Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saving lives one drop at a time...

I gave blood yesterday. Despite years of fears relating primarily to needles, I decided that the time had come to at least try to give.

In preparation for the Relief Society Broadcast last night, our stake planned a two-hour segment dedicated to various service projects- humanitarian kits, quilts, wooden blocks, coloring pages/activities...and donating blood. We had a mobile unit hanging out in the church parking lot, taking as many willing donors as they could. Now every so often, especially since 9/11, I have thought that I really should overcome my fear of needles and of giving blood and help out by donating a pint. However, I would often use the fact that once-upon-a-time I was anemic as an excuse to avoid it. So, despite a desire to try and do some good, it somehow had never happened. Until now.

For the several of you who still have the same fear of needles as I do, I won't go into details except to say that it really wasn't as bad as I was afraid it was going to be. I survived. I didn't even get woozy. I was so proud of myself. I had overcome my fear and succeeded in doing something good. I wish they had had stickers for first-time donors like me, something that could tell the world that we decided to take some action and help others in need. Alas. Thus it is that I am sharing my pride with the world via this blog. For all who care, I have finally donated blood. And while I don't think I'm ready to do it every two months like some people, now that I know that I can make it through the process, I will gladly donate again.

Here's to life!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Regardless of how you feel about the current administration and the war, I just want to remind the world of one thing:
"That there is some good in this world...and it's worth fighting for." (S.G.)

Let us remember and honor the many soldiers who, whatever other motives are out there, are fighting for the good in this world and are upholding the honor of the oaths they have taken to serve and protect this country.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why Labor?

Okay, so does anyone else ever wonder why they call it Labor Day when most people get the day off work? I suppose if I really wanted to know the reason for the name, I could just look it up... but why work on a holiday? In fact, in spite of good intentions to actually work on lesson plans and such, here I am instead working on a new post for my blog. I may get around to the actual productive work at some point today, but for now, I am enjoying the non-Labor part of Labor day...i.e. actually taking a holiday from work.

Since I promised photos of my various travels over the summer, I thought today might be a good day to start that. Here you have the first sample of the trip Juli and I took to the great state of Washington (where I served my Spanish-speaking mission):

We begin with the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland), where I spent the first six weeks of my mission getting trained by Hermana Jennifer Carroll. I wasn't there very long, but since we worked exclusively with the Spanish branch, this is where I really felt I got the language down pat. Because my memories of this area are rather vague, it was quite surreal to drive around the town with fragments of recollection. Here are some photos of what I DO remember:

The Blue Bridge (one of the main bridges across the Columbia River) Because we lived in Kennewick but mostly worked in Pasco across the river, we used this bridge most frequently. most

The Cable Bridge (the other main bridge across the Columbia River) We didn't use this one as much, but it sure looked cool, especially when lit up at night.

The Columbia River Temple (in Richland, near where the Mission Home is located)

After the Tri-Cities, we drove down into Oregon, where my third area was located- the thriving metropolis of Milton-Freewater.

Because we covered the whole stake for Spanish contacts (which went from Walla Walla, WA in the north down to Pendleton, OR in the south), we took in quite a bit of ground. Beside M-F and Walla Walla, we also did some work in the tiny towns of Athena and Weston. Here are some photos of that area (which, incidentally, was one of my favorites, and certainly my most successful area):

Our apartment in Milton-Freewater (which apparently still houses missionaries, judging by the picture of Christ in the window):

Pegg Johnson, a convert to the church, was such an enthusiastic, cheerful woman- she was absolutely adorable and was so helpful to us in so many ways!

Here's how Walla Walla dealt with rising gas prices:

The view from Tollgate Mountain (where Weston- and some of the members of the M-F ward- were located- it's not the Rockies, but it is still a pretty impressive view!)

And here is my attempt to capture what was really an incredible rainbow (although this is just one side of it, it was a full arc rainbow, spanning the stormy sky with its impressive array of brilliant color!)

Thus ends Part I of the Washington Saga- as I get more time throughout the week, I will be adding on, so stay tuned...