Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Wonderful Day!

To tell you the truth, I was a little worried about how Christmas day was going to shake down here at the Carter home. After all, Mark had only been gone for about a week and the sting of missing him was still prevalent. We also knew that we wouldn't be seeing Cameron and Crystal again this year and that tugged on the old heart strings pretty good. In addition to all that, Craig and I had decided to really scale back with the gifts this year. The main reason being that after getting all that Mark needed, we just simply didn't have the money for a lot of gifts. All our family and friends received mostly hand made gifts this year. We thought the girls might be a little disappointed with their gifts. But, thankfully, all the hoopla was not missed by the girls. In fact, before Christmas, I repeatedly asked both of them what they wanted and each replied with the same answer..."I don't know, I really don't NEED anything." Makenzie went so far as to tell me to take the money that we would spend on her and give it to someone that really needed it. (Such sweet girls!) It truly was one of the best Christmases we have ever had. Ragan found some nail polish amongst her gifties. Here she is giving Macy a manicure...... I made each of the girls a quilt this year. I sewed that binding on in record time! :):):) They each knew I was making one for the other but never thought they would EACH get one! I do love surprises!!:)
We were able to call Mark in Africa . I was nervous that he might be home sick and I had rehearsed in my head what I was going to say to him should he say he wanted to come home. Thankfully, he was so upbeat and positive. He sounded happy and not at all home sick.
He told us that they are in class about 9 hours a day. There are only 19 missionaries at the Johannesburg (or JoBurg as the locals call it) Missionary Training Center. He told us that they were able to sleep in an hour on Christmas day and they had a wonderful devotional by the area Seventy (a leadership group). They were told that the Uganda, Kampala mission area had just been increased. The lower Sudan has just been opened up to the missionaries. The Elders in Marks mission would be the first to enter there and that there were 3,000 "non-member members" waiting to be baptized. They told them that the missionaries going into that area would be "pioneers" in the organizing of the church there. Mark was so excited about it he can hardly wait to get going.
Here is Mark with his room mates. The Elder to his left is his companion. His name is Elder Onen. He is actually from Uganda but going to the Cape Town mission. The Elder to his right is Elder Davis form Thatcher, AZ, and finally, Elder Buthelezi. We were able to speak with Elder Onen when we called Mark. He was so sweet and soft spoken. He said some very kind things about Mark that just made us so proud.
We were invited to Justin's parents house for dinner Christmas night. It was so fun!! They brought out their Wii Fit and we all played for hours! I will have to put the video up of Craig hula hooping. I have never laughed so hard!
And miracle of miracles, it SNOWED yesterday in Tucson!! It's true. Now, I will admit it was a not a snow storm by, say Utah standards, but it was snow. A very wet and slushy snow. Nothing stayed on the ground. It's so funny, though, because all the kids in the neighborhood were out riding their bikes in it. We also had a little giggle at all the people suddenly bundled up to the hilt. I am talking scarves, hats, gloves, snow boots, parkas...the whole bit. I looked out of place in my capris and sweat jacket. (it still was 45 degrees) This morning we had to scrape the ice off the car windows. Of course we no longer own an ice scraper and had to use a credit card. (we learned that handy suggestion from the weather man on TV!) haha!
I have so enjoyed reading your blogs lately. I haven't had much time this month so I have been doing a lot of catch-up. I haven't really made a lot of comments, but I have popped by and absolutely loved all the pictures and recipes.
I have tried to email many of you back for making comments on my posts, but I know I have sadly missed some. Please forgive me! I sincerely appreciate every comment that is left here!
So, I am off for now.....I have a little project in the works that I have wanted to finish up for some time now. Craig has a couple of football games he wants to watch so I will be sewing the day away while he does that! Have a wonderful day, everyone.


Tomatoe Creek Prims said...

I'm glad your son is doing great in Africa and that you got to talk to him;) Your girls sound so sweet and I love those quilts!
I'm so glad you got snow, it's 65* here in PA can't really believe it:)

Linda said...

It was soooo good to see this post and know you are doing as OK as a mom can do right now. IT was wonderful to hear about Mark's mission and how excited he is. What a blessing to have such fine young people going out in the world to help underpriveledged nations.

We cutr waaaay back this year too and it didn't change the festive mood at all. We played some fun games with cheap swap items and that was better than expensive gifts.

Enjoy the time working on your project.

Holly said...

Yay for missionaries!!! Glad he's doing so well in Africa! The quilts you made are AMAZING! You really are a talent!!!

Kris said...

So glad you had a great Christmas day! I loved the quilts you made for your girls. They are fantastic! You are one great Mum!

So glad it was such a good experience talking to Elder Carter. It sounds like he will be having some extra-ordinary experiences whilst on his mission. What a great blessing that will be to him and, vicariously, to your family!

Hope you have a great lead-up to the new year! Best wishes to you and yours, kris.

Amanda said...

What a relief to have been able to enjoy Christmas Day in spite of not having your whole family together in one place. What a great picture of Ragan and Macey! How wonderful for you to be able to talk to Mark in Africa - the wonders of modern technology make the world seem so small. Happy sewing.

Nicole said...

I feel bad, I haven't been the best at blogging lately and I missed your son going on his mission. Your pictures at the airport were so sweet. I think I will look very similar in about 15 years (I hope they go slow)! I can tell he will make such a good missionary, you must be very proud of him. I loved the quilts that you made for your daughters, they are so beautiful. What sweet kids you have to sense that money was tight and not ask for anything, I hope I can do as good of a job with my children as you have done with yours. Merry Christmas (late)!

lera said...

As I was reading the first paragraph of your post, I was reminded of Pres. Monson's message in the Dec. Ensign about the "best Christmas ever." (I just gave a lesson to the beehive girls based on his message.) Your girls are truly inspirational. I wish I knew this before my lesson. I would have shared it with them.

lindanuts said...

The quilts are great....I am envious of your skills!
Glad to hear Mark is doing well, but I expected nothing less. He is a fine young man and so happy to make you proud!

Andrea said...

Thanks for sharing the email with the photos, etc. I love missionary updates!! Being a missionary myself, oh so many years ago, I get just giddy seeing and reading this stuff. : ) Love your quilts too.

familywithfivekids said...

It sounds like a perfect Christmas day for the Carters! Love the quilts - you have been blessed with a wonderful talent.

mkam said...

I am glad the phone call to Mark went so well!!

Anonymous said...

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I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!