Monday, May 23, 2005

Signs of Saipan II

Here's one from a local video store:

"If you think you're not a PIG please don't spit beetlenut anywhere inside!"

Bravo, Bravo, Bravissimo!

BRAVO! Jocelyn Lonsdale as Winnifred and Jacob Connor as Prince Dauntless are seen in this scene from "Once Upon A Mattress" on Saturday at Dai-Ichi Hotel. The performance of the cast members in the musical, which was produced by the Friends of the Art, was described as "awesome" by the audience. (Marianas Variety, 23 May 2005)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Broadway Comes to Saipan

Well, this year's FOA youth production of "Once Upon A Mattress" has come and gone and was a resounding success! For those who may not be familiar with it, this play tells the "real" story of the princess and the pea. It was open to kids in grades 1 through 9.

First of all I want to make sure I mention the best thing that happened in this year's play. For the first time that I know of many of the major parts were played by members of the Church, and because of their faithfulness to the things they've been taught there were no performances or mandatory rehearsals scheduled on Sundays. I was there during auditions and heard many of them tell the producer right up front that they would not be available at all on Sundays, so she and the director were well aware of the situation before the parts were assigned. I have never known any play here not to have scheduled rehearsals and performances on Sunday--it was awesome.

The play was great fun! Jacob was the male lead--a simpering, wimpy mama's boy named Prince Dauntless. We didn't know he could sing on tune, so that was a very nice discovery! He did a wonderful job. Jocelyn Lonsdale played Princess Winifred (Fred for short), and she was a hoot! Her expressions were as funny as Carol Burnett's! It was just a fun, crazy trip through a medieval courtship. The whole thing was terrific--I liked it better than Revenge of The Sith!

The other fun thing about the play was that the closing night was on Jacob's 14th birthday. I had bought a huge cake and arranged with the producer to present it to him during curtain call. So, after the bows were taken and gifts were given to Ms. Actouka (producer) and Mr. Easton (director), I got up holding the cake and announced that this was "Prince Dauntless's" 14th birthday. The pianist started playing and Jake came back up on the stage and the whole crowd of about 150+ sang to him, then we shared the cake with the cast and audience. It was so fun to hear everyone break into applause and cheers when I announced his birthday! This is one I'm sure he'll remember for a long, long time.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Seminary Graduation 2005

Another year gone by! Last night was this year's Seminary Graduation--it's by far the biggest class I've ever had--17--but with only 2 4-year graduates. I was so happy for Mallory and Lisa. On the last day of class as I got into the car I said to Lisa, "Well, here you are, four years later!" She said that it had gone by so fast, and of course as we get older and look back on more and more life time does seem to go by faster.

Graduation was great. I love announcing each student's name as they receive their certificates of completion for the year and then introducing those who are graduating. I love listening to them sing--this year (New Testament) they sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" and they were terrific! I love having flowers ready for them to pin on and leis for those who are graduating. Mallory wore her prom dress and she looked so beautiful, especially with the lei.

I even like the mishaps--one this year was the beautiful harp music that was playing during the presentation of certificates was a little short and there was no repeat on the stereo we were using so it accidentally went into a kind of triumphant fanfare just as I announced Taylor Smith's name! It was really funny--and she's such a great girl and was such a good sport about it--she just laughed.

Another near miss that wasn't so enjoyable was that Lisa wasn't there. All the rest of the students who are on-island were there, but no Lisa, and she was graduating! I was so disappointed for her--I just kept thinking that I should have gone and picked her up myself, but her mother and brother had both checked with me on the time that morning at church and had assured me that they would be there. She was supposed to give a talk, but they just skipped to Mallory's talk. After Mallory, Elder Hopoate made the presentation of the graduates to Brother Hubble who was there representing the District Presidency. During his remarks, Mallory caught my eye and motioned toward the window. I went out and there was Lisa and her family! Thank goodness! She was very upset about being so late, but I sent her to sit on the stand with the class, put her lei on her, and kissed her cheek. I was just so glad she made it. After Brother Hubble finished, Elder Hopoate turned to the class and said that he would like to hear something more from them, so they were, "Lisa! Lisa, give your talk!" She really hadn't regained her composure from coming in so late. She was very hesitant and for a minute I didn't think she'd be able to stand up, but she took a deep breath and walked to the podium. She was very emotional, but she bore a sweet and honest testimony and I think everybody was moved to tears--or maybe it was just me! Anyway, she was still whispering apologies for being late when I gave her her diploma, but everything turned out wonderfully in the end!

Texas to Maine : The End of the Road

Alexa arrived safely at her grandmother's house in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine around 11:30 P.M. on Saturday, May 14. All is well!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Texas to Maine (Day 3)

I talked with Alexa at 5:30 A.M.--she was already up and about ready to go. It's going to be a big push to finish this trip today. I asked her to call me when she goes over the bridge into Maine and I would call Grammie H. so she'd know when to be looking for her. Casey asked why I didn't just have her call her Grandmother herself. What kind of a question was that?!!!

She said that she had a better rest last night--the room was cleaner and nicer and "felt safer." I know what she means--when things are more orderly and cared for, it feels more secure. Levi called her around 11 P.M. last night and woke her up. She was glad to hear from him--she always is--and said that he sounded better than he had the last time she had talked with him. Levi had a friend who died from a car accident last week, so he was (of course) sad about that. He said that he wished he was with her. . . .That makes two of us Levi!

Texas to Maine (Day 2)

I haven't had time to blog the last phone call(s) until now because today has been so busy with Mallory's prom, kids' play rehearsal, other kids coming over to play, going to "Taste of the Marianas" (our favorite island event), and trying to get ready for Seminary Graduation tomorrow night so I won't be crazy on the Sabbath!
Anyway, I talked with Alexa around 8:00 P.M. ET, Friday the 13th (!!!) and she was just coming into Toledo, Ohio. Talking with me on the phone distracted her enough that she missed her exit to Cleveland (way to go, Mom), but she thought she would spend the night where she was and try to get a good night's sleep. She didn't get as far as she had hoped partly because she stopped twice for about an hour each time to sleep and partly because I forgot when I was checking driving times and distances for her on MapQuest that she would be crossing into Eastern time today and lose an hour. She said that she hadn't slept very well the first night and that there had been two wrong number calls that had awakened her when she had gotten to sleep, so she was too tired to go any further. Although there were some big thunderstorms around the areas she was in, she said that she has had mostly light rain and the driving has been smooth.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Texas to Maine (end of Day 1)

Alexa just called and she's made it to Springfield, Missouri--pretty good time once she got going. It's about 11 P.M. there and she's found an inexpensive hotel for the night and she sounded good. I guess she had to look around a bit before she found a room in her price range. She said that she isn't comfortable driving too late into the night because her headlights are kind of dim even when they're on bright and she found herself having to utilize the headlights of the cars around her. (Yikes!) Well, it's spring and she's headed to the northeast, so there's a lot of daylight for her to use. She wants me to give her a wake-up call for between 5:30 and 6:00 P.M. central time. I don't think Alexa has seen that time of day since she graduated from seminary! She's hoping to make it to Buffalo tomorrow.

Alexa's Trip: Texas to Maine (Day 1)

She left this morning around 3:30 A.M.--well, 1:30 P.M. Thursday in Wichita Falls, TX--and called us on her cell phone as she was leaving. She said that she hopes to get as far as St. Louis today, New York tomorrow, and the rest of the way on Saturday.

I called her at about 5:00 P.M. her time and she had gotten a little lost at one point in Oklahoma, so she was going through Oklahoma City when I called; now she's hoping to get as far as Tulsa tonight. I asked if she wanted me to look into getting her a room there for the night, but she doesn't want to risk a reservation at a place that she can't find, so she'll handle it herself. I told her to call when she gets in for the night.

Although I have been very concerned about this trip, my prayers for her safety have been heard and I feel comfortable that all will be well with her.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Levi did it! He's a college graduate! Not only that, but he received a Program Director's award in Music Business Ethics (I'm not really sure of the title--something like that). We're so proud of him; he's called a couple of times this weekend to fill us in on the event. He says that he can't believe that he has a diploma sitting on his table! I am so glad that he has done this for himself, and also for the example that this leaves to the rest of our family.

One little glitch happened last Thursday night when he had a concert, the first one as the "Leave Calmer" band. I think he said that it was in the first song when he was accidently hit just above his eye with a guitar. Although he finished the show (it must go on, right?), he ended up afterward in the hospital for stitches. So, even though he didn't have anyone to cheer him on at graduation, which was the next afternoon, he for sure did not go unnoticed with the lei that we sent him and a head wound!

In the next day or two, Levi will be flying to Texas to drive with Alexa to Florida. Her last two finals are on Tuesday morning and I think they'll plan to leave that afternoon. She'll stay there--in Florida--a few days to visit with him, and then will drive to Maine to start work by May 22.

10 Souvenirs Every Missionary Should Take Home

This is taken from a talk given by Elder Story, who is getting ready to go home to Oregon after a very successful 25 month mission here in Micronesia:

10 Souvenirs Every Missionary Should Take Home

  1. A testimony of the living reality of God.
  2. A greatly enlarged understanding of the Gospel.
  3. A love for the people.
  4. A greater love and appreciation for your parents.
  5. An understanding of hard work. "Work is the miracle by which talent is brought to the surface and dreams become reality." (Gordon B. Hinckley)
  6. An enlarged understanding of the meaning and true worth of virtue.
  7. Increased poise--the ability to meet and converse with people.
  8. The courage to act.
  9. The faith to try.
  10. The humility to pray.
    --from President Hinckley
  11. Increased joy in your life from bringing others the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    --from Elder Story

Saturday, May 07, 2005


I am not a "Dear Abby" fan, but yesterday there was something in her column that caught my eye. A reader wrote in asking for her definition of "maturity". Frankly, I think she may have gotten this elsewhere, although no other attribution was given, but the answer she gave was the best definition of that word I've ever seen. Since reading this, I have really thought about it and how it relates to myself and my children. Here is Dear Abby's response:

"Maturity is the ability to control our impulses, to think beyond the moment, and consider how our words and our actions will affect ourselves and others before we act."

Monday, May 02, 2005

Excerpts from This Week's Family Letter

". . . Oh, you know how after the last time Dad cut Jacob's hair I vowed that if he ever did it again I'd call Youth Services? However, I do like to have him do Eden's hair, which he cuts in that really cute way that he used to cut Kaitlyn's--really short in the back, remember? Well, he was cutting her hair this weekend, and, well, little kids do tend to move. It was so bad that Dad just sat there for a while trying to get his breathing back to normal and figure out what he could do to fix the back of her hair. Eden kept saying, "Dad, cut. Dad, why don't you cut? Dad? Why don't you cut, Dad?" So now, from the front and sides, she has that really cute cut, but from the back her hair is a little shorter than Ezra's--good thing hair grows. . . ."

My Conversion Story

Mallory asked me to write my conversion story for a project she is doing to finish out her Personal Progress in Young Women's, so I thought I would post it here:

I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in December of 1972, when I was 14 and in the 9th grade, in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. I had been attending church for about 2 years, prior to being baptized, with my mother and older sister, Hope Ann. Mom was baptized on April 6, 1970 and Hope Ann the following month. Mom had several family members, her sister and brother-in-law and their family and even her mother, who had joined the Church a few years earlier. Dad and I were the hold-outs. He just wasn’t interested; I was too proud.
I went to Church with Mom and Hope Ann every Sunday, and faithfully attended every other meeting that involved my age group—I even took Home Study Seminary! On most Monday nights, we went over to Aunt Clarice and Uncle Harley’s and had Family Home Evening with them and their two kids, Heidi and Bart. Missionaries came to our house frequently even after Mom and Hope were baptized, probably because we were a part-member family. Every once in a while, when the frustration of having a "dry-Mormon" running around got the best of them, someone would ask, "When are you going to make it official MariLou? You know you want to be baptized." Which worked very well in reminding me to dig in my heels a little deeper—if there’s anything a teenager hates, it’s having someone tell them how they feel! I had it all planned out in my head that someday I would go to BYU and while out there I would be baptized—then there wouldn’t be anyone around who knew me saying, "I KNEW you’d join!"
But then something happened. One Monday morning, we got a phone call telling us that the Harmon’s house had caught fire after they had all gone to bed the night before, and their 5-year old daughter (the only girl out of 6 children), had died in the tragedy. I had just seen and laughed at Stephanie and her brother Tim a few hours earlier at Sacrament Meeting (back then Sacrament Meeting was held on Sunday night). I was stricken. How could this have happened? Everything was fine and normal and comfortable and all of a sudden, without any warning, it was the pit of despair. How could life go from good to bad so quickly? And then, in teenage fashion, came the thoughts, "Could this kind of thing happen in my life? What if I suddenly had an accident? What if I was gone before I was baptized?!!!" When that thought hit, I was horrified—and humbled.
Anyway, I finally sat down and took the discussions. I was still a contrary and prideful teenager—I decided to dislike one of the missionaries who taught me primarily because everyone else thought he was so great—but I did it. I tried to hold off still a little longer because my sister had predicted a few months before all of this that I would be a member by the end of the year and I hated the thought that she was going to be right. However, I wanted my cousin to sing at my baptism and she was going back to college, so on December 29, 1972, my Uncle Harley baptized me into the true Church.