Monday, February 22, 2010

On Monday, February 22, (Washington's Birthday), prior to taking them to the Lynchburg airport for their flight home, we drove west to Thaxton and had a short visit with Sister Rosemary Overstreet at her home. Sister Overstreet usually rides to church each Sunday with Sister Evelyn Deel, but Sister Deel had to be to an early meeting with the Branch Council and Sister Overstreet was unable to attend. We wanted her to meet our daughters before they left to return to Arizona. She stood at the door of her tiny home and received a hug from each one as they introduced themselves to her. It was another memorable moment!

Elmer and Sue Hodge of the Branch, made themselves available to assist with transportation to the airport at 12:45 pm, Monday. We should have taken a picture of them with the girls but all the goodbyes and hugs and tears at the curb side at the terminal sort of overwhelmed. We made sure their flight was still on schedule and them it was over. They had come and then like a dream they were gone! How it touched our hearts and made our spirits soar to have our daughters and Brookelyn and Ross with us for those few days!

It is a memory we will always tresure.

We couldn't help ourselves, but had to have a picture of these two young love birds, Ross and Brookelyn as they slept in each others arms while seated with us in the family room of our home in Bedford while we were all talking and laughing and making a general racket. It didn't seem to bother them in the least.

They had flown into Baltimore, MD and driven a rental car all the way down from Baltimore to be with us for this memorable weekend. When Ross wasn't catching up on sleep he was strumming a guitar and singing one pleasant song after another. He has a very fine singing voice. We all like him a lot and we are very happy for the both of them. They will be married in the Snowflake Arizona Temple next month. We can't be there because of our missionary assignment, so we are particularly pleased and complimented that they would come all this way to be with us.

Ross joined me and Elder's Cowley and Liddiard, and Danny Laprade, in singing "Love at Home" during the baptismal service.

On Sunday, February 21, it was our great pleasure to participate in the baptismal service held for Kathryn Laprade. Her husband Danny performed the baptism. They both were beaming with happiness!

This picture was taken in the east foyer of the Bedford Branch chapel, following the baptismal service.

Kathryn was honored by the presence of many members of the branch and by several members of her family, including 3 sisters, a daughter and a neice and 4 grandchildren.

It added to our joy to have five of our daughters present, along with a granddaughter, Brookelyn, and her fiancee, Ross. The girls and their mother and Brookelyn sang a favorite Children's hymn at one point in the service. It was very, very special!

On the day of their arrival, despite the long flight and the need for rest, after a late lunch at Liberty Station in Bedford they happily accompanied us down to visit our dear friend Merle Dutton at his home in Goodview, some 25 miles away on the shores of Smith Mountain Lake.

Merle had just lost his wife, Marianna. She died in the hospital in Roanoke from the effects of a massive stroke just the week before. He seemed very pleased and touched to have this visit and to get hugs and good wishes from each of our daughters. It was a very special visit in his home. Before we left to return to Bedford he gave us a loaf of home made Italian bread he had just baked that day! We have rarely gone to his home when he didn't press upon us something from his kitchen. He is such a fine man.

Linda took this picture of us gathered about Merle in the living room of his home, just before we said our goodbyes.
The girls had been on a long flight and we decided to take them for a bite to eat before taking them to our home. This was our first time to eat at the famous Liberty Station Restaurant in Bedford since the fire and restoration.

The girls seemed to really enjoy it!

We had the temporary use of a second vehicle to get them from the airport to home. Our Branch President, Harvey Scott, was on a business trip to England and offered the use of his vehicle which he had left at the airport parking lot. It was so kind and thoughtful of him to offer the use of his vehicle. It saved the day for us1 Renting a big van would have been so expensive.

This picture was taken inside the restaurant while everyone was still deciding on what to order. They each said later that it was the perfect place!

On Thursday, February 18, five of our daughters flew into Lynchburg, Virginia's regional airport for a 4-day visit. To their complete surprise our Mission President, Michael Thornock, was there to greet them on their arrival.
This picture was taken in the airport terminal with President Thornock and one of the West Virginia Charleston Mission's greatest missionaries
From left to right, they are Sister Linda Chapman, and daughters Amy Funk, Kelly Bevell, Ann Williams Rebecca Ricedorff, and Melissa Lesueur, with President Thornock on the far right.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sunday, Feb 7, despite the snows of Friday and Saturday, the Bedford Branch held Fast and Testimony Meeting, scheduling it at 12 noon, with no meetings to follow.

It was very important that we were able to hold this meeting. The snow storm of the previous weekend and forced cancellation of all our meetings that last Sunday of January.

The Branch members came together and we had a combined Testimony meeting and an opportunity for Jacob Quick and his family to share their feelings as Jacob spoke for the last time before leaving for the MTC in Provo and his assignment to the Nevada Las Vegas West Mission. It was also a time of goodbye to Elder Fullmer, who has been a missionary in the Bedford Area since last August and who, by his hard work, faith and example has become beloved by all the members. He will be tranfered this week to Charleston, West Virginia where he will serve as a Zone Leader. Elder Liddiard will remain with us. His new companion will be Elder Cowley who has been serving as an Assistant to the Mission President, so we are looking forward to getting better acquainted with him.

Friday, Feb 5, the eastern seaboard began to feel the oncoming of the third major snow storm of this interesting winter season.

This is a view in the midst of the storm, from our kitchen storm door, looking south, out across the yard to the fir trees that line the boundry of this property and the thicket of hardwood trees beyond.

We probably had about a foot of snow on the level before this storm moved on past us late on Saturday.

This is the Bedford Area Welcome Center, located near the interchange where one of the main roads into Bedford (122) crosses the Salem/Lynchburg Turnpike (US 460). This is where we go each day to connect to their wireless Internet system, allowing us to send and receive email messages and other Internet access. We don't have to leave our car. We can make connection simply by opening our laptop.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This is the view to the north of us after the storm had cleared on Sunday morning. That is the home of our neigbors, Dave and Betty Schutte, with the Blue Ridge mountains in the far distance. It was very clear and very cold! What a beautiful day!

The heavy snowfall caused closure of almost all Sunday services for Churchs' throughout this part of Virginia, including our own LDS Bedford Branch meetings. Too many members live too far away on secondary roads and backwoods lanes that have not been plowed.

We spent a quiet peaceful day at home, watching church services on BYU-TV and reading, visiting together and taking calls from our family.

The early morning sun shines through the ice that is still clinging to the dry broom grass, creating sparkles of light. There are so many beautiful scenes created by a new snow fall!
This picture was taken on Sunday morning, Jan 31, looking east across the vacant field to the north of our residence property on Hopes Way, outside Bedford.

Our good neighbor, Dave Schutte, came to our rescue again. As the storm slowed in the late afternoon on Saturday he fired up his tractor and cleared the road all the way out to the highway and then returned and plowed our driveway. He then ranged around the community and plowed out driveways for any number of residents, all with no thought of being paid for his services.

He told me that one woman came out on her porch as he was plowing her drive and wanted to know why he had taken so long in responding to her call. She was even more perplexed and chagrined when he told her that he was just doing this as a neighborly gesture, not because anyone had hired him. He told her she better call whoever she hired and tell him not to bother coming over since the drive was now cleared.

He said he really enjoys helping clear the snow for people, but he does get very cold sitting on the open seat of the tractor in this below freezing weather.

The second big snow storm of the winter season swept across Virginia and surrounding states, beginning late Friday evening and continuing all through Saturday, leaving a good 10-12 inches on the ground here in Bedford, January 29-30.

I took this picture early Sturday morning, while it was still coming down. Temperatures dropped into the single digits when the storm cleared.