Sunday, September 21, 2008

Did I hear..... Taco Party? IMPORTANT ALERT!!!!

IMPORTANT ALERT: Michelle wants you all to know that our Bear Lake Blog is at the bottom of the page because me, Andrew, didn't want to put it out of order..... Please let Michelle know you saw it. Thanks.......

So we have been meaning to have everyone over to see our place, but with life going on it has been a challenge getting the event together, but with the persuasion of Kim Caldwell we got the ball rolling and it finally happened.

With almost 30 people in attendance it was the most happening event on Sept. 13th on our block. In fact all of the ward members wondered what kind of event was going on that would bring so many young people to the neighborhood. To understand you would have to know that a large amount of people in our neighborhood are on the more mature side.

We ended up having the bulk of the party in Grandma and Grandpa Woolley's backyard. We appreciate them so much for always allowing us to either use or borrow their things. The theme of the party was Taco's. The menu consisted of 6lbs. of ground taco meat, a gallon of cheese sauce, refried beans, seven layer bean dip, chips, home made salsa, 9 avocado guacamole, Spanish rice, soft shells, hard shells, tostada shells, all the toppings, fruit, drinks, and of course dessert. There was plenty of food and I hope no one went home hungry because if they did it was their fault. If we had taken a picture of all the great food I would post it, but we didn't so you will just have to talk to everyone who was there to know just how good it all was.

We enjoyed just sitting around with good food, friends, and fun. As it got a little later we moved from the backyard to our place to give everyone the grand tour of our one bedroom one bathroom place. It was a little cramped and a little loud, but we managed. Of course no party is complete without Rockband and lets just say I was afraid all of the noise would make our landlord living above us crazy mad, but we didn't hear one complaint.

I had to wake up for work at 4am the next morning, but the party went on. I am glad that most everyone was able to make it and sad for those of you who couldn't. I liked it so much that we are sure to plan another one bigger and better than before in the near future. We will let everyone else have a turn first.

Parents in Town

So at the end of August my parents came into town. It was just over the holiday weekend, but it was nice for us to all get together. When I say all I mean those siblings that live in Utah. That now includes Me, Rachael, and Christin's family. We enjoyed sitting around, playing with the kids at the pool, and eating. We also enjoyed a great family dinner with the Martin Family. It was a large group of about 20 + pleople. I know my parents enjoyed themselves and depending where everyone ends up over the next little while we might even get more visits from them. To see the grandchildren of course.

I actually didn't have a picture of all of us at once so I just used this one taken one evening while having a picnic dinner. I would post some of the great pictures I got of Rachael, but I know she would kill me. Feel free to email me and I will let you see them....... JKCO Rachael!!!!

The Part of the World that Changed Me by Michelle Cardon

Ensenada, Mexico, August 2008

I have had the opportunity to travel to many different places and had decided that my next adventure needed to include humanitarian service. This adventure happened and it is an experience that I will never forget. Nettie, Dyana, Aubrey, Christina, and I found this organization called Family to Family Humanitarian Expedition and decided to sign up. We were a little bit nervous about the whole thing because we did not know what we were getting our selves into.

Nettie, Dyana, Tina, and I left a few days early to spend time with our brother, Cameron, and sister-in-law, Rachel. We had a wonderful visit with them. We filled our days with many adventures. Cameron picked us up from the airport and we went straight to the market place. We walked around for a minute and then ate breakfast at the famous crepe restaurant. We each got a huge fruit filled crepe. Mine included fresh bananas, strawberries, and nutella.

Rachel and Renee, Rachel’s mom, joined up with us and we went to the beach. It was so much fun. The water was a little cold but that did not stop us one bit. We played in the water for hours and then went to a pizza place for dinner and then made the 2 hour trip back to Marietta, California. It was a blast. The rest of the weekend was filled with more relaxing, eating, shopping, and talking. I loved it. Thanks Cameron and Rachel for letting us spend a few days with you.

Tuesday morning our humanitarian adventure started. We arrived at the Door of Faith Orphanage, were we would be staying for the next week, around 4 p.m. While the leaders arranged the activities for the week, we went down to meet the orphans. This orphanage was amazing. There are approximately 120 children at the place. The children are divided into “families” based on their age. Each “family” has house parents that take care of them. This orphanage is run solely off of private donations. Most of these orphans are children who are in foster care that don’t have any extended family members to take care of them. One thing that I realized after interacting with these children for a week was that they were missing the thing that is so important in our lives and that is a family. I don’t think that anything can replace a family. All of their physical needs were being meet but these children wanted more. They needed love. For hours, these children would let you hold them and rock them. It was truly a humbling experience. I am grateful for my family and for the love that they continuously give to me.

During the week we worked on four main projects. We were divided into four different groups and each day went to a different site for a new adventure. Everyday was filled with different adventures and you realized that you just had to go with the flow. Life is different in Mexico and things happen at a different pace.

The Hernandez Family of five lived in a very small plywood one room home (approx. 12x12). They built their house approximately five years ago, which is the usual life span of a plywood home. We surprised them on Wednesday morning and told them we were here to help build them a new home out of cinderblocks. The parents burst into tears, their prayers had been answered. Later in the week the father bore his testimony and said that when we showed up and offered to help he was a little bit nervous because the group consisted on mostly women. But then throughout the week he realized that the women are the strength of the church and can do anything. We fell in love with this family. It was so hard to leave them. The two little boys bonded with Tina and were sad on the days that she was not working at their house. It is amazing to me that even though there was a language barrier, we were still able to communicate and show our love to them.

Jose, his wife, and their two children lived down the street from the orphanage. They also lived in a one room plywood house without electricity or running water. Kendon, the director of the group, had noticed this family on a previous trip and decided to stop and meet them one day. Kendon says that he likes to help people that don’t expect the help. This family was one of them. At the time, they had just a dirt floor and Kendon told them that we would like to pour them a cement floor. Well, when we arrived, the mother was outside sweeping the dirt and the father was so happy to tell us that he had worked extra long hours and had enough money to pour the cement floor himself and had done it a few weeks prior to our arrival. We told him we still wanted to help and offered to pour another cement pad next to their house and also dig and hole for a septic tank. He graciously accepted and we started to work. This father took pride in his home and even took the day off of work to make sure that we did everything just perfect. This was a sacrifice for him and his family. At his job, if you miss a day of work, you don’t get that days wage and you also get punished an additional ½ days wage. This humble father makes $30.00 a day a brick mason and walks 5 miles each way to work and home.

At the end of the week, we gave this family a lot of food, blankets, and pillows and told them to keep what they needed and then give the rest away to those in need. Kendon’s goal is to keep the ball of service rolling forward and hopes that the families served caught the vision of what this organization is all about.

Juanita, is an elderly single women who was in need of a retaining wall. She lives in a large community on a steep mountain side. Her home flooded every time it rained because of the run off from the rain on the dirt road. Juanita had a little clothing store connected to her home. Unfortunately, this little business did not receive any customers the whole time we were there. Juanita was so humble. She apologized for not having anything to give us but thanked us constantly for the work we were doing for her. She had really bad arthritis in her knees and used a cane to walk with but that did not stop her from helping. She was right there helping move the little rocks. She would also make sure that our water stayed in the shade and move our water bottles if the sun started to hit them. We were also able to pour her a new cement floor in her home. She was so grateful for our service.

The forth project was at the orphanage. We were asked to paint a few of the buildings. This orphanage uses bright colors everywhere. It is such a bright and happy place. We painted two buildings school bus yellow with a bright blue trim. We also spent a lot of time playing with the kids. We had a lot of different projects to do with the kids like making journals, blowing bubbles, painting nails, reading books, singing songs, playing games, and playing soccer and basketball. The children were a delight and of course the highlight of my trip. Kids radiate such happiness and joy. They make me so happy.

This was such an amazing trip for me and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to serve the people of Ensenada. I am grateful to live in this country where we are free. We truly are a blessed people. Here is a list of the things that I learned from this experience:

1: Enjoy the simple things in life
2: Be positive
3: Be happy
4: Family matters most
5: Service brings happiness
6: Forget yourself and serve others
7: God loves everyone and is aware of each individual
8: Prayers are answered
9: Be grateful for all of your blessing
10:Life is short, enjoy it!

Most of all it was fun spending time with my best friends! Thanks girls.

She's a Big Girl Now!!!!!!

So you remember the post I wrote about Michelle's job search and all the drama that happened there, well her next step was to take her boards and the result was.................... She PASSED!!!!! She couldn't believe it herself, but she did it. I knew she would do fine since she read her study manual twice, took each practice test twice, and listened to these expensive CDs over and over again, plus she is just soooooo smart. If this is news to you then feel free to give her a call, text, or email to congratulate her. Her worries of having to tell her new boss that she didn't pass are behind her and she can now relax.