Tuesday, November 5, 2013

September 8, 2013

From Mom: Michael had to order the last of his garments from the distribution center online because his size isn't very common. They came within about 4 days or less, just in time for his birthday! We also got him some nice shaving stuff for his birthday. He has some kind of fungus or something on some of his fingers that we may need to get checked out. They don't seem to get better just very red and scaly. We've tried different oils on him and lotions but nothing seems to help. He got his Hepatitus A shot the other day and the flu shots aren't ready yet so that's all his immunizations for now. He's pretty much ready to go now. I have new days off and new hours so my new days off are Sunday and Monday. My new hours are 9-5 so I can make sure Faline gets off in the morning once Michael isn't here to help. Tomorrow we are going to the Salt Lake Temple (it's the only one open a few hours on Mondays) so he can see a live session.

Today was interesting at church. Five wards went into the meeting and came out six wards. They dissolved one ward and created two new ones. We are in one of the new wards, the River View 7th Ward. Our bishop is from the 4th ward and lives just behind the apartments a few streets over. Bishop McKay sounds like he'll be fun! He reminds me of Darryl Christensen, our recent family member since Grandma's marriage to Al. We will have Stake Conference next week then Sacrament meeting only on the 22nd to hear the new callings. We will have a regular schedule starting the 29th. Our time hasn't changed, just our building so we're still at 1 pm which means I can still go to Music and the Spoken Word any time I decide to (it starts at 9:30am)

It's really cool going to work when I do because the sun is behind the mountains to the east, where Glenn & Carrie live, but I can see the sunlight just to the west of us on the other mountains. That's what the two pictures are of. The other one is a picture from the family dinner we had after Michael received his endowments on the 24th. As you may see, Steven was there and Jake & Amy, Leonard's bunch. When you get home you can see all these cousins since they live around here. We also saw Linda, one of Marion & Paul's children. Marion is one of Grandpa's sisters who lives in South Jordan. It was nice to chat for a bit. We'll have to see Marion & Paul before Michael leaves, maybe.

Faline will sometimes read with me but usually finds other things to look at besides the book. She won't write at school hardly at all and when she does it looks like a kindergartener did it. She will write numbers but they aren't much better than the words. The school is going to have her tested to find out exactly the help she would benefit from and then implement a special plan just for her reading and writing. Hopefully she will figure things out so that she enjoys going to school.

Karlene & I went for a walk this evening and visited with one of our new ward families. We've talked to them before but they weren't in our ward before. Karlene will have a few of her friends she already knows in our ward and her crush is now in our ward - Tyler. We had fun. They have an exchange student from Germany staying with them for the school year. Maybe you can remember a few things you can talk to her about in her native language, although they study English from when they are little so she's very good at that, too.

Well, I better go. Hope you had/have a good week! Dad's working at the state fair for Sears after working at Extend every day so he's going to be very tired by next Sunday!

From Dad: Well, it looks like the stake realigned some of the ward boundaries and we're no longer in the 5th ward. We're now in the newly formed 7th ward - that means that when we go to church we drive by two other buildings before we reach our building. So I guess you'll be coming home to the River View 7th ward, however I think Marsing 2nd is still claiming you. Your mom and I are automatically released from our callings, which is kinda funny because I was just set apart to be a teacher in the Elders' Quorum and haven't had a chance to teach yet! Anyway, I hope things go well. Thought you would find this entertaining. 

I left my Traeger when we moved with Mom and Al. I kinda miss it! I would like to get more of them and cook for a lot of people we'll see. I found a way that I can hook the Traeger up to a batter of the car so we could do some fun tailgating and camping!

Here are some pictures from the family dinner after Michael got his endowments that we had up at Carrie and Glenn's.

From Michael: It's going to be okay so long as I obey  all the traffic laws and then some. 

From Karlene: Michael is not a teenager anymore tpday was his birthday. One of my friends wants me to "spy" on a boy that she likes. The boy is the same as me. Mom thinls he likes me but I don't think so. Alex attacked my hand while I was reading a book. He was on catnip at the time though. I am taking mandrine chinese fpr my second language credit and doing pretty good in it too. The boys name is Tyler and my friend wants me to inform her if he starts flirting with a girl. I dodged her question of if I like him by saying "he is a friend". We got a new ward boundry and we are now in one of the newest wards. I found out that I was supposed to have taken geography last year. I apperently went from social studies strait to honors world civ and so far I have managed to do good in it. 

From Faline: I love you. I got to see some Eureka this week. Nice picture of the passion fruit, it looks like an apple on the outside. The picture of the inside was kinda blurry. I got to see some funny cat videos - they were pretty funny!

Sunrise from the mountains east

Sunrise from the west

Steven just knocked Ellie down. Maddy and Elise are on the left; Grandma and Grandpa are talking to Carrie.

Faline checking out their bridge over the little stream

Michael with Steven and Ellie in background

L to R: Lori, Amy, Steven, Jake, Maddy (in background) and Ellie

Faline had to pet the cat

September 2, 2013

To Mom: Things have gotten better here and at the same time some things can be more trying but Heavenly Father helps out when we need it.  I bet Faline is a genius but doesn't show it because she is board.  Transfers are coming up next week and the way things have gone anything goes.  Here are some pictures of passion fruit and my companion with burnt popcorn. 

To Dad: That's ok there isn't much happening here at the moment either we got some new Chiness elders and next week we find out about transfers.  Not sure what will happen but that's ok too. 

To Michael: A missionary here died and I just don't what anything bad to happen to you while you're gone.

To Karlene: Just remember to fallow what it says in the "For Strength of Youth" book.  Cats are silly.  Not much has happened here.

To Faline: Cats can be really silly.  I sent a picture of Passion fruit to mom so check it out.  Glad to hear you're having fun.  Till next time.

Passion fruit

Passion fruit insides

Sister LeBaron with her burnt popcorn

September 1, 2013

From Mom: Hopefully, things are a little better after last weekend. I'm still waiting to hear anything about the Tabernacle Choir. I got to church today and wondered who was playing for Sacrament. When I found and looked at the list I discovered that I was! Good thing I knew most of the hymns I was playing. We went to Music and the Spoken Word this morning. It was wonderful! There were 15 sister missionaries going home this week who worked on Temple Square giving tours. 13 of them were from places like Lavia, Australia, Ukraine, Germany, etc. The other two were from the U.S. It was really cool being there! I had forgotten some of the stuff I'd seen before. They did the broadcast but there was something in the 1st song that didn't go perfect so they re-recorded it so the delayed broadcast would be right. They also have a channel on youtube.com. A lot of the people at church were talking about change in their testimonies - the fact that it's not too fun. I actually look forward to change so I don't really sympathize with them. My prediction is that we will be with the 4th ward, along with the development right behind the apts. We'll see. That would be great because then Karlene would be with the friends she has made. Most of the kids in our ward go to Jordan High instead of Corner Canyon.

Michael & I went to Berlington Coat Factory to get an overcoat and ended up getting a jacket for winter and a long-sleeved v-neck sweater he can wear with or without his suits. Dee Dee paid for $50 of it for his birthday. He got 20% off the overcoat because it was missing 2 buttons - there was 1 replacement in the little ziplock bag in the pocket but I can't take them from anyplace else so we'll have to go to Joanne's or Michael's to find buttons. Michael has asked to help with the baptisms Wednesday morning with the Young Men so he'll perform some of the baptisms and ordinations/confirmations. I think he needs a haircut and a shave. I'll make sure he gets one before he leaves.
I met with Faline's teacher. The school is going to test her IQ and other things to figure out how to best help her with her reading and writing. I explained what I observed and what I thought the teacher could expect. Faline is starting to sing - I played a MoTab recording when she was doing her homework. They sang "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" and, for the first time, she actually sang with them and knew the words. She has mostly refused to sing with the Primary children - she thinks they don't know how to sing (spoiled by Walkers, I'm sure). She also said that she wants to make friends with some of the girls in her class. Before she didn't really care about being friends with children her own age. Good signs!
Sometimes I think Dad works too much since he started at Extend Health. He's working at Sears also. The fair schedule has him working until 11pm some nights when he has to go to work again 6am. Hopefully he can nap in between. Eventually he's hoping to stop doing Sears but for now, during fair season, the bonuses can be pretty good!

From Dad: It sounds like they're going to re-do our ward boundaries, not sure how they're going to do it but we find out next Sunday. We won't have regular church for about 3 wks because after that it's Stake/Regional Conference. Tomorrow's a holiday, Labor Day, and I won't be working at Extend tomorrow but will start at 6am on Tuesday. I'll be working the next two weeks at the Utah State Fair in a booth for Sears. Not a lot of other new things happened except that it's birthday season around here.

From Michael: Maybe, if timing is right. So what is up.

From Karlene: Yeah I guess I did grow about half an inch. We are getting new ward boundries next Sunday. I'll have to get reaquanted with the new ward if we get moved. Alex is afraid of bunnies. I have started taking him on walks and we faced the "furocious" bunny. He puffed out so big that his tail made him look like a small raccoon with orange fur. I met a boy in school who I kindof like a little. He lives close enough to walk to his house and I just don't think that it is fair that he has long legs, but I can outrun him for a while. He only catches up to me when I want  him to. It happens quite alot.

From Faline: It was fun at Glenn & Carrie's. It's alright (Utah). The rambutan looks nice! Karlene got to play Jack-X with a few of her friends and Michael. I got to watch. I've been watching funny cats on youtube. Some of them are hilarious!

August 26, 2013

To Mom: Elder Wiberg was riding his bike at night and I'm assuming on his way home because it wasn't far from their apartment, and got hit by a car on Friday.  At that point we found out that he had a broken femur, forearm, and shoulder.  Saturday they had him in surgery for 9 hours to fix his bones but also to help reduce the swelling in his brain.  Sunday he was in and out of stability then late Sunday night the Lord gave him his transfer.  Needless to say the mission is feeling rather blue today but the work will go on.  Elder Hierschi was his companion at the time of the accident and saw everything so I'm sure that right now he is being rather hard on himself.

From Mom: Sorry to hear about Elder Wiberg. Hopefully his family will remember that he was on the Lord's errand and sees it as just that -- a transfer.

To Mom: President Mains said that Brother Wiberg, Elder Wiberg's dad also called it a transfer.

To Dad: Thinks are ok here.  We finally got the Book of Mormon in Malay.  We had zone conference so that was good.  Would you all pray for the Wiberg family and Elder Hierschi, one of the missionaries got reassigned to the Spirit World.  Today is sad but it will get better, I'll be ok.  I'm sorry to be a bit of a downer.  I'm so happy for Michael, when he gets home I can go to the temple with him, mom, and you.

To Michael: Be happy, be healthy, be safe.  After your mission I expect to see you and we can go to the temple together.

To Karlene: I'm sure more than that has changed.  I will do the best I can to recognize you but you may need to help me when I get home.  So you finally got taller, is it?  I can't wait to see the picture but it wont have the whole family.

To Faline: Here is some pictures of rambutan.  Glad you are liking school.  Keep it up and you'll do well and maybe you can be as smart as me.  Did you have fun at Glenn and Carrie's?  How do you like Utah?  We got the Book of Mormon in Malay on tuesday.  Till next time.

Rambutan, Malay for 'hairy'. The 'hair' is soft so it won't hurt. The fruit inside is supposed to be sweet, with a single seed that is bitter to the taste - so best to not eat the seed. It's compared to lychee (litchee) and is related to that fruit.

August 25, 2013

From Mom: A lot has happened this week. Dad started his new job with Extend Health, Grandma & Al came down and spent a few days with us, Michael got his endowments and gave his farewell talk, I sang with Karlene and Sister Johnson in our ward and we got reacquainted with some of the long-lost cousins. 

Dad's liking his new job. So far, he's still working for Sears, too. There are some fairs coming up that he wants to work to get a little extra bonus.

Grandma and Al stayed in our bedroom and Dad & I slept on couches the 1st night and then I slept in Faline's bed the 2nd night. We got to soak in the hot tub Friday night and just really enjoyed having them around. I will be glad to sleep in my own bed tonight, though.

Michael got his endowments yesterday. It was a fun day! We had Jake & Amy Simpson and Mike & Genevieve Simpson, Leonard's children, there and would have had Leonard & Swanny but they went to the session an hr later. Glenn & Carrie and Matt & Lori came, too! We all went up to Carrie's house for dinner and visiting afterward. It was really fun to get to know those guys!

Today, we had Michael's farewell. The power went off about 40 mins before everything started, while the choir was practicing, and stayed off for about 20 mins. We weren't sure if we would have power for the meeting but it came on about 10 mins or so before sacrament meeting started. Almost everyone came who was with us yesterday. Leonard and Justin came really early but they made it. Swanny had to fly out for work like she does every week. The only ones missing were Mike & Genevieve. Michael gave a really good talk on testimony. Karlene & I sang with one of the sisters in our ward (because you're not supposed to have only family of the departing missionary as part of the meeting). Everyone seemed to enjoy it. Grandma told me that she thinks I'll make it into the Tabernacle Choir FOR SURE! We'll see. I haven't heard anything yet.

What happened to the missionary? Hopefully you get my messages before you get done on the internet.

From Dad: Yeah, they were just knocking door to door, just getting to know who was in the area. When they came back by again, for dinner and to teach the family home evening lesson, it was a different set of missionaries! I thought that was kinda funny. Mostly, though, this is Michael's week. We went to the Draper Temple where Michael got his endowments. I'll let him talk about that. There were several family members there, including Grandma and Al. Then, at church today they announced that they are realigning the boundaries of 5 or 6 of the wards in our stake. I was set apart as one of the Elders' Quorum Teachers. That will be interesting! I probably have more to learn from them than I can teach them. When I was set apart there was only 1 member of the Elders' Quorum presidency to do the job so they had Michael stand in - that was pretty cool! Other than that, things are going pretty good.

From Michael: I am now endowed, and after words we went to Glenn and Carry. Then I gave my fairwell on sunday.

From Karlene: No I'm sure you will recognize me. I am kindof hard to miss. I will just have shorter hair and longer legs. I think mom will send you a picture of the family including g-ma and Al. Michael had his farewell today and there was a baby blessing. Every time mom saw me I was eating some sort of cookie or candy.

From Faline: School's not so bad. The teacher, Mrs. Watson, is better than all the other teachers I've had. Mom & Dad went to the temple with Michael and I got to play with my cousins, at Carrie & Glenn's. That's it.

L to R: Karlene, Dad, Steven, Michael, Grandpa and Grandma

The whole gang! Karlene, Steven (in front), Grandpa, Grandma, Mom, Dad, Michael, Faline, Leonard and Justin.

August 19, 2013

To Mom: Sounds like thing are looking up for you.  This week is Zone Confrance and we are hoping for some news on the book of mormon in Malay.  Things are for the most part same as always for right now but we're expecting some baptisms soon.  Sorry I don't really say a lot but most of the time I don't know what to say. 

To Dad: So, the missionaries just happened upon you, where they knoking or something?  It looks like you found some things you find a lot in Singapore, the exercise equipment in the park.  I wish I had more to report but not much has happened.

To Michael: Not much but you looked like you were having fun on that exercise equipment.  You can find that here in Singapore all over the place.

To Karlene: Michael goes into the MTC exactly 1 year after I got to Singapore.  It feels like an eternity since I last saw you.  I bet when I get home I wont even recognize you and Faline.  Hope you do good in school. 

To Faline: Glad you liked it.  Next I'll send a picture of rambutan.  You may not be too excited about school but you should work to do well in school so later you can do other things.  Till next time.

August 18, 2013

From Mom: Lots to report. Dad passed his test and starts his new job tomorrow, at the same building I work in. Dad also worked the Sears booth some of the time during the Davis County Fair (north of Salt Lake). Tracy is going to apply to do what Dad is doing, only in Boise. Haven't heard anything about my Tabernacle Choir application/audition. The theory test is supposed to be in Sept, with the live auditions in Oct. Dee Dee and Resa are hoping to move down here before winter so we're looking for apts for them. I missed my sales goal for the last pay period. Hopefully I'll get closer if not meet it this pay period. I'll be working an extra hour most days because Dad will work until 5 and it won't do any good to sit around for an hour waiting for him. Karlene and Faline start school tomorrow. It's going to be rough for Faline since she still doesn't want to read or write. The school should figure out how to help her within the first 8 wks of school. I'll help when I can. Michael will be getting his endowments on Saturday and then his farewell next Sunday. Grandma and Al are coming down and Cameron Gibby, Nolan's grandson, says he's coming. Dee Dee & Resa aren't as far as I know.

Well, we had a picnic at the Draper City Park today. I included some pictures. Also, there must have been a fair nearby because I got some pictures of hot air balloons launching and coming down a couple weeks ago just across the freeway from where I was driving to work.

From Dad: Well, it's been a pretty eventful week. It started out last Friday when I went to take my insurance exam for the state of Utah and the power was out. Then I rescheduled it for Wednesday morning and found out they only had me scheduled to take my fingerprints. They don't do fingerprints until after the test has been taken and passed so I had to reschedule it for the next day, at 6pm. I took the test, passed it handily, and then Friday I was given the opportunity to start working for Extend Health on Monday, tomorrow. I spent Wed-Sat at a booth at the Davis County Fair for Sears and we did really well! Then I got to church this afternoon and they asked if I'd be one of the Elder's Quorum Teachers, so they're going to set me apart next Sunday. Also, the missionaries came by Saturday, during the day, not knowing we were members. I let them in and talked to them a little bit. They're going to have dinner with us Monday and then do the family home evening lesson for us. It will be interesting to see how that goes. That's my interesting week.

From Michael: Today we went to the park and had a pick-neck. We played games and had fun. At least I did. So what's up.

From Karlene: I agree, with the talent also comes the knowledge to use it. I drew a picture of what I thought one of the characters in a book looks like. Mom said it looked like Cher. I looked up how she looks and the only resemblence the two have are the arc ofthe eyebrows. I went to girls camp and when I got back Faline had somehow deregistered your kindle. It 's a good thing that mom knows you so well. She got it back to normal within a minute. Mom and I get to sing at Michael 's farewell. He leaves the day before Cumorah 's b-day. I survived the fourth year hike with nothing more then sore muscles from lugging Michael's hiking back pack up a mountain with food, tent, sleeping bag, water, and cloths.

From Faline: I got to play at a huge park! There were lots of slides, some swings and they even have an exercise place. We got to have a picnic there, too. They also have an electronic game thing there that has a bunch of different games we played with. It was fun! There was a water fountain, a rock climb and lots of tunnels and such. School starts tomorrow ... I'm not excited. I guess that's it. Nice picture of the Durian!

Hot air balloons landing

Hot air balloons coming down!

Mom and Dad at the park

Exercise time is fun!

Karlene: Row, row, row your boat...
Michael: Ow! My triceps!

Michael and Faline

Monday, November 4, 2013

August 12, 2013

To Mom: Technology is funny that way.  Here are some pictures of food in Singapore.  The one that looks like a flag is a brownie for national day, the red this is octopus ( it looks grosser than it tastes), and mui rice (really, really good).  I haven't gotten a cook book yet but I will I just not sure which one or how many because there are sooooooooo many different nationalities in my mission.  The Lord helps as we need it.  I love my mission, the people, the language, and all that but I hate that I'm getting so tired but it is worth it.  You should look up  the Beyond 5 concert in Singapore and Kuching and Kuala Lampur. 

To Dad: That is kind of like the church in the world, the words are the same but people speak different languages.  Well, hopefully you pass your test with flying colors.   The computer doesn't like the way I spelled color because it speaks the queens english .  Here is a picture of me, my companion and some of the sisters in the word and a picture of a banner for Singapore national day. After your test you can work out again.

To Michael: I guess you could say that and in the MTC time will seem to slow down even more.  Just be paciant and suddenly time will go faster than you think. 

To Karlene: You'll have to show me.  I think that as you work on your talents they get better and better and new talents are made.

To Faline: All the durian you could want.  Do you want me to bring home durian candy?  You seem to be having fun, you ready for school?  Till next time.


National Day brownie

Mui rice

Sisters Ballantyne and LeBaron with ward members

National Day banner

Durian fruit, whole. This fruit will pierce your car roof if it falls at the wrong time! Plus, it really stinks! Some people love the flavor, though.

August 11, 2013

From Mom: We had a good week. Every once in a while we get blessed when we least expect it. I had $800 in the bank but needed almost $1400 to pay rent. After the 5th rent is considered late. Dad and I walked to the mailbox (by the apt office), which he rarely does, and got the mail. I looked thru it and found one from Jackson National addressed to Dad. I handed it to him to open. Can you guess the amount of his commission check? Right, $600, so I got the rent in on time. That also allowed us to be able to pay some of the other bills that wouldn't have been paid until later in the month since I got paid the next day also.

The Draper Temple is closed for a couple of weeks so our ward temple night was at the Jordan River Temple last night. They had a new movie that was longer. I think they made it that way so that it was not so robotic, for lack of a better word. This one shows the confusion and thought that might have gone thru Eve's mind when she was deciding whether to break the covenant about eating the forbidden fruit which makes it more human. When you get home we'll have to visit the temple.
Dad tried to take his test for his insurance license but had technical difficulties so has it rescheduled for Wednesday. Once he gets that passed he will start working for Extend Health and be able to carpool with me, as long as I don't get the position as Temporary HR Staff. If I do get that then I will be driving almost 4 times as far to get to work but it won't be commission - just straight hourly pay. It would last until March unless they decided to make me permanent. Dad will be making $15/hr plus commission at Extend Health which would be awesome! This is also supposed to be temporary, thru open enrollment for Medicare advantage plans. When that's done he thinks he would like to find something similar so he doesn't have to rely on sales to get paid like he did before in his own business.
The full-time missionaries spoke in church today. One of them had been a member of a gang in California after he moved there from Australia. He was born in New Zealand. His story was very interesting and somewhat tragic. Sometimes it takes something dramatic happening to make people realize that life is too short not to take things a little seriously and work on things that make us happy and help others to enjoy that same happiness. He goes home about the same time you do. I'll bet you won't be ready to do that when the time comes. You'll want to stay out there.
Karlene got registered for school. The only thing left is to get her Hepatitus A shot. I'm sure she'll really enjoy that, NOT! Faline is registered but I need to find her last report card so they know what grade to put her in. I put 4th grade but by her birthday she should be 5th. I can guarantee she wouldn't do well in 5th, at least I don't think so. School starts on the 19th.

I was going to send a few pictures but my phone and the computer aren't talking at the moment. Maybe next time.

From Dad: I haven't been working out this week like I should have. I have been studying for my insurance exam. They told me Thursday that I was scheduled to take the test on Friday at 4:30pm - so I crammed all day, night and the next day. When I showed up at the testing center, the power had been out for quite a while (of course it's a digital test). The power came on for about 1/2 hr so the people who had already started their tests were able to do a little more but it went back out so I left and rescheduled my test for Wednesday morning, before I go to the Davis County Fair to work a booth for Sears.

We went to the temple last night. It was movie night. They have a new movie that started just in the last 2 wks. It was different, although the script was the same.

From Michael: Right now I'm get really apprehensive to get going to the MTC. It almost seem time slew down when I got my call. She still a nube fresh from her previous companion.

From Karlene: Mabey it might depend on how tired I am. When I am tired I tend to have more energy. Alex is now a little bigger then a lab puppy. I heard that you got to go back to Singapore. Congrats! I got better at drawing. I don't draw anime anymore my drawings look real to a point.

From Faline: I got to play Spyro and got to see the chronicla (?). I am in this place where lots of evil creatures, monkeys and gorillas, are. I saw Michael play on the PS3 a little bit on the wall in his room. That's it for this week. Did you get that picture of the durian fruit yet?

August 5, 2013

To Mom: Singapore is Singapore.  I'm still not quite sure what to think of being back where I started.  They say I look thinner which may be but I've been keeping 50kg for the most part, well 50 to 48kg.  My new companion is from Utah and her name is Sister LeBaron.  The cookbook, should it be a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Philipino, or Iban.  I have many different cultures around me.  I really like naan, it is an Indian bread.  I can't believe how time has flown.  It feels like yesterday that I came to Singapore for the 1st time.  Here are some pictures from Kuching and the people I met there. 

To Michael: Once your in the MTC time will fly on wings of lightning and you'll wonder where it all went.  I didn't get a greeny but my new companion has only had 1 other companion in the field so there are sill things I need to teach.  Maybe next time I'll have a greeny to train. 

To Faline: After I get home we can play together and watch cartoons.  When I get home I'll be talkin' kind of funny to you but keep in mind that it is normal for me by now.  What do you think of having so many cousins near by?  Till next time.

Sisters Ballantyne and Bishop with some of the branch children in Kuching

Sisters Ballantyne and Bishop with investigator

District lunch at McDonald's

One of the children in the Kuching area

A nice Malaysian sunset

August 4, 2013

From Mom: Are you glad to be back in Singapore? How was your trip? I'm striving for 50 sales this pay period ... I only got 25 last time which isn't enough. If I can get 50 sales two pay periods in a row they will put me on inbound where I think I can make more money. The commission is less but the sales are better because people are calling us instead of us calling them.

I got my CD made Monday night. Matt did a great job helping me! But then I couldn't find my folder which had the application and bishop recommendation in it so I asked the bishop to do another one and redid the application. I got application packet sent off Thursday so now it's a waiting game until I hear something. It took almost 2 hrs for less than 5 mins of recording.

I don't understand why people, lately, have been in awe of me. It's kind of strange that they think I can do so much so well. Although, I know I can do stuff well but no one usually notices that much - or it hasn't been this obvious. I had two sisters say something like that to me today at church.

Dad doesn't have much to say so I'll just add it to this letter. He's got a job once he gets his life and health insurance license, which he's studying for now. Extend Health sells Medicare Advantage plans, something Dad's done in the past. He'll be making $15/hr plus commission. When he gets started with them (by the way, they pay for his licensing) and I raise my sales we should be able to finally pay for you mission monthly and also be in a good position to pay on Michael's as well. He has some money that will go towards his mission but I want to pay for it monthly and then see if he can have some for when he comes home. Dad also suggests that you buy at least one cook book there ... in English, of course. Hopefully you can find all the ingredients for the recipes here, in the states.

One of the missionaries who just left is back home for a couple of months. He was diagnosed as having anxiety while in the MTC and will be going thru counseling for a couple of months. He's very outgoing and fun so it was just as much a surprise to him as anyone else. Michael's still set for farewell on August 25th and Karlene & I will be singing along with Leslie Johnson, so it won't just be family performing. They kinda frown on it being a family affair now.

Our call center raised the most food for the area food bank of the 4 or 5 we have - 144 lbs per agent - so we had a big celebration and lunch on Friday. I took a picture of everyone as they were dishing up. Mary is the most left, Adrienne is the one with the long, dark hair and Sarah is the one on the right, she's my Sales Coach (team leader). I also have a picture of a butterfly right outside the window where I work.

Oh, by the way, Michael is finishing up his Mormon.org profile so I took his picture so he could post it. Here it is. He's going thru the temple on the 24th and farewell on 25th so the family can come down just the one time instead of having to come a second time. I guess there's a new temple movie that's longer than the current one. I'm looking forward to seeing it. We're supposed to go this Saturday for ward temple night. Our temple is closed for a couple of weeks to get the new movie going so we'll be going to the Jordan River temple - one of the biggest in the valley.

I'll be looking forward to hearing how things are going in Singapore!

From Michael: Good luck with the greeney if you get one, but if not have fun. This week has been the same as all the rest of the other dull boring weeks except for going to the temple and mission prep. Still weighting to go to the MTC. I'm hoping it could come sooner put I doubt it being moved faster.

From Faline: Not much happened this week. Mom showed me a picture of Durian sliced up but I want to see it before it's sliced. I got to see some of our cousins this week. I am playing the PS2 today but it's getting close to bedtime so I'll have to stop. That's about it.

Butterfly just outside the window at Progrexion

Celebration lunch with Mary, Adrienne and Sarah

Michael's mormon.org picture

July 29, 2013

To Mom: Not much is different here but today is transfers so I'll find out if I'll stay or I'll go today and later I'll email you with the news.  I hope all goes well with dad getting a new job and your addition goes well.  My computer is terrible so no pictures today. 

To Dad: It is good to get in shape.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm in shape even tho I'm bicycling every where.  Oh, and here in Asia there are many holidays that use fireworks but I haven't seen 1 firework the entire time I've been out.  I'll email later with transfer news.

To Michael: PMG is Preach My Gospel and the reason I warned you about that is because I have seen a few who didn't stick aren't as happy on their mission.  Today we get transfer news and there is a slight chance that I will be training. 

To Karlene: Actually I never thought of you as ADHD I only though you to be annoying some times and like the rest of us but I guess that all of us have something wrong according to the world.  Just think you are just a different type of genies then everyone else.  Maybe when I get home I can help you relax after I sleep for a while.  Today we find out about transfers. 

To Faline: I'm going back to Singapore so I'll be able to get you a picture of durian.  I got transfer news yesterday. I got transfered to Singapore 3rd Ward. Glad to hear you're having fun.  Till next time.

July 28, 2013

Hi Summer,

From Mom: I listened to Beyond 5 on youtube. I liked it but Michael wasn't impressed. In case he didn't say anything, he sang with Abram and Gabe in church today. It was a song I found on lds.org in the youth music section "Priesthood Men" and it sounded good. Several people let me know they enjoyed it. Of course, we had another missionary farewell. This time it was for JD Davenport going to Mexico Oaxaca mission.

I took Michael, Karlene & Faline shopping for clothes last Thursday. Michael was able to find suits in the men's department that fit! He has most of his stuff for his mission. He just got a packet from his mission president that explained that his mission is a biking mission. I don't think the bike he has would be good for the mission but maybe he can find one once he gets out to VA. Karlene and Faline start school on Aug 19th. I didn't get much but I think they will have enough clothes to look stylish.

I didn't get to make my CD last week. The people who said they would help me never returned my calls. So Matt, Lori's husband, is going to help me tomorrow night.

Work is going ok. Dad got a nibble from Extend Health which is the main company in the building I work in. That company takes up a bunch of space on the two floors. Progrexion only has a small corner of the 2nd floor since we only have 40 or less people working there. We don't know specifics yet but it's insurance so they would pay for him to get his life and health insurance licenses back. This would only be temporary, thru the end of the year but maybe it could become year-round or he may work with another group that does insurance with seniors, kinda like he did before only with a better plan.

I better go. Karlene & I are gong to sing Aug 11th and then have a duet with the choir on the 25th, when Michael has his farewell.

 I took Karlene & Faline out to watch the fireworks on the 24th. There is a vacant field across from the apartments where we sat on the curb and watched the fireworks from all around us. We were able to see at least 8 different displays! We had fun!

From Dad: Well, it looks like I'll be getting my life and health insurance licenses back only for Utah. I started working out this past week trying to get in better shape and slim down. Sometimes Mom comes with me. I lift weights while she works on the elyptical. 

From Michael: What is PMG? Better yet why did you worn me about that? I have nothing else to say, so what's up?

From Karlene: I got mom to take us shopping for school clothes and found some skinny jeans that I can fit over my calves. They are size 12 and really comfortable. On Tuesday I get to go to girls camp and finally complete my fourth year hike. I found out that I am ADHD and bad weigh deadlines. The first part I guess you already knew but I confirmed it today. I was very hyper until Sunday school came around and I had to fight just to answer two questions. On the way home dad asked a question and I was jumping off the car's seat. Mom kind of kept my hyperness going and when I got to the apartment I recited the young women's theme as fast as I can. Alex still likes to play with lasers and torment your cat. I start school on the 19th of August.

From Faline: By the way, on the Spyro, you know those buttons, well you need to do a technique with the spiders that you're supposed to do on the buttons. You're supposed to squish the button once you get to the spiders. We went swimming again this week. We even got Michael to go this time. It's raining today and was overcast most of the day so not so hot. We need the 2nd memory card for the PS2 but can't find it. I got to do Christmas stuff this Sunday. We got presents from our teacher. I got to see some new stuff but so far there's only one that people keep stopping me on this one movie, I can't remember the name of it. 

Faline and Michael playing in the pool.

July 22, 2013

To Mom: P-day hasn't changed.  Last P-day we went and got a lot of stuff for the apartment we moved in to about 3 months ago.  It was the only chance we had and when we were done we only had time to get ready for our appointment so we e-mailed Tuesday after district meeting.  I didn't mean to worry you, sorry.  So far the worst thing that has happened was me getting over stuffed at members houses and having several dinner appointments on 1 night.  When I fell off my bike I got some scrapes and bruises but that's it.  Sister Mains takes good care of us and if anything happens to us she has us email our family ASAP.  You know how I said I have to worry about getting over stuffed, well, yesterday I had 3 dinner appointments with enough food to feed all the missionaries in Kuching.  I'm fine I promise.  Next week we find out about transfers and we are having a zone activity so I might be emailing a little latter.  With all these farwells you'll start having homecomings all the time too.

From Mom: Glad you're ok. One of the homecomings will be yours, of course. I noticed that you finally used your bank account so that makes sense. Hope you're enjoying your new apt!

To Mom: It's good and right in the middle of our area.  I used the money in my account for a hard drive so in case my camera gets stolen I have my pictures still with me and I also got a case for it and a media player so I can look at the stuff on my hard drive and some suvinears the mission takes care of what we need but we needed to go and purchase them.  I will be getting some other suvines latter.  Have you heard of a group called Beyond 5? It is a christen band that will be preforming August 12 here in Kuching and the missionaries are encouraged to invite members and investigators to there concert.  Most of them are mormon save 1 and the only reason I've heard of them is because they're coming and because 1 of the members of the band is the grandson of a senior couple serving in Miri.

From Mom: Cool! I'll have to look more in youtube or something. Talk to you next week!

To Dad: Sounds nice.  Yesterday I had dinner 3 times and each time was way more than I can eat.  Each of them were for some ones birthday and 1 was for 2 peoples birthday.  Not much else happened.

To Michael: What about the Orson Scott Card books?  Oh, I know someone who knows him.  Just a word of addvice, keep to the white hand book and PMG when you're on your mission and your mission will be the best and the memories will be awesome. 

To Karlene: You cat is huge.  Malaysia is awesome.  You'll get to see all my pictures when I get home and of course I'll be sending some too.  Next time I'll send a picture of another unique building in Kuching.

To Faline: I'll see what I can do.  It's called Duran.  I'm doing good.  I bet you're getting real good at video games and maybe you'll need to help me when I get back.  Till next time.

July 21, 2013

From Mom: I finally have met several sisters and know some of their names. The Relief Society had a social the other night. I found several who live in our apt complex. One girl, Sam, was asking everyone how to get into labor because she was ready to pop! We found out yesterday that she actually had her baby, a girl, Thursday night, right after the social, I guess. I'll be taking dinner in Tues night along with her neighbor, Heather. Heather was the one who watched the cats when we went to the family reunion. I also was introduced to Kim Dimond, whose husband is a sound man who will help me with my Tabernacle Choir CD I have to send with my application. Thursday I'll get that done! 

Last week I almost contacted your mission president. I was concerned when we didn't get your emails by Monday. I wasn't sure whether to be worried or not. I'm glad you finally sent messages Tues.

By the way, the peppers mentioned in Dad's letter were about the most deformed I've seen, so they wouldn't have been capable of stuffing! I think you would have liked it. I'm getting closer to finishing the Book of Mormon. I'm finally in Mormon. I have an app on my phone that keeps track of how much is completed in my reading. It's fun to be able to mark off chapters and see that I've almost completed 90% of the book.

Michael's farewell talk will be August 25th. We'll see if we get to sing on that Sunday or not. I like doing the song with Karlene but the recommendation is to not have only family members doing anything else on the farewell program. If I have a ward member sing with me or us then we might be able to pull it off. Grandma and Al are supposed to be coming down probably on Friday so they can be in the temple with Michael on the 24th and then see his farewell talk the next day. It will be fun to be able to go to the temple with Michael and Dad.

There have been a LOT of farewells lately. Almost weekly we have another one. Last Sunday was Elder Dylan Knight, this Sunday Sister Devon Trop and next week is another one. Then we have Michael's and one in October, so there's a bit of a break.

I better go. Hopefully you'll get to write Monday morning unless p-day has changed. Let me know.

From Dad: I went swimming with Karlene & Faline yesterday. The water's kinda warm but then so is the air (over 100). I've been talking to some guys about possibly going back into insurance. Mom fixed a stuffed pepper recipe only she just cut them up and put them in the mixture like stew. She said the peppers were unstuffable!

From Michael: I sincerely doubt that I'll be able to go crabbing. So did you get to feed the crocs. Congrats on getting a baptism. these Orson Scott Card books are really annoying when trying to listen to music. I feel like babbling, but maybe I'll weight.

From Karlene: yep and a little boring. I now have 5 friends most of which are adults. I still hope that you are having fun.
Alex just won't stop growing he now weighs 15 pounds.

From Faline: I guess Mom said that we already have pictures of that fruit, although it would be nice to see what it looks like before the outside gets off. It has spikes and smells terrible, you said. There's been lots of missionary farewells in our ward. I'm playing Spyro right now. How are you doing, Summer?

July 16, 2013

To Mom: In Utah the hole state seems to shut down on the 24th.  In the MTC we were annoid with it because we didn't get any mail and couldn't go to the MTC store to look around.  Sounds like your almost there with the aplication for the choir.  This past week one of the sisters got really sick and had to go to the doctor, she's feeling much better now and doesn't want to take it easy.

To Dad: Your 29th anniversary makes me old because I will be 28 in a couple of months.  Happy anniversary.Sounds like grandma is doing alright.   They had a dead chicken for the pinata.  It is always hot here it is just a question if we will get cold from sweat or from rain.  It is very cold when it rains here.

To Karlene: As they say here "jangan risauh."  It means "don't wory."  If you want a lot of rain you should come here and you'll get drenched almost on a daily basis.  Sounds like things are like normal. 

To Faline:  Not much new at the moment just looking for more people to teach.  Do you remember what the fruit was called.  Your summer break is going good I hope.  Till next time.