Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Outfitted with a new shirt and pants from Linda, we celebrated my birthday by driving to Lynchburg for breakfast, shopping and a movie; then a short drive on east to Appomattox Court House. This was the scene of the surrender of General Robert E. Lee to General U. S. Grant, April 9, 1865, marking the end of the Civil War.

This picture is taken near a small Confederate cemetary, a quarter mile or so to the west of Appomattox Court House, now a National Historic Park.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Isn't this the same guy we pictured previously? Hogging the show on Father's Day 2009?

This is the happy father showing off his new shirt from Elizabeth and posed near all the cards and other treasures that our dear children and grandchildren bestowed upon him on Father's Day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We drive down each week to Smith Mountain Lake in Goodview to visit Merle and Marianna Dutton. He just turned 80. She is 89!
On our very first time to knock on their door, they invited us in and made us feel welcome. Merle is a member. Marianna is Italian Catholic, faithfully attending Mass each Sunday. But, they love to have us visit and read with them from the Book of Mormon. They always request a prayer before we depart. We can rarely get away from their home without having been fed or given something to take home.
We have really enjoyed meeting them and becoming acquainted with them.
They both grew up in northern Vermont, but now call Virginia their home. Their house sits right on the north shore of the lake and they get lots of visits from family and friends who want to enjoy the recreational benefits of fishing, boating and swimming.

This is Sister Rosemary Overstreet, a convert to the Church of just one year, standing in the doorway of her teeny tiny home in Thaxton, telling us goodbye after our most recent visit to teach her the Temple Preparation lessons as she prepares to go to the Temple to receive her own endowments.
She is lame in the left arm and wears a brace on her right leg but her spirit is bright and her testimony is strong. She is so excited to be receiving these lessons. She is looking forward with great anticipation for the opportunity to go to the Temple.
Our visits with her are always a spiritual experience.

Gloria and Robert "Doug" Craig of Bedford, standing on their front porch with a very Senior missionary. They were so happy that Linda's sister, Lois Cooley, out in Kingman, Arizona, was able to find Doug's son and put him in touch with his father after no contact for 24 years!

Doug is recovering from a quadruple by-pass and facing other serious health issues. He can't quite believe that a son he hasn't seen since the boy was 4 years of age (Now 28, with three children of his own) is flying out from Arizona to visit him next month.

Gloria tells everyone, "God sent Sister Chapman here to us so we could find Brandon."

President and Sister Thornock join with the missionaries of the Roanoke Zone to sing the Mission theme song, "Almost Heaven, West Virginia," to the dear women of the Relief Society who prepared the food for the mid-day meal.

Elder Soderstrom and Elder Shill, our fine District Leader' are standing next to them. Elder Soderstrom leaves us for another area of assignment on Transfer Day, June 17. We will miss him.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

As we drove up through the woods alongside the stream that feeds into the lake, David Freer pointed out the evidence of Beaver activity. This is not a very good picture, but you may be able to see that the tree that is down was cut into by the work of a Beaver.

Wildlife does abound in these Virginia hills, meadowlands and forests. We scared up a large White Tail Deer just a short distance from where this picture was taken, but I again, didn't get the camera un-limbered in time to get a picture.

It was a very pleasant experience for us to be with Susan and David and see their home and their forest property. They designed and built the home largely by themselves, installing special energy-saving features for both heating and cooling and emergency power, etc. Pretty impressive work. You can't help but admire what they have accomplished in such a short two years since they purchased the land.

The Freer's two big dogs ran along behind us as we cruised about the property. They have a wonderful big place to run and explore and chase about in; just what a dog's life should be!

We drove down to the reservoir that is on their property. Susan said she caught a large mouth bass the other day that was some 20" in length and weighed a good 6 lbs. We did see fish swimming about, but nothing that size.

The plan was for father's and sons to camp out Friday night down near the lake and enjoy fishing and boating before the rest of the Branch members arrived, starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The rains made it all too muddy and wet for a good camp-out so they will have to re-schedule their activity.

As we drove through the tall grass of one of their meadows we scared up a wild turkey which rose out of the grass and flew away so swiftly I didn't get a picture. But, there in the grass of the meadow we found this nest. We counted ten eggs, pretty obviously these are turkey eggs. We hoped the mother would come back after we departed.

They drove us about the place in their their little run-about dump truck. David and I got to ride in back of course. David is the Elder's Quorum President and a great strength to the Branch because of the deep committment and understanding he has of the gospel and church government. He has an active cancer that is not longer treatable, but you never hear him mention it. He is an inspiration to us all. His wife Susan is a North Carolina girl. She gave us big hugs and made us feel so welcome!

Saturday, we drove out to the 50-acre estate of Branch member David Freer, believing that we would be participating in a Branch party and cook-out. When we arrived we learned the picnic had been cancelled because of the heavy rains of the previous two days. But, we were greeted warmly by both David and his wife Susan and at their invitation we spent a good part of the afternoon, touring their very unique new home and riding about the expansive grounds which include hardwood forest, open meadows and a quite a nice sized private lake, stocked with fish. They treated us royally! We really had a most enjoyable afternoon with them, even sharing a meal together before we left for home.

Friday, June 5, 2009

This little fellow didn't get nearly as warm a welcome as the squirrels when he came slithering across our front lawn the other day. I figured him for a common black snake. He disappeared up under one of the big Blue Spruce trees near the driveway after I took this picture.

But, a day or two later, when we came home from an appointment we found him curled up on our front porch, probably enjoying the warmth of the sun on the concrete. The woman of the house gave stern orders and I had to get a rake and lift him off the porch and deposit him down in the wooded area near the creekbed below the house. He must not think we are very hospitable for his hasn't returned.

Squirrels abound here. They can be seen searching for food under the trees in our yard at most any time of the day. Sometimes we see two or three at a time foraging about. This little fellow came up on the sidewalk right in front of the living room window and seemed to want to have his picture taken, so I accommodated him.