Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hyrum Eddington's final mission letter.

I decided I wanted to keep this wonderful letter from Hyrum Eddington. I've known Hyrum for years and taught him piano.  He returns on Monday from his mission in the Northern Adriatic, learning several languages and increasing his excellence in writing and speaking.

All of his letters have been amazing and such a joy to read.  I've written to him as I do to all our missionaries every week.  I just write to keep them company and never expect an answer because I know how limited their time is.  But often I get a personal to back. This is to all his missionaries as well as his friends/family.  He returns on Monday.  His mom cannot wait.

My dear friends,

This will be the last email I write to you from the field. To be honest, I expected that it would feel stranger; that all of a sudden it would hit me that this is the last one....but it hasn't. To me, it almost feels like just another routine letter and that I'll be here in the mission field forever. I know in the back of my mind that I have 7 days left and counting, but it just doesn't feel like my time here could ever become that short. How grateful I am for the days I have had and will have here on the mission. 

Yesterday was the year-anniversary of Ana's baptism, whom I taught when I was in Celje. However, I got to see her yesterday because she is now engaged to a member here in Zagreb, and they will be married in early October! It was so satisfying to see things come full circle, 1 year to 2 years on a mission, baptism to marriage. She and her fiancĂ©e looked so happy together, and one could not help but feel so happy for them as well. That joy is the greatest blessing of a mission. I share briefly an excerpt from the record of her conversion story which she wrote:

"After I was baptized I felt clean, peaceful and loved. Every doubt was washed away and I was finally on the right path. After [that experience], now I can testify that I believe in God. I believe that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. I believe that the Church is true and that all the prophets are sent here to help us and to guide us. I can say that sometimes I still struggle with my faith and with life in general, but with the Fathers love my faith grows stronger and so do I."

That's what a mission is all about. 

For the time that I have worked here in the office, I have had the privilege of sending out a spiritual thought every other week to the mission. I would like to share with you in part my last one which I wrote yesterday, because it seems particularly appropriate for describing how I feel towards the end of my mission: 

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Orson F. Whitney (1855-1931), who served as an apostle from 1906 to 1931, had a dream as a young missionary that changed his life forever. Of that experience he wrote,

"One night I dreamed...that I was in the Garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior's agony. ...Jesus, with Peter, James, and John, came through a little wicket gate at my right. ...[A]fter telling them to kneel and pray, He passed over to the other side, where He also knelt and prayed ... : 'Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt.'

"As He prayed the tears streamed down His face, which was [turned] toward me. I was so moved at the sight that I wept also, out of pure sympathy with His great sorrow. My whole heart went out to Him. I loved Him with all my soul and longed to be with Him as I longed for nothing else."

The dream continued through all of Christ's experience in the Garden and then moved to a different scene:

"All at once the circumstance seemed to change. ...Instead of before, it was after the Crucifixion, and the Savior, with those three Apostles, now stood together in a group at my left. They were about to depart and ascend into heaven. I could endure it no longer. I ran from behind the tree [which hid me], fell at His feet, clasped Him around the knees, and begged Him to take me with Him. 

"I shall never forget the kind and gentle manner in which He stooped and raised me up and embraced me. It was so vivid, so real that I felt the very warmth of His bosom against which I rested. Then He said: 'No, my son; these have finished their work, and they may go with me; but you must stay and finish yours.' Still I clung to Him. Gazing up into His face--for He was taller than I--I besought Him most earnestly: 'Well, promise me that I will come to You at the last.' He smiled sweetly and tenderly and replied: 'That will depend entirely upon yourself.' I awoke with a sob in my throat, and it was morning."

Reflecting on this dream, Orson F. Whitney declared that "from that hour, all was changed. I never was the same man again." 

With such a wondrous experience, it is no surprise that Orson F. Whitney would later pen the beloved and familiar lyrics:

Savior, Redeemer of my soul, 
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow'r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel.

Though not all will have such a visionary experience in our journey to become acquainted with the Savior, every single missionary can use the time given to us to profoundly deepen our relationship with Him. And as we deepen our relationship with Him, we will also grow closer to our Father in heaven. It is my fervent prayer that after this period of faithful service that each missionary will look back upon this time and be able to raise their voices with Orson F. Whitney's and with resolution and confidence proclaim that "from that hour, all was changed. I will never be the same." And that change will only come through the Savior and Redeemer of the world.

That is the miracle of a mission. 

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In regards to my own missionary service, I join with the sentiment of Orson F. Whitney in that no tongue, including my own, will ever be able to fully describe the gratitude which I feel for the blessings of my mission, and I am confident that that gratitude will deepen even further as those experiences continue to bless my life. Truly, I will never be the same. 

I know that my Savior lives, and more importantly because of my missionary service I know Him, not just of Him, and I love Him. My labors have seared into me a confidence that God knows us, one by one, with all the strengths and weaknesses, talents and flaws, ups and downs, and everything and anything else we as mortals are subject to. In the words of Elder Holland, God invites us to "Come as [we] are, but don't plan to stay that way."

I know that this church is Christ's church. I know that the Book of Mormon is truly another testimony of Him. I have carried one in my hand during my proselyting labors on my mission, and it wields a power that cannot be described, a power that could not be present save it were truly divine. 

I feel something akin to the prophet-historian of old who wrote that he could not write, "a hundreth part" of the dealings of his people, and likewise I have not room in one email--or many for that matter--to even in small fraction enumerate all the blessings, miracles, and tender experiences which I have been privileged to participate in on my mission. I am looking forward to sharing some of those experiences with many of you. 

But that miracle which is greatest is the change which I have seen in others, and in myself. I'm certainly still nowhere close to perfect, but I feel as though because of my Savior and my mission I'm better than I ever was before. The change and transformation that comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to each and every one of us.

My hope is that we will all be a part of that miracle, but also that that miracle will forever be a part of us. "Abide in me, and I in you" (John 15:4). 

Towards the conclusion of this phase of service, I thank all of you for your emails, thoughts, and prayers. I have striven and fought to ensure that those efforts have not been in vain. Though there are things that we could have always done better regardless of our callings, for we are, after all, imperfect beings, I am at peace with my labors. I have served and am serving (note "am serving", I've still got a week left!) a mission filled with repentance and joy, and I couldn't have dreamed of a more profound experience. Though this mission may soon be over, I pray and plead with my Father in heaven that my mission will go on, that I may in some small way continue to be His servant. I may not for much longer wear a tag, but what that tag stands for is now and forever written, as Paul once said, "in [the] fleshy tables of the heart" (2 Cor. 3:3). Though I will return to the same home, I will not, and cannot, and never will be the same as how I left. 

And for that I express that gratitude which yet remains in some part inexpressible to my Father in heaven. 

That we may all abide in the love of the Savior and the Father in this life and forever by relying on the "merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah" (2 Nephi 2:8) is my prayer and plea in the name of our Lord and Shepherd, even Jesus Christ, amen.  

See you soon, but not too soon.

Elder Eddington



Monday, August 14, 2017

Hank

We had the blessing of being able to see Hank today, and on his birthday, too.  With the kitchen redo, we settled for a dinner out.  Hank looks so good and I am sure thinner tho he says not. We FT'd a couple of weeks ago by accident (I guess) and he had been visiting his home town of Newberry Park, CA. riding in the mountains on his dirt bike.  Don't tell me he's not thinner.

Robert went upstairs to change and when he came down he was Hank's twinkie...brown shoes, jeans, and a lovely dress shirt which I have no clue where or when he got it.  Robert just says it arrived in his closet all pressed.  That means I did it but I don't recall it.


x

We ended up going to The Foundry in Elyria.  This is the place we went after we bought our wonderful Electrolux washer/dryer from Stewart's Appliance.  It was just as good tonight as it was then.  I need to remember this place better for when we think about eating out somewhere...maybe with Pam and Ken.

We even had dessert because of course, it was Hank's birthday and he deserved a cake of some sort.  He got the carrot cake.
Robert and I took the Chocolate Lucifer cake...oh yes,,,way better than a devil's food cake any day. I asked the wait server if it were possible to get a glass of milk and she brought 3.  Perfect dinner, perfect family.  Thanks, Hank, for stopping by.




Day 1...Demo Day

I guess I can almost understand why Chip Gaines (of Chip and Joanna Gaines) LOVES Demo Day.  I can see the fun of yanking things down if they just could come down with a yank.

Our crew worked over 6 hours to get most of our kitchen demo'd.  And there is dust everywhere even tho tarp were put up over the doorways.  Oddly, they left the sink in working order even tho I told them it wasn't needed since we have set up a kitchenette, as Dawn called it, in the basement.

I still feel a wee bit sad to lose the kitchen my mom had made but I also am glad to be putting in new things all around.  When mom had redone the kitchen to make it the golden oak, she only had facades put on, so the original stuff was underneath.  We opted to not keep any of the units for the garage altho we considered it.  The garage re-do will be in the future.

Here's the Kitchen this morning from the family room.


Here the 2 men are attempting to pull out the desk.  I opted to not have a desk in the new kitchen.  It's just too much of a 'collector.'

This is the same area.  The fridge would have been on the left and the desk on the right.  The whole you see under the shelf is where the home intercom system sat  (Robert had disconnected it years ago and I was a bit sad about that.  I really liked that system which went to the front door as well. I could imagine how useful it would have been down at 809 if all the kids' rooms were connected...back in the day)
but this past weekend, Jordan wondered if he could have it   Robert removed it this morning and Jordan will be getting it.  The only thing he thought he'd do with it at this point was make it into a retro bluetooth system  system.

Robert chatting up one of the men.

Our home was built in the mid 70s and as the demo continued we noticed just how low the kitchen flooring had started out being...seeing so many different layers of linoleum and tiles.  Incredible how many times the styles changed.  This will all be removed and we shall start a new set of flooring for future generations to find.


The little section of sink was left, I don't know why but the water is turned off.

Corner area going.

We broke for lunch while we face timed with young Robert in Michigan. He wanted to see our basement set up.  Jordan's text comment to this pix was:  "Woah. Time to put mom and dad in a nursing home. Subsisting on White Castle in the dooms day bunker."  Marissa's comment:  "This basement dining set up is actually kind of awesome."  Dawn's:  "After 2 months of renovations, you are going to say, "So THIS is the dining room."  The funny thing about that statement is something back from when my folks moved into this home, planned and encouraged by Uncle Al Etzel, copying from a TV add.  When we finally had a big holiday meal in the dining room, Al had us all say in unison, "So THIS is the dining room."  We laughed, my mom not so much.

Finally those dratted overhead the peninsula cabinets are removed...no more bleeding heads for Robert.  Found inside:  a very expensive flashlight and a dead mouse.  The batteries had leaked in the flashlight so I doubt it will ever be useable.  Decades of being in the soffet.  Interesting.


See the brock look with the lighter portions?  This is the pattern that was in the home when Osbornes bought it.


The kitchen removal awaiting to be hauled away.

Jordan and kids come to town

Friday morning Jordan called and asked if he and the kids could come to visit.  I was so happy but hoped they could survive eating here in bits and pieces since most of the kitchen was packed up, preparatory to Demo Day.  They seemed to be Ok with this. Hillary had planned this girlfriends weekend long ago so Jordan was able to make this 5.5 hour trip in 8.5 hours.  Being the soul driver and child care handler extended the trip.  But it was so much fun seeing them.

Jordan is just as wonderful as ever.  And I think having him here alone (tho yes, I missed some Hillary time) was extra special for both Robert and me.  Jordan admired Robert's Gardens of Warwick and even set up a Facebook page for it.  He also went home with 3 boxes filled with ground cover for his hydroponics area.  He cleaned the octagonal window at the top of the stairs has he always did for Gunner and Bonpapa.

Both Inside and Out.



Jordan asked if we were going to remove the vintage house intercom system.  And then asked if he might have it.  Whatever for, I wondered, but agreed.  So Robert took it and the back part off and we will give it to him next time we see each other.  I asked what he wanted it for and he said it might make an interesting bluetooth speaker.  I was a bit sad when Robert disconnected it several years ago but since the kitchen is having an update I guess something this vintage has to go.


Jordan and Robert also found this in the fir tree in the island out front.  A momma mourning dove and 2 babies.

I have checked on these birdies as well as the swallows who are still over the front door nesting there at night.  The dove momma seems to be quite disturbed by all the racket the demo guys were making but it's probably the addition to the traffic noise on Lake Road....just with more deafening thuds as the old cabinets got thrown into the dump trailer.

Lily and Marius at some point Saturday morning hit the island and created some of the best fairy arrangements on lamb's earls  I didn't know this til I walked around the sidewalk and was started to see what my Michigan Fairies had left me.


Marius seemed to enjoy just wandering around but he's determined in areas he has strong opinions about...like M&Ms, certain play things.  But cute as a bug.

Lily had it all planned that I would make some cool clothes for Ella and Violet...her American Girl Dolls. We went to Walmart to buy the fabric and Lily knew exactly what she liked and didn't like.  As we were leaving I noticed they were having a coloring contest and the prize was a Troll backpack. Lily said she wanted a new backpack cuz hers didn't have any cartoon on it like this one did so she sat down and took great care in coloring the page and turned it into the guy at the eye vision place.  I think she ought to win.  I think Lily thinks she already has since she asked me to send her the backpack.

We managed to get a couple items sewn and I will finish up the last 2 pieces and sent them off to her. I also created 2 necklaces for the dolls. Interestingly Robert suddenly lost his beloved leatherman (as if a leatherman could be beloved but Dawn had given it to him decades ago and he always has it).  I made him retrace his morning walk. Then I asked him when last he used it and he thought it was as we were packing up the kitchen. Then a bit later he remembered he had used it to help me disconnect a few links in the dolls' necklaces. Sure enough, the leatherman was in the container with my jewelry making stuff.  Phew!

And then there's wonderful Rob...what a character. He was my laundry buddy.  I could have emptied out all the drawers and he would have been happy to wash and dry them all.  He announced, "I just love your Electroluxes."  Not only that but he also vacuumed our carpets with as many vacuums as he could get to. Luckily the old filthy garage one was only visible, not  accessible.




  

I sent them home with 2 of the rocks we had painted and they joyfully hid them in Michigan during a couple of their stops.  I think the last one was near to their Ada, MI area.



I think there might be some rock painting going on in NHB's house in the near future.  I heard they took a lot of rocks home from the lake.



The house was filled with laughter and noise and we were filled with joy.  But now it's all quiet again...and yes, we are exausted.  So very happy Jordan was willing to come down and play with us for a few days.  We are blessed!

























Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Sure do miss Bonpapa

Found a bag of picture that are Osbornes...and intend to mail them to Jackie Osborne Starker BUT there is a couple I thought I'd scan.


This is a birdhouse that is on Osborne property in Tionesty AZ.  His dad, Charles Earl Osborne used to build birdhouses.  This is the kind I hope to have and maybe the barn swallows will next in there and not over our front door all summer.  I think the 3rd batch of birdies are in there now.


Here is Bonpapa (Roger Arthur Osborne with Joyce and Karl Anderson 2006.


I have the feeling that this was often the Lord when it came to these 2 fine men.


Backyard of Osborne property, Allegheny River




Home where Roger was born ...Feb 19, 1918...Tionesta, PA

Back view of the home where Roger was born.  His father, Charles Earl Osborne, built the back porch and steps

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Kirtland

Hillary as her Relief Society Meeting coordinator or planner, arranged for a small group to head to Kirtland and she was so gracious and invited Robert and I to join her party.

Normally I don't thrill at the idea of visiting Kirtland again.  Not that I don't love and admire what the early Saints went through during that time it's just that I've seen it before.  But this was very special.






This was from the small display in the LDS visitor's center, made by one of the Senior Sisters.  It's a 3D quilt. So lovely.


We started with the Community of Christ tour and because they had a large LDS group of youth from Pittsburgh who had been there for a meeting, we were allowed to go through the 3rd floor...something that  doesn't happen very often, if at all anymore.

Then we had lunch with Hillary's ladies and then in the afternoon we enjoyed the LDS tours.

We went out way and Hillary's group traveled the long distance to Grand Rapids.  I was happy that Hillary understood the need for the sisters to be fed more than ice cream and social chatting.  Not all things were happy in her carload of sisters, with one sister in particular a little off in the head, but this was a valiant effort...and at least 4 of the 5 sisters enjoyed themselves.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Crocker Park with the Barlow's

Pam starts back to work on Monday and they suggested we do breakfast.  So off to Crocker Park and First Watch.  Robert and Ken together are quite the twosome.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Connor is officially an Eagle

Even tho Connor had passed the Eagle Review board, it was time to enjoy the celebration.  We arrived late Friday after/early evening.  The ride from Kennedy's was long and I was so tired.  Poor Robert drove the whole way.  But we gave Connor his gift for Eagle...a Leatherman.

 

Cara had given him an Eagle's Nest...a Hammock and Evan, who had bought a cheaper one, was anxious to hang them both up.





This is Evan at home...all dressed and ready to go.  



The Court of Honor was held in the chapel of their ward because there was at least 70 people in attendance.  Dawn had placed this huge picture which my mom had bought for Roger (Bonpapa) and we had given to inspire both Connor and Evan.  It sat very nicely in the corner and set the tone for the event.


Evan was the Emcee or conducted the Court of Honor
 Posting of the colors

 Ken directed all the Eagles present to sit in the half pews up front.  Connor's middle school English teacher was there and he sat in the Eagles Nest since he is an Eagle.



I love this picture above...Jordan is on the far left, looking at his son Robert who is looking back at him.  I can just imagine the day when we will see Robert in an Eagles Nest.


Steve Christensen said the opening prayer.

Ben McElroy read a poem by President Henry B. Eyring


 Robert presented the Eagle, Connor, with a few comments.  It was very nice!

Jared Hall, the Scout Master presented the award.

Lots of things on this table for sure.




Dawn put on the neckerchief and slide and with such force the slide broke...good thing some man who presented connor with something or other had made a special slide for him.
  Bob Daniels

Connor present the parents' pins (the pix was taken of the 3 of them later).


And Jordan gave the Benediction


Then the cake and ice cream was enjoyed by all who attended.  Everything was decorated so lovely.




 Two brothers

 Robert and I with our 3rd Eagle Grandson


Ken with Connor and his mom, Kathy.


Hillary and Hazel with Kaylee and Moriah



Val and Steve with Ben (above ) and Connor with his mo (below)



 Ken, Jordan,       , Bob Daniels, and Dawn

Ken, Robert and Jordan


Me with my own baby Eagle...now a grown and handsome man.  I wore my Eagle pin for the day.




 Elsie, Lily, Cora, Marius and Robert...Cousins

Best picture of the cousins...cleaning up means licking up the blue icing.  Lily, Honor, Robert, Elsie Marius, Cora

















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