Sunday, August 30, 2009

stake conference

DSC05741The day started out for them at the new stake center. There were lots of meetings, formal and informal.

Elder Anderson kept everyone busy.









A beautiful dinner was prepared on Saturday night for the Bishops, Stake Presidency and their wives thanks to Sister Williams and her Relief Society helpers!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

a color choice

DSC05739The building of the Stake Center has been a long and involved process. Several times a week Doug stops by to see how things are shaping up.

There are very few choices to be made externally or internally as the church has made those decisions through years of experience.

This week was different because there was a color choice to be made…and approved, but it was exciting to have a choice! A whole universe of colors available—well, not quite, since it did have to go with the standard issue pews and carpet. Still exciting nonetheless. 

Only one more month to wait!DSC05738

Monday, August 24, 2009

serpent in the rosemary

I was gardening this morning and spotted a snake…not the normal black racer that I usually see around here that I know is fairly harmless since one of my second graders was struck by one and only had a giant-sized mosquito-looking wound to show for it.

I went running in the house and called upstairs for Doug.




He was wondering how it could be a giant baby snake? Until he saw it. Then he told me it was a pygmy rattler. The Venomous Snakes of Florida website says:

“Despite their diminutive size, I have yet to meet one that didn't act like it was 12 feet long and ready to take on anything.  If you give the snake half of an opportunity to bite you, it will happen.”

So…that is how you have a giant baby snake in the garden.

It was very disappointing because we didn’t get a picture, nor a capture. After the fact, Doug said that he wished he would have gotten his shotgun and I said I wished that I would have grabbed my camera.


about 15 minutes later, when Doug was leaving, he saw it again!  DSC05734

Still hanging out in the rosemary…


…which got an unartistic and unplanned tunnel-style trim today when Doug shot the snake.

Here he is just moments after, when the smell of powder was still in the air.

“The Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake is the most common venomous snake in Florida, and is responsible for more human snakebite than any other snake. It is found throughout the state.”

Saturday, August 22, 2009

on and off and on



In spite of dire weather predictions, we woke up to a beautiful morning and called the Bishop.

The Back-to-School Lake Party was on!

I took the kids for  tube rides and Doug took the kids and some daring leaders for wild rides.

When it started to rain a couple of hours later, we all ran up to the garage and had a “Bishop Saunders” barbeque. Some kids left and some kids went back to the lake for a drizzly afternoon jumping off the dock posts and trying to catch a tennis ball that Doug was throwing at them in mid-air. It seemed like everyone had a great time including Lucy (Toronto), our event mascot.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

august in the garden featuring dash

DSC05731 purple coneflowers                               and purple fan flowersDSC05703


I was so pleased to find that the hidden ginger bulbs did not freeze to death this past winter. They have been growing like crazy and not hiding their beautiful flowers spikes, much to my delight.

 DSC05706  DSC05732

Dash has a favorite shady spot next to them where she likes to sit and wash herself while I tend to the morning gardening tasks.


The flowers in the cutting garden were nearly choked to death with weeds after all the neglect they suffered while I was busy playing with my grandkids. The survivors are fabulous though.DSC05714 DSC05715 











After we finish with the backyard, Dash and I move to the front. She is quiet company, except when she runs off to chase the butterflies.



Thursday, August 13, 2009

rs lake day

Well, it wasn’t the WHOLE Relief Society, although all were invited…Carol Bigler, Gail Berge, her mom Merle Share, Melody Shipley and Debbie Clayton came though!DSCF1822 It turns out that Melody IS NOT a lake girl. She was, in fact, quite squeamish about the whole experience. We eventually talked her into some tube time. And she did some spotting for Brianna and Gail. At one point, I looked at Debbie Clayton and said, “Did you know she was like this?” Debbie answered, “I had no idea!” And then we both cracked up.

Gail, not surprisingly, is going to turn out to be a skier. I think in her heart of hearts, she always knew it. She got her first lesson today!

DSCF1819Debbie is always up for fun. Here she is driving the jet ski even after having eye surgery this morning, not even kidding. Her face was developing some nice black and blue spots

while the rest of us were getting tan.

I was really happy that Gail brought her mom and that Carole came. I talked with Merle about becoming a remote missionary. She will be awesome. Carole is just the nicest person and I am enjoying getting to know her better.DSCF1820

Melody, where is your life vest!?!

Sunday, August 09, 2009


I have finished my two-month training to be a remote missionary. It has been a very interesting experience. I have truly loved feeling a part of a world-wide missionary group. My trainers, Elder and Sister Blanchard live in Wendouree, Australia. Most days of the week we would have class with our group which live in many different time zones. My training assistant,  Sister Justus lives in Parker, Colorado. She works full-time and has two grown handicapped children that she cares for. This is definitely a part- time experience for her. As missionaries, we are asked to serve at least 12 hours a week. Many of the missionaries serve significantly more hours than that though.

Now I have been assigned to Sister McClure’s Carolina group. She is from Hopkins, SC. My companions, Elder and Sister Voyles are from Tallahassee, FL. Not all 14 of us in Sister McClure’s group are from the east coast though, because Elder Earle is from Oregon. He must be an early riser!

There are three things that I do.

1. Attend in-service type classes. So far, it seems like there are three a week. They are recorded and emailed to us in case we are unable to listen to them live.

2. Answer emails. Patrons click on the link in new FamilySearch and can ask questions. Sometimes we email a response back to them and sometimes we call them back.

3. Answer phones. In order for me to answer a call, I log into the church’s website and make my self “available”. Then when calls come in, they are answered by the next available missionary. There are hundreds of missionaries supporting new FamilySearch. Those calls are being sent to missionaries, most likely in their homes, all over the world. We have many resources for answers…which is good, especially if you are a newbie like me. Everyone has been amazingly helpful and super nice!DSC05690


The other day my friend asked me if I looked like this when I did my missionary work? Answer:                            Only if it is on a Sunday.


Answer continued:

Whatever I happen to be wearing, I wear when I am working and sometimes it is even my birdcage pajamas!


Just like I used to do, some of the patrons imagine me working at a call center in Utah. The other day a patron wanted to know where I was located. We aren’t really supposed to say, but I did tell him that I was in the eastern time zone. There are approximately 1870 missionaries working under the umbrella of Church and Family History. I think that my trainer told us that about 500 of us are remote missionaries.

When I was sent the eight log-ins and passwords that I would need to complete this assignment, I was wondering how it all fit together. Actually, it all fits together quite well. Sometimes it is a little scary for me. The teacher part of me wants to know the answers before the question gets asked. I keep learning and the support people are keeping me propped up in the meantime…thank heaven for Skype! I feel a little bit like those people you see on TV that are getting information in an earpiece as they are doing a live piece.

At the present time there are 409,000 registered members on new FamilySearch. There is an average of 10,000 users per day with an average stay of 69 minutes. Ultimately, it is the hope that millions of people are able to use the church’s resources to do their family history.

My patriarchal blessing has a section about genealogy. Of course, I never imagined that it would include an experience like this!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

wildlife spotted

DSC05682 Doug found this cute little froggy living in the bubbler of our fountain. We enjoyed watching him bob up and down for air.


Courtney, our frog-loving granddaughter would have been mesmerized watching him…just as we were!


Later this afternoon, I spotted this owl, very much awake in the middle of the day, right outside my family room window! It is a barred owl, the only owl in Florida with brown eyes. A fact that I can appreciate. (All the rest have yellow.) It is called a barred owl because the chest is barred horizontally. It goes by other names, including eight hooter, rain owl, wood owl, striped owl and also hoot owl. It is also the species most likely to be active during the day. This bird was huge. I read that they are normally about 17 inches tall with a 44 inch wingspan. This bird seemed every bit of that! Barred owls mate for life and generally occupy the same nest every year. Their favorite meal is mice. Welcome to the Birdhouse!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

reverence road trip


The Apopka Ward Primary and the Eustis Ward Primary took a road trip to see the progress of the new stake center.


They were given tours by a member of the Stake Presidency.




They sang some beautiful primary songs and enjoyed this special Saturday morning experience.