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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hello, September!

How Can It Be A Year Already?

Although the temperatures are still warm here, there are hints of fall all around.  The crepe myrtle trees, which have bloomed beautifully all summer long, are beginning to fade and a few of the maples are sporting tinges of color. Our favorite farmer's market is displaying pumpkins and gourds along side the watermelons, beans and tomatoes.

 It is also time for that southern treat, boiled peanuts, as the new crop of peanuts is being harvested.  Bob has pronounced these quite tasty.
The fresh peanuts are washed and then placed in boiling, salted water to cook until the shells have softened, but still hold their shape.
 For you history buffs, this dish was around during the Civil War when Southern troops were issued peanuts as part of their rations.
Like the peanuts themselves, the custom of boiling peanuts originated in Africa.

The summer has been fairly mild, with temperatures usually in the upper 80's or low 90's. I think our hottest day was 96.  Of course, we do have humidity.  We tell everyone it is so humid even our trucks sweat in Jacksonville.  Many mornings we wake to windows completely fogged over.  And we have had LOTS of rain.  The thunder and lightening storms are pretty spectacular.  We love going to sleep to the sound of the rain. By the way, trucks like this crew cab are very popular with the young Marines.  You see them all over Jacksonville, especially on the weekend up and down the main drag,
Western Boulevard.

The rain brings out these tiny green frogs.  We see them all around in front of our apartment and a few have even managed to find a way into our screened in back porch.

Update on our continuing battle with the backyard squirrels: one bird feeder seems to be difficult enough that they don't bother it much.  There is one intrepid brown squirrel that has managed to hang precariously by wrapping himself around this feeder.  He falls a lot and so doesn't attempt it too often.  The other squirrels are content to devour the seeds from the feeder hanging in the dogwood tree.  They, however, have managed to master the hummingbird feeder.  They climb up the slick metal pole and then down to the feeder where they hang on and tilt the feeder enough so that they can drink the sugar water.

Sunsets here on the coast are rather spectacular.  This was taken in Swansboro, a former fishing village now turned tourist attraction. Swansboro reminds me a little of the old Park City -- narrow streets, turn of the century homes, lots of speciality shops. Sunsets through the pines in town are also something to behold.

 The fences leading into Camp Lejeune are often filled with banners welcoming home husbands, dads, and buddies who are returning from deployment. We have several members of the ward that are currently deployed and we really miss them.

Waiting for Dad.
Group Hug.

With the frequent deployments, the bishop has a difficult job keeping the ward staffed.  Lots of turnover.  In addition, Marines generally stay in an area only 2 or 3 years and then are stationed elsewhere. As one elder who had served in Jacksonville his first 6 months said on being transferred --" I want to come back and visit in a couple of years, but it will probably be a whole new ward by then."

Two of our YSA members were married in the
Raleigh Temple this past month.  They are both big "Dr. Who" fans and the reception reflected that theme.  The groom and groomsmen all wore bow ties, and the napkins on the table were folded like bow ties with a message written in Gallifreyan wrapped around the middle.  I have no idea what it said.   The wedding cake featured the bride and groom entering Tardis. It was a fun reception.  

It is hard to believe we will have been out on our mission a year by the end of September. The time has passed quickly and we face the prospect of returning home in April with a little sadness. We have loved living in North Carolina and have met so many wonderful people.  The work is sometimes exhausting, but we have learned so much and treasure our experiences.

One thing we have learned is that attitude does makes a big difference. Missions require a lot of hard work and a sound knowledge of the gospel, but it your attitude that makes the difference.  We have come to truly love those we serve and have had numerous times when we have been blessed with inspiration as to what we needed to do or say. We have learned to find joy and laughter along the way.

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