Monday, January 9, 2017

The Long (but wonderful) Road Home

We left the mission field on Monday, May 2nd, and had already decided to take the long road home.  We headed to Atlanta, Georgia first to see our son Kent and his family.  It was so great to spend some quality time with them.  We were planning to spend time with my sister, Julee, and her husband Dick..... but Julee got quite ill right when we were supposed to get there.  So instead we spent a whole week with Kent and his family and we got to see Julee and Dick towards the end of our stay.

It was so wonderful to see Courtney getting ready for prom and see her perform with her flute in the orchestra.  We also got to spend time watching Jackson play basketball and see how tall that Natalie has grown.  Both she and Jackson have really shot up while we have been gone.

After leaving Atlanta we spent the night in Memphis and went to visit Graceland the next day.  It was fun to see all of the memorabilia having to do with Elvis.  We even learned a lot more than we ever imagined about a period of time we actually lived through.  We must have been so involved in our little corner of the world that there was a lot that went right past us at the time.

After spending the night in Memphis, then the next day we drove to Amarillo, Texas.  We decided that it has to be the flattest spot in the country.  We actually traveled right along side the old Route 66 which was fun and we stopped at a few places along the way.
One of our most memorable stops was very short, but we visited the Albuquerque, New Mexico temple grounds.  The temple matron was outside tending her grandkids while their parents went on a temple session so it was really fun to have a nice casual chat with her.

Another memorable stop was the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest outside of Albuquerque.  Jim said he remembered always driving past the signs as a kid when their family traveled to Arizona each summer. was fun for both of us to actually take some time to stop and sight see a little bit.

We stayed the last night in Flagstaff, Arizona before visiting the next bit of family the next morning in Saint George.  It was a good feeling to actually enter the state of Utah after being away for 18 months.  But it was an even better feeling to see our wonderful family who we have missed so much.

We had a great visit with Mike and Heather, saw Brynlee graduate from kindergarten, and then had a wonderful reunion with Emily's family.  Dawson seemed to be all grown up and he loved the little truck we brought him to help break the ice after us being gone so long.                    

We stayed in Saint George for a couple of days and then we headed for West Jordan.  We had a wonderful welcome there from Jared's and Janelle's families.  They had really worked hard to spruce up our home and to take care of the yard immaculately.  We just can't thank them enough.

Our homecoming talks were given on Memorial Day weekend and the family from Saint George was able to attend.  The next couple of months were spent with helping Janelle get ready for her family's move to the Boston area, back to Saint George for a couple of Emily's hospital stays, and a wonderful week with all of our family in Salt Lake and Oakley where we held the "cousin's camp" that we had missed during the previous year.  It was truly a miracle that we were able to all be together and we took advantage of the time by taking a family photo.  The only person missing was our sweet granddaughter, Megan, who was still serving her mission.  Right around the time of our picture we got word that mission boundaries were changed and she was then transferred to the Baltimore, Maryland mission for the remainder of her service.

The Lord's plan goes on and we are so grateful to have been a part of it in Pittsburgh.