Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Easter in the Desert!

How lucky are we to be able to be with one of our families almost every week?  We spent the Easter week in the desert last week and had so mcuh fun tagging along with the Shawni and David family.

Just a few of the highlights of that whilrwind of activity follows:

I got to go with Shawni to her monthly morning at  Brain Food, a volunteer organization that provides weekend food for over 3500 needy school children at 100 schools in the greater Phoenix area. Some very smart women realized that as great as it is to provide free breakfast and lunches for kids living in poverty, the kids go home to empty cupboards on weekends. Through fundraisers and very generous donors, a large storage room provides a place where about 100 people gather every Thursday to help pack and deliver food to the schools where the kids receive the packages on their way home on Friday.

Young mothers, older mothers, “snowbirds” and retired people who are looking for a way to give back show up to help. They’ve got the system down to a well-oiled machine!  Shawni and I helped pack 800 leaves of bread and then we moved to the main room where we moved down the line filling our bags with donated non-perishable food to be packed in tubs and taken to schools.


Love there misson statement printed on the wall there, “We make a living by what we get, but we amke a life by what we give.”


Grandfather had fun “running” Lucy to the bus stop on her bike. She doesn’t almost no periferal vision so she can never ride alone. Rick had a fun time trying to keep up with her and and Shawni and I followed behind.


It’s pretty much a miracle that she was able to learn to ride that bike in the first place and truly an inspiration that she is an excellent student and always gets terrific grades and great compliments from her teacher!

We also had fun having lunch with Lucy in this pretty chaotic lunch room. She was delighted to see us and we had fun observing the crazy scene of the elementary school lunchroom (see Lucy on the left there looking for us just before we found her!



In the next three days we had a chance to steal Grace and Claire from school for a quick lunch and Grandfather managed to get a private dinner with Elle, but we forgot to take pictures of those fun events!

We also got a chance to see Elle play on the high school tennis team as a senior! She plays #2 in singles and #1 in doubles. We saw some terrific matches!  Grace is on the practice team this year because she hasn’t taken tennis for a while. She’s decided that tennis is her game though so we look forward to seeing her on the team next year.


It was terrific to spend time having some great meals together, especially when Josh could come. He is always ready to rescue us with comptuer issues and is so fun to talk to!  He is a such a great supporter for this family as well as for us! He is now running the Valuesparenting website which required a major…thousand hour overhall this year. We are so grateful to have a computer genius in the family in addition to his being such a thoroughly good person and incredible thrid-grade teacher! He is a wonder! 


That house is always full of friends and Granfather is always happy to find kids who appreciate popcorn!


Since it was Easter weekend, of course we had fun doing dozens and dozens of Easter eggs. Shawni and the girls just couldn’t quit once she pulled out all the “equipment!”




Our Ukaranian “son” Eldar (long story) now lives less than a mile from Shawni and David and he and his darling wife, Courtney and his mother, Valentina, who has recently immigrated to the U.S.(to their home), came over with thier three adorable children. It was great to catch up with them and hear that Eldar and Courtney are going to Singapore where Eldar will present a paper (he is a Professor of Economics) and then will be going on to our bloved Bali.. Eldar has become an excellent tennis player so we saw some pretty fancy stuff on the tennis court. Josh was a roommate of Eldar’s at BYU and is always so happy to spend some time with them!


Claire has become an outstanding soccer player!  How great it was to see her play with such determination and grit! She is going to be a star!


While we were there we had the rare privilege of meeting a terrific family that Shawni met through her blog. They used to live in North Carolina but, unbeknownst to any of them, they moved to within a couple of miles of Shawni’s house. We had so much fun going out to dinner with them and going with them to the famous Easter Pageant at the Mesa Temple.


On the night we went to the pageant it was the last performance of a two week run. We were there with 14 000 other people that night. We had great seats and loved seeing 450 dedicated volunteers who had basically given up a month of thier lives to practice for this annal Easter pageant. Inspiring and pretty incredible!


Somehow Shawni crammed in a little afternoon swim party for two families (one from Sl and other from AZ) who each have four children, two of whom are BBS kids. We have known one of them for several years but the other just discovered the diagnosis a few months ago.Both mothers were named Amy.  It was so great to catch up with the Amy we have known for several years and the new Amy who is still struggling with the diagnosis. They are beautiful moms with brave faces despite their struggle to cope. Although there are certain similarities, BBS manifests itself differently in each child so the ability to put the pieces together is always daunting! Sadly I didn’t get any pictures.

As Easter approached, Shawni was determined to finish this beautiful banner below. She got the idea from a friend and once Shawni sees a good and meaningful idea, there is no stopping her! This required several stops for paper and ribbon and lots of time cutting, but it will be so fun to have to celebrate every Easter from now on!


Easter morning was pure joy! The statement below which are the four most glorious words ever spoken, expressed how we all felt!



In addition to the Easter Bunny/Baskets, we heard a beautiful talk on that Easter morning from Elle and we were privileged to be there for a very special blessing given by their stake Patriarch, assisted (wth the transciption) by his lovely wife! The blessing was as beautiful as Elle is!


How we love this delightful daughter of God who is about to graduate from Hish School!



Another memorable weekend!

1 comment:

Sydney said...

Beautiful post. I loved learning about Arizona's, Brain Food organization. WOW! My son-in-law and a few buddies of his, started a food program in Arkansas. They began by using their own money. It grew so fast that they needed financial support, and got it. My son-in-law's garage is now full of palates and palates of non-perishable food items. It is marvelous. Walmart provides the bags for packing while willing hands and small groups do the work. It is amazing.