Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My FACE was in SPACE!

I know it's been a few weeks, but I'm still excited that my FACE was in SPACE through NASA's Face In Space Program.  My countenance, if not my actual body, got to fly on the next to the last shuttle mission (See mission patch below).  I've been a huge fan of the shuttle program since it leaped out of Rockwell many years ago. My friend Meldee and I have seen the shuttle land twice, once in California, and once in Alamagordo, (White Sands), New Mexico.  It's always been a thrill!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Relief Society Birthday Dinner

Last night the Relief Society held a delicious dinner in honor of the Relief Society birthday.  The Relief Society is the world's oldest, and largest women's organization.  It was organized on March 17, 1842,  We put on a little play about the early history of the church.  The play was written by Barbara Klein (left) shown here dressed as Mrs. Wentworth, a reporter from Chicago, interviewing Lucy Mack Smith (me, center) and Emma Smith, portrayed by Nicole Hall (right).

Nicole has beautiful reddish blonde hair, so the dark wig helped her look like Emma.  I thought she looked terrific in it.  Under the shawl (it was cold in the cultural hall - it's been raining and windy) she's wearing a period gown owned by Barbara's grandmother.

Lucy Mack Smith was the mother of the Prophet Joseph, and Emma was his wife.  Through the interview we briefly told the story of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the beginnings of Relief Society.  Emma was the first president of Relief Society.  There were 18 women present at the first meeting, including Lucy.  Today the Relief Society has millions of members wordwide who perform charitable acts and support literacy efforts all over the globe.

Pickering Ward Talent Show!

Saturday, March 19th, the Pickering Ward held a Talent Show that was a lot of fun.  The evening was well attended and I was astounded by the wealth of talents in our little ward family.  The evening was the brain child of McKenna Burns, one of our Young Women.  She and our good Bishop's wife, Mary Beth Rodriguez, put many hours into ensuring that everyone had a terrific time.   Here I am with Rudy Ramirez, our "Elvis", and Spencer Rose, who not only performed, but participated in a wrestling exhibition.  I think both of these men are very talented ... and brave! 
 Here is Warren Prescott, holding his entry in the arts and crafts display.  Warren was also one of our performers.  He whistled "I Am a Child of God" (very well!) to the delight of the audience, who sang the 3rd verse through with him.
 I'm sorry I didn't get my camera out sooner.  I emceed the program, which was just short of two hours long.  By the time I remembered to get the camera out, folks were already in the clean-up mode.
 Here is Bill Burns dishing up popcorn.  The old-fashioned popcorn maker filled the entire hall with the most delicious smell!  But then, I love popcorn!

 Here is Debbie Burns, our most excellent stage manager.  Debbie is McKenna's grandmother, so she had a stake in making the show a success.  (And boy, was it ever!)  Debbie helped set up our green room and made it comfortable and fun.  She monitored what was going on on-stage and helped get our acts ready to perform.  We should have paid her big bucks!  She would have been worth every penny. 
 Here are two of our graduating seniors: Marissa Rodriguez and Sheree Ibey.  I think all our Young Women are beautiful, and these girls are no exception.  Sheree also had a display of her make-up make-overs.  She's already a very talented make-up artist and hopes to pursue her current hobby as a future career.
 Jerry Ibey was our sound man and all around electrical genius.  Here he is showing off what is left of the proscenium.  They'd already removed much of the decorations.  It was a stroke of brilliance to use the chapel overflow area as the stage.  With helium balloons and the red vinyl curtains, it was very cheerfully functional.
Here is an example of the displays.  There were also tables filled with art work of all sorts, models and beautiful quilts were hanging along the back wall of the cultural hall.

We were entertained with vocal solos, a trumpet, guitar and piano solos, swing dancing and all kinds of other delightful talents.  The evening ended with the enchanting Mataele family performing dances from their native Tonga.  What a fun night! 

I love my ward family.  Everyone was still talking about it on Sunday morning.   Everyone thinks we should do it again next year - well, maybe with the exception of the Burns family and Mary Beth! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Little Pink Baby Burrito

Here's little Livia looking just as cute as she can be.  The weird thing to me is that she looks so much like my baby pictures!  I guess that's not weird, because her dad has always looked like me, too.  And I really like pink.  I think when we finally meet, we'll be good friends, Livia and me.  I'm hoping she'll like her great-aunt Marianne.  You must be a special little girl, Livia, because you got great parents who love the Lord.  And I personally think you lucked into a very nice family. 

Grandpa's All Right

Here's my brother Jay looking cool for being the grandfather of two!  (Photo: Linnea Farnsworth)
I think that jacket looks oddly simillar to the one worn here by Barbie's beau Ken back in 1972... Hmmmmmm....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fred's Sister Livia Has Arrived!

Livia Evelina Evensen was born at 2:05 a.m. EST. She is a healthy 6 pound 7 oz baby, 19 3/4 inches long.  I'm so thrilled. She wasn't due until April 9th, so she was in a hurry to get here!

They picked a old-fashioned Scandinavian name that Holly could easily pronounce, my nephew Daniel said. Mom Holly is doing fine.  Little Livia was "kicking and crying and really healthy" according to her proud papa.  Daniel is the oldest of my brother Jay's children.

Little Fred doesn’t really understand he’s a big brother yet, I’m sure! He will be 2 in August.

Daniel also said there were a lot of children coming into the world yesterday. The maternity ward there in Arlington, Virginia was so full, they waited 4 hours for a room! I was texting them last night clear up until the end. It was so fun (well, at least for ME).

So, now I'm a Great Aunt twice over!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dianna Among the Lamanites

The above photo was recently posted to the Arizona LDS newspaper, The Beehive.  It shows my good friend Dianna Lynn among the other gardening missionaries serving in the Navajo-Hopi Indian Reservations last year.  Look at the size of those squash plants.  Talk about gi-normous!

The gardening project was a huge success and, from what I hear, it will be continued and expanded.

This was a wonderful opportunity for seniors to learn about another culture and share their skills to help the indigenous people of Arizona both temporally and spiritually.  Dianna and I grew up together.  It was so fun to share in this experience with her in a small way.  I loved hearing the stories about the wonderful Saints on the Res.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Elder Nils in Cuernavaca

Elder Nils Evensen arrived in Cuernavaca, Mexico, after four days in the mission home in Mexico City.
He's seen here with President and Sister Spannaus, their daughters, and the missionaries he came from the MTC with: Elder Crowther (his companion), Elder Wood and Elder Smith.

I'm so happy that he arrived there safely.  He looks happy and excited!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Elder Nils is on his way!

Elder Nils Evensen arrived in Mexico City, Mexico yesterday in all his earthly glory! 

He writes:
"Flying into Mexico city is indescribable, it's probably one of the most awe-inspiring things I've ever seen! Just lights everywhere! As far as the eye could see, it was like, I dunno, from above it just looks amazing, it's huge! It goes on forever just lit up with little cars driving around eachother.

"So then we get off the plane, and the first thing we realized is none of us speak Spanish, and of course, most of the people helping us, don't speak English.

"So we pick up our suitcases and stuff, and then I start to realize, I'm the only blonde person in the place. I'm not really sure if I like sticking out like that here, so now I'm like super gringo! "

I love his comment that "none of us speak Spanish" after 2 months of intensive Spanish language training!  Ha. 

I love our super Gringo.  He'll be in Mexico City for four days and then it's off to Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City, where he'll be serving.

He sounds so happy and excited.  I'm thrilled to share in the experience through his letters.