Sister Rounds

Sister Rounds
California Arcadia

Sunday, March 20, 2016


I believe spring has sprung in LA! The vibrant, colorful vegetation tells me so. The fragrances that greet our noses each morning are a combination of YUMMY!! jasmine, orange blossom, or plumeria. my musings some random things come to mind, sometimes with accompanying photos, sometimes without.
My bedroom is still definitely my Happy Place, a place to retreat before the turkeys pull me down!

I'm surrounded anywhere I look by loving remembrances of dear little ones. It's a refuge from the storm. Oh, and also the place I sleep.

On my walks through the quiet morning  neighborhood, I observe many red brick paths, leading to many red doors. I have come to discover that red is the color of GOOD LUCK in China. They love the color red.

There is an energetic hoot owl that I hear occasionally in the early mornings. Reminds me of Utah barns. In LA. Go figure.

Also every occasionally, I pass a cute little Chinese man, who stops when I pass, smiles, and salutes my way. I wish him "Good Morning" but he just smiles bigger, bows, and salutes. Super cute!

One early morning walk, I walked under a tree, and suddenly, an entire flock of bright green parrots flew out of it, announcing their annoyance at my bursting their reverie. Talk about startled! But they are so beautiful, and they rather hide among the branches so you can't openly admire their beauty. But you can hear them! The do make sure of that!

Now that the sisters live in the same apartment complex, it's fun to run over to their door and give them "good-night" or "good morning" hugs. Or just go over there as we all begin our days to wish them well.

I have NEVER heard more energetic or rousing stake conference music than in the Pasadena, CA Stake! Our stake music leaders are phenomenal! I think they are probably professional, and whether the conductor is leading the stake choir or the entire congregation in singing they make us sound really good. The organ is loud, great tempo, and strong, and the organist embellishes as she goes, so it sounds sooooo good! The director knows how to direct us to slow down, speed up, or accent the words. It's something to behold! I love going to Stake Conference for the music alone. And as a fun side note, President Hunter was Stake President in the Pasadena Stake many years ago. So since we are studying his writings this year, it's also fun to hear from so many old-timers here a few personal vignettes that they remember from times past. He seems to have been a very personal and personable Stake President. I've learned some very great and cute things about him that I wouldn't have otherwise learned.

There are continual reminders all around, every day, of homelessness. I'm afraid after awhile one becomes rather calloused to its presence, but it's a very forlorn spectacle. Because it's so rampant here, it feels like people just get used to it and no longer really give it much thought. But when you're not used to it, it's a shocking sight constantly.

One day last week, we met Janessa and Sister Colson at Porto's Cuban fare for dinner in the city where Janessa is serving, Glendale. As usual, it was so great to see her and meet her new companion. And the food was tasty!

How interesting that Janessa and I get to forge this special tie, that will likely knit our hearts together forever because of this extraordinary experience we are sharing in common.

Brother and Sister Wu, long-time members in Alhambra, invited all the missionaries to dinner at one of the local Chinese restaurants one Saturday. It was fun to be with everyone, and it was obvious they enjoyed their own kind of food very much. Then, another member of the bishopric invited us to his home for HotPot, which is also very traditional Chinese cuisine. Such authentic eating here!

Brother and Sister Wu and missionaries for Chinese dinner
Recently, Sister Martin and I took a p-day to travel to Redlands to visit the temple there. It was a great day, and it took the whole day, but we had a wonderful p-day together.

One day, as I was looking out my lovely balcony sliding glass door, which overlooks a lovely...concrete parking lot... I noticed a cat tiptoeing across the roof ridge of the carport on the far side of the parking lot. It caught my attention because the cat looked like a direct duplicate of King Louie, my cat at home. He was even skinny like Louie!

I've also noticed MANY medical personnel everywhere we go, whether in the stores, parks, sidewalks, or anywhere. I guess when you have so many people, there are so many medical needs. So there are many people that work in the medical field, just by virtue of the number of people needing services. They are easy to spot because the uniform of choice is scrubbs -- and they are everywhere.

And there we have it. Musings of Mission.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


March 17, 2016 brought my life such gold -- but not a pot o'. It was in the form of love immeasurable. Beginning early in the morning, lucky wishes were sent to me every hour or two ALL DAY LONG. It was magical how the beautiful wish carried from house to house randomly! Beginning at 6:51 a.m. here is what I received in text, continuing all day.
"I'm lucky that you're my Nana because..."

"My heart is full of love for you"
"You're fun"
"You are fun and we have the best time"
"You are awesome"
"You're pretty"
Chloe (a.k.a. Petunia)
"You love grandkids"
"I Love U"
"You let all of us have fun"
"You are kind and fun!!!"
Alex and Gentry
"You make me smile!" and "You are pretty"
"You READ to me!"
"Everyone needs an optimist, including me!"
"You are crazy about 2-year-olds!"
"You're so unboring"
Junior Bundy
"You will be my friend and champion!"
"Because she makes everyone happy and me too"

"You're the best Nanny"
But that is not all! Oh no! That is not all! Two days ago, in preparation for the day of the wearin' o' the green, I received a fun green package in the mail from Samantha. She had crocheted me an Irish box of green shamrocks to pass around for others to share in some Irish green luck also! I had such fun passing them out to others, and others LOVED receiving them! I could tell, because I saw 25 people wearing homemade, crocheted, Sammy-special green shamrocks on their clothing today. 25 LUCKY, LUCKY people! 

Here is what the pot o' gold looks like at the end of MY rainbow:

Now that's what I call "treasure!!"

Friday, March 4, 2016

Onward and Upward...Another Year

The next mission year is off to a running start. As we compare this year's ward family photo with last year's, the numbers have increased significantly. And that number includes families with youth, children and babies, so the branch is feeling like a genuine ward. That's a very great thing, since it means that this little Chinese start-up branch that was born right before I came, will become a full-fledged ward in the not-too-distant-future. But that also means we will lose the wonderful leaders in this branch to their own stakes and wards, staffing this branch with local leadership. That will be a sad/happy day. I'm not sure if it will happen while I'm here, but I don't think so.

Branch President and Sister Lee, great spiritual giants and dedicated leaders
The Valley Branch (name of Chinese branch) celebrated Chinese New Year with a huge dinner and talent night. They go all out for these events. Not only was the cultural hall decorated beautifully in red and gold, but we enjoyed fine and authentic Chinese talent.

Elder Chui performed a traditional Chinese sword dance,

and a new 10-year-old convert, Angelina, played this really cool stringed instrument.

Chinese New Year's Eve, Lily, a new convert, invited all the missionaries over for a feast at her home. The foods are so unique, and the chopstick experience is always an adventure.

Other events that jump-started this next mission year were a fun p-day with the Mascaro's while Sister Martin was away. We went to Venice Beach, and the town of Venice, named for its canalways rather than roads, like in Venice, Italy. It was very beautiful. And there was lots of entertainment going on at the boardwalk on the beach, like break-dancers that were super cool to watch, and an area called Muscle Beach. Sister Mascaro had a fun photo taken with one of the participants at Muscle Beach.

What began this next mission year was receiving a fun Wallis package for Valentine's Day. It was a huge heart puzzle with a love message on one side of the pieces, and on the bottom side were individual love messages from each Wallis member. 



Talk about feeling loved!!

Also beginning this next mission year was dinner with Janessa and Sister Plumb, and not any too soon. Sister Plumb was transferred the next week. So the next time we get together, it will be Janessa and Sister Colson.

And at a ward council in one of the Los Angeles wards, there were my dear friends, Elder and Sister Allen from Hyde Park, Utah. How wonderful to see them again! They first found me in my first months in the mission, when I was still a wanderer in a strange land. They were a taste of home for me at that time. And here they were again, surprisingly at this ward council that we visited, and so good to see them!

Ever and always, photos on Sunday nights before missionaries are transferred. It's always sad to see them go, but we love welcoming new missionaries in too. Round and round it goes...

...rolling right into the next mission year.