Wednesday, May 27, 2009

These are the members of the Vinton District. From left to right:

Elder Chapman, Elder Shill (District Ldr), Elder Soderstrom (companion to Shill), Elder Makay and his companion Elder Jeffery (the Spanish speaking elders).

We learned from Elder Shill that Elder Soderstrom is being transfered on Transfer Day next Wednesday. We will surely miss him. He is from northern Utah, near Logan.

The only District member not pictured is Sister Chapman, who insisted on being the photographer.

We have been informed by our Mission President that we will be getting a new set of young missionaries assigned back to Bedford this Transfer. We were very happy to hear that news!

Driving down to our 10:30 a.m. District Meeting in Vinton Wednesday morning we took the Blue Ridge Parkway from the US 460 over to US 24 (Stewartsville Road). We stopped at this overlook that gives beautiful view of homes nestled on the slopes of the Blue Ridge mountains just to the north and east of Vinton, Virginia. The rain clouds of the night before were still hanging low on the mountains.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

It was rather remarkable to us, that the hardwood trees that cover this part of Virginia stood bare during early Spring, as if they were dead and would never leaf out again, while flowers and smaller trees, like the Dogwood and others were showing a barrage of blossoms and new growth. But, then all of a sudden as April turned to May, the barren branches of all this forest of hardwoods that surround each village and town boomed forth their greenery! What looked totally lifeless one day, or so it seemed to us desert dwellers, appeared to leaf out overnight. It really is wonderful to see!

Each week, usually on Thursday, we drive down to the community of Goodview, to the shores of Smith Mountain Lake, a visit Merle and Marianna Dutton. As we drive through the rural countryside we see that the first hay crop is being harvested. In this part of the country and all through the Midwest as well, these huge rolled bails seem to be the prefered way of preserving the hay crop. The harvesting machinge wraps each of thess rolls with numerous wraps of binder twine or something like it. These bails with sit in the fields for many days before specialized equipment is finally used to pick these huge bails up and load them on a truck or trailer. We see where some farmers wrap their bails in some type of plasitc covering to protect them from the elements, but mostly they remain as you see them in this picture.
Sometimes missionary work is accomplished by etertaining the children so their mother can visit with your companion without having to worry about what they may be up to in the next room. This was true this past week as Nicholas, 2 yrs, and young brother Liam, 1 yr, accepted a ride in the cart, pulled by Elder Chapman on the riding lawnmower. We did this three different days when the mother had no one to leave the children with. They were pretty excited about it the first day, riding up and down the lane and around the large grounds where we live. But on the 3rd day, no more excitement. As you can see, little Liam has decided to take a snooze. They were good boys and we got on well. Nicholas (in the red shirt) especially liked it when we would get the sack of birdseed and he could help fill the bird feeders in the backyard. We will miss them and their mother. They were only here in Bedford for one week and returned home to Fredericksburg on Tuesday.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Blue Ridge Parkway has a different look now that the trees haved leafed out.

This was taken on the way back to Bedford from our District Meeting held Wednesday in Vinton.

Monday, May 11, 2009

This is what we see, looking off to the north from our Bedford residence in the early morning after a night of rain.

This is the view on the same morning, looking off to the southwest from our home, after a night of rain.

Another view from the edge of our driveway, looking off toward the southwest, in the direction of the town of Bedford. Our little lane (Hopes Way) takes us out to Forest Road (US 221) that connects Bedford with the neighboring towns of Forest and Lynchburg to the east.
Another view from under the trees in the front yard, looking off to the north and the Blue Ridge Mountains, just barely visible above the knoll of the hill between us and our nighbors, the Schutte's.
Spring time in Virginia! Pretty nice wouldn't you say?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It is always the mother who waits for us, who never gives up on us. She understands us so well.

Here is a mother, standing outside the Washington DC Temple, waiting for someone she loves to appear.

What a great woman she is! How good, how kind, how thoughtful and faithful in doing what is right.

I love her. I know she loves each of you so very much!

Happy Mother's Day to every woman who is a mother in the way she lives her life.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The view of our place of residence, the Hodge home, from the far southeast side of the property, looking at the backside of the house. Such a peaceful and lovely place! As we have said before, almost daily we see Whitetail deer, 6-8 at a time; we see that many wild turkey feeding about, but not as frequently. And many varieties of small wild birds inhabit the area, including robins and cardinals. We keep bird seed in the bird feeder in the back yard and we enjoy seeing many different small birds come to feed.

The trees in the front yard of the home where we live (1277 Hopes Way) are beginning to leaf out and we see more color and heavier foliage each day as we drive about.

Coming from the deserts of Arizona as we do, this Virginia springtime continues to impress us with its many hues of color bursting forth from trees, scrubs and flowers.

these are the Wharton Gardens in Bedford.

While waiting for the happy couple (the 'new' Mr. & Mrs. Graff) to imerge from the Temple last Saturday we took several more pictures of the Washington DC Temple and surrounding grounds. It was an usually warm, but also beautiful spring day. It is one of the largest of all LDS Temples and certainly one of the most beautiful, inside and out.