Here I am in the homeland once again. My flights from Saipan were smooth and on time--the length was my only complaint and there's nothing anyone can do about that.
It's been wonderful for me to be here with my daughters and the rest of the family. I've gotten to renew family ties, see how much kids have grown, and meet new family members that weren't even born the last time we were here!
The day after I arrived Alexa, Mal, me, the Grammies, Joy, Hope, Rhiannon, and Jeremy traveled down to the Boston Temple. The temple was beautiful as always. Alexa had grabbed the wrong envelope and ended up in Boston without her recommend, so that took a little time--they weren't able to get the Stake President or the Branch President, so Grampie came to the rescue by braving the "war zone" she calls her room and finding her recommend and going down to the library and faxing it to the temple. He's a great guy.
The next day, we went to Ellsworth for church. Alexa gave a talk, then she and Mallory sang "Did You Think To Pray" a capella. Both (the talk and the song) were terrific.
On Monday we shopped for mission things in Bangor all day. On Tuesday, Alexa and Mal took their little cousin to "Harry Potter". On Wednesday we went shopping again and then on to the island to take care of some business, then to Ellsworth for "Pie Night". (They hold it the night before Thanksgiving so they won't be too full to enjoy the pies.) As I sat there eating (and eating and eating), Pres. Erickson said, "So. Have you been checking out land? Real estate prices?" I assured him I hadn't. So then he begins, "Babbling brooks...The crunch of autumn leaves...Softly drifting snow...The sparkle of a woodland lake...." Okay, okay! I miss it. I miss the Ellsworth Branch very, very much, but you know what? I'll say the same thing about Saipan when we leave there. Good friends everywhere--I love them all.
Thursday was Thanksgiving at Mom and Dad's with the Page's and their whole family. It snowed all Thanksgiving day--a beautiful sight if you don't have to drive any distance in it! We had way too much food and I ate way too much food, so I guess that's the way it goes. I loved my wonderful brother-in-law and the patience and caring he showed toward my daughter-with-an-attitude that day. Time after time he sought her out and sat with her and talked with her and engaged her. I was very grateful.
Today, Alexa had to take Mal back down to the island at 5:30 A.M. (That turned out to be quite a trip--they missed the ferry, got a flat tire, found Mal's roommate moving out, etc., etc.--I am sooo glad I stayed home!) While they were gone, Mom called and asked if I wanted to come over and help her decorate, so I did. In the afternoon, she and I went shopping (again) and I got Alexa a camera for an early Christmas present; I really want her to document her mission, for herself and for us!
Now it's "Pie Night" in Dover (I'm all "pied" out!), and tomorrow we make another trip to the Boston Temple. While in Massachusetts, I need to try to get the laptop fixed so Mal will have one to take to school. A guy in the service department at Circuit City said that the problem is either a switch, which will take about an hour at $120 per, or some other thing, which will be about the same price as a new laptop...hmmmm. Anyway, on Sunday I speak in Ellsworth, then after church is a YMYW fireside, then Alexa's setting apart at 5:00 that evening. Monday Lex, Mal, and I will spend the night in Bangor because Alexa leaves early the next morning for the MTC.