What's New?

We witness tender mercies and mini-miracles every day as we find joy in pressing forward. We are immensely grateful for our time of service as missionaries in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Life and opportunities continue. See our missionary and life story in pictures by clicking here: http://rayc.shutterfly.com/

Saturday, April 2, 2016

It's Saturday, April 2, 2016. As we watched General Conference today, a question brought me back to this blog to find a name.  The tender feelings of love and gratitude for our Georgia mission continue. And I realize that we still need to, and do, continue to press forward. How wonderful the youth of the Church are using this wonderful scripture as their Mutual theme for 2016. It's such an important truth.

Since I have I the pages of this blog open, it make sense to add a few updates that help explain our desire and need to continue pressing forward.

  • In December 2013, our suspicions were confirmed when Ray was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. The symptoms progressed rapidly upon our return home. In fact, he had his first fall just days after arriving home. We see the Lord's love as evidenced by his protraction of the onset and progression of the disease until our mission in Georgia was complete. 
  • Linda convinced Ray to join her for one-half of her weekly 8-hour service missionary shift at the Bishop's Storehouse in Kaysville. We stocked shelves; it was great and sometimes demanding exercise. We were privileged to serve for 20 months (and still substitute once in a while). It's been a great blessing in service, friendship, and personal health.
  • Elder Leonard Tarver from our GA mission family lived with us for six-months after we returned home. He was and continues to be a great example and support to us. He moved to Las Vegas about a year ago. We were privileged to travel there just two weeks ago to attend his wedding to Maria. We celebrated in their Spanish ward there, of course!
  • Our family continues to be blessed with good health and success in their endeavors. Extended family and ward family members face challenges and happiness, always teaching us. A dear friend from our temple ordinance worker family has also been diagnosed with Parkinson's, deepening our bond with a wonderful couple.
  • We've enjoyed mission reunions and get-togethers with our GA senior missionary couples. Those friends, both young and old, continue to support us and brighten our days.
  • We took a first-ever cruise with Don and Zaza Clark, our dear GA friends, and were able to spend a few days in Georgia reconnecting with people there. The Clarks visit Utah once or twice a year, and we're happy to see them upon each visit. 
  • As we sensed our ability to travel and play may lessen as time moves forward, we celebrated the summer of 2014 by returning to northern sights. We drove through the Canadian Rockies and on to Prince Rupert, B.C., ferried our truck to Juneau, AK, for a 3-day stay, and then ferried to Skagway and drove home via Whitehorse and Washington State. We've explored red rock & mountain trails in our Land Cruiser. In 2015 we celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary with our sons, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren by adventuring for a few days in Steamboat Springs, CO.
  • 50 Years of marriage and 43 years in the same home also found us with some home repairs and upgrades. We've always liked DIY, but this time we had to look at outside contractors for the heavy work. Ray's great at coaching Linda on how to do things his hands will no longer allow.
  • Life has changed significantly for us in a short time. Ray has been patient and humble in dealing with many changes that have come along with Parkinson's. Physical and speech/swallow therapy have helped with some of the most bothersome symptoms. He can still drive, but prefers to let Linda take the wheel around town. Our FJ40 was sold in early 2014. Too much to handle! Two rounds of golf in our first summer home convinced him to put his clubs away for good. We were able to do a bit of boating and fishing that summer as well. Now the boat is for sale. We can still explore the back roads in our Land Cruiser. Ray's a bit nervous at first, but the old instincts click in and he does pretty well. We walk; he putters around the house. It's fine; one step at a time is good.
  • We've filled hours with overdue family history work, gospel study, and service in our ward. We love our assignment as Temple Prep instructors. It allows us to share our love of the temple with future missionaries and those who have responded to the promptings of friends and the Spirit. Linda teaches Relief Society.
  • We listen this weekend to counsel from the Lord's chosen servants. Our hearts are ready to hear how we might better serve the Lord, our family, and our neighbors as we continue to press forward. Yes, life's expectations can change quickly, but the Lord will always provide a way to do that which is truly important.

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