Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Joy

Christmas morning was a lovely and low key affair. The kids are getting older, so we don't have to wake up in the pre-dawn hours to celebrate. After opening our gifts, we anxiously awaited the call that we knew would be coming from our missionary Drake. Our internet is not super awesome in Page, so I was a little nervous that we would not be able to Skype with him as planned. When he called in the late morning, we all huddled around the iPad to get our first look at his face in three months. It was fantastic! He looked so healthy and happy and he had lots to say. Things are going well in Washington, and he is getting the hang of all things missionary. I was sure that nothing could compare to the gift of being able to tell my son that I loved him face to face!

We spent a lot of time the rest of the day bouncing around from our house to Grandma Martins to continue celebrating the Christmas holiday with various family members that were in town. We even went over to Trissy and Eddie's house to see the bigger Martin clan.

In the evening, we had signed up to have the missionaries over for dinner. In a slight change of plans, Lisa wanted to have dinner at her house, so we asked the missionaries to join us in LeChee which they did. As we were eating and enjoying the evening, I asked the Elders how the calls to their own families had gone. They sheepishly informed me that they hadn't actually talked to their parents yet. It is their directive that they are not supposed to ask to use anyone's computers or other devices, but rather wait for someone to offer. I was in shock! Knowing how we had waited for Drake to call, I knew exactly how their parents must be feeling at this late hour int he day.

We hastily thanked Allen and Lisa for dinner and insisted that we immediately return to our house so they could call home! I knew that even though our internet isn't great, it was better than in LeChee and we had been fine talking to Drake that morning.

Once we got to our house, we set up each Elder with an iPad and they were able to call their families. Since they were nearby, I was able to hear them talking. They sounded so happy. One of the Elders has only been out a few months and Page was his second area. Apparently in his first area, he had gone through some really hard times with his companion, and his parents were grilling him to make sure things had improved. He cried and told them how much he loved them and loved his mission and being in Page. 

I was so sure nothing could make our day any better than it had already been. I was wrong. Having these sweet Elders in our home and being able to help them connect with their families was the absolute icing on the cake. I am so grateful for technology. I am so thankful for missionaries. I am so thankful for the Christmas season and our Savior Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Missionary Fun

It looks like Drake is having some fun as the holidays approach.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Some Things Never Change

I have been very surprised and happy that Drake has written us some really great and informative emails. We even get a picture from time to time. On one of his p-days, Drake and his companion visited a car museum which I am sure was Drake's choice. He sent us a whole slew of pictures of cars that he saw. He was only in a couple of them! Hahaha, that kid!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Tender Text

As I have mentioned, I really look forward to getting emails from Drake on Tuesdays. This particular week, his email was exceptionally short, but included a promise that he has sent a paper letter in the mail (I guess people still do that from time to time). I tried not to feel too disappointed, but instead focused my energy on checking the mail at the post office. Every Day. For the Whole Week.

By Friday (the last day mail is delivered for the week), no letter had arrived.

I don't want to sound pathetic or anything, but I was really down that I had not received any real news from Drake for the week. It has been hard for me having him gone.

So there I am at home on Saturday evening, and I get a text message. It is not from a number that I recognize, but lo and behold, it is a picture of Drake and his companion! A sweet sister in the ward where he is serving took a picture of them as they prepared to serve the ward their Thanksgiving dinner. Oh the joy!

I quickly texted back a thank you, and then we began chatting back and forth. Come to find out, this woman had a son serving a mission two blocks from the capitol in Washington DC at the time of 9/11. She heard pretty quickly that he was okay, but soon after, she got a letter in the mail that had a picture of her son. A woman had taken a photo of him and sent it to her so that she would not only know that he was okay, but that in the midst of that terrible time, he still smiled. He was happy. From then on, she always tries to send a picture to the moms of the missionaries that serve in her ward. And what a timely tender mercy it was for this mama. I know he just left and that he is in good hands, but to see his smiling face when I was feeling a little blue was a witness to me that the Lord is watching over us, and that he loves us!

Thank you so very much for being a blessing to me, sweet sister in Tacoma! Your text was truly a tender mercy, and I am thankful!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

He Has Arrived

So Drake has been out just over a month. He left the MTC at the end of October and was assigned to serve in the downtown Tacoma area of Hilltop. Once he was out in the field, I did some searching and found a mission blog that the mission president's wife posts pictures to. That was a treat since she posted a bunch of his arrival and new missionary training. (I may or may not check the blog a little obsessively in hopes of catching a glimpse of my kid.)

In the picture above, Drake is sitting with his companion, Elder White from the MTC. We didn't hear a whole lot about him, but Drake says they are getting along just fine.

In looking back at the archives on the blog, you can see that they introduce each missionary to their companions one at a time and snap a photo as they greet each other. Many of the greetings were very enthusiastic, and I literally laughed out loud that they captured Drake so perfectly as he met his companion for the first time.


His trainer's name is Elder Larson, and Drake got a real kick out of that. In one of his letters he made the comment that the Larsons and the Martins just can't be separated. I think it was a little thing that gave him a real boost. He was also able to see Elder Johnson, another Elder from Page serving in the same mission as Drake. He thought that was pretty awesome.

For now, we get to hear from Drake every Tuesday. The normal P-day is on Monday, but the library where they go to email is closed on Monday. So, Tuesday is the day that I anxiously check my email about 50 times a day. His letters are better than I hoped for. He is getting settled in, and he is learning a lot about what it really means to be a missionary. I am so proud of him!

Elder Drake Martin with President and Sister Blatter

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Letting Go

One of the hardest things I think you have to do as a parent is let go.

For 18 years Theo and I have worked hard to ensure our children would one day become capable of taking care of themselves, that they would be able to go out into the world and be contributing members of society. Well, I guess that time has come. Drake is ready to take off the proverbial training wheels and go out into the missionary field. My mama's heart has been very tender this entire year as we have drawn closer to this moment. I am so proud of Drake and his decision to serve.

We drove up to Salt Lake and stayed at Grandma and Grandpa Ross' house on Tuesday night. Drake was supposed to go to the MTC around 1:00. We took our time getting ready in the morning and then we departed for Provo to drop off our son. Many people had advised us that when you arrive at the MTC, there is no dilly dallying. You drop them at the curb, hug, and say goodbye. That is it. Knowing this, we went across the street to the Provo temple first to walk around for a few minutes and to take a couple of pictures. The nervous excitement was palpable. I couldn't look around too much at the other families that were in tears with their missionaries. At about 15 minutes before the time he was supposed to arrive, Drake declared he was ready to go.

We drove across the street and into the continuously moving line of cars of families doing the same thing we were. I managed to hug him one last time and express my love before he hugged his dad and began wheeling away with his escort and his suitcases. It was all I could do to get into the car before the ugly tears started. Drake didn't look back, but walked with confidence and determination to begin his missionary service.

Don't get me wrong, I am so happy Drake is doing this! I am so proud! I wouldn't want him to be doing anything different. I will just miss him a bunch.

And so, it is time to let go.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Trip of a Lifetime

Almost a year ago, my parents were visiting us in Page and my mom was talking about a trip that some of her friends were going to be taking the following year. They were planning a cruise that would go around Italy. My mom was so sad that my dad was not willing to go with her as it is one of the places that she has always wanted to go. I half jokingly said I would go with her. She instantly lit up and asked if I was serious. Would I really go? I thought, why not? I would love to see Italy, and my mom really wanted to go. So for the next nine months or so, we planned.

As the time got closer to when Drake would get his mission call, I got worried that the trip might interfere with his departure. Fortunately, he was called to enter the MTC a few weeks after we would be back from the cruise. With that major worry out of the way, we were in business.

I drove to Salt Lake where we then flew to New York City and then transferred for our flight to Barcelona, Spain. The following day we borded the ship where we had dinner, got settled and then headed out on our adventure. We toured the cities of Nice and Eze France, Pisa, Florence, Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Venice, Montenegro, and Barcelona, Spain. We ate delicious Italian food, shopped in skinny little side streets, waded in the Mediterranean, lounged by the pool, and ate gelato and more gelato. What an amazing adventure. I think the thing that amazed me the most was how old yet well preserved everything was. It is one thing to see the Sistine Chapel in a picture in a book. It is another thing entirely to gaze up at it from inside the walls of the Vatican. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the cliche "they don't make em like they used to". It was breathtaking at every turn!
So glad I got to share this with my mom!