Almost Packed and Almost Ready for the GRAND ADVENTURE!

When the email came, RAH responded with an enthusiastic YES!

They wanted to come stay in our home, while we stayed in their home.

And so, based on his enthusiastic reply, the people from the Netherlands bought their tickets for a house swap in St George.

But, something happened in the interim:  RAH lost his enthusiasm for the trip.

Alas, there was no turning back;


But, we wouldn't be G.O.I.N.G!

We had to get out of our home, however; we had essentially agreed to let them stay.

So, plan B was hatched;

we would drive to New Mexico to see where Brent and Jenni Fisher have moved.

From there, we will head across Texas to visit a cousin and a brother; to Louisiana to visit a sister on a mission; Tennessee to visit friends; and eventually land in Virginia to visit a son and another sister on a mission.

It would be a GRAND ADVENTURE!

Rah travels light...I have a suitcase and 2 bags...he has a tiny travel bag and a computer bag.

And, it all begins early on Saturday morning.

Let the FUN begin!


A Family Affair

She was one of the people who met me when we first moved to our current location;

she was friendly, always happy to see me.

But, we didn't really talk other than just a casual hello in the halls.

I was so impressed with her and with her family of four children; they were strong and VERY family oriented.  She was a returned missionary as was her spouse.

A month ago, I was asked to be her visiting teacher; I was thrilled.

And, that is when I learned about her family.  It surprised and shocked me.

She has very little contact with her family.  In fact, her parents don't call or send cards to her 4 children.

That was such a surprise to me because I want to be so involved in my grandchildren's lives (I just got off the phone talking to one grandchild just now!)

She doesn't interact with her siblings either....all 4 of the siblings are returned missionaries, but they don't get together, correspond, interact, etc.

It makes me wonder; how does a family - all good members of the church - get so fractured and fragmented?

Oh, please do NOT let that happen to us?!?!??!?

My family is everything and I want us to enjoy each other; want us to participate in each other's lives....

what happens to separate a FAMILY?

Satan, stay away.


Saying Good-Bye to Missionary #2

Hurry up and wait at the airport...Argentina bound, although he knows he will not be going directly to Argentina, so
WHERE will he go in the interim?  Fun guessing game indeed.

Jenni was trying very hard to NOT cry.....

Grannies Fisher and Hackworth; both proud of the handsome, good young man!

The family is getting whittled down....

Tie given to Elder Fisher by one of the many, many girls who came to say Farewell;
it says CTR and is in the colors of Argentina...so thoughtful.

Okay, we've said good-bye for a long time; now it's definitely time to get on that plane and head to Provo to the MTC!


Saying GOOD-BYE!

Just one more squeeze, please, dear Stockton!

Breakfast - a muffin....Elder S Fisher flies to Mexico today; Elder L Fisher flies to Provo tomorrow.

No, I'm not nervous....why be nervous?


Chile - Two Years,

It will fly by.

We love you and God Speed, Stockton.


Divorce - Parent Style

Recently Ron told me about his daughter.

They no longer have a relationship.

He has divorced her; in other words, he has cut her out of his will.

Sometimes the stories of families and their struggles make me so sad.

Because there are issues in our family.

As a young mother, my vision for the future was a strong family living the Gospel.

I do not like shattered dreams.


Positive or Negative

I LOVE to be around positive people.

It enriches my soul.

We are told not to hang around people who are negative.

But, what if they happen to be family members?

Ah, the challenges of family.


Totally Trivial

1.  It's still very hot outside, but it feels like fall; what causes that?
      the kids riding their bikes and scooters to school?
      the Halloween decorations all over the mall and big box cars?
      the cooler weather in the early mornings and evenings?
      the changing of the garden and the flowers as they wane a little?
      It just FEELS like Fall.

2.  My neighbors - the Mesquite lovers - went to their favorite casino thrice this week; they lost about       three hundred and fifty dollars...last year they lost over $60,000.00 in gambling fees.  I can't really be critical because - even though I try - I know I waste money.  But let's get real here, $60,000 is a dang lot of money to lose on anything, but especially GAMBLING!

3.  My continuing realization that I love books and music.  I'm so grateful for those arts.  They totally thrill MY SOUL!

4.  Just heard a radio broadcast on sugar; it's really quite terrifying and I KNOW that I am a total sugar addict.  But, what is really terrifying is that I am unwilling to give it up.

5.  I have some very personal issues going on in my family right now.  It is causing me such heartache that I can hardly focus on anything.  Oh, families - they are complicated.  And, my problem is that I can't get over stuff....it just weighs on me.  I need to be able to put the Atonement to use in my life, else what good is it really?


Addendum to Previous Post

I wrote that blog post about 3:00 am.

About 10 a.m., I began to listen to a tape by Pat Conroy called MY READING LIFE.

He talks about his great passion for books, the mother who instilled his love of books in his life, and books/authors that had a profound effect on him.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter One that thrilled my very SOUL:

In my junior year, she (his mother who was going to class with him) developed a schoolgirl crush on Col. James Harrison, who taught American literature. He filled his lectures with a refined erudition, a passion for good writing, and a complete dedication to the task of turning his cadets into well-spoken and clear-thinking young men. But Mom fell head over heels for the lovely man the day Colonel Harrison read the Whitman poem "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd." With the softest of voices, he read to his class the poet's moving elegy on the death of Abraham Lincoln. Halfway through his recitation, he confessed to us that he always wept whenever he read that particular poem. He apologized to the class for his lack of professionalism. He wiped his glasses and, with tears streaming down his face, he dismissed the class and headed toward his office. The grandson of a Confederate officer had been moved to tears by a poem commemorating the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. For me that day will last forever. I had no idea that poetry could bring a grown man to his knees until Colonel Harrison proved it. It ratified a theory of mine that great writing could sneak up on you, master of a thousand disguises: prodigal kinsman, messenger boy, class clown, commander of artillery, altar boy, lace maker, exiled king, peacemaker, or moon goddess. I had witnessed with my own eyes that a poem made a colonel cry. Though it was not part of a lesson plan, it imparted a truth that left me spellbound. Great words, arranged with cunning and artistry, could change the perceived world for some readers. 

OH, my goodness....

I do love a good book that has such power to evoke strong powerful feelings just by putting WORDS together.

I wish I could do that with words, but I can't so I'll be satisfied with reading the words of others!

So Many Books, So Little Time

I love a good read.

For me, it's all about the writing.  I like strong characters and GOOD writing.

Over the course of my lifetime, I've read some fantastic books.

I've read some great stories, read about interesting people, learned about events in history; I've cried, I've laughed.

I don't do fantasy or sci fi, but I do enjoy non-fiction and an occasional fiction.  I don't particularly care for Mormon fiction (usually terrible writing with lots of dialogue and not a lot of descriptive writing), and I'm not a big fan of books with swearing and offensive things.

Reading is not for everyone, but for me it's a great release - a grand escape into other worlds, lives, situations, happenings.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my book is calling my name.


The Scam Artist

It would be difficult to describe A's excitement when she learned she was going to the Taylor Swift concert called RED.

On the day she got the surprise tickets, her parents were wearing RED, they gave her RED licorice to eat, they were drinking RED soda, and they were taping her reaction.  When she saw the tickets poking out of the RED vines licorice package, A started screaming, dancing, yelling, laughing, crying, screaming some more.....this was a VERY BIG DEAL!

She had five days to "GET READY."

She fixed a shirt, made a sign, taped lights around her black pants....she was so ready to go....

We went to lunch on the BIG DAY, but she couldn't eat.  She was psyched to see her IDOL!

Her mom came home early from work; they headed out the door for dinner, and then they arrived at the arena with the expensive tickets.

That is when they learned the devastating news; FAKE TICKETS!

Honestly, they look so real to me...who would ever know?

How could someone do this?

How could anyone crush the tender feelings of a ten-year old?

(Later, it was learned that he had done this to others as well.  An angry mother is hot on his trail...well, maybe not hot, but she's after him!)

Oh, Mr Evil Man, your day will come.

I'm not a vindictive person.

But, where-ever you are, whoever you are, I do know this...what goes around DOES come around.  

Your turn will come and hopefully when it does, you will feel the sorrow you caused the broken-hearted girls in your scam.

(A was able to get in, thanks to a generous mom, but some of the others were not as fortunate.)

Coronado Island....

...has to be one of the best places EVER!

Great beaches, lovely homes, perfect weather, lush plants.

Oh yes, I'm in love with that little corner of the world:

Kaelyn and Alyson clown around in the beautiful front yard of their home.

Alyson all ready for the Taylor Swift concert...she's very happy in this picture...she didn't realize she was about to get some bad news; her tickets were FAKE!  But, her mom saved the day for her.  Doesn't she look adorable?  The day after the concert, she made a lovely poster and bracelet to show her appreciation to her mother...thoughtful, yes!

Carisa on Coronado sports a new 'do.'

The succulents are succulent.  They are prolific and so unique.  I love the design and the designer.

Sayre; such an exuberant kid...I always love his enthusiasm, his quest for learning.  I hope he never loses his passion for asking questions.

Some people think trees were made to give off oxygen; that would be only partially correct....they were also made for  boys to climb...you go, Sayre.  You just enjoy childhood; it's over very soon.

The beaches in San Diego are some of the best anywhere.  The way you tell if it is a good beach is to measure the redness of the people's arms and legs the following day.  This beach is obviously a very GOOD one.  OUCH!

Such a great shoreline with the ferry in the foreground.  
These signs dot the entire island.  I love the patriotism exhibited in the small area.  There are lots of American flags displayed every day.  It's a great reminder that we owe much to so many.  I am grateful.

The homes are inviting and different.  One man told me he bought his 1400 sq ft home for $34,500 in 1967.  He could hardly afford it, but his wife thought it would be a good investment.  He recently had it appraised for $1.8 MILLION.  Incredible.  So, the homes are lovely, but they are pricey!  Oh yes.

Ah such a great place to visit.

Thanks, J & C. 


Addendum and an Apology

In reading my blog post of our last day on the mission, I  realized it sounded very braggy.  (new word made up by MOI!)

I have no right to brag.

RAH and I did NOTHING on our missions that other missionaries didn't do and that missionaries all over the world don't do.  It is just the nature of the title; missionary.  It just denotes service.  And, that is what all missionaries do...in different ways.

So, I certainly did not mean and should not imply that we were in any way different or unusual.

I am frankly embarrassed by my post as I read it now.

But, I LOVED the opportunity and it's obvious that I still have many, many lessons to learn...humility being foremost among them right now.


End of the Mission

Driving to the LDS Employment Center today, I told Allen,

"I don't want to hear one sad story today."

And, it ALMOST happened.

But, I heard some inspiring stories;

Elder Clayton told this story which I JUST LOVED.

His brother-in-law, a multi-millionaire, was the Stake President, then he was called to be a Mission President.  When he returned home, his Bishop called him to be the custodian and clean the BATHROOMS.  He wasn't happy about the cleaning supplies that the church was using, so he bought his own to use.  Each week, he went to the church and cleaned - toilets.

He did this for several months and was happy to do it...until his call as a Stake Patriarch.

What a great story!

What a remarkable church that will get people to serve in ANY capacity.  I love that!

Another story I heard was from Alyson.  She quit going to church as a teenager, married, had three daughters.  Divorced, remarried.  One day the missionaries came to her door.  She was so excited and was so thrilled to see them.  She had been wanting to have the church in her life.  Her husband listened to the missionaries and was converted.

And now, they are serving a mission.

What a great story!

One final story.

Sister T is the most gentle, meek, tender, SWEET person imaginable.  Today I told her what great admiration I had for her and her goodness.  She reluctantly told me, when I pressed her about her parents, that her mother was very domineering.  There had been A LOT of fighting in her home, and she decided early on that she did not want to have that kind of home.  At age 4, her had begged a neighbor to let her go with her to Primary, which she just loved.  She felt that is where she belonged, and church has been a part of her life ever since, even though she had no support from her parents.

Now, those are the stories I love!

Those were a great way to end the mission.

The End

Elder and Sister Hackworth - 3rd time's the charm!

This is our 3rd part-time service mission in St. George...two were at the family history center; the first one we volunteered for, the second one we were specifically called to be the assistant directors.
A drawer full of missionary tags....
Then we went to China for one year through the church's China Teachers' Program;

Arrival in China - Aug 2010
and, finally, this mission.

I will be forever grateful for the opportunities and blessings of this marvelous experience.

I love how the church cares for everyone; not just members of our faith, but everyone.  I love how so many good good people are willing to give up their time and serve.  It is inspiring to me.

I wish that I could put into words the many times I have seen the missionaries go above and beyond and truly HELP the people who come in seeking help, a listening ear, a kind word, money loaned, money secretly given, rides given, furniture moved, cars fixed, resumes dropped off, etc.

So, for now, I'll just write about RAH -

he studied all the church's materials dealing with jobs, etc.  He watched the training videos on the church's website; Providentliving.org  so that he could better understand our role in helping people find employment.

He encouraged people to return to church or go to church.

He took homeless people to lunch.

He gave people money.

He took people home, across town, to job interviews.

He called about issues when people didn't know what to do.

He called employers, he called apartment owners, he called government offices in an effort to help job seekers with a variety of their problems.

He sat and helped people that others in the office avoided.

He gave advice.

He cared.

He encouraged.

And, most of all, he LISTENED.

Oh, he was a good, good missionary.

(Unlike younger missionaries serving, we kept our same companionship for the entire year and it was good!  (Tee Hee)  

And nearly every Tuesday, we stopped on our way home to visit Sylvia - a former neighbor - at the nursing home.  She was always so appreciative and told us she loved us. Oh, how we love that dear, dear sweetheart!)  

There are many things I will miss; the other missionaries, the happy gatherings to celebrate birthdays, shopping at DI when things were slow in the office, the morning prayer meetings, the camaraderie, the atmosphere of service, the stories, the jokes, the ringing of the bell when someone got a job, the home-made goodies, the good spirit in the room.

It's all good.

And, it's all over.

Wearing the badges for one last time
Thank you dear Heavenly Father for this great opportunity.

Now, it's road trip time!


Mission Monday

One day down, one day to go.

I got emotional tonight thinking about all the missionaries whom I have grown to love.

BUT, I will NOT miss this:

from the felon whom no one will hire, to the recently-homeless couple, to the lady joining the church but I'm sort of suspicious about her motives and I wish I weren't, to the tall guy who just got out of the Navy after working for 20 years on submarines and can't get a job in St George in his field (Oh really, there are no submarine jobs here?), to the guy who wants to move here from Florida and leave his really good job that has insurance benefits because his wife wants to be here even though there are no jobs, to the mother/daughter pair who so desperately need jobs, to the man on the phone who can have a job in St George for $32,000 when he is making $42,000 in Montana.  

I won't miss that kind of stuff.  

BUT, I will miss the missionaries.  I LOVE Them.

Need something organized?  Sharon's the organizing QUEEN... honestly, the cupboards were a MESS until she began her  magic and starting CLEANING out.  She's the cleaning WONDER WOMAN...indeed.


The Neighbors

Don't be jealous, but we get to live next door to these awesome neighbors.

Oh, yes, it's Bill and Barbara!

Let me tell you about them.

Barbara used to bring dinner over - very often.

She also used to bring over fruits and vegetables.

She has given me a purse, a shirt, a robe, a gorgeous blanket/coverlet (which I use EVERY day)...she gave Allen a sweater....

She remembers our birthdays and knows we love See's chocolates and has given us some boxes of those over the years.

Now, what neighbor does that?

She gives me all her old magazines - so, I should be very healthy because lots of them are health magazines!

She's had had such a bummer time with her knee; she will be having surgery on it for the THIRD time and I'm very sorry about that.

They are dog lovers; they take such good care of their two dogs (they used to have 4!)  In fact, when I just went next door to visit them, Bill was actually COOKING CHICKEN FOR HIS DOGS!  Now, who does that?

I consider it one of our great blessings to have Bill and Barbara for our neighbors!

Thanks, B & B, for being so awesome over a few years.  WE LOVE having you as neighbors!

Money Matters

First of all, I'm very grateful for the money we have.

Next, I will just say it's not a lot.  It's a modest amount, but I'm grateful to have it, along with our pensions.

But, I don't want to lose or waste any of it.

And, this year, we have made a couple of rather foolish sort-of innocent mistakes - the kind you learn from.

1.  We didn't understand, nor take the time to figure out, what the little icon on our year-old-car dashboard meant when it lighted up.  Allen thought it meant the tires should be rotated.  What it ACTUALLY meant was one of the tires was very low on air.  Oh, yes, there was a screw in it and by the time we went to fix it, it had ruined the year-old tire.  IF we had taken it in when it first lighted up, we would have saved ourselves the cost of a brand-new tire or about $175.00!


2.  One day an email showed up from my sister-in-law who worked at the church office building.  So, right off, somehow I thought it MUST BE SAFE and real!  If it was being sent to hundreds of workers in the church, SuRELY it must be authentic.

It was a FABULOUS travel deal.....oh, yes, it was incredible!  For $599.00, we would stay at a resort in Hawaii for one week, with airfare included.  WHAT?!?!??!  Seemed too good to be true.  I called the number several times asking about the reliability of the company, checked the website....etc., etc., etc.  They were even a member of the Better Business Bureau, and they told me on the phone that they had been in business for seven years.  Yeah, right?!?!??!?!?!??!

So, foolishly, I sent in the money.  Like your momma always said, "If it sounds too good to be true, you better watch out!"

Of course it was a SHAM!  SHAM CITY....and we are out the $599.00.  I'm still shaking my head over that one.  I mean, I made many calls, talked to salespeople, checked out the website.... But, man, was I taken on that deal!  We spoke to a person in the same office complex; the doors on the sham business had been locked and shuttered....


So, of course, I was very skeptical when I received a postcard declaring that CHASE Bank would put $200.00 in my account if I opened an account for $1500.00...there were a few stipulations, but one of them sounded reasonable...just leave the $1500.00 in for six months.

I went in person, I talked to the people, and I signed up.  Sure enough, in a few days, there in the account was $200.00!  Now, that was easy.  In six months - which is one month from today, I will take the money out and put it back in my regular savings where it will continue to earn a whopping %.00003 or something ridiculous like that.  But, we MADE $200 just like that!

We have since done that two more times with Chase.  In fact, we have earned five hundred dollars!  When the six months on each of the accounts is over, we will take the money out and put it elsewhere where it will earn a teeny bit more interest.

BUT, my point is, we did latch on to something that is good and FOR REAL!

I like this side of it much better than the losing side...thank you very much!


A Tuesday to Treasure

The sister missionaries' purses on this Tuesday...notice the white one....
the owner brings a different purse every day....ALWAYS big and always colorful!

There are about 20 missionaries at the LDS Employment Center.

We are never there all at once. Some days there are a lot of the missionaries, some days there aren't very many. We each have certain assigned days.

BUT, when there is a phone call from a job seeker, it's just random who takes the call.

And, so when MC called about a month ago, I don't really know how it came to be that I was the one he ended up talking to. It could have come on a day when I wasn't there and it could have gone to someone else. But, I was the one MC talked to.

MC explained on the phone that for family reasons he and his wife wanted to move from Montana to St George.

So, he asked me about jobs. I was hesitant. Jobs in his field were scarce.

AND, the pay is terrible here in St George. I was brutally honest.

Over the next month, MC called several times to talk, to see if I had heard of any jobs in his field ( he and his wife both have masters' degrees in their fields.) I really had very little leads. But, he was still going to pursue things, he said.

On Tuesday morning, he called.....he was in town. He and his wife would like to come by the employment center and meet me.

He walked in the door, we shook hands, he introduced me to his wife, Tam. I in turn introduced MC and his wife to my husband, who just happened to be by the front door.

"Brother HACKWORTH!" she exclaimed excitedly! "You were my teacher!" She became VERY teary-eyed. She could hardly talk. She said she was sorry that she was so emotional.

And, then she explained why.

She said, "You were a good teacher. I really enjoyed your class.

"One day you brought in some pictures and talked about the Holocaust.

"It was the first time I really understood the horrors of that event. I was moved to tears in class. YOU comforted me like a father. You were so gentle and understanding in that moment of my awakening. That moment meant so much to me. It was a turning point in my life.

"And, I have remembered it and you all these years."

She also told RAH that he had been her best friend's Bishop. RAH remembered the friend of whom Tam talked.....

It was such a tender moment to be there and see those connections. I never want to forget that.

What if MC had originally called on a day we weren't there?
What if MC had talked to any one of the other 19 missionaries?

Witnessing this reunion of a teacher and student from many years ago, reminded me - once again - of the small moments in our lives that are such treasures.

Ah, just two more days next week of missionary service.

And, oh, how I will miss choice moments like this!


Drugs and Teeth

Before a drug dealer sells drugs to a newbie, perhaps he should just ask,

"Do you like your teeth?  Because if you do, you shouldn't do meth....

"In just a short while, you will have no teeth.  It will make it hard to eat, talk, smile, and get a job with which to further your habit."

However, drug dealers, friends, and family aren't likely to mention that little fact.

And, it's too bad really because maybe - and it's a big maybe - the kid wouldn't do drugs.  

But, then again, maybe he would think - like we all do -

"well, it won't happen to me!"

I've seen meth mouth; it's not pretty; it's sad; it's horrible.

And, it makes me grateful for my teeth!
(I was actually going to include a picture here, but it was too graphic, so thought better of it.  No need to be reminded visually of the ugliness of what drugs do to your teeth.)


Mission Monday

Lots of jobs to post.

Not a lot of people to fill the very specific jobs requested.

Lots of people needing jobs.

Not a lot of jobs that fill their skills and needs.

So, as usual, there is a


between the jobs we have and the job candidates we have.

That is sad.




Certainly good advice for keeping going when things seem stacked against you and you are tempted to give in to despair.


The Technology Family...

featuring the:

Papa Techno,
Mama Techno,


this is a modern family of mixed race:

Papa is Apple
Mama is Android
Baby is Apple.

We try to keep things politically correct in our household!


The Obituary Columns

I don't read them every day.

But, if a young person dies or a veteran or something piques my interest, I read about the now-deceased person.

And, I have come to realize that no ornery, mean, selfish, cantankerous, gossipy, hard-headed, hard-hearted person ever dies!

It's true.

The only people dying are:

Wonderful father/son/brother/nephew/uncle/grandfather/neighbor/Christian.
Community minded,
Helpful to others in any situation,
Lover of animals and the out-of-doors
and on and on?

Now, here's the thing.  I've lived for 69 years and I know that there are some mighty mean, selfish, stubborn, recluses, and egotistical dweebs out there.

So, it's amazing to me that THEY NEVER DIE!

No one ever puts in an obituary;
he actually voted against supporting the new animal shelter, he spray painted the neighbor's yard over a dog doodoo dispute, he cheated his mother out of her retirement income, he once shoved an old lady out of line at the Wal*Mart check-out counter on Christmas Eve, he hated the great outdoors and once set fire to it.

Oh, no, the deceased is always painted in such glowing terms that one time my aunt actually asked at a funeral, "Who's in that casket anyway...it's not the person I knew in life!"

So, if you are looking for truth, you can't read the political columns or the obituary column.

Best to stick to the comics; they have a little bit of truth in them occasionally.

Home-Made Raisins

The recipe:

Take one large gob of green grapes from along the back fence.

Set outside in the hot St George sun for several days!

VOILA: raisins that taste just like SunMaid....and lots less expensive.

Cousins Coincidence

Dixie texted; she wanted to meet us for lunch. Dixie is Allen's 2 or 3 COUSIN; who knows, but anyway, they are related.  She is won...