27 May 2008

Marco Polo Has Nothing On Elder Landon Graham

This is today's email from our son who is bouncing around Utah until his Visa comes through. Please pray for that to happen by the way! Actually, he is keeping a very good attitude, while serving only 15 MINUTES from home!!!!!

So, here is Landon's letter...


Hey Everyone!!!
Whoa. Okay, latest update, I'm now in KAMAS!!!?? Ahh!!! They called me up just Sunday night and told me to pack my bags. Yesterday, we woke up bright and early, went to Zone Meeting for the Talorsville Zone, then I was shuttled off to the Mission Office again. There I met Elder Aldaco and Elder Ficker - more companions! Then we went and had lunch at the Edmonds in Wasatch County - one of the sons actually was a companion of Lynn Sweat on his mission in England!!!!
And get this, I'm actually staying in another member's home - the O'Driscols!!! I didn't get to talk much, but they are related to Ryklee's family! I think the husband is a cousin of Ryklee's parents? Crazy!!! And yeah, it WAS bizarre to find Aunt Alaine in the grocery store! GWAHH!! And then yesterday I passed right by Jordanelle! I see signs to Heber city everywhere!!! I'm 10 minutes away from you!!!!!
This morning we went and worked out at the Kamas Rec center! Yeah, the one where we competed in, and played in, and drove to all the time!!! This is just nuts...Am I really on my mission?!
Of course I am - and yesterday was one of the most spiritual days I've ever had with investigators and such. I'm brand new to this area, but now I'm not going to stinky old apartments that aren't clean, and the owners have never cared about a single thing in their lives. Instability. No, now I'm going to individual homes - some smaller than others, but everyone is so much nicer. We watched The Testaments with a couple of Spanish guys - one was a recent convert I believe. Very humble places, but I love it.
So yeah, now I'm with the full time missionaries who actually speak Spanish! We switch between English and Spanish, and its great. Its really helpful to constantly hear Spanish. I'll keep working at it.
I think I fulfilled my purpose in Talorsville, I was required to give a 15 minute talk in Sacrament Meeting in the Talorsville 3rd Ward. It was completely about Christ, and I pulled many things from resources and things I learned at the MTC, and I also bore my testimony in Spanish. After the meeting, I had many people come up to me and thanked me for my testimony. I committed them all to renew our testimonies in Christ, and basically impliment Him in everything that we do, everyday. So maybe I gave a member (or one of my recent investigators) that testimony boost that they needed! Yes! We had Alfredo Solomon, Kasper, and a couple other investigators come to church!!! I'm probably going to miss 7 baptisms that will happen in Taylorsville - all that I taught. AAARRRGH!!!
By the way, that Luiz Perez is in our area - I'll make sure to talk to him!
Hey - the inhaler I have is REALLY coming in handy. I run into lots of smoke, lots of dogs, cats, cotton, you name it, and just one puff of that clears me right up. (Usually its my lungs that are the problem, not itchy eyes or anything) I've only used it twice so far, but its wonderful. I don't know how long it will last - would I be able to get another one? I should be able to get some clear care (for my eyes) here...if not, I'll tell you. I still have a bottle left, just being more safe than sorry.
Over the last week, I also gave my first Priesthood blessing! I don't know if I recorded something about that, but I will. Just know that it was an amazing experience.
Oh, everyone! I have an hour to do email now, so don't worry about sending me email! I haven't gotten any snail mail yet - and Mom, honestly don't know when I'll get a letter to Grandma and Grandpa. I will definately make one if I have time. But make sure to tell them that I love them with all my heart, and I thank them for the hospitality they have given me. I appreciate their constant, loving example for me, and especially for raising you in the correct way - in the gospel.
I don't know where else the Lord is going to send me before I get to Mexico...But I did read this scripture this morning, and it made me quite happy. Doctrine and Covenants 6: 32-37
Really, what do I have to worry about?
Okay, I have to go. The computers are stupid and slow - the one picture is Elder Krieger, me, and Elder Bayba. I have tons more, and lots of recordings too, but this is really slow and I've gotta go.
LOVE!!!!!!
Elder Graham the 3rd.

Moab / Arches Nat'l / Canyonlands Nat'l

Good times, for sure. How can it not be when surrounded by this kinda stuff: people and places?! There are more photos and I'll try to get them somewhere, somehow — for you, if interested. In the meantime, this'll have to do. Thanks Mom and Dad for putting this together; Angie and Matt for coming such a long way; Doug and Jodi for being the always-reliable "must haves to make fun" presence! We missed the rest of you! Dxo

























21 May 2008

Untitled Story...

At school, I was assigned to write a story for a test. I got a 6.0 (The best score to get; 100%) on it, so I thought I'd share it. If you like it, I'll add a few more!!! :) By the way, it isn't true!

The constant pitter-patter told me enough: a rainy day. Drumming on my window, a fantastic orchestra of millions is playing a song just for me. Today is the day.
CRASH, BOOM, CRASH. BOOM! I scatter down the stairs to the kitchen, where my mother was cooking breakfast. "Can you wake Ellie up and get her to come out on the trampoline with me?" I asked my mom. She replied, "I will, but it's raining outside, so be careful." I gestured to her to go wake Ellie up from her never-ending snooze while I hurriedly are my oatmeal and bagel. After a few minutes, Ellie came down groggily. I was finished with my food, so I clutched her arm and ran upstairs to get my swimsuit on,. She followed suit. I ventured into the bathroom, grabbed some soap, flew downstairs, filled a bucket with ice and sped outside to the trampoline with Ellie right beside me. We poured the bucket of ice and the whole bottle of soap onto the tramp, and . . . slid! Whenever we glided across the trampoline, an eerie sound came out of it, as if a zipper was in the springs! We laughed and laughed as we "ice-skated" around and around, colliding with each other every few seconds, feeling the cool rain drench out whole bodies. This was how my lucky day began.
Freezing, Ellie and I padded on the tile floor of our house, soaking wet and sharing a towel. Mom chanted to us, "Hey, go dry up and come help me make come oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!"As we came down the stairs, I thought to myself, Mmm, oatmeal chocolate chip, my most favorite!  My mom was just about to crack he eggs, but I raced in and did it myself. This was my favorite part of cooking! My mom grabbed the whisk from the drawer, threw some flour on my face, and asked Ellie to mix. Eagerly, Ellie slid over and started mixing the dough. "Time for the oven," Mom said mysteriously. She placed the cookies in the oven and set the timer for twelve minutes. I could smell them! I could practically taste the goopey mixture burning my tongue! "Why don't you girls go pick a movie for us to watch? I love watching movies on rainy days!" Mom suggested. Ellie and I ran into the family room and opened the cabinet where movies are stored. So many choiced! How could this day get any better?
We ended up picking the modern-day Pride and Prejudice. My mother is IN LOVE with that movie! And right when we snatched the tape, the oven timer went off. Right on time! I thought. Ellie was already on the couch, snuggled up in a variety of blankets and pillows. "Hurry and put it in!" She called to me. I jammed the movie in the tape-player and eagerly yelled to Mom, "Bring down the cookies!" Ellie and I giggled. Mom skipped over to the couch with a plate of cookies in her hand. I grabbed one in a blink and gobbled it all up in 5 seconds (Literally!)! As the tape began, I was coiled up like a python on the couch, wrapped in blankets and eating cookies. This is the day, I thought to myself, grinning, This is the day, and I'm enjoying every little bit! 
I was in my room, settled in my squishy bed, that famous orchestra was fading and fading away . . . until all that was left was a memory. I envy that orchestra of millions, and I always will. I hope they'll visit me again. 

Do you like it? Do you know what the orchestra of millions is? Just to tell you, it's rain. Hope you like it! :)         

20 May 2008

Landon is Bound to SLC South Mission....For now

OK. I know I used to joke about getting called to Boise, and Dad did serve in Weiser, but now, Landon has been temporarily reassined to Salt Lake City South Mission, working with the Spanish people. I have mentioned how difficult it is getting into Mexico legally lately, for these missionaries. They are having a systemic problem, and for months they have had many many elders staying 4-6 weeks longer than they should at the MTC. It is tough because they have no resources to take care of these Elders, so they work on the phones all day every day. It is not very fun, to say the least.

So, last Friday, the MTC President called in many of the Mexico missionaries waiting on Visa's, and assigned them to various missions in Utah...Salt Lake, Ogden, and Provo.

Landon is really very excited. He called me last Friday to report the move, and he arrived bright and early today in Salt Lake City. I assume he will be working in a threesome, which is sometimes a drag, but I am encouraged by his attitude. He is really excited and taking it in stride. I don't know how long he will be assigned there, but he should only be there about a month at the most...based on how the rest of the Visa's are coming along.

So, if you are driving in Sandy, or Draper, or Holladay, or any number of thriving South Salt Lake communities, keep your eyes peeled for a familiar face.

Thanks.

Brad

14 May 2008

Guten Tag!

Greetings from the land of delicious pretzels...and lots of beer! You all know we don't "partake" of the beer...but man, everyone talks about "drinks" all the time!:) It's quite amazing...and way different! Anyway, here are a few of our latest photos...

These two funny kids came down stairs the other night, and said, "Mom, guess who we are?"

my response "Myles and Lucy?"

kids reply, "Batman of course!"

Yes, those are bat stickers on their foreheads that they wore all night...luckily the stickers weren't too sticky, they didn't leave a mark. Last night, we were enjoying a beautiful evening outside in our backyard. We were giving Ruby a little "jumping" on the trampoline...Lucy wanted to hold her...and boy, Myles can make that little Ruby just giggle!! Isn't that so cute!? She really does giggle a lot, and oh, it is so fun to watch her be so happy! Her whole person giggles....so cute!!
Myles is taking part in "football" after school on Fridays. He is having a great time and a lot of fun. The best part for him is that his Dad is one of the "coaches" and comes to play with him every Friday at 2:20! He really looks forward to having Dad there. (Yes, that is a castle in the background...part of the school is an old castle...really cool huh!?)
Ok, I had a lot of fun taking photos today! Ruby is now 3 months old and I wanted to get a "3 month" photo. We went out to the backyard and put her in her new little sundress...Lucy has a matching one...can't wait to see them together!
So, we are all good. We are really enjoying the beautiful weather...but at the same time, I'm starting to get scared of the heat! I'm already needing to leave the windows open at night, and freeze while we sleep....then hurry and shut the house up to keep the sun out during the day! We have the most wonderful blinds on our house...they keep out all the light! I really wish we could get them in the states too! Anyway, we love you all and hope you are all doing well! And have you thought of your dates for your European vacation yet?!

10 May 2008

Dallas' Concert

Ok, I just blew my attempt to title my post. Don't know what happened, but I will try again. I just wanted to let you all know of the incredible concert we attended on Monday night. I am sure you are all aware that the UCA are going on tour in June. They leave June 11 to go to England and France. They have been working on the music for a year. Those who wanted to go have had to commit to missing no rehearsals! This has been a huge committment and effort. Well, now they are in the final stages of preparation and almost ready to leave. Dad and I had wanted and even planned to go with them, but had to pull out, so we won't be going. I can hardly stand to think of Dallas performing where he is going to perform and me not being there to be a part of it. Anyway, their concert on Monday was a preview of what they will be doing. There was a beautiful slide show on a huge screen showing the amazing countrysides of England and France and of the beautiful venues where they will be singing. In England they will be singing in the St. Andrews Church, St. Brides church, Landmark Arts Center, St. Paul's Cathedral in London, (unbelievable) Canterbury Cathedral, and Notre Dame, in Paris, and LaMadeleine in Paris. Pretty awesome, huh? The music they will be doing is very difficult and very perfect for these amazing acoustic wonders. I am not sure where, but I am told that they will also perform Prevenient Grace. Pretty wonderul, huh? Anyway, with all this said, let us all join in congratulating Dallas for his participation in this amazing group. Hats off for conquering such difficult and taxing music and then having it sound so heavenly. We are so thrilled to know of his vocal talent and so satisfied that he is given this great opportunity to sing with such experts and participate in this experience. What joy! I can only hold my breath until I get a recording of it. Dallas has also been asked to do a photographic documentary of the tour for the group. So we will be able to see where they went and how it was. The concert was wonderful, Dallas! As good as we have ever heard! Congratulations for a superb performance with such artistic articulation and perfection. It was all just fabulous. We love you and will be thinking of you as you see the beautiful countries of England and France. We have been there and are excited that you now get this opportunity. Hooray for you! xoxox Mom

Dallas' Concert

05 May 2008

An Abigail Original....Jr. Prom


Hey family


I neglected to post this fun picture of Abby at her Junior Prom. When we moved here we were unaware of the wonderful tradition that exists at Wasatch High School for the Junior's each year. My councilor in the Bishopric is the High School Principle, and he told me that we are one of only a handfull of schools to still do what we do for Prom.
The entire community comes out to watch the Junior Promenade each year. Every single student of the Junior Class, every Boy and Girl, is escorted in a prom dress or a tux, by another Junior of the opposite gender, and then they perform a beautiful waltz they have practiced for over a month in the mornings. Every mentally handicapped kid, every girl who has never had a date, and every boy who has not had the guts to ask out a girl, is part of this Promenade.
Abby happened to be asked by her really good friend McKay (Ed) Anderson, shown in the picture. They danced flawlessly, and she was easily the most beautiful girl there. At the end of the Promenade, Fathers of the girls, and Mothers of the boys, are asked to come down to the floor to dance. So I dressed up in my best clothes and Abby and I got to dance a slow dance together. Carolyn did the same with Landon a few years ago. It was awesome, and I felt like I was an old man.
The picture is not at full quality, but you get the picture.

Elder Landon's Graham Update...

Ok, we thought that we would send you a few of the fun pictures we are receiving from Landon at the MTC. His letters and sound bites are so full of fun and energy. He has made some life-long friends there, and has shared his growth in the gospel together with them.

Here he is hanging on the wall as one of his favorite character's, Spiderman. This is a chin-up bar on the dorm floor, and at least it is being used for something.

Carolyn received a birthday greeting from him today, and he told us that he received his travel plans today. His plans say that he is leaving the 12th, or next Monday. He is the travel leader for his group. He will leave from SLC at 8:45 AM, lay over in Dallas Ft. Worth from 12:20PM to 3:00PM. Then on to Monterrey. He will get into Monterrey at 4:30 PM Monday the 12th.

We are skeptical that this will happen. We have several kids from Heber in the MTC going to Mexico. Without fail, they are all being held up on their travel visa's. One of Landon's closest friends, and one of my young men, has been in the MTC about a month earlier than Landon, and is still there. They are averaging about 4 weeks longer at the MTC.

We assume the missionaries go through the motions of getting ready to go, and then a few days before, are notified of a change in plans. It is possible that he will leave without a hitch, but we think the possibility is remote.

He sent home some wonderful audio files that we will share with Mom, and she can push them out to all of you. He sounds great, and loves each of you. We know he feels your prayers in his behalf.

This has been one of those weeks in the Bishop's chair. I held a disciplinary council with a dear member of our ward, and just this Sunday, a great High Priest and very close friend of mine sat in front of the High Council. I have seen some difficult moments, but through it all, have witness the matchless power of the Master in saving souls. I share my testimony with all of you that the Atonement is in reality, all that matters to each of us. As Dad said at Scarlette's baptism, He came and Atoned, that we might have life, "and have it more abundantly." My heart is full to the brim with the Abundant Life. It seems like Carolyn and I have been closer than ever before, and that we are closer to the Lord than we can remember. This year of a new business, the challange of putting a missionary in the field, the weight of the office that we bear right now, all have driven us to our knees. From that vantage point, we are seeing more, it seems like. Maybe it is because we can see the prints of the nails in the Savior's feet more closely while we are bowed down in prayer.

We love him, and are so happy. Carolyn said to me the other day, "I feel so wealthy...so rich with the most important things."

Have a GREAT day!


Brad and Carolyn


video

04 May 2008

Frog Extermination:Operation Sweepout

This is sooooooooooooooooo Funny video

Frog Extermination

Ruby's Blessing Day




Today was a really sweet day for us! Ruby received a beautiful blessing from her dad...it was so sweet. I was a tad overwhelmed with a feeling of inadaquacy to raise yet another beautiful and valiant daughter of God. I am so thankful for the blessings the Lord has been generous enough to bestow upon me...my wonderful parents, the best siblings/in-laws that I could ever imagine, my wonderful husband...I could go on and on...but I just want you all to know how thankful I am for you sweet examples and all teh support you've given me over the years. I know that although I feel inadaquate, the Lord has faith in me...and He is so willing to give me assistance when I seek. I am very full of emotions today...I love you all!

If any of you want to come and see us while we live in GERMANY, we just passed our year mark! Tyler's contract acutally goes through next march, so think about it folks!!
Loves to you all!!!

03 May 2008

attached at the hip and growing up!




just a little update with the kids--having a great family night outside on a beautiful TX night---life is beautiful!

01 May 2008

Yoga!




Dal was at my house this week for some business and one night he entertained us with his strength....who else can do this one....mmmm not me!