Monday, June 17, 2013

June 3, 2013

To Mom: I'm in Singapore for part of the week because of Zone Confrance and I'm on computer that is reliable. The last picture is Sister Bishop my current companion but at the end of the week I will have an additional companion and will be in a trio.  The other 2 pics are people in the branch on Gawai.  My additional companion's name is Sister Nielson.  I'm at the point in my mission where everything before was forever a go and the end is too soon for comfort. I have eaten more in the last couple days then I have in a months time for Gawai.

To Dad: You think you have been eating too much, try Hari Gawai with Ibans who will feed you till you puck.  Now I see the truck I remember it but for some reason I totally forgot about it.  Grandma's brown again.  This week is Zone Confrence so I'm in Singapore.  I know how you Love cats so here are some pictures of a cat statue and a picture of a silly little girl in my branch.

To Michael: You'll have to tell 2 wards and 1 mission (me).  The picture makes the Brigham City Temple look big.  Are her kids going to Idaho or Utah or Singapore/Malaysia?

To Karlene: Kuching is awesome and I fell off my bike again.  I did it shortly after I emailed you last week.  Sounds like you're going to as many parties as I am.  

To Faline: I promised you a picture of a fan tree and here are some cats to go with it.  Did you have fun with your volcano?  I bet you're being a big help to mom.  

Sister Bishop and Sister Ballantyne with members from Gawai Branch

Gawai Branch members

Silly Sister Bishop

Statue of cats at Kuching City Hall

Summer in front of statue at Kuching City Hall

Silly girl in branch with Summer

Fan tree

June 2, 2013

Mom: Crookshanks is still really grumpy but we got him some soft food and he eats pretty good. He seems to be very skinny and doesn't like to be picked up or held or even hardly touched! He growls at everyone, especially Alex (though that's pretty much been since Alex came to our family). We don't let either cat outside.

Dad and I have jobs. Dad works for Sears, setting appointments for home improvement. I start tomorrow (for me) working for a credit repair company selling plans that help people get their financial lives back in order. Dad also has an interview tomorrow for another team where he would be selling DirecTV. I haven't really done selling for a living like this but I can get behind the product and know it helps people and that they aren't just throwing their money away on a whim.

I played in Sacrament meeting for the first time this week. I got a few compliments. We have a new Relief Society presidency, as of today. We'll see how that goes. They seem like really neat ladies. One of the counselors seems like she's about 70 yrs old. I've never seen someone that age in that position. I made sure the clerk put your information for people to write to you, if they want to, in the bulletin (he does that, too). Michael is singing with the youth next week for a mission farewell. The sister loves the hymn "As Sisters in Zion" so they are doing the same song that Michael did for his senior dinner in the Marsing 2nd ward. The girls sing the favorite hymn and the guys sing "We'll Bring the World His Truth." He's also singing with the young men for Father's Day, on the 16th.

The first picture is Faline and me standing in front of the mustard in the field where they had some pumpkins last year, on Tucker before you get to the dairy, the next one is the siblings in height order, and last is Alex just chillin' during the move.

We love you and will see you in a few months!

Dad: Utah seems to be pretty nice. Still a little hard to get used to it but we do get to go soak in the hot tub every other night if we want to. We're meeting a lot of nice people. I'm still eating too much. All in all things seem to be going pretty good.

The pictures are of Mom near a fishing pond a few miles away from our new place, group picture just before we moved and the pickup you said you didn't remember.

Michael: The stuff about the pictures was written by mom. When I do get my call I'll have to tell two wards were I'm going. You might be able to see Resa's kids. This week I went to look at the Brigram City Tempel.

The 1st picture is me with Cumorah, the next one is the three kids in front of the Brigham City temple (it's really tiny) and the last one is a cool rainbow during a nasty storm here in Utah.

Karlene: Wow these pictures are awesome I'll tell mom.Utah is more cramped then Idaho. I might be learning Chinese next year at school. I just got registered at Corner Canyon.

The 1st picture is me with my farewell poster and bouquet, 2nd is Sid Ballantyne and new wife (again) Renae, last is picture of Mom and her one piece of wedding cake. Alex is getting even bigger then ever. I get to go to another Youth Conference. Almost done packing, just a box and a bag away. Hope you are having a great time on your mission.

Faline: I believe that it's big enough for you. I got to watch some movies today. Can't quite remember the rest I did except for play Ratchet and Clank, the first one, twice. That's it.

This is the final picture of me with my volcano before we threw it away.

Michael and Cumorah

Beautiful rainbow in pretty bad storm in West Jordan

Karen by the River View Fishing Ponds

Family just before we left Idaho

Our pickup that Summer didn't remember

Michael, Karlene and Faline in front of Brigham City Temple. It's a lot smaller than it's design lets on!

Karlene and her farewell poster

Sid Ballantyne with new wife, Renae

Karen with her 'one' piece of wedding cake

Faline with her model of the volcano she made at school just before we threw it away

May 27, 2013

To Mom: So you met Schone (Bienvenidos).  Here he was Elder Schone.  He's cool and has some cool stories and I'm not just talking about fiction.  He was the longest serving missionary in the world till he got released.  Off the record:  My card will be expireing this coming month so I'll need a card sent to me and now I can use it.  I sent some pics to dad and Karlene.  I have about 3 months of Tonk Wai (I don't know if I spelled that right).  Now I have a way to have shakes for breakfast.  I got a shaker bottle and one of the senior couples left some Attain shake mix so I've been having that for breakfast but HerbaLife is better for the shakes by far.  I went to a Wedding reception, a river baptism and a huge birthday party this past week.  I also fell off my bike but only miner stuff.  How is Krookshanks doing? 

To Dad: When I get home I can work on reducing it.  You think you ate a lot I went to a birthday party on friday and ate lots there and on saturday I went to a wedding reception with an 8 cource meal.  I ate a whole octopus and fish lips.  The octopus was about 2/3 the size of your fist.  Also there was a baptism in the river in one of the neighboring branches that me and my companion went to for the beginning of it.  Oh, I fell off my bike this past week but no need to worry I only got a couple of bruises a sore shoulder (the other shoulder than what I hurt before) and a couple of friction burns.  The bus is what we rode in to get to the reception.  And here is a picture of where the baptism took place.

To Michael: Go swimming.  If your call is going to take its time getting there then go to the YSA ward but if it will be there soon you should stay in the Family ward.  What pickup?  I hope you go some where you can eat strange things too.  This past week I ate and entire octopus and fish lips. Yum. 

To Karlene: Here are some picture from the cave including the only fairy in the cave.  How's Utah?  Tell mom that I missed her email this week.  Oh, and tell her that the Malay Book of Mormon is available for download. 

To Faline: When I come across a fan tree I'll take a picture for you and send it.  Things are well here.  Everyone is getting ready for Hari Gawai.  It is the Iban harvest festible and takes about a month to celebrate.  Do you think I could go to the big kid play ground or am I too big?  I like Halloween too but not just for the candy.  Till next time.

The only fairy in the Fairy Cave

Picture of the cave

Reception bus

A baptism was performed in this stream

May 26, 2013

Mom: Here we are in Utah. I got two callings today: Organist and Relief Society Accompanist. The one, I was expecting, the other, not too surprising. The organ is played by three different people so I will be playing about every 3 wks. I forgot to see if I get a key so, since I play next week, I'll need to find someone to let me in to practice or go on Wednesday night.

We have some of the stuff put away but we haven't unloaded the van, yet. Of course the car and pickup are empty. The kitchen is almost bursting, we have so much to put in it... and that's after leaving behind a bunch of stuff. It's nice that we have stuff in our pantry to eat, though.

I had 3 interviews last week and basically have my pick of those jobs if I want them. Two of them are call center jobs, one of them was with a temp agency. The temp agency is sending me on an interview Tuesday that I'm really hoping I get - Executive Assistant in a business consulting firm. I would be doing lots of things like taking minutes in meetings, filing, typing, correspondence, email, probably answering phones, as well as setting up travel for the executives for $12-15/hr. I also have another interview Tuesday for another job on the phones but is commission after the first 90 days setting up credit repair. It's warm outbound calls (meaning they requested that we call them). The top performers make $17/hr but to start it's $10/hr. I think that the Exec Asst job would match what I want to do better in both responsibilities and schedule.

I went to deposit a couple of checks on Friday and met your district leader, Elder (Jeremy) Bienvenidos, at the bank. He's a teller at our bank and saw the last name. He asked if I know Summer and I said that you were my daughter. He said that he was your district leader while you were in Singapore. Pretty cool! He said that you were the only girl that writes to him weekly and vice versa. He seems like a nice guy.

I won't be able to register your car in Utah because I don't have a power of attorney from you. I guess that can wait until you get home. I already have my Utah license. They give you a piece of paper until DMV mails your permanent license, like Idaho does. Maybe it's a national thing.

We have an appt for Karlene to register for school on Tuesday. The schools here don't get out until next week, I think. She should get a chance to audition for Chamber Choir before then. We're waiting to hear about Michael's call. I had to get the doctor who did his physical to call Bro Coon and give him the answer to one of the questions that was skipped on the medical form and then Pres Christensen was sending it off.

Alex is learning new things. He opened the patio door and had almost squeezed out under the privacy wall when I caught him. We have to keep that door locked when we're not out there. He's starting to be more verbal but is really too big to sit in the window sills. They are kinda narrow.

Since Dad is not driving we're trying to lose the weight we got off before and keep it off. Remind me if you need anything?

I'll send pictures next time.

Dad: Hope things are going well for you. Well, today is Sunday and I think I ate too much. I'm rolling around like a walrus out of water. Yesterday, we went to a baptism for one of Matt & Lori's kids, Matthew. They are our cousins, children of Ed & Clea's. They're here in Draper, too, only on the other side of the mountain from us. Yesterday I tried to put our clock that makes music -- it fell. It still keeps time but doesn't sing anymore. Maybe we'll get a new one. I found out that there's a store that sells this kind of clock here in Draper. Boy, I really ate too much but it was really good: pork roast, potatoes and carrots with orange drink. Before we left Caldwell, we packed up all your stuff and put it in Dee Dee's old room for your grandparents to pick up. Boy! You have a lot of stuff! 

Michael: I'm tired. We made it safely to utah, and I got to bring down the pickup. So what is the one thing you would do before your mission? Church was great but I think I should go to the YSA ward instead. That is all I got, so till next time

Karlene: wow that sounds like fun! Krookshanks is actually started getting on Faline's bed. Can't wait to see the pics.

Faline: How's it going? Well, without regular TV it's not that great because I don't get to play video games. Anyways, I'm at the apt and it can be really snowy out here. I checked last time it was winter. Though I like Halloween and Christmas. When it's Christmas I like getting presents and Halloween because I get lots of candy. There are a few different playgrounds here. The one out front is kinda small but there are bigger ones, too. I found the playground for big kids and it has a twister slide that's really fun! I got to see another part that's under construction. It had a long slide which is open and a rock climb. Can you take a picture of one of those fan trees?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

May 20, 2013

To Mom: This email will be short because this internet place has terrible computers.  I'll send more pictures next time because I should be at better computers.  Today we went to Fairy Cave which was really cool.

To Dad: I love Kuching, I love my mission.  I'll send you pictures next time because the computers are not working.  The people hear are great and so is Sarawak.  Maybe they want to help out any way they can before
the move. 

To Michael: Now all that's left is the call....  Maybe I'll get to meet our cousins next time they are on their way to see Resa.  Now an elder, sounds like things are moving right along.  I'll be sending pictures next week too.  

To Karlene: That is just grose (the picture of the gum wall).  Next week I should be able to send you pictures. You'll do fine.  How is Krookshanks doing?  Today we went spelunking.

To Faline: Just a little rain.  I get rained on every day and it is enough rain that it comes up to the bottom of my peddles on my bike.  Soon you'll be at the new place and things will get unpacked.  I think you'll like the new place.  Till next time.

Elders in Summer's mission

May 19, 2013

Mom: It was really nice to get to see and talk to you last week! We are writing early since I'm turning off the internet today. We are almost done packing. I still have a few things in your room to pack, Karlene needs to pack her room, starting after her last day of school, today. Michael has his room packed. Our room still needs to be finished then we have the garage and sheds. I'm not very concerned about the sheds because most of the stuff in those hasn't been used in a while anyway. I'm not keeping the Christmas stuff, except maybe a tote.

Dad is no longer driving. That's kinda good because, again, he was away from home too much. We'll figure out something new to do down in Utah. Michael's done with his mission papers and the Stake Pres sent them in. We'll see how long it takes to get them back.

Karlene earned her Young Womanhood award and will receive her medallion on Sunday, our last time in Marsing 2nd Ward. I'll be singing for the last time as a member of the ward, too. Dee Dee and Resa will come to listen. Of course, Dad can be there, too, since he's not traipsing around the country. I'll miss our ward but I'm sure the new one will be good, too.

Chris's wife and children came to see Resa so I finally got to meet them. Their picture is below. Also, a picture I sketched on a Post-It note.

I finally got paid for my work with Intuit so I could pay the rent. The management at Allegro refunded the late fees yesterday! Pretty cool of them. I look forward to getting to soak or swim every day and just enjoy not having to take care of this big house anymore.

There may be some other things I should tell you but I can't think of any right now.

Love you, and pray for you daily!

I forgot to mention that we're leaving for Utah tomorrow. Your stuff will go to Grandma's until we come up and get it later. They are taking the metal shed and Bill is taking the red barn. 

I just finished the book of Alma so I'm about 2/3 of the way through the Book of Mormon for the year. If I stick with it I will finish well before the end of the year. 

It will be such a relief to be moved finally and get our new life started. Michael applied for work at Boondocks, we'll see if he gets anything out of it. There are lots of places down there that are hiring so I'm sure we'll have no trouble with employment once we start looking.

Dad: Today's been a pretty big day but Michael should tell you about it. They've transferred our records so the last half of church we were just visitors. The house is a mess. Our home teachers are coming over, but I'm not sure why since we're not in the ward anymore. Hope you're having a great time.

Michael: This is Mom since Michael can't keep his eyes open. He had a date yesterday with Jacob and the Clapier kid and their dates. Michael's girl was named Kathy but that's all I know. Chris & Jeannie came over with their children and then Michael and Jacob were joined by Nathan for "Ironman 3" at Edwards'. I think they had fun, Michael came in after Midnight.

This morning, around 7:45 am, our High Councilman, Bro Lloyd, called and let Michael know he was to be ordained an elder today so I let Dad know so he could brush up on his ordination prayer. It was 'Ballantyne's Day' at church. Michael became an elder, Karlene got her Young Womanhood medallion and I sang. It was pretty cool! Now we're just waiting for Michael's call. They updated Michael's priesthood office and then transferred our records to River View 5th Ward. We found out there's a new bishop who was called on May 5th. Instead of Bishop Welling it's Bishop King.

I think that's all the excitement for the day. I'll send pictures next week.

Karlene: I agree with you, it is grose. I am done with school for the year after today. Alex is still getting  bigger. Allergies are driving me crazy.
I survived the week so far still have Saterday, Sunday left.

Faline: There's not much to tell. I'm bored. All the movies and games are packed. Grandma Doris came over and it rained a little yesterday.

Britta, Chris' wife, with children

Resa, Britta and children with Faline

Mother's Day

Summer got to call home for about an hour. We were able to see her for 30 seconds or so, so we know she's doing great! She got to tell us about some of the customs there and other happenings. It was a wonderful Mother's Day present!

May 6, 2013

To Mom: Sister Tehrani doesn't like cats but she liked the picture of Alex in the toilet.  The baptism went well and now we are working to get her son baptized.  In Kuala Lampur the make really nice suits I hear so if Michael gets sent to India or Singapore it wont be hard for him to get suits there and also I would imagine in Japan he would find the right size.  I'll email later today because we are waiting to hear about transfers if I don't hear about transfers sooner.  I lost my camera cord so no pictures this week.  I got a sketch book in the MTC so when I get home you can check it out. Talk to you next week  It is so interesting to see how the missionaries have influenced the people here.  Some of the traditions we have at home you can tell were brought by others.  Plus Malaysia used to be a British colony and was influenced by that as well. My new companion is Sister Bishop and I will have all of Stampin, Kuching with her

To Dad: Here in Kuching they love to feed the missionaries more than the missionaries can eat.  I have so much trouble eating even half.  We are waiting for transfer news so that isn't helping. 

To Michael: I can't wait to hear where you're going and when you report.  Lots of biking and lots of finding less actives.  Be sure to write every week on your mission. 

To Karlene: You'll be fine and maybe cry about it later, like right after the concert.  You should be thinking now on if you want to serve a mission.  I think you'll like it.  

To Faline: I think you'll like Utah and you'll get to play with more cousins there.  Be sure that you do good in your school work.  Sorry, I'm really anxious about some of the news so I can't write much right now. 

May 5, 2013

Mom: People in humble circumstances are often very teachable and looking for respite. I'm glad things are going well and that you have a baptism coming up! I have had a few tender mercies in the last month or so: Michael's papers are going to the next level (the Stake President), Binghams are coming to help us pack, and I'm needed in our new ward. I prayed that Michael would be able to get his papers moving. He had his interview with the bishop after church. Michael's interview with President Christensen is on the 15th unless Pres Christensen calls sooner (he may). I prayed this morning in my own prayers that I could get motivated to pack, since we have about 2 weeks before I want to be gone. After Sunday School, Sister Bingham came up to me and asked if her family could come over and help us pack for the Family Home Evening activity. Of course I said yes. They should be here between 5 and 5:30pm tomorrow. When we visited the River View 4th ward they had some very talented people doing amazing things in the different meetings. Then we found out that it was not the ward we would be going to. When we visited the 5th ward, I was needed to play the piano in Relief Society -- both times. I asked the Relief Society president about a Facebook page and if they had thought of doing that. Today I got an email from her asking for my ideas on that once we get moved down there. I'm glad we are going somewhere that I will feel like I can be a part of the ward and that my talents can be shared. 

The Dream Lifter in the picture looks kinda like a beluga whale, only lots bigger. It's used to carry jet engines that Boeing installs in some of their planes. There are only 4 in the world (and not for sale) and two of them were there, side by side, when we went on our tour. If you want to buy a 747 it will cost you about $393 million and has a backlog of about 3-7 years.

We had our concert a week early. NNU changed their commencement exercises and didn't care that we had already reserved the auditorium. It was really fun! Now Linda can relax a bit and get her new house organized and cleaned. They moved to Weiser to a house they had built. I got to talk to Nathan and his only son, John, last night. Michael might be going on his mission about the same time John will. He hasn't turned in his papers, from what I gathered, yet. Nathan went to India on business and was able to get a suit custom made in 3 days which only cost him $47! I'm going to see if he can get us the info so we can get Michael some suits made that way. Michael's kinda small and will be really hard to fit, I think.

The cold nights are done with for now. It's very comfortable during the day now and not too bad at night. We fasted for rain today because, like usual, we're in a drought here. I'm going to pack my heavy robe so I'm showing faith that it's now going to continue to be summer weather.

I got a new phone, gave Dee Dee my old phone and got Resa a new phone. I killed two of my new phones because they cannot be charged by anything other than a Samsung charger. It gave ma message that said the universal charger I was using was not compatible with the phone and killed the charging port.  I have to go back in Monday to get a third one. In the mean time I'm using Dad's old Razzle as my phone.

I guess Resa is not doing very well. Her memory is going and she's falling a lot besides having major tremors throughout her body. Mom is going to be switching apartments next month to get a little more space, a two-bedroom apartment with the entrance in a courtyard instead of being right on the sidewalk. It has a view of the common areas which includes a nice pond and the pool. It should be nice not having her bedroom in the dining room. And Resa will have her own bathroom in her bedroom.

The sketch I did was of a tiger cub that Karlene was also sketching. We'll have to send you her tiger once I get my phone replaced. We say that we have a dog disguised as a cat since Alex does so many things that are more dog-like than cat-like.

Crookshanks was on death's doorstep. I guess he wasn't happy in that position because when I got back from Seattle I found a dead gopher on the porch. I knew Alex wasn't going outside because we don't let him out. As long as Crookshanks was happier going outside we let him outside every now and then. I tried that and found another gopher on the front porch which Crookshanks asked to go outside after he caught and promptly ate it, except for 1/2 of the head. He's also started eating, very timidly, the dry food again. He still is quite grumpy but I'm not doing anything else about him for now.

I'm planning to be gone by the 20th of May to be permanently out of this house and on the way to Draper with the last of our stuff. Dad may not be able to Skype with us next week and may not get to write this week. I think he's driving today. He's on his way to Pennsylvania again. His test to get out of training went well but the tester nit-picked it to death and didn't pass him. He'll have another week or so on JD's truck.

Michael: The papers are progressing, and I'll be preparing to go on a mission and when we get to Utah I'll be looking for farther employment. So how was trackting in Malaysia.

Karlene: I was freaking out because of the way most of the people looked and partly because the wall covered in gum... YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Had my last rehearsal with Linda  now lets see if i bawl during the concert.

Here's a picture of the gum wall she couldn't stand. Mom

Faline: I'm not really wanting to move right now and I'm not happy about it. I do like cats. I would love to go there! We're packing this week. This Sunday we are going to Grandma's for the family get together. This is probably the last time I will get to play with Whitney for a while. I had a good time at the concert last night!

Sketch of tiger face by Mom

Boeing plant, showing Dream Lifter (big white plane on right) and 787 (on left)

Puget Sound

Our dog disguised as a cat, Alex

Gum wall Karlene didn't like