26 November 2008

Missing You, Missing Tofurkey.

Thankful for all of you! Down to the very last gizzard!
Love feathers from the Arabian Sea...

24 November 2008

Use the Force... I think...

Sticking with Jones' "star-war themed title" I share the following funny, of this wk. I've started a sequence with the first *weapon* in kalari: LONG STICK. Um. Yeah. It's pretty much what it sounds like: me and my teachers grab these long sticks, a special kind of bamboo, and then we go about sparring with a crack-crack here and a crack-crack there, here a crack, there a crack, EVERYWHERE a crack-crack! Needless to say, I'm loving it. It's like my *jedi*/use-the-force light-saber training I did as a young boy, jumping on the trampoline, imagining myself as a Thundercat or with Luke and Lea is FINALLY having a place in this in the world. So, don't discourage young'uns that like to play swords,... they may very well use it someday. ;)

Anyways, Rajeef and I were sparring and it was during a morning practice. I stand at LEAST a foot taller than this wonderful, dark-skinned, white-toothed Indian wonder. As he is usually always laughing, once we get into sequences he is stone-faced and I follow suit: no time to smile while trying to kill your opponent.

The sequence lasts about 2 minutes, moving up and down the kalari pit. We lean towards one another, and with relaxed but focused energy send the stick flying and cracking more quickly with every practice. If you forget a move, there could be the unhappy incident of a sudden BAM to the head or shin or shoulder. Concentration on the here and now is important.

As we are sparring, I notice Rajeef is squinting and then dodging his head this way and that... the way someone would move their head if trying to move if sunlight were in their eyes. He was doing it often enough, that I made a small mental notice: an obvious advantage for me. But wait, we're in the kalari pit: there is NO sun shining in... what is he doing?

With a final CRACK we back away in lion posture and then stand and bow to each other, signifying the end of the sequence. Rajeef's glow-in-all-places teeth open in a wide smile and he points to the front of the pit where our clothes are stored, where the oil table is, and says:

"Dallas, you go use towel. You sweat. I cannot see. It get in my eyes."

Not only is the idea that one of one's personal body fluids (in this case, SWEAT) is FLINGING and FLYING around in wild abandon, hitting innocent passers-by without invitation, completely grossifying, BUT that it is also BLINDING them as well... well, that's just odd and sick. Sick-odd. Gross. Yuck. And stinky.

The truth (which some of you have heard from my typing finger-tips): I have NEVER sweat like I have here, during my kalari training sessions. I underscore past lines of text: I LITERALLY leave a trail of sweat on the clay floor and if I'm standing in one area for a few minutes, it begins to pool. Call me Swamp Thing. Call me Sweat Thing. But at any rate, for what happened between Rajeef and myself, I should be labeled with "thing" somewhere in the name.

Rajeef and I laughed for a few minutes. Danesh (the other teacher) as well. There is the now-standing joke that we are calling the weapon "sweat stick" instead of its ancient and proud, historical "long stick."

The moral of the story: sweating ON your teachers CAN give you a strategic advantage in your relationship to them. How do you think Luke actually ended up being able to take down his darkened, and plastic-made Darth-Father? You think it was the Force that actually allowed him to serve the final severing blow, do you? Or was it something else? Something more... "personal" ... something more "slimey"... But don't take my word for it. Skip to the chapter on your own DVD collection of that fitful but historical star-battle and see for yourself.

May the Sweat be with you...

17 November 2008

Elder Graham Squared! (You Gotta Read This)

Hey there family!
What an exciting and interesting week! As you now know, I am in Rio Bravo, working with Elder Moreno, he doesnt have to much on the mission. We are getting along great, and he is a real humble guy that has a great testimony – he just needs to share it better! But yes, we are working together in this rather large area, trying to have investigators in two branches, activating and reorganizing the registries (I am the secretary of my branch) and building and sharing the restored gospel. The Lord has blessed us a whole bunch, because we are striving to be 100 percent obedient, new investigators, friendly people, great lessons. Now its time to baptise.
You know that we had the awesome chance to visit the temple in Monterrey again, and give ear to two apostles of our Lord. We woke up at 3 in the morning to get there on time. Once there, I was in the presence of someone very dear to me – Elder James Graham. I saw him, he looks very much the same, and gave him a big hug. We were both pretty much speachless, in english and spanish. But we made our way into the chapel at the church building there, and by a little miracle I sat two seats next to my dear cousin. We sat and read scriptures, and I couldnt believe what was happening in that moment. Elder Neilson and Elder Scott wanted to shake our hands individually. Elder Graham and I stood shoulder to shoulder his arm wrapped around me, we waited until the moment when Elder Neilson shook our hands asking the question – are you two related? Elder Scott is short but powerful, and speaks beautiful spanish. We were instructed, then had us leave quite too fast. I said goodbye to Elder Graham, I couldnt record it because they told us we couldnt bring cameras. They didnt tell that to Elder James, so we got a picture! I also did see Elder Heftel, but I seriously did not recognize him until I looked at him for about 5 minutes. It was great to see everyone!
Then we headed home and watched an amazing cultural event that was held in Mexico City in a stadium called Azteca – one of the biggest staduims in the world! It was a phenominal event, and both President Monson and Eyering were there presiding. It threatened rain, but President Monson said yesterday that he said a prayer to God asking Him that it would not rain on the show. Everything went perfect. It went through the story of the Nephites and Lamanites, then through lots of history of the united states of Mexico, lots of acting and TONS of dancing – it was amazing, and I loved every minute. They also had a great orchestra and chior – and then the missionaries came out. I dont know if Elder Bamgartner was in there, but there were hundreds I believe. Thousands of people put a lot of work into that – it was a testimony booster. I love every seconed I get to hear President Monsons voice – because I know it is the voice of the Lord.
Then yes, we watch both sessions of the dedication of the Mexico City Temple. Wow. How blessed am I? To hear several talks by apostles and prophets. I was touched by the principles that were taught. I know how real the plan of Salvation is – every now and then hundreds of memories flood into my mind at once, and I know they are full of purpose. This life – it is so precious. And it is part of an amazing plan. I wish I could recount the experiences I have had this week – people finding purpose to their life and realizing the beauty and necessity of the Book of Mormon.
I now hold temples in the highest regard. I very anxiously await the happy day where Ill take my future wife there. We will be sealed. Even death cant stop it. I will be with my family.
I cant, cant express my love for every single one of you. There are always difficulties, always challenges, especially right now. But we´ve got our family. I seriously dont need anything else. I look forward to hearing your voices this upcoming month.
Yes, I am happy and healthy. This week was way to freakin fast. The past two days were a blur. Its getting very cold here. Its cold but there is no snow, just dust. Cold and dusty. Some sort of insect egg broke open in our house and literally flooded the floor with millions of gnats. I swept them up and made a disgusting pile. I breathed in gnat wings. I cleaned a bathroom that hadnt been cleaned in years, The streets flooded once again, saying hello to me. I lost my bike pedal and my one brake doesnt work. The back of my shirts are stained with mud flipping up onto my back. Our branch piano is so out of tune that its difficult to pick out the song being played. Me and Elder James Graham switched name tags! The dogs hate missionaries. Our branch president doesnt live in the branch boundries. Whew.
There are some facts about my life right now!
I love you.

11 November 2008

My New Glasses

I'm not really the one to post a lot, but my mom was taking forever on this!!! FYI, I got glasses yesterday and I was wondering what everyone would think of them. Heres some pictures to look at. (I also curled my hair so I might look really different there.)

03 November 2008

Lilly's New Past time

Lilly has taken up drawing. She loves it. I am not kidding when I say she will sit for up to an hour. I can't remember all my other kids and the age they did things, but I think 22 months is pretty young for such an interest. I might not remember well though. I bought her some washable markers and she goes to town several times a day. She takes it very seriously. She gets her face right down by the paper. I will have to scan some of her great work someday. It is really funny actually. We love it!

Halloween in Florida!

It was actually very much like Halloween this year. The weather was perfect. A little chill in the air. Not too much but for us it doesn't take much to get us excited! There was a big football game that night so Savannah and Mady were at the game. The other girls did the neighborhood with a large posse....


Family! I am in the musical Oklahoma...and I would love to see some of you (I wish all of you could come...) but I have put a lot of time into it. I am not a main part, but it has been a great experience for the most part. If you would like tickets, please let me know. The nights are Thursday-Saturday this week and next week. Love you guys and hope you will come and see!
Love abigail

02 November 2008

Halloween and Happy Birthdays

Good grief!!! I kept hitting the wrong thing. Sorry! Just want to say it is the time for more photos of all our little gobblins. I know you all have digital cameras and you all took photos of your kids, so let's see them on the blog!!! We saw the Hayes goblins and the Stan Graham goblins, but there are lots more that we missed and we want to see them. Come on!

Also Happy Birthday to Will Hayes and Bo Graham! Hooray for you! Hope your birthday was good and hope you know you were remembered. We love you! Let's have some photos of the birthdays too. xoxox Mom/G.G.

Halloween and Happy Birthdays

Halloween and Happy Birthdays

Halloween and Happy Birthdays


Trick or Treat

Just wanted to share some of our Halloween Fun! We got home from a day in Munich (Hard Rock Cafe for dinner:) love it!!) and ran to grab our costumes and run outside to trick or treat. We learned how to say "it" in german...i can't spell it right, but phoneticly it sounded like this
"zoo-sus or-na-zours" and that my loved ones is how they are saying their version of trick or treat. We are really happy that our neighborhood even had trick-or-treating, celebrating halloween in germany is only about 3 years old!! Anyway, we had some fun! Check out my cute super heros!!
We had an incredible hulk...
Spiderman was in the house too!! She wore that mask all night, handing out candy and so on....she got a lot of words said to her that she didn't understand...she was in heaven!!
We've had Bruce and Jan here for the past week, we're dog tired from all the fun and sight-seeing....but it's been great. We have a place to stay folks, and LOTS of places we still want to see...you could come see them with us!! Love you!!!

01 November 2008

Halloween Hooligans

The kids pulled in some good booty this year. Too bad the dad legislature just passed a fat daddy tax on all earned Halloween candy....

Spidey could hardly wait to get out and knock some doors.

She loved posing for the camera over and over...even with a missing earring...

Nelson went as Nelson.

Grandma and Grandpa came and did some trick-or-treating with us.

"I'll trade you a....."
(Mary tried to eat all her candy before Will could trick her out of the good stuff.)

Exhausted from the battle, Will sleeps on is sword to protect his precious loot....

This girl took a nap earlier in the day....bad news at bedtime.

This girl didn't take a nap, and fell asleep in the weirdest position....

Our little Beauty Queen

Pumpkin Pickin'

We paid a visit Pack's Pumpkin Patch out in West Farmington last week. It's okay for a pumpkin patch in Utah, I guess. It's just so hard to compete with the ones we visited in Virginia. Maybe it's the lack of trees and, therefore, the lack of color surrounding the patch. We enjoyed ourselves just the same. Take a peek at the pickers below:

Mary showcasing her booty...nice.