The life of helping support a teen seems to always consist of last minute projects, assignments and forgotten schoolwork. Today Ashley was supposed to finish volunteer hours for school so we are having her sew a baby blanket for a hospital at like 9:30 at night. We are taking her out of school next week to travel and when we realized it fell during finals week! So this week has been a nonstop rush of completing projects, homework assignments and finals early. She has taken finals after school, in empty rooms and offices (which she didn't mind too much since she had comfy chairs and peace and quiet) but the good thing is she'll be able to relax next week while we are gone.
We have had some crazy rain lately. We need it so it's a blessing.
One of the days I was gone and the rain started after Taylor left for school I came home to a wet, cold dog. I would have told him to let her stay in but I didn't think about it.
She's looking at me like "Can I come in now??"
She actually likes the water. We have a covered patio but she comes in soaked after being outside in the rain every time.
Here is Jeff and Taylor enjoying their after Christmas present to themselves.
It's some kind of software and console that has every video game ever made, including arcade games. They found out about it when we visited Kenny's house and he showed them. Jeff doesn't actually play video games any more so this was rare. Ashley gives Taylor a hard time about playing video games. He tells her its the same as her watching her youtube videos, its just a way to relax.
I stay out of it.
I tried to encourage the kids to read more at one time. I love reading and I've tried to get them to love reading but in the end they don't. Then they pointed out to me that reading is a completely solitary endeavor too and you aren't interacting with anyone. Basically its just the way I like to relax just like they have their ways to relax. Hmmmm good point. So as long as everyone is getting the things done that they are supposed to get done I don't judge how they spend their time relaxing, ha ha.
Ashley celebrated her 15th birthday this week.
Can't believe it's been 15 years since she's been born.
We let her pick where she wanted to go and she picked Cheesecake factory.
Happy Birthday cheesecake for you!
They actually messed up on Taylor's order and we had to wait forever for it so we actually got two pieces of cheesecake for free. Sweet.
The next day she had a few friends come over to celebrate. It was a pretty low key, easy birthday party (for me)
I've stayed out of her party plans the last couple of years and she claims its much better. The problem is Ashley stresses so much about what to do for her birthday and because she is so worried about it any idea I give her is shot down so I stop giving them to her and then just support what she decides.
This time she wanted to go to a trampoline park with just the girls. Sarah Hales was her uber driver and I bought their passes and away they went.
They had fun but because they were on their own there wasn't any pictures.
Then they came back to the house and I got them pizza and food and they had a girls game night. They ended up having a lot of fun and came up with games that I had never heard of.
Ashley's favorite present was a photo collage from her cousin.
Notice the unflattering picture in the bottom right hand corner. It was her favorite.
One of their favorites I think someone got from a talk show but you had to put on headphones a play a song you didn't know loudly and sing to it. You can't hear yourself and you don't know the song so what everyone else hears it horrible. It was hilarious.
They were playing the game "Virginia, Virginia" Hillarious.
I heard lots of laughing and bad singing (Ashley even got me to try it once). They all had fun and I heard that there was some peeing of the pants from at least one person because they were laughing so hard.
In other news. These are some memory bears I made volunteering for a Hospice center. I have made bears for them in the past but they were generic ones for veterans so it was just my material.
These were made from the clothes of the person who had passed and it was to be given to their family.
Ashley thought that it was creepy and didn't like sitting next to me when I worked on them.
I did some observations in the engineering program at the high school and I saw Taylor's project from when he was a freshman in high school still on the wall. I had to send a picture to Taylor. He thought it was funny that it was still on the wall...made him wonder what it would like to have stayed in Engineering too.
Ashley is done with the football games but now she is on the schedule to mascot basketball games.
Unfortunately it's the same night and time as my class so I drop her off and get her dressed and then Jeff has to be home to go pick her up. I don't get to watch her during the game but I got to see her make friends with some of the little kids as she was walking in.
I love that she always reaches out to the young ones and interacts with them. They love her.
I don't know what the deal is but I am on some sort of sucker list I think. Every day I am sent at least one or two requests to donate to some annual fund. The problem is a lot of them offer "free" guilt gifts whether its a dime, cards, address labels and yesterday I got a bag in advance hoping for a donation. Uggg
Sometimes I throw them away and sometimes I feel guilty and send the money.
So if you get a letter with a return address label saying Ms. Christine Beaulieu...I am still married...it was just a free guilt gift that I'm not letting go to waste.
Update on Jacob.
I got this picture of him and elders out to dinner. I love those random sent pictures!
Then Jacob actually sent a picture himself!! Yay! He's doing good.
Here is his letter for the week underneath the pictures.
First I will answer all of your questions!
Life is going great! The snow finally all melted which is sad, but also good because I slipped a few times trying to slide on it. So it's probably a little safer now. My Studies are getting a lot better! After Studying everyday it's helped me to get a lot more out of them. I haven't really got much more use out of my tricycle since the snow, but I put some grips on the wheels (duct tape) since they lost their grip. My favorite experience is probably the Christmas conference. I got to see Greg, perform a talent in the talent show, and we got to watch a couple church videos that aren't coming out until next year! I Think the biggest thing that has grown my testimony most, is really taking the time to think about and really understand the simple things we're asked to do. Most recently sacrament, since that was yesterday, but I'm able to really understand things a lot better, and it helps me to teach it and get more out of it. I don't know about a favorite meal, since the food is great here, but I can tell you my least favorite! It was a weird zucchini casserole with plain squash on the side, and the drink was this weird slush that the lady was so proud to make, but it had like sesame seeds in them. And we haven't been able to do much service, but we've been real busy in inviting others to come unto Christ.
And then Pa's,
There have been some discouraging times, that would be hard for other people, but I'm been optimistic! Last week was getting pretty hard, and this is kinda what I was talking about with the sacrament, because we weren't able to go to church 2 Sundays ago, and I could really tell a difference after I went! I feel much better this week! And as for the investigators, I'll talk about them a Lil later in this letter. As for my area, I feel like I might get transferred (which would be Feb 7th) but I have no idea. I don't want to because we have 6 people progressing towards baptism, but I do so I could help out other areas that are struggling. Also, me and my companion get along pretty good. We both work hard, but our personalities are completely different.
So my focus lately has been becoming, instead of just doing. I want to become a great missionary, instead of just doing the things I'm supposed to. I see a lot of missionaries do great work, and baptize a lot, but a lot of their hearts aren't in it, or they still have some "fish." I've seen that as I've been becoming that better missionary, the work has been going great! Salisbury is very elect.
So this past week was full of miracles. We went on exchanges, and we were praying to find a family. Then we went out, and tried to see some less actives. One lady wasn't there, but a man was walking back to his car, and we asked him if he knew this lady. He said no but he'll ask her neighbor (his friend) And when we came up, we were standing at the door, and we heard a voice say "Is that 'the' missionaries" So they let us in and apparently, this small family and a couple friends wanted to get baptized into the Mormon church but they moved, and thought there wasn't another church there. So since I left, the other missionary there has put all of them on date! This was just one of many miracles that happened throughout the week where we were lead to an exact place at an exact time.
Currently, our zone is the smallest in the mission, but we are leading the mission. And our district is leading his zone. So it's great to see how my district is kind of leading the mission right now, and that we're able to be great examples for them! So the standard of excellence is 3 New investigators, 2 Sacrament Attendance a week, with a baptism monthly. And many people in our mission are struggling to hit it. And I don't want to sound prideful or anything, I just want to shows the fruits of just getting out of the Lord's way. This last week we found 10 New investigators, and 7 of them came to church. This was a huge miracle. And I'm so blessed to be a part of this great work!
However, one thing I've learned, or really now understood is, how baptisms aren't the important thing on your mission. Some people do no work, and get a ton of baptisms, and some of the hardest working people get very few. I was reading this thing called the Ricarddi letter, which I'll send a link, but it really showed me how important hard work is in the mission in conversion. I've seen myself converted so much already, and I hope to always keep the humble, yet hardworking mindset. I Love ya'll and I hope you have a great week! And happy birthday Ashley! 🎉🎂🎊 its so crazy that your already 15!