Sunday, June 24, 2012

             Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows by the Chatanika River with the Olsen's grandkids from Pennsylvania.
 Fun in the Alaska sunshine.
 Wildflowers by the edge of the road on the way to Healy.
 Wild iris on the roadside near Nenana.
 Elder Hartman from Little Cottonwood Ward in our home stake.
Our "salad garden" is doing well this year.

Monday evening we came to the Institute for Home Evening and found a company there cleaning the carpets.  What a surprise.  Luckily, they were leaving the main recreation room for the next day.  We ended up with a double group of kids because one house was unavailable.  Since the person giving the lesson forgot about it and was out of town with the refreshment volunteer, we did what seemed right.  Everyone took a minute to introduce themselves to the group.  Since so many come up to work, it is a great opportunity to get to know each other.  We have a closet full of games and a cupboard full of ingredients for cookies.  One group helped me whip up a large batch of chocolate chip cookies while the others played several different games.  We had a great time together.  

Since the carpet cleaners were going to be cleaning again on Tuesday, and we had an invitation to go with Pres. and Sister Olsen and their grandchildren from Pennsylvania, we chose to go on a picnic.  We do miss our grandchildren.  We drove a ways outside of Fairbanks to the Chatanika River and had a great time together.   The Olsen's son and his wife and their five children have come to visit for a couple of weeks.  

Wednesday we drove to Healy again for class.  This time we tried to increase attendance by bringing chili dogs and chips and fresh pineapple.  It worked--we had two additional students join our class.  The wildflowers are beautiful along the roadsides.  I love to see the iris and so many other beautiful flowers.  There is no way to capture the beauty of the flowers.  The fire weed is beginning to blossom as well.  We always seem to stop here and there along the way to take pictures of the flowers.  

Class on Thursday was great.  We had about 35 that came.  We really enjoy teaching and sharing ideas with these great young adults.  The missionaries brought over a big box of bananas that had been given them.  They had eaten all that they could and wondered if we could use them after class.  It was great.  We had hot dogs and chips and banana splits.  It seemed to be a great combination and no one left hungry.  We filled their spirits and their bodies.   

Elder Hartman from our stake at home is serving in Fairbanks as one of the zone leaders.  We had to add his picture to the collection on the blog in hopes that his parents might see it and see what a fine missionary they have.  

Our little garden - mostly in pots this year - is doing very well.  We have had some wonderful salads with spinach, kale, and bok choy.  We have even cooked some that was very tasty.  Hopefully we will have some tomatoes and zucchini by the end of summer.  It's great to be able to share with the Olsens as well. 

Today in Sacrament meeting the speakers were talking about holding to the iron rod.  (See 1 Nephi  8:19-24 in the Book of Mormon)  The rod of iron is the word of God that can keep us in the right way if we hold fast to it so that we can return to our Father in Heaven.  Cameron Bodily gave his version as a parable of the marshmallow.   If you put a marshmallow on a rod of iron and toast it, it may get browned by the fire, but as long as it holds onto the rod, the center stays white and pure and delicious.  If it falls off the rod, it falls into the fire and the center gets burned and is no longer white and pure and delicious.  I thought his idea was worth thinking about.  Holding to the rod as we walk our path back to our Father in Heaven will keep us securely on the right path.  Reading  the scriptures every day will help us hold to the rod and make good choices.  May the Lord bless our family and friends as we walk through trials always holding to the rod.  

We love you,
JoAnn and Jim