From its beginning, July has been POPPING with events, activities, and ongoing missionary service. It began in a sun 'n sand fashion with Jogy coming for a flash weekend.
...then at a patriotic concert at night in Arcadia with the Southern California Mormon Choir.
It was very good, and we took a delightful, new Vietnamese investigator named Thanh (Tawn) with us. She was enthralled. And oh -- how funny to listen to her! Jogy had some wonderful, needed laugh time with Thanh around!
We popped into a temple day with Eddy, taking her to the LA temple for her endowments. What a special day that was! She was overwhelmed, but loved it.
It started early, included lunch in the cafeteria, then a wild shopping spree at the Distribution Center behind the temple for garments.
It finished off, of course, with -- what else -- frozen yogurt!
What could be better for a 4th of July celebration than an early-morning flag-raising by the ward scouts
and a greasy breakfast at the local 50's diner.
Then, Sister Martin and I popped down south to Long Beach where we spent the day at a VERY COOL Aquarium of the Pacific.
|Pool for petting stingrays|
We experienced wondrous things of beautiful, intricate sea life in all its varieties.
We saw all kinds of wonderful creatures, from all different continents and climes;
magnificent pools of Nemo and Dori, in multitudes;
tanks of florescent-colored fish in bright pinks, purples, oranges, yellows, golds;
AWESOME exhibits of sea dragons...
And I thought of several grandchildren who would freak out over these amazing sea creatures! They would totally love to catch one and take it home as an exotic pet!
|Beautiful sea dragons swimming gracefully through the tank|
And sea horses in all sizes...
We were lucky enough to experience a feeding by undersea divers as they swam among sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, and a host of other types of sea life, plants and animals alike.
Afterwards, we popped into Bubba Gump's Shrimp House and stuffed ourselves with yummy multi-flavored shrimp and cold lemonade.
It was a beautiful sight indeed! Both overlooking the complex and looking out over Alhambra from way up high on the roof. There were fireworks popping off all the way around me. I loved the solitude and excitement the personal venue provided.
And then...some spying visitors caught me and came up to enjoy the fireworks show with me. Shhh... don't tell...!
|Elders Garcia, Dean, Asenjo, Lutz, Cheng, Kemsley, and Sisters Martin, Me, Mann, and Huang|
Then Sister Martin and I went home and opened presents till very late. It was truly humbling the number of people who remembered me. Cute Sister Martin took photos of every single gift opening.
|Essentials: Peanut M&M's|
What a fun birthday box! The Wallis Wonders and Bundy Bunch sent a birthday party in a box with every trimming imaginable. Only need to add friends and ice cream!
Beautiful drawings, cards, and letters from my precious ones popped out of envelopes, ready to plaster onto my bedroom wall, adding to my colorful wallpaper they have already provided.
The next day, July 6, when I walked into the Center, birthday popped out EVERYWHERE!! From the time I walked in the front door, into the main office, into my little office, it continued throughout the building until a surprise birthday lunch.
And what a yummy birthday Lunch! Everyone went to so much work on this day.
|My homies, including Crazy Melaney, the Social Worker/Development Counselor at DI. She's my cute bestie.|
And during the day, bouquets of flowers arrived from sister Nancy, AJ's family, and Ruthe.
|From the Rounds'|
Could I feel any more loved and remembered?!?!
We popped home after English class one night, bringing Thanh, who had provided a multitude of Vietnamese dishes for all to try out. She loves to cook, and it's always delicious!
A fun, cute friend who pops into my office regularly is Stacey, one of the outstanding job coach trainers at DI. We have a wonderful working relationship, but also she's a good friend. We were both surprised when she popped in one day to visit about some of our DI associates, and we were both Minnie Mouse-attired! Funny! One of the things I love about Stacey is she reminds me so much of Jaimie in so many ways.
Another cute little firecracker in my world these days is Sister Huang. She is full of life, energy, and capability. She is from Taiwan, speaks very good English, and is the only member of the Church in her family. She is proving to be a great asset in this area and in the Valley Branch.
We took another opportunity to pop (not really -- never pop ANYWHERE in LA!!) to the temple with Eddy, this time in Newport Beach. We started with lunch at The Islands, wonderful Hawaiian fare. Then we popped over to the temple and enjoyed another wonderful session with her.
|Elder Lutz, who baptized Sister Lua, her, and me|
Another very wonderful Chinese investigator, Sister Lua, was baptized in July. She is a beautiful, middle-aged woman with her own tragic story. But she is so kind and sweet, and for whatever magical reasons, we connected right away. I really love Sister Lua.
And then it was time for another sad farewell. Elder and Sister Mascaro found out they needed to leave their mission a little earlier than planned for some unplanned health challenges. It was very hard to tell them good-bye.
|Me, Effy, Sister Mascaro, Sister Martin, Elder Mascaro, Joel, Elder Werner|
And that included their popping into our farewell lunch at the Center the day they left.
We all know how much they will be missed!
|ERC Groupies and Tower of Terror (aka Haunted Sears Tower)|
This firecracker will just keep popping through the rest of July...and mission!