe the leaders of the mission counsel together with love unfeigned for all 286 missionaries, the work and for each other.

As we were counseling together and discussing the needs of the mission/missionaries, one of the concerns that came up had to do with planning discussed in chapter 8 of the guide manual "Preach My Gospel" that each of the missionaries have. (see below)

Preach My Gospel

cover of Preach My Gospel
Use Preach My Gospel to meet your needs as a missionary. You can spend an entire study session on just a few paragraphs—or an entire chapter. You can study chapters in order or plan another sequence that better meets your needs. This flexibility allows you to study what you need when you need it and as directed by your mission president.
All of the chapters in Preach My Gospel will help prepare you to fulfill your purpose as a missionary. 

We particularly discussed chapter 8 having to do with planning and the need to do better in managing our time, particularly the weekly planning session.  In Preach My Gospel it reads:

The Weekly Planning Session

Once you have set goals, decide how you will achieve them. You and your companion should hold a weekly planning session on a day and at a time that is less productive for proselyting, such as Thursday or Friday morning. Your mission president will set the day and time of the weekly planning session. This weekly planning may take two to three hours to complete.
Your discussion should focus on the needs of people and how to help them progress. During this weekly planning session, review past goals and set new goals for the coming week. Consider every aspect of your proselyting.
Sunday evening is the recommended time for the weekly call-in report. A Sunday-evening report provides the most accurate and timely status of the mission because most baptisms and confirmations take place on Saturday or Sunday.
Because the day you hold your weekly planning session is likely to be different from your reporting day, approach your weekly planning with 10 days in mind. For example, if your weekly planning session is on Thursday, you will review the progress on your goals so far that week, and you will plan what you need to do to achieve these goals through Sunday. Then, set goals and make plans for the next week from Monday to Sunday. On Sunday evening you will total and report the results from the past week, and you will have your plan ready for the coming week. Below is a description of how the planning guidelines apply to a weekly planning session.
So after much counsel and instruction, one of the things decided at MLC was that the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders were going to train and focus on planning and chapter 8 during interviews that were to take place the next 3 weeks!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

First "official" family reunion

It just so happened to work out that all the kids would be able to visit/fly in for Memorial Day weekend.  We were very excited to say the least and were counting the days.  Isaac, Alex and Chelsea were able to stay for an entire week so at the last minute, we decided to make it our FIRST annual family reunion.  Although, we were all together for a week before entering the MTC in June last year (for the first time since Isaac had been home from his mission) we were quite distracted getting ready for the mission and still had a lot of preparing to do, (so feel that it really didn't count).  It was still a little distracting being here on the mission but at least we were able to enjoy each other and be together. 

 I was constantly touched by how sensitive and mindful they were of our time, in doing things that needed to be done in the mission.  They have always been are are continually so supportive.  I pray they never feel that we take them for granted.
Day 1 
Friday we had a training and follow up meeting for new trainers, district leaders, and new missionaries.  Alex (our oldest) joined us and I'm pretty sure I drove him crazy asking him for constant feedback, but I always love and learn from what he has to say.  After the meeting we met up with the rest of the kids (except Jacob who was still in school) and Elder Border who was visiting, for some good Mexican food. Elder Border was one of the assistants who greeted us when we first arrived.  Its always so fun to have the missionaries come back and visit.
  President Ames/Dad and I had an office meeting we had to get to and things to pick for transfers that would take place the next week, so took a quick sunny selfie and then we were off....

Friday evening Chels, Jess and I did our traditional girls night out that included pedicures, going out to dinner, frozen yogurt for dessert with lots and lots of girl talk.

Meanwhile, the guys were going to catch a baseball game but ended up catching up on video games instead while waiting for President Ames/dad to get out of an appt. and so appropriately ended their evening by eating at Five Guys.
Day 2
Saturday morning after some much needed rest, we ventured out for a beautiful bike ride.  With lunches, frisbee golf equipment, water and helmets, we were ready to ride!
But not without our cycling selfie first.....

And some last minute texts....
 And some last minute bike checks....
 and some last minute fanny pack adjustments...
 and some last minute cuteness clicks...(photo bomb included)

And THEN...
we were off!
I loved looking up from my handlebars and seeing all of my sweet kids bicycling together

We biked 7 miles to a path and park where we ate some lunch, played some frisbee golf, clashed with some poison ivy, and other exciting adventures along the way, then biked back another 7 miles...a total of 14 miles.

We loved being together as a family.  We are constantly reminded of how blessed and wonderful it is to have the children (and in law) that we do.  They are just amazing and bring us so much happiness.
 Day 3
 Church started at 9:00, which comes pretty fast when celebrating, visiting, and playing.  We actually made it on time and really enjoyed being able to be together at church.  We then came home to a crock pot roast meal, much needed naps and down time.  I loved seeing my boys together, doing different things but just being together. 
  The missionaries assigned to our ward stopped by for a follow up on some commitments they had given us the last time they had visited with us. And with it being Elder De Lima's last Sunday with us before being transfers, there was some exchanging of ties... and apparently President Ames loves yellow ties~ Elder De Lima will be missed in our ward.  
Kolby is our sweet nephew from Idaho, attending BYU, he is the same age as our Isaac and is selling alarm systems in San Antonio for the summer.  When he heard that the entire family was going to be in town, he drove all the way up to spend Sunday with us.  We sure love Kolby....

Some things (thankfully) never change...
 Almost there...
 Not quite (but thanks Jess, Kolby, Alex and Chels)

One more just in case...
 Oh was fun while it lasted (right Jess?)

 It was a great Sabbath Day...Sunday Selfies included

Day 4 
Memorial Day! We weren't exactly sure what we were going to have time to do, but one thing was for sure...we were going to do it together, even if it meant swapping out the cars to ride in the mission van!  That in itself is quite an experience if you haven't tried it~
Now that we were all together, it was time to grab some lunch in Fort Worth at the Stockyards at the famous Risky's barb-e-que with all you can eat ribs and eat we did!


 Stockyards Selfie!
Then it was off to shoot some guns at the shooting range~I thought it was an appropriate way to celebrate Memorial Day, given our freedoms and liberties.  Alex and Chelsea own a gun and Alex actually brought his with him (leave it to Texas to have your carry on be a gun) its always making me nervous, and we are in Texas where pretty much everyone has a gun, so we thought it would be good to educate ourselves and shoot a few rounds. 
I was kinda nervous!
First you need your protective eye and ear wear 

 loading the mags were harder than I would have expected


Gotta love the bonding....
 Truly Texan now

 Alex giving his sister instructions
 obviously great instructions...Jess marking her shot
And just in case anyone was wondering.....  
Shooting selfie!
And what better way to finish off the day then a trip to Braums....
It was a great day!
Day 5
With it being transfers, President Ames/dad and I would be busy picking up new missionaries, training, feeding, settling, along with saying goodbye to departing missionaries so the kids all went rock climbing and rock climbing they did!

Sibling Selfie
 Sure love these kids
I was reminded again just how much I love being together as a family, and saw the value of beginning our own family reunion. 


noun \(ˌ)rē-ˈyün-yən\

: an act of getting people together again after they have been apart : an act of reuniting
: an organized gathering of people who have not been together for a long time